Many people wait until the new year to find the motivation, kick it into gear, and set new goals. But we should be setting, working toward, and reaching goals all the time! When it comes to growing your counseling practice, you don’t want to be caught unprepared. It’s time to prep your practice for greater success. Here are some helpful tips for doing so:
1. Ready your team.
Talk to your team about their availability. See if their schedules allow them to see new clients and even expand their hours. Also, make yourself aware of other schedule changes, like if a team member will be out of commission soon or otherwise on leave/vacation.
2. Add new team members.
If your current team members have packed schedules or will be out of the office soon, it might be time to hire some new team members! Give yourself ample time to recruit a licensed counselor who is both clinically strong and a good administrative and cultural fit for your practice.
3. Get on insurance panels.
There’s no sugar-coating it, getting on insurance panels a lengthy process. Ask Blue Cross and they’ll instruct you to allow “120 business days” to be added to their network. If you’ve been putting it off, don’t delay any longer. You might find that your phone is ringing, but you’re turning away 8 out of 10 potential clients because you can’t accept their insurance. Realize that more potential clients have insurance than ever before, their insurance is costing them more than ever before, and you better believe they want to use it.
4. Stop relying on your voicemail.
When a potential new client calls, if he or she doesn’t reach a live person, they are more likely to hang up and call someone else than they are to leave a voicemail. I’m always surprised by how many practices have nobody to answer their phone and instead rely on their mailbox to be their first impression and first contact with new potential clients. Don’t rely on voicemail! If you don’t have anyone on staff to answer calls, consider hiring an answering service to take a message and relay to callers that their calls will be returned within the hour. Then, and this part is important, actually return the call within the hour.
5. Reconnect with former clients.
The new year is an excellent time to send a note to clients who haven’t been in session for a while. Consider sending out a newsletter via email, a physical letter, or even reaching out by telephone! The latter might sound time intensive, but it’s well worth the extra effort.
6. Raise team spirits.
Keep your team members motivated and their spirits high! Think about catering lunch, hiding gift cards and candy around the office, making treats to surprise and delight, or do all of the above! Remind your team members that their hard work is much appreciated.
Are you ready to hit the ground running and grow your private practice? These tips will put you on the right path.
Anthony Centore Ph.D. is Founder and CEO at Thriveworks--a counseling practice, focused on premium client care, with 80+ locations across the USA. He is Private Practice Consultant for the American Counseling Association, columnist for Counseling Today magazine, and Author of How to Thrive in Counseling Private Practice. Anthony is a multistate Licensed Professional Counselor and has been quoted in national media sources including The Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, and CBS Sunday Morning.