In the last Blog, I discussed a “Needs Analyses”. The objective was to point out a comparison between being salaried versus self-employed. For example, it will take 545 clinical hours per year or 10 counselling hours per week, to achieve a similar gross salary that you would receive if employed by an agency. I felt it was important to provide a conceptual framework from which to work and answer the questions: Is starting a private practice in clinical counselling financially doable given your location, financial resources, and your market place?
In order to guide you through this process, I will be disusing a strategic planning, operational planning, budgeting, and forecasting. [i]
Starting with strategic planning:
What does your business do? It provides clinical counselling services. The key word is “services”. You provide a service, which is intangible. Furthermore, clinical counselling services are not as much an essential service, such as seeing your dentist, doctor, or optometrist on a regular basis. In addition, there is a stigma attached to mental health issues, which make offering counselling services a harder sell.
Who does your business service?
You need to assess your geographic location, the competition, the culture, and the economy of where you wish to locate your private practice. As well, you need to define your client base, which I assume would correlate to your specialty. For example, if you wish to limit your practice to children and teens then you need to check the number of schools in your area.
In the next Blog, I will be discussing in more detail the strategies for marketing an intangible service versus tangible services. I will share with you the value of belonging to Networking Groups, such a Business International Network (BNI) and niche marketing.
Future Blogs will point out the importance of a Business Plan, how to write a Business Plan, and financial projections with a quick overview of financial statements. Meanwhile, check out the following site http://www.rbcroyalbank.com/sme/bigidea/. This site covers the topics such as, starting a business, creating a plan, target your market, pricing strategy, advertising and much more.
Having a Business Plan is similar to having a road map. You need to know where you are going and how to get there.
[i] Lasher, W. (1994) The perfect business plan. Random House, Inc. NY, NY
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA