Why building your practice is a little like baking a cake

You’ve probably baked a few cakes in your time, right?  Then you know that as long as you follow the basic recipe steps:

  • add ingredients;
  • mix it up well;
  • and bake at just the right temperature for just the right time,

you’ll probably have a winner!

Building your practice is pretty straight forward too.  If you take the time and follow the basic steps to this “Practice-Building Recipe“, you’ll see your practice grow over time.  There are probably just as many different practice building methods as there are cakes to bake.  However, almost any one of those methods can work, as long as you are sure to follow the recipe.

Step One:  Add ingredients

This can include things like:  direct mail, phone calls, face-to-face visits, website, Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, flyers, brochures, information table at a health fair, contest or giveaway, newsletter, in-service, etc.  No matter what method you choose, just be sure your message:

  1. establishes, improves, or deepens your relationship with your customer;
  2. highlights the value you bring to your customer;
  3. reinforces your quest to find out “What can I do for YOU?”;
  4. and assures your customer that YOU are the answer to his/her “question” or “problem”.

Step Two:  Mix it up well

When you execute your marketing efforts, you want to be sure that you are:

  1. persistent (folks need to hear from you multiple times before you’ll make an impact),
  2. reliable (you do what you say you can do),
  3. and consistent (you do what needs to be done – every time)

Step Three:  Bake at just the right temperature for just the right time

Your marketing efforts will each require different kinds of follow up and follow through.  However, there are basic rules when it comes to baking a cake that folks will want to try, and that will leave them looking forward to your next creation…

  1. Make it easy for people to find you.  Put your contact information on EVERYTHING you distribute (in any format).  If I have to look hard for your number or email address, I probably won’t bother
  2. Respond ASAP.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve triaged a new client into my practice only to find that by the time the therapist called to make the appointment, the client already booked a time with someone else.  You snooze — YOU LOSE!
  3. Don’t be shy.  If you don’t get an immediate response, it probably means that you have not asked enough or in a way that catches your client’s eye.  Mix it up.  Mail, email, business cards, phone calls.  Be creative.  For goodness sake — deliver a cheesecake topped with a business card holder full of your cards if you have to!
  4. Follow up.  Just as you’d ask your dinner guests how they enjoyed your cake — ask your customers what they thought of your service.  Provide follow up letters and stay on top of collaboration.  Call to ask what else you can do to serve.  Continue communicating with customers just as you would your friends and before long, your “friends” will be there for you through thick and thin

I share tons of great info like this and MORE here: http://influentialtherapist.com/30-day-basic-training-private-practice-boot-camp/

Leave A Comment!



  1. Linda Lochridge Hoenigsberg /Reply

    Hi Deb,

    Great ideas…and coincidentally…I glanced, did a double take, looked again, hard, and then passed by a big slice of some of the best chocolate cake Safeway has to offer today. I know that because I’ve bought it and eaten the entire thing in one sitting several times now. It’s a serving for at least two, I think. Now I wish I was still in the store. Thanks. Ha. This post reminded me to go back on to the Vistaprint website and finish ordering some new cards that will almost match my website!

    1. Deborah Legge PhD CRC LMHC /Reply

      @Linda – LOL I had to send home the cupcakes with my kids so I could save myself! Can’t wait to see the business cards! Be sure to send me one Linda.

  2. Maureen Shea /Reply

    This is really sensible, doable, business advice and private practice is a business. Unfortunately, it;s an aspect of our profession that is not covered in graduate school. We have to stumble around to figure out how to do this usually. Your receipe succinctly tells us how to get started. It’s our responsibility to execute!

    1. Deborah Legge PhD CRC LMHC /Reply

      @Maureen – Isn’t that the truth. I make sure I include a private practice primer for all of my grad students in our Mental Health Counseling program. I hope it helps to give them a head start for when they are ready to take their own “leap of faith”

  3. Jennifer Weatherly-Obani MS, LPC /Reply

    I love getting your emails and reading every single one of them!!!!! You continue to be such a great help and inspiration! I was just thinking about an extra ingredient to add to my recipe would be to send out christmas cards to all of my clients with a small little newsletter about self care during the holidays, to let my presense be known. thanks again!

    1. Deborah Legge PhD CRC LMHC /Reply

      @Jennifer – Thanks for the kind words! I love your idea about the Christmas card. Dare to be different; stand out in the crowd!!!

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