Private Practice Business Planning

Several months ago we developed analysis for therapists in private practice. It took them through an in depth series of questions that was aimed at helping them identify what was working in their private practice, and what needs extra attention.

Free Private Practice Analysis

Hundreds of therapists completed the free Private Practice Analysis within a few days. Of course. We learned a ton about the current state of therapists, social workers, counselors, and psychologists, in private practice today.

While we our analysis is by no means scientific, we saw some interesting correlations of the people who took the survey. In addition, because we gave people the opportunity to chat with us directly about the status of their practice- we got to follow-up verbally and expand on what the survey told us.

What a survey told us about business plans for private practice therapists.

The first thing that became clear was that a small portion of therapists in private practice had a business plan. In fact, less than 15% of therapists reported having a business plan. And, guess what? Less than 15% of therapists reported having the right amount of clients in their practice. Many therapists had gone through the process of developing an “idea” of their business, but had not “run the numbers” to determine if their idea was viable.

When we talked to therapists, many of them reported having NO idea how to develop a business plan. Most of them felt overwhelmed by business planning templates meant for traditional businesses, and simply avoided the subject altogether. They were frustrated and confused about why they felt so overwhelmed, frustrated, and seriously confused. They were not sure why things weren’t working better- especially therapists who had tons of clients but were still not profitable.

What happens when therapists develop business plans for their private practices?

Therapists who we took step-by-step through the process of developing a business plan for their private practice reported being shocked. As they became intentional about factoring in things like trainings, a buffer for illness, vacations, retirement, technology, business expenses, etc. they realized why they felt like they were struggling. Many of them found they had grossly underestimated the costs of being in business. Most of them hadn’t developed a clear plan to be successful, and realized that a shotgun approach to business building often doesn’t work.

What happens if you don’t have a business plan in private practice?

Why do therapists exchange the term small business for private practice? If you are starting a private practice, you are opening up a small business. If a chef was opening up a restaurant with no business plan, what would you think? If a friend was opening up a business with no clear plan- would you invest your savings? Getting 20 regular clients a week is not a business plan. This is a goal or an outcome of a business plan.

What should a business plan for private practice include?

Projected expenses and income week by week. A projected growth plan. A clear way to get clients. The services you will provide, and the cost for those services. An analysis of your particular area. An analysis of your particular expertise. A plan for a website that brings in clients. It isn’t a small thing, but you can do this. You can become a business owner! Your business plan is part of the piece that determines how you set your fee in private practice.

What are your next steps?

Why don’t you start by taking the private practice analysis today. Find out what is working, and what needs attention today.

Miranda Palmer, LMFT is a therapist and business coach who sees how business decisions impact clinical work- for good or for bad. She wants to teach therapists how to make business decisions that allow them to do the best therapy work possible. You can check out over 10 hours of recorded free trainings for therapists here.


Miranda Palmer

I have successfully built a cash pay psychotherapy practice from scratch on a shoestring budget. I have also failed a licensed exam by 1 point (only to have the licensing board send me a later months later saying I passed), started an online study group to ease my own isolation and have now reached thousands of therapists across the country, helped other therapists market their psychotherapy practices, and helped awesome business owners move from close to closing their doors, to being profitable in less than 6 weeks. I've failed at launching online programs. I've had wild success at launching online programs. I've made mistakes in private practice I've taught others how to avoid my mistakes. You can do this. You were called to this work. Now- go do it! Find some help or inspiration as you need it- but do the work!