Miranda here... Inspired this morning to write a blog that I've been writing in my head for quite some time.
I have noticed this very interesting... ok irritating pattern out in the world. People go to other business owners networking, talking about business, looking for advice, support, and encouragement. Business owners tell them- they have got it all wrong. Change your business plan. Do it the way that I am doing it- or you won't be successful. Then, they share with them that what they are doing isn't actually working...
Is it just me, or is that kind of odd?
While I see this in several different types of businesses, I see it happen often with therapy/helper businesses. I just recently worked with a coaching client (who gave me permission to share a little bit of their experience), who is going into private practice for the first time.
We discussed the clients business vision, strengths, and options for how to build a business. We explored insurance benefits and drawbacks, their lifestyle, and many other factors. Looking at the "big picture" of this person's life allowed them to really zero in on the type of business model that worked for them. I was able to share successful people who had taken insurance, and also how successful my business had been as a "cash-pay" model without being on insurance panels.
In this case, because of a variety of factors, this person had decided not to get on insurance panels at this point in their business development.
As part of the next stages of building a business, I encouraged the client to start networking out in their community and connect with business owners to know who to refer out to, to build relationships and support, etc. He was told over and over again:
- You can't get clients without insurance.
- People aren't going to pay for therapy.
- You won't be able to get enough clients to fill your practice.
- You won't be able to pay your rent.
And then, as he spoke in more detail, he found out...
- They weren't getting many clients with insurance.
- Or, they were full with insurance, but they still weren't making a livable wage in a fulltime business.
- They weren't able to pay their rent.
Hmmm... seems so odd to get so much push to model something that wasn't working for them. None of the individuals he spoke with had used websites for marketing- one had a website but it was more of a "business card" than something that people would find when looking for services.
So, just a little extra motivation for those of you looking at your business and marketing plan:
- Look for people who are successful.
- Emulate what they do- and get specific.
For example, I know some wonderful therapists who have thriving businesses using insurance. They don't market via a website. But, they are VERY well known in the community, have a great process in place to ensure they are reimbursed regularly, and they get a ton of referrals regularly. If you are just starting off in business- this isn't the norm.
My private practice is 5 years old today. I still get 80-90% of my referrals from the Internet. This is for a few reasons:
- Therapists won't refer to me because "You don't take insurance."
- Many therapists are struggling to get business and aren't referring out regularly.
- I generally encourage my clients not to refer their friends and family members- because I want this to be "their space."
At the same time, every year I am in practice, I get more referrals from word of mouth. But, I also get more referrals from the Internet. My Internet referrals have not gone down. And, I have hired a few people to work with me to provide "overflow" for the number of referrals that I receive.
Let me give you a few "specifics" of why I am that successful:
- I have a website that people "connect with" it isn't just a business card. My website is more of a "speaking opportunity."
- I have a website that is very findable on the first page of Google.
- I provide excellent customer service.
- I believe I can be successful (I don't sabotage myself).
Have you been successful in business? What are some of the "specifics" that you think have allowed you to be successful? Share below!