I’ve seen a lot of people go into private practice and thrive.
I’ve seen a lot of people go into private practice and run it into the ground.
Here’s the short-list of ways to flush your practice in a hurry…
- Don’t choose a niche
- Even if you have a “general” practice, you’ve got to find ways to make you unique and memorable
- Don’t send thank you letters to your referral sources
- Everybody likes to be appreciated and acknowledged — including your referral sources
- Tell current/prospective clients or your referral sources that you are not taking new clients right now
- Whenever possible accommodate your clients. Once word gets out you are not taking new clients you may not be able to shake that status
- Run more than 20 minutes late/change or cancel appointments with regularity
- Aside from the therapeutic issues associated with these behaviors, it is just disrespectful to treat clients like they don’t matter
- Don’t ask for referrals
- You can’t be shy if you are going to make it in this business. If you need more referrals you’d better ask for them
- Don’t communicate with your clients
- Clients want to know that you are vital, active, and interested in providing them with services even when they are not in the room with you. Newsletters, flyers for new groups and services, and providing a helpful website are ways to let your clients know you care
- Don’t keep up with trends
- If you are going to be a hold out — website, email, Skype, cyber services, niche products and services — just know that someone else will be there to meet your clients where they are at
- Don’t ask your referral sources how you can best serve them
- Help out your referral sources whenever possible — they will learn to count on you and they will feel obligated to reciprocate
- Fall asleep in session
- Don’t laugh. At least twice a year I see a new client who fired the last therapist for falling asleep in session!
- Treat other therapists like the enemy
- Collaborating with colleagues is a great way to build a referral system that will last a lifetime