In today’s business of therapy, clinicians must approach their work as equal parts therapist, salesperson, and manager. Creating a group practice not only helps you delegate office work such as marketing and administrative work, but it also creates a relatively passive income stream.
Switching from having a solo practice to running a group practice is a major transition. It can be a sustainable strategy to generate referrals, market your practice and increase revenue & reimbursement, but be prepared to ask yourself some serious and practical questions.
Do you have enough office space to support a growing practice?
Generally, you need at least five hours a week of unused office space to start a group practice. Maybe it’s time you aren’t in the office, or would rather not be in the office (such as nights and weekends). Before you upgrade your space, make sure you have the cash flow to support the extra expenses.
Can you be an effective boss and delegate tasks with authority and confidence?
For a group practice to run smoothly, you need to create, test, and revise clear systems for every aspect of the business. This includes clearly outlined policies on dress code, handling money, processing session information, assessing staff performance, handling phone and email inquiries, and assigning new clients to clinical staff. Don’t forget about the new logistical responsibilities you will need to manage, such as tracking referral sources, creating monthly reports on individual and group performance, calculating profit-and-loss statements, and doing payroll.
Getting comfortable determining what tasks can be performed by others and delegating these tasks will help you share the office responsibilities with new staff and save you from being overwhelmed with clerical work.
Are you ready to let go of a certain amount of control when it comes to dealing with clients?
When bringing in new staff you also bring in new personalities. If you heard someone speak to a potential client in a tone different from yours, how would you react?
Are you comfortable hiring and firing employees?
Hiring staff is a lot like dating. A lot of people look good on paper, but you never know how compatible you are until you spend time with them. A therapist that comes highly recommended may also come with an approach that doesn’t mesh with your current therapy culture, or they may underperform. And yes, those who underperform may have to be fired. It’s important to be decisive when it comes to making your goals and expectations clear, even it if means people may not always like you.
If you’ve answered yes to the questions above, it might be time to transition to a group practice. Remember, speed bumps and potholes along the way are normal, and there’s a learning curve here! Bringing a positive long-term attitude will be necessary for success.
Would you consider starting a group practice?
Tell us why or why not in the comments below.
This post is based on an article originally brought to life by our partner, Psychotherapy Networker.
Click to read the full article, “The Challenge of Becoming the Boss: How to Make a Group Practice Work,” written by Joe Bavonese and Casey Truffo.