Four Essential Stages for Business Success:
Stage Four Stand Out
Over the past few weeks I’ve written about what you will most likely experience during your journey to create your dream. I call it Your Dream Practice Roadmap. It’s a roadmap to guide you through the stages of owning your own practice.
In previous blog posts I covered the first three stages: Stage One: Set Up, Stage Two: Start Up and Stage Three: Step Up. Now we finish up the series with the final stage STAND OUT. You won’t necessarily go through all the stages in sequence. You might find yourself working in a couple of stages at once. You may go back to clarify a previous stage once you’ve gained practical experience.
It’s my hope that my Dream Practice Roadmap will help you from spinning your wheels and getting stuck in a dead end some where. Now let’s take a look at Stage Four: STAND OUT
Stage Four: Stand Out
Even though you never stop growing your business, this stage is where you have freedom to think about other opportunities. You enjoy more financial and creative freedom than you’ve ever had before.
In this phase you work more on your business rather than just in your business.
You’ve transitioned into more of a CEO mode as you’ve hired people and are leading a team. You provide your team with a vision and the resources to do their jobs well. Your personal and company operating systems are more efficient. Your clients respect and enjoy working with you.
They are eager to recommend your services to their friends and family. The majority of your clients probably come to you through word-of-mouth. The referrers that believe in you have created a snowball effect that builds over time. You’ve refined your pricing model based upon the value of the benefits you provide. You are comfortable selling because of the trust and credibility you have established in the community. You find your schedule is booked solid for weeks in advance.
This is another decision point in your business.
It’s when you decide to grow or to scale back and keep it simple.
More isn’t always better and it may not be what you truly want. Many business owners are choosing a business model that accommodates a desired lifestyle. They are prioritizing families, health and other personal values then building a business that fits those priorities.
To expand your business you will need to decide whether you are going to find a business partner, borrow money, or hire someone to run the operation. As you optimize your business model and build your team you’ll begin to experience freedom like you’ve never had before. You’ll enjoy the fruit of all your hard work in the previous stages by taking time off and having the business excel without you.
Road Signs of Stage Four: Follow Your Calling
Reaching this stage of your business can feel like you are standing on a mountaintop, but it’s not the end of the journey. When your business is enjoying financial stability it is important to stay true to your calling. With no clear vision or purpose, therapists may pursue projects that achieve short-term benefits. Sometimes there is little awareness of how these momentary gains advance or distract from the long-term mission. Being intentional about your purpose will help you answer the question, “How will I know when we’ve succeeded?” A true calling guides your sense of purpose and helps you map out the path for your business and your life.
As your profits grow and you become more organized,
it is important that you build a team.
You will need to be able to clearly articulate your vision so that you can attract people who share your calling. You need people on your team who understand the long-term goals of your practice and are committed to helping you get there.
Dead Ends of Stage Four: Burnout
One of the cul-de-sacs of this stage is relying on the habits and strategies that helped your success in the previous stages. It is essential that you break out of the super hero mindset. This stage is where you learn how to delegate, organize and design systems so your business runs smoothly.
Most of us start up our practices as a one-person show. You may have the drive and energy to work fourteen-hour days but afterwards you crash. Since money was tight you may have developed the habit of doing most tasks yourself.
We manage the practice mostly within our own heads.
As your practice grows you’ll find yourself thinking about it all the time.
Eventually this catches up with you and your dream practice will leave you stressed, overworked and not any good to anyone, including your family. As the practice grows you’ll need to hire staff to handle client satisfaction, tech support and outreach. Outsourcing these responsibilities will leave you free to optimize your business in other ways. Organizing, delegating and eliminating are what it takes to transition from a one-person start up into a thriving business. When you as the owner choose to build a team rather than burn out, then you have made the final step in building a successful practice.
Where Do You Go From Here?
As far as I’m concerned the writing is on the wall. Our healthcare economy has drastically changed directions and is not turning back. Yesterday’s institutions (governments, universities, large corporations) that were counted on to provide career stability are wavering. Generations of therapists worked decades sheltered by stable healthcare institutions. All a therapist had to do was get on the career highway, set cruise control and take the right exit towards retirement. Now those highways may lead to nowhere and there is mass confusion about where to turn.
If you’ve lost your professional sense of direction you, are not alone.
The main issue I see for therapists today is risk. More financial risk has been transferred to healthcare providers in the form of productivity demands, big data performance standards and lean workplace practices. In exchange for our hard work, loyalty and keeping the rules, big hospitals and corporations used to shelter us from risk. I can assure you, that belief in such protection is now a fantasy. The riskiest thing you could do is to hold up your end of the bargain with the hope that the corporations will respond in kind.
The reality is that in the new healthcare economy we are all entrepreneurs. The sooner you adopt an entrepreneurial mindset the better you’ll be equipped to thrive in the rapidly changing marketplace. Cash-based therapy owners have lived with risk as a fact of life and have learned to adapt to the market. As healthcare continues to change, therapists who have learned to manage risk will rise to the top.
Now is the time to act.
Learn more about how to own your therapy practice and work for yourself in my new book On Fire!. I believe now is the time for therapists to lessen their dependency on physician referrals and large corporations. That’s why I’ve written a book. I want to inspire you and help you stay true to your calling while doing the work you love.
On Fire: Ignite Your Passion with a Cash Therapy Practice is now available on Amazon in multiple formats. There are paperback, Kindle and audiobook versions to match your learning style. Just click this link to learn more about On Fire!
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