7 Steps Every Therapist Must Take to Successfully Transition from Group to Solo Practice
So you’ve made the jump from group to solo practice and have landed on your specialty. Congratulations! This is a brave step into the (at least partially) unknown.
It might feel like you’re flying blind. Questions will likely fill your mind, including…
- What steps must I complete?
- How do I securely fix the foundations? Anchor down the business essentials?
- How do I find and build rapport with my ideal clients?
- In short, how do I create and sustain an impactful, profitable practice?
Breathe… You’re in the right place. Let us, together, dive into the answers to these questions and more.
There is a range of measures you must finalize. Those relevant for you will depend on how far along this journey you are. If you’re at the very beginning, read carefully. We also recommend that you read How to Seamlessly Transition From Group to Solo Practice.
Sign up for our free email course to learn how you can expand your reach by transitioning from a solo to a group practice in 6 easy-to-follow steps.
If you’re further along, feel free to focus on the pertinent sections; though revising each step is wise.
That said, the steps include legalese and branding, budgeting and website creation, determining who your ideal client is, and strongly connecting with them. Remember, execution is key; great ideas in and of themselves don’t move the needle. So let’s get into the seven steps.
1. Prioritize legal requirements
When setting up in solo practice, the first step should be ticking off all the legalese. This involves setting in stone the mechanisms needed to protect yourself, your family, and your financial position. If you haven’t completed this step, stop; do this now. It could be the difference between success or losing the practice you’ve only just begun.
- Business requirements
- Setting up the right business structure from the get-go (for example, sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation)
- Privacy protection
Consult with an appropriate lawyer and tax accountant to ensure you are legally above board. Yes, these come at a cost. But there is little margin for error here. Regard this as a wise financial investment.
2. Name and brand your practice
When you first start in solo practice you can get away without a practice name. But, as you settle in, know that a professional, well-considered name lends weight to your credibility and, of course, brand awareness.
A good practice name can attract and convert. It’s the first piece of branding — the crucial first impression — that will capture a potential client’s attention, or not. Just like a novel, people do judge a book by its cover.
So, what should you call your business?
Unsurprisingly, we can’t tell you what you should call your practice. But, we can offer some advice:
- There are no hard and fast rules so relax and enjoy the naming process
- This is an important decision. Allow yourself time to make it
- Indulge in both functional and imaginative names. This can help you find your winner
- Aim for simple, memorable, and unique; an epithet that people can immediately understand
- Think about the future:
- Might you move? Would “Mountain Top Psychology” be awkward if you moved into the valley?
- Do you aim to add or change niches? Would “Maryland Depression Center” work if you change your focus to marriage counseling?
- What if you wish to change your surname, or sell your practice at some point? Naming your practice after yourself may inflate your ego, but will it suit a name change or new owner?
Now, brainstorm. Throw ideas on the page. Write down words that describe your service, expertise, mission, and client benefits. See which ones jump out at you, fit snuggly together, or express the heart of your practice.
Make a list of contenders. Hold them up to honest scrutiny. Could the name be misinterpreted? For multi-word ideas, might any terms be interpreted in an unhelpful way? Will it be memorable so your clients can share it when the opportunity arises? Can you imagine the choice lending itself to impactful branding?
Confirm your favored name isn’t already taken
Google to see what you find. Then, head over to the US Patent and Trademark Office and check. There is a free basic search tool called TESS, the Trademark Electronic Search System.
You will need a website to maximize your practice success. So, perform a search to see if a matching domain name is available. This can be done through LeanDomainSearch.
Consider also if your choice is available on social media. This might help you to narrow your options.
3. Understand your ideal client
You must understand who your ideal client is or you’ll be shouting into the void. Yes, you should know who — in particular — you serve (no, it’s not everyone).
With this knowledge, you can create a compelling story. Design marketing strategies that reach your target audience. Attract the clients you are best qualified to serve. Differentiate yourself. Nullify concerns over price.
Deciding on your ideal client is key for your practice to flourish.
Not sure who your ideal client is?
Take our Ideal Client Quiz now to receive your custom marketing tips!
4. Ask for advice
Making the leap into what feels like uncharted territory can feel overwhelming and fraught with challenges. That’s because it often is. However, brave therapists have traveled this road before you. In the process, they have built a reservoir of important knowledge. Many will allow you to tap into this abundant understanding.
So, nurture a network in your specialty. Be humble and ask for advice. And remember, relationships are built on reciprocal contribution. Give back.
5. Determine your budget (and stick to it)
To help clients, you must stay in business. This means the figures — the art of budgeting — must now become a priority.
Consider what you need to pay for; the essentials of “doing business.” This may include:
- Administrative costs
- Office supplies
- Phone and utilities
- Your wage!
Consider the money you receive. In the beginning, this might be a projection of the money you expect to receive (be conservative).
Set policies — including your therapy fees — with these factors in mind.
6. Secure your custom website
Just as a professional, well-considered practice name lends gravitas to your credibility, a custom website is essential for your reputation. This may not have been the case a generation, even a decade, ago. But it is an unquestionable need today.
Think about it this way…
If you cannot find a web presence for a business, what do you think? Dodgy, right? Or, at best, antiquated.
You might tell yourself that this doesn’t matter too much. After all, how many people might find you by searching the net?
According to TrialFacts, bucketloads! In one article, they shared the breakdown of those who seek health information online.
- 97% of 18 to 29 year olds
- 96% of 30 to 49 year olds
- 80% of 50 to 64 year olds
- 36% of 65+ year olds
Seekers are your potential clients. Your practice can’t afford to not be searchable online.
A professional custom website, then, positions you as the expert in your field; the trustworthy specialist. A well-crafted site also forms a key piece of the marketing puzzle, driving people into your world and practice. The right website can supercharge your impact and your success and profits.
Wait! You Don’t Have A Therapist Website Yet?
Brighter Vision is the ultimate marketing package for therapists, centered around the best therapist website you’ve ever had. Contact us today to get started.
As James Killian from Arcadian Counseling said, “Great value and service. I’ve been very pleased with Brighter Vision and my experience with them. I highly recommend!”
This step is short: There is no advantage to planning if you don’t act. So, execute!
If you need help in turning your vision into a reality, reach out. We are here to help your solo practice to thrive!
Want the beautiful therapist website you deserve? Then you’re in the perfect place.
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