Ever thought about becoming a boss in your private practice? The thought must have crossed your mind for a long time. And yet you have not taken that step because of fear. When fear dictates your actions, you will be kept locked in the box of what-ifs. If you don’t take the first step out of the box, then you can never leave it. Days, months, and eventually decades pass. But fear exists because of doubts. Some of these doubts can be answered through systematic and concrete plans. However, the unfounded doubts you create around your head will never be answered.
Besides, there is no guarantee to be successful once you operate your private practice. Success is dependent on several factors. Most importantly, setting-up your private practice requires careful preparation. Below is a list of questions that will measure your preparedness. If you answered yes to most of the questions below, you may be more ready than you think.
Question 1: Am I good enough to open my private practice?
A rational person is likely to seek professional service from qualified individuals. For healthcare, the initials following your name are important for the services that you plan to provide. This is also a requirement for most states. While this may be important, this type of qualification is not all-encompassing for other private practices. For some, having a solid portfolio with positive reviews may seal-in the deal.
Clinicians are born out of years after working for an established group. Those who worked before in companies can develop ideas on what services they would improve or add once they open their private practice. However, the practice side of private practice can only be taught through experience. Another important factor in opening a private practice is flexibility. The would-be entrepreneur should be open-minded and willing to learn. The practice should be adaptive enough for it to at least stay afloat to any changes. For example, the star product being used by a group private practice counseling has a material that has just become very scarce.
Now a law is being enforced for its preservation. Instead of stopping production for the same product, the group private practice can shift to plan B and use alternatives instead.
Question 2: How accessible is the location of my office?
The location that you choose must be affordable and accessible. Observe the spot that you want to rent out for your private practice. Does this place have high foot traffic? Do people need to walk in this street to get to a common busy establishment? An ideal location may be along a commercial area such as near the market or an institute of learning. Also, compelling signage with a clear and short description of your services is free advertising in a location where there is high foot traffic. Are there any other businesses in the area that are drawing people in? This may be helpful as well as make your practice become more visible to others.
Infrastructure is also important. The location should be accessible by a transport network like trains or buses. Further, if you have a website, putting instructions on how to drive to or ride a bus to your office or a map with known landmarks may also be helpful.
Question 3: What are the factors that may decrease income?
In choosing a good location, some companies benefit from opening their businesses with a similar practice in the same location. However, if the number of prospective clientele is diminished through a conflict of interest, it may be time to notch up marketing or consider other locations.
The skills and number of staff are important too. There should be enough staff when joining a group practice. Extra staff will drain income. Aside from this, the staff should be skilled as well. Skilled professional staff can do the right amount of work at an acceptable time in a group practice setup.
If the would-be entrepreneur plans to open a private practice overseas, challenges such as cultural and language barriers should be taken into account. Most importantly, the legalities of the country should be followed to the letter. Employment laws, building regulations, and all activities being offered and done by the practice should all be legal at a particular country. It is more expensive and laborious to operate on an illegal note than to just follow laws, even if you are not caught.
Question 4: How many hours a day do I have to spend in my private practice?
Opening a private practice is pure unadulterated hard work. If you’re hands-on with your business, you can spend inordinate amounts of time researching and trying out different marketing methods. This can add in the hours way after the office has closed for the day. Remember, you may be skilled in your line of work as a consultant, but marketing draws in customers. In time, your work may speak for itself but getting your practice out there initially requires work.
Doing research is helpful. Learning about new regulations and practices will ensure that your company is legally sound.
Question 5: How can I do all aspects of the practice?
In operating your private practice, you have to be a clerk, a consultant, a marketer, and a bookkeeper. While it may be admirable if you can do all of these things and more, some entrepreneurs choose to outsource some of these activities. For instance, they hire firms specializing in bookkeeping to do their books for them. This can be better in the long-run as your books are filed with fewer errors, actually saving on costs of filing them again.
Some businesses also hire business consultants. These experts help point the practice in the right direction. Some business consultants also advise on ways to make the private practice flow more efficient. A company may lose customers if it takes a long time to fall in line. A private practice consultant will advise on how to go about this effectively without compromising the quality of service. Solutions provided are systematic and concrete, all backed up by facts and experience.
Question 6: How can I effectively market my private practice?
There are some ways to market your product. One of the more accessible means is through the digital world. Social media plays a big part in this as advertisements on Facebook or Instagram, for example, are now being utilized. When a practice has a website, creating content for the products and services of the private practice can hook prospective clients in. The entrepreneur can seek the help of content writers. These writers can use keywords which can boost website views.
Similarly, any query that potential clients may ask must be handled with care and professionalism. A professional and nonjudgmental attitude may help spur in more sales and more appointments. Some companies also provide after-sales care as a marketing tool. Follow-ups to service or asking feedback may also bring back former clients. Aside from this, clients may give in a good word to their family and friends, helping to bring more clients in the mix.
The private practice must consistently provide good service. Any feedback should be taken into account, even the negative ones. A company must be responsible for any service that they have provided. Any problem must be dealt with immediately to prevent possible legal issues and the corresponding huge fees that may permanently cripple the company.
Question 6: How can I protect my private practice?
Since legal fees may be too big to handle for any company, it is for this reason that most companies are now signing up for insurance in cases of negligence or malpractice. Some companies even retain lawyers.
Doing research and thorough assessment of the office may also ensure safety for the clients and staff. In cases of fire, earthquake, typhoons, or floods, a strong building will not give in easily. Upon inspection of the site, it is best to reinforce beams when questionable. If the place of your private practice is flood-prone, it is best to have anti-flood equipment handy.
Cybersecurity is also important as all of the information that a company has is confidential. Any leaks or breach of security may lead to court sessions. Worst, the company is completely liable for any repercussions of the information that has been leaked out. What may drain a company’s expenses at first may actually be a lifesaver for it.
Question 7: How can I sustain my business or private practice?
Most businesses close after 2 years. To sustain a private practice, efficiency and relevance are important. Costs should be minimized and revenues maximized, without compromising the quality of service. While efficiency may control costs, good quality leads to further business. To prevent your practice from becoming obsolete or too commonplace, doing research on trends and testing which ones work may actually keep you relevant.
Like any business or decision, an entrepreneur must know when to start and ask the right questions before considering joining a group practice. Ideas are not born anywhere. Most of them are a product of careful assessment and systematic planning. Discipline, perseverance, and luck are points that must be considered.
Discipline and perseverance, especially in the mental health field, can be learned through reinforcement of good habits and gradual unlearning of bad ones. Time is important, may it be spent in work or recreation. Being an entrepreneur blurs all lines of work and recreation.
So, a person wishing to go into business in mental health practice must love the work that comes with it. Some people in various businesses like in successful private practices claim that they are just lucky. In business, this may be true. Opportunities may suddenly present themselves without any outside force. Entrepreneurs labeled as consistently lucky people do not only wait for luck but create opportunities for it. Study the opportunity, make a plan, and ask questions to people who have done it and became successful.