I mentioned a gap analysis in my last blog and I cannot stress how helpful this has been for me. Yes, it is time consuming and a bit on the tedious side, however, it is better to do this work upfront so that you can make informed decisions. OK, that’s my pitch. Now let me tell you what you need to know about the gap analysis.
Basically, a gap analysis allows you to determine if there is a gap or need in the market for your service. Previously, I suggested that you do your research and create a list of the counselling agencies and private practitioners in your area, noting where they are and their area of counselling expertise. Already, this gives you two categories of useful information.
First is the location. Are there areas of your region that are under-served? Are there areas that you want to avoid because it is already saturated? You can ask yourself why that may be. In my gap analysis, I found that the under-served areas were either new neighborhoods or areas that were the least wealthy that may not be able to support the fees of a private practice.
Second is the area of expertise. Most private practitioners will identify their areas of specialization on their websites. I used this information to help me choose what additional training to pursue so that my counselling skill set was more marketable in my region.
From my gap analysis I was able to identify where the need was for another counsellor as well as how to set myself apart from all of the other private practitioners in my area.
I’m interested to know from those of you who are already in private practice how you chose your location and your niche in the market.
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA