New Year, New Opportunities

Happy New Year! Each year I try to identify a single word that is my focus for the year. Last year was “Finish,” this year is “Risk.” I’m generally a risk averse person, even though many of my friends would not say that about me. For me, taking risks means that I have to face […]

Some Thoughts on Brand Building

Creating a brand is one of the best ways to generate referrals for your practice. A brand is a story, a set of unique values and ideals. A private practice without a brand is like a person without a personality: They just aren’t very attractive. Creating a brand is an involved process that can be overwhelming. But […]

image courtesy of 23am.com via flickr

What is Your Mission?

Your practice needs a mission. “I want to help people” is not a good reason to be in business. One could argue that every single business has that same goal in mind of helping people. The businesses that thrive are the ones that can articulate their mission and the uniqueness of how their product or […]

Private Practice Questions

Last Friday I gave a presentation to a group of therapists eager to start or grow their private practice. Over the course of our time together, several questions were asked that I think would be helpful to post here: Q: Do I need a business license to open up a private practice? A: I’m not […]

ICD-10 Coding Coming October 1st

After multiple delays over the past few years, beginning October 1 insurance companies will require ICD-10 codes. ICD-9 codes have been in use for decades, so the tenth revision of these codes will likely be the first change the majority of practitioners will have faced. This is an important change as it will affect anyone […]

33 Ways to Get More Referrals

Almost every private practice needs to have a consistent strategy for generating more leads and referrals. Here are 33 ideas to help get you started: 1. Develop a new specialty 2. Become an adjunct profession at your local college or university 3. Host a peer consultation group 4. Start a writing workshop for aspiring authors 5. […]

courtesy of Bart Everson via Flickr

Private Practice SWOT

I recently wrote about the need to plan tasks needing to be done in your business. I approach these tasks on a weekly/monthly/quarterly/yearly timetable. Doing this gives me bite-sized portions of tasks that keep me ahead of the business curve. One of the tasks I advocate for private practicians to engage in is a personal/professional […]

courtesy of Davide Restivo via Flickr

Hitting 60

Today marks the 60th published article here at A SMART PRACTICE. When we launched in January of this year, we weren’t exactly sure how everything was going to shake out. Looking back over the past 6 months, and 60 articles, there’s been a lot of great content, resources, and community development here. Our goal here is to […]

Seasons of Practice

Over the past 10 plus years, I’ve seen plenty of ups and downs in my client load. When the schedule is full, I tend to feel very confident and can find myself approaching my clients differently than when my schedule isn’t as full. Part of this is that I have some belief that I am the […]

via

6 Observations About LinkedIn

The Original Social Media Explained with Donuts by Doug Ray / Three Ships Media. #socialmediaexplained #socialdonut #facebook #pinterest #linkedin #youtube #foursquare #twitter #instagram #socialmedia #googleplus #lastfm #memes #funnypics A post shared by Doug Ray (@douglaswray) on Feb 3, 2012 at 2:21pm PST I’ve been experimenting with a few new ideas on LinkedIn lately. Of all […]

Private Practice Resources

When we launched A SMART PRACTICE earlier this year, our goal was simple: To provide engaging content to help practicians build their practices. We are six months in and have published over 50 articles by almost a dozen contributors and engaged our readers with bi-monthly newsletters. This week we launched a new feature of our site: Private […]

Guest Post: How I Built a Practice – Tressa Gibbs

Editors note: This is a guest post from Tressa Gibbs. We occasionally have other practitioners share their story and experience of building a private practice. Tressa shares some insights she gained from building her private practice in Nashville. We’d love to hear your story. If you have ideas you’d like to share with our readers, click here to contact us for […]

Want a Thriving Practice? Do Good Work

You can make the most amazing website, hire the best designer, and decorate your office to the nines, but if you do not do good work with people your business will not last very long. You might be asking, “How does one go about doing good work?” There are a number a different factors that […]

Thursday Tidbit: Beauty Schools

Admit it. You’ve always wanted to be a beautician, right? It’s ok, I didn’t answer ‘yes’ either. Regardless how you answered, the reality is that the role of a therapist and a beautician are very similar. I actually think beauticians have more access and trust with their clients than we do as therapists with our […]

8 Ideas to Generate More Referrals

– Guest-post on other blogs – Offer a support group for the parents of kids with crisis pregnancies. – Start a “new-professionals” group for goal setting, idea sharing, and accountability. – Host a workshop on secondary trauma for Police, 911, and emergency dispatchers. – Connect with other professionals on LinkedIn. Setup times to meet for […]

Tech Tuesday: Building Your Website

I have lots of professionals that ask me for recommendations about getting a website setup and running. If you’re not all that familiar with design, web design, or technology, getting this done can be really overwhelming. A website is the main place people will go to learn more about you and your services, which is why it needs […]

Autobiography in 5 Short Chapters

Everyone has been there before: Down in the pits, wondering why the same thing keeps happening. In Private Practice, this might mean that you’re starting another week without any new clients, or struggling to pay the bills for yet another month. Something I share with my clients is the “Autobiography in 5 Short Chapters.” I’ve […]

Guest Post: Managing Expectations – Laura Anderson

Editors note: This is a guest post from Laura Anderson. We occasionally have other practitioners share their story of building a private practice. Laura offers some excellent insights about starting a practice. If you have ideas you’d like to share with our readers, click here to contact us for more information. March marked the three year anniversary of […]

Tech Tuesday: Using a Facebook Page

With over 1.39 Billion active users, the Facebook population (if it were a country) would be the largest country on Earth. It’s astounding how integrated most of us are with Facebook. With that said, I think Facebook is an excellent way to get a starter website up for your practice. You need to have a Facebook […]

Guest Post: Becoming a Collaborative Divorce Coach – Gary Watson

  Editors note: This is a guest post from Gary Watson. We occasionally have other practitioners share their story of building a private practice. Gary offers a unique idea and opportunity into diversifying a practice. If you have ideas you’d like to share with our readers, click here to contact us for more information. I’ve been exploring the possibility of becoming […]

Tech Tuesday App Review: Evernote

If you’ve read much of what I’ve written here, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of blogging. Moreover, I’m a big fan of writing. I think writing is a lost art, and with that loss we miss out on a ton of therapeutic value in writing. From word processors to the old fashioned pen-and-paper […]

Guest Post: How I built My Practice – James Trone

Editors note. This is a guest post from James Trone. We occasionally have other practitioners share their story of building a private practice. James offers some great insights into this process. if you have ideas you’d like to share with our readers, click here to contact us for more information. As I write this, I am keenly aware […]

Tech Tuesday: 5 Tips for Using Twitter

You’ve read our point/counterpoint on the reasons of why and why not to use social media, and now you’re ready to start using twitter. Here are 5 tips for using twitter as a private practician. 1. Identify your voice. As counselors we need to consider the ethical issues at hand in how and what we […]

Photo courtesy of Billy Brown via Flickr

Thursday Tidbit: Answer the Phone!

We therapists are notorious for not being able (or perhaps we’re not willing?) to answer the phone. Often this is because of how our schedules work. I have traded voicemails with potential clients for many days due to not being able to connect at the right time. There are times at the end of a […]

Photo courtesy of Teo via Flickr

Tech Tuesday: Technology Limits

This might seem antithetical to the category of “Tech Tuesday,” but I think all good strategies have to include limits for how you’re going to implement them. The same is true for our personal lives as it is for business: Getting sidetracked with technology is an easy trap. We can spend too much time in virtual […]

Tech Tuesday: Writing Your Online Profile

There are a ton of online resources to help market your practice. Besides social sites, there are a lot of directories (like Psychology Today, Good Therapy, and Therapy Tribe). To varying degrees, these sites will ask you to write a profile about yourself. Questions like: “Describe your ideal client,” and “What makes you unique,” are […]

Guest Post: How I Built my Practice – Luke Brasel

Editors note. This is a guest post from Luke Brasel. We occasionally have other practitioners share their story of building a private practice. Luke offers some great insights into this process. if you have ideas you’d like to share with our readers, click here to contact us for more information. When Samuel asked me to share […]

Thursday Tidbit: Quality of Marketing Materials

In building a practice, the quality of your work will be your best marketing tool. But, we suggest matching the quality of your work with the quality of your public marketing materials. Business cards, website, blog, and social media profiles all work together to tell the story of what kind of business you are running. […]

Marketing for the Long Haul

I’d furnished my office, printed my business cards, and met with several potential referral sources. It was my first full week in private practice, and I had no idea when my first client would call and set an appointment. In those first few weeks and months, I spent a lot of time making sure all my marketing […]

Getting Someone Else’s Client

Here’s the scene: You sit down with a potential client for the intake, and as you begin to ask her questions you find out that she is in your office because she is looking for a new therapist. She goes on to talk about how awful her previous therapist was, and you begin to hear […]

photo courtesy of Ian Sane via Flickr

Thursday Tidbit: Some Ideas on Speaking

In the last Tidbit I suggested that you get out and speak as a way to build your practice. I wanted to follow up on that with a few suggestions for where you can find speaking gigs. The reality is you will have to create these opportunities: – Call a beauty salon, offer to come train […]

Why I Use Social Media

Last week Caleb shared some compelling reasons why he does not use social media. He makes some very good points that are worth your time to read and consider. I’m on the other side of the fence on this issue and want to share a few reasons for why I think it’s good idea to integrate this […]

Why I don’t use Social Media

There are plenty of reasons that a small business/private practice can benefit from social media. I am not sure I know what they all are. I assume that they have something to do with getting your brand recognized and known. But, what I do know is that social media is not part of my marketing […]

Photo Courtesy of Jerry Nihen via Flickr

Measuring Success & Goals: Tracking Client Load

It’s a difficult balance to strike between running a profitable business yet not becoming overly obsessed with the financial health of your practice. Profit is not a four letter word, yet it’s easy to assume that because we deal with the complexities of others’ lives, we don’t need to profit from them. And to a large extent, I agree: […]

When to hire help

If you are thinking about hiring help, there is a high probability that you need to Pension go ahead and pull the trigger to hire someone. More than likely you are feeling the pinch time-wise and seeing many necessary tasks not getting done. Over the long haul this pile of unfinished business can be detrimental […]

Asking the Right Questions in Marketing

As therapists, we work to listen and ask good questions. Becoming an effective marketer is also about asking good questions, but instead of asking them of our clients, we have to ask ourselves good questions. While not exhaustive, these 3 simple questions can help guide your marketing decisions: 1. Who am I and what is my […]