Stage One: SET UP
This stage is all about design. You’ll want to design a practice based upon your unique calling and business realities. The goal of this stage is for you to understand how a business is built and whom you will serve.
Before you take steps towards any destination you’ll need to prepare. You’ll want to research your journey’s end and make a packing list of what you’ll need for success.
A backpack contains only the essentials that you take on your journey. It has different compartments and limited space. You have to make decisions on what you are going to take and what you are going to leave.
Here are three essential items to pack for your quest to a successful practice:
Discover Your Calling
Define Your Goals
Determine Your Niche
These essential items help you to define your practice and the ideal clients that you feel called to serve. In the set up stage you’ll draft a brief business plan to help you get from where you are to your destination. You’ll map out a route that will take you there in the least amount of time and effort. It is important to take the time to plan in order to set up your practice for success. Here are a couple of road signs and dead ends to look for.
Road Signs of Stage One:
Calling & Connection
I feel strongly that each of us was designed for a specific calling while on earth. You will be at your best and be the most fulfilled when you are living out that calling. You are not here to help everyone, but you are uniquely gifted to serve a specific few. Spend time to discover your calling and your unique audience.
As you investigate your possibilities it is critical that you make meaningful connections. You’ll want to have in-depth conversations with previous patients and potential clients. Active listening and asking good questions will help you extract ideas to enable you to solve their problems and ease their pain.
Interview potential customers before you construct anything. Begin to narrow down what problem you are going to solve for them. Research how others are approaching the same problem. Competition isn’t necessarily bad. It means there is a market for your idea and you’ll just have to define your unique approach.
You will also want to connect with other therapists who have been successful in a cash-based practice. Listening to pioneers who are flourishing in their niche will help you to formulate your own practice emphasis. Social media has made connecting with industry experts easier than ever.
You can join conversations on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn forums. Successful role models will help you narrow the possibilities as you clarify your own path.
Dead Ends of Stage One:
Compulsion & Comparison
You can waste days and months in the planning stage without making a decision and moving forward. You never actually start on your journey because you are stuck in preparation. You can squander hours naming your business, designing a logo or writing a business plan.
It seems like you are making progress but you’re not taking action on the things that truly matter. Initiating conversations with strangers can be intimidating, but overcoming self-doubts and risks with courageous action is what fulfilling your calling is all about. You might as well get used to it.
Making connections with successful role models can also be intimidating. You can easily get stuck comparing yourself to therapists who seem to have it all together. It is sometimes hard for leaders to remember what it was like when they were at the beginning stage. Instead of getting down on yourself, try to use their success as an inspiration.
Try to pick up on early lessons learned as you stay in your own lane and make steady progress. It’s a big mistake to stay in your own head and go it alone. You’ll want to interview potential customers and experts before you build anything.