When I started out in private practice 25 years ago, anything remotely resembling “office work” — you know, stuff like, bookkeeping, going to meetings (aka networking), business planning, and evaluating marketing strategies — was shunned or delayed as long as possible in favor of having fun working with whoever walked in the door.
Afterall, wasn’t the whole point of private practice to have more freedom?
It soon became clear that this was an upside down, unsustainable, hobbyist approach to making a living.
They didn’t tell us in grad school that having and following a plan is essential for solopreneurs. That disciplined follow up is what turns a hobby into a thriving practice.
Nor did they clue us in on the fact that most advice for small business — by Small Business Administration definition a company of 500 employees, or one with up to 21.5 MILLION dollars in annual revenue! — just doesn’t translate to usable, sensible methods for one-person non-retail businesses.
So I devised a one page bullet point planning tool that focuses on the purpose, needs, and realities of counselors and coaches. Here’s what I recommend reviewing and revising once a year:
1. your inspirational vision statement — what are your personal goals for operating this business, what’s the type of life you are trying to create for yourself and your family?
2. your empowering mission statement — what is it your business exists to change, teach, or heal in the world?
3. your 3 primary business objectives for the year — what will you hold yourself accountable for achieving by the end of this year?
4. your strategies and related actions to achieve your objectives — with timelines to mark forward progress
5. resources you’ll need — financial, energy, outsourcing, relationship support, professional development, etc
6. expected realities and challenges — what can you logically assume will help your client niche respond to your marketing or prevent them from doing so?
It’s a good idea to review and revise a business plan every year, and my one page bullet list version makes that an easy process.
Then I recommend hanging it on an office wall where it can serve as a reminder and a road map in support of the daily steps of a marketing plan — which is a separate and more detailed document.
Whereas the business plan contains broad stroke intentions, it’s the marketing plan that really provides the hows and whens of the concrete action steps and your measurable efforts in applying self-discipline for the benefit of business growth.
The best system I’ve come across for this purpose is CJ Hayden’s Get Clients Now! book and tracking tool. I’m so impressed with the simplicity and effectiveness of her system that I became licensed to teach it to others.
But whether you take that training or devise your own plan, here are 4 suggestions for you:
make having a website your number 1 priority -- if you don’t already have one — ask me about my Wix web design and content writing work
choose 1 extrovert marketing strategy and follow through for at least 4 months
select 1 introvert marketing strategy and follow through for at least 6 months
instead of either the extrovert or introvert strategy, use a hybrid method for at least 6 months
A little planning and consistent follow up will make this a great year for your practice!
Have you tried using a business or marketing plan, without success in the past? Do you know why it didn’t work — was it intimidating, discouraging, or anxiety-making? What do you need to overcome those sabotaging feelings?
If your private practice is more than hobby, and you know you need a bit of education about being a business owner and doing client attraction marketing, click here for info on my strategy consults.