Do you want to add a cash business to your practice that can generate enough dependable revenue to unchain you from insurance companies?
Then solve real problems for real people.
Chasing the latest treatments fads you’re not qualified to address will lead to nothing but dead-ends. I’m talking about “businesses” like acupuncture, Pilates, TRX bands or with products you don’t understand or personally care about.
You’ll want to add a cash business that engages your strongest interests and passions. But at the end of the day, that cash business needs to operate in a profitable niche where you’ll be able to help people overcome very specific challenges.
Narrowing your focus and building your knowledge in a specific area of cash practice may seem counterintuitive. But in a competitive marketplace vying for your patient’s attention, it’s the only way to rise above the competition.
Instead of developing a cash business that applies to a variety of patients. Why not be the go-to authority in a smaller slice of cash services pie that has been overlooked?
There is a competitive advantage to being a category authority where your extensive knowledge and expertise helps you get noticed. Getting noticed is half the battle in establishing a cash business at your clinic.
Once you’ve established yourself as an authority in a specific practice niche you can often expand your practice into other patient populations.
The Marketplace is Crowded and Noisy
Physical therapy is already crowded with multiple treatment approaches and gurus trying to sell their cure-all methods. Most patients don’t understand the insider language of a particular treatment approach. Most patients are looking for an established expert they can trust. They are reluctant to give you a chance unless you can demonstrate your expertise in a niche.
For example, take the world of back pain. You want to be known in your local area as the go-to manual therapist so you can grow your practice. You’re probably competing now with other therapists, chiropractors, and physicians with established professional reputations. The expert with the strongest reputation usually wins the word of mouth referrals.
However, there is an alternative. You can choose a subset of back pain to specialize in so that you can provide more in-depth care and an outstanding consumer experience than larger organizations. If you focus your learning and delivery of service in one particular niche you will quickly be known as the authority in that category. Eventually, you’ll be able to expand your reputation into other areas of practice you offer.
For example, you can choose to specialize in postpartum back pain using group yoga classes. You’ll soon become known in your area as the expert that really understands young mothers problems and offers unique solutions. There exists a natural bridge from that niche into back pain during pregnancy and other women’s health issues.
Your cash business should be a natural extension of your expertise and not in an unrelated area. The disconnect confuses your clients. But if your cash business flows out of your professional expertise patients will be more likely to participate.
If you are considering adding a cash business to your practice, here are five tips on choosing a profitable niche.
5 Tips On Choosing A Profitable Niche
1. Know Your Starting Point
The first step in developing a niche practice is to know where you are starting. Every therapist has a professional brand whether they want to admit it or not. Once a therapist begins to treat patients their professional reputation begins. What we are really referring to when we talk about branding is utilizing your professional reputation as an asset to build your practice. How you do that depends on where you’re starting.
Where are you in your professional career? Are you a new graduate in the beginning stages of your career? Are you a therapist with 5 to 10 years of experience or are you a seasoned clinician with a large network of satisfied clients.
Your professional reputation is not dependent so much on your education and specialized training but what people think of you. How do previous patients describe you? What do they say about you when the topic of physical therapy comes up among their friends?
Getting a clear picture of your current professional reputation and where you want it to be is key in building a sustainable practice.
2. Know Your Passion
If you are not quite sure where to start, a good place to begin is to pursue your passions and see where they lead you. A recent poll found that only 13% of the world’s workers feel “engaged” in their work. The other 87% feel disconnected from work and more frustrated than fulfilled.
When thinking about choosing a niche, most highly educated professionals begin with their abilities and training. Therapists like to start with what we can do.
Instead, I suggest you start with why you do what you do.
Some people refer to it as a calling. What are you in the world to be? What do you feel called to do that goes beyond your abilities and speaks more towards your purpose?
What would you do if money were no object? Start with that when you are trying to narrow down your practice. Why not choose a patient type and service that you absolutely love doing?
3. Listen to Your Past
Parker Palmer, author, and activist says,
“Don’t just tell your life what you want to do with it; listen to what it wants to do with you.”
You might benefit from visualizing your career on life journey timeline. Chart your life from when you were born to the present. Record the high and low points that got you to where you are at now. What were the key events that shaped your life?
Look for common themes or threads that led you into healthcare and where you are today. Most likely some of those themes will continue in the future. Your uniqueness as a person is expressed through a professional role. It might not be clear at first but when you look back on your past it most likely will help you look at your future. Your practice niche will be shaped by who you are and where you want to end up.
4. Listen to Your Friends
Sometimes the image we have of ourselves isn’t necessarily an accurate picture of how others see us. Follow the advice of angel investor Judy Robinett,
Don’t be afraid to tap into your network for an outside viewpoint. What do your friends and patients tell you you’re good at? What do people always ask your advice about?
So how do you get honest feedback about your professional reputation?
You ask trusted friends and patients for their honest opinion. Create a list of questions you believe would help you learn what people think of you. If you can have someone else ask the questions for you.
Here are a few questions for starters:
What are my strengths? What are not my strengths?
What type of practice do you see me happy in? What type of patients do you see me definitely not working with?
What three words would you use to describe me? (Match them with the three words you use to describe yourself)
Choosing your niche is not an exact science. Sometimes it involves a lot of trial and error. Don’t be afraid to experiment with a few ideas and see which one resonates with you. One of the best indicators is if the market willing to pay for what you are selling. Let the market give you feedback on your practice ideas. When consumers actually pay for your practice idea then you have validated the value of your practice niche.
There is nothing more discouraging than to develop a niche that no one is willing to pay for.
Try out your different ideas and see which ones stick. Let the market decide. See which practice idea gets the most reaction and which one people care about the most. If you can find a niche where your passion, proficiency and profitability overlap then you’ve taken the first step towards launching a practice you’ll love.
It takes discipline and effort to pursue less instead of more. At times it’s downright scary. But I believe that everything changes when we give ourselves permission to be more selective in what we do. Being more selective is the key to unlocking our professional freedom and impact.
There is tremendous freedom when we focus less on busyness and replace it with a disciplined approach to thinking about where we can make our greatest contribution. You have the power to discover where you can have the greatest impact, not just your professional reputation or clinic but also to your community and even the world.
I challenge you to ponder this question and write your answer into the comment section.
What can you do today to narrow your focus and increase your professional impact?
Get Your Own Copy of On Fire
As therapists, we have tremendous opportunity to use our abilities, education, and expertise to enhance client’s lives. What a privilege? If you are in the therapy business to serve people, then my new book On Fire: Ignite Your Passion with a Cash Therapy Practice might help you. The healthcare industry has undergone so many changes lately and many therapists are overwhelmed, overworked and confused on where to turn to for help in the battle.
On Fire takes a close look at innovative therapists who are using alternative ways to deliver high-value care to their patients. Cash therapy services have emerged as a viable alternative to accepting business as usual.
If you are intrigued by the attention that cash-based practices are attracting On Fire is a great primer to help you get up to speed on the key issues and how if might impact your practice. The book is available on Amazon. If you are interested in getting your own copy join my email list and I’ll keep you up to date on the special pre-order bonuses I’m giving away.
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