Practice Management Blog

Creating a Business Plan For Your Psychology Private Practice

You’ve probably been searching for the perfect private practice psychology business plan template to help you translate your vision for your practice into actionable steps that will help you achieve your goals. Unfortunately, most business plans are focused on helping you start a practice or document your practice in such a way as to appeal to investors. Both certainly have their uses, but they’re not going to help you grow your practice, and they’re definitely not going to act as a blueprint for your practice’s success. More than 34% of psychologists are self-employed, making an action-focused business plan an essential component of a growth-focused, profitable practice.

Having worked with hundreds of psychology practice owners, some solo practitioners, others running multi-location practices, we’ve narrowed down the essentials of a practical business plan template. Divided into five different sections, this template is going to help keep your practice on track and motivate you to succeed. It’s also going to help you make decisions, and, most importantly, it’s extremely actionable.

Not sure if you need a business plan? Well, you wouldn’t build your house without detailed plans and a strong foundation, so why would you approach your practice any differently? Whether you want to grow your existing psychology practice or are just starting out, you need a laser-focused action plan.

Create an Actionable One-Page Private Practice Psychology Business Plan

Think of your business plan like you would a treatment plan. It’s just a roadmap that is going to help get you from where you are now to where you want to be. So, where do you start? With your vision…

Section 1 – Vision

Before you work out what you need to do, you need to know what you’re working towards. Your vision statement should constantly remind you why you went into private practice in the first place. Owning a psychology private practice isn’t a walk in the park, and there are definitely going to be challenges along the way. A clear, concise vision can help keep you focused on your purpose. The key here is to make sure your vision inspires you and should define what you offer and to who you offer it. Here are some ideas on how to personalize your vision statement.

A practical example for your psychology private practice:

“[YourPracticeName] provides [description of your products, services, or benefits] for [clearly describe your target market].”

Section 2 – One Year Goals

In this section of your private practice psychology business plan, we’re looking for SMART goals, goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. These goals should stretch you while still remaining achievable. In most cases, you should make these profit- or revenue-based goals as it’s healthy finances that will ensure that you stay in business in the long-run.

Practical examples for a psychology private practice:

If you have one overarching goal and wish to grow multiple revenue streams, your one-year goal might look like this: “In one year’s time we will increase total turnover by 25%, and at least 50% of that growth will be from Telehealth appointments.”

If you have two goals, such as growing your client base and increasing your annual turnover, your goal would be, “In one year’s time we will have grown our active client base by 20%, and our annual turnover by 25%.

Section 3 – Monthly Targets

Once you have your annual goals nailed down, you need to work backward to get a monthly breakdown of your targets that you need to meet in order to meet your one-year goal. There are a couple of factors to keep in mind, such as seasonal variations, historical trends (based on previous years), and any holiday plans that you (or your staff) have booked. You also need to be realistic and work towards reasonable growth rates.

Practical examples for a psychology private practice:

If you currently have 200 active clients, it’s realistic to want to add 20% by the end of the year. That’s 3 to 4 new clients a month, not accounting for the natural attrition rate of your existing customer base. If you have a client turnover of around 20%, you’ll need to attract 7 or 8 new clients a month, or two a week. That’s still very doable. But, if you want to grow by 50% in a year, the numbers suddenly become a lot more daunting, and you’re going to have to put a lot more effort into your marketing strategies to try and meet your targets.

Section 4 – Tactical Strategies

This is the part of the private practice psychology business plan where we get practical. You need to list out the strategies that you want to implement that are going to help you achieve your monthly targets. A good way to approach this challenge is to think of it as an opportunity to make more people aware of your services. And it always helps to have fresh ideas and input, so get your team in on the session.

Start by brainstorming all the different strategies you can think of (and let everyone know that there are no stupid ideas, the more creative, the better!) In general, your growth strategies are going to be focused on marketing and sales, your products and service offering or organisational changes.

Practical examples for a psychology private practice:

Here are some ideas that you can use to kickstart your session:

  • Google ads;
  • Facebook ads;
  • Regular blog articles;
  • Weekly newsletter;
  • Flyer drop in your target area;
  • Client referral program;
  • Website SEO;
  • Branding refresh (signage, uniforms, website, and stationery);
  • Run a regular networking event;
  • Offer telehealth services;
  • Ask clients for referrals;
  • Get in a specialist consultant for a fresh perspective;
  • Create a marketing-focused role for the practice;
  • Invest in practice management software to automate booking reminders and better communicate with clients;
  • Offer an online chat for the website to improve conversions;
  • Investigate online client referrals;
  • Build relationships with local businesses;
  • Accept invitations to speak at local events;
  • Add new products or services such as an eBook.

Need more ideas? Have a look at our comprehensive healthcare marketing guide.
There are probably a few ideas that jump out at you, but maybe many that you think you should be doing. Our advice here is to take it slow. The temptation can be to try and do everything at once, but the problem is that you’ll end up biting off more than you can chew and when that happens, nothing gets done properly. If you can’t take a strategy and see it through to completion, you’re not going to get the results you’re looking for. Most businesses, private practices included, can only handle one new strategy per quarter. That makes sense; as the practice owner, you’re normally stretched in a hundred different directions, you can probably handle adding one more thing to your plate, but not much more.

The key is to prioritise which tactics you want to work on and choose one or two to implement per quarter.

Section 5 – Action Items

Once you’ve narrowed down your list of tactical strategies, you need to break them down into action items (an actual to-do list), so that you can get on with the business of making your goals a reality. You’ll need to consider the timing, what needs to be done when, and in what order. Try to be quite detailed in your approach and break things down so that no action item is too big. It should be something that can be ticked off relatively quickly to keep your momentum going. The list also needs to be reasonably comprehensive so that, once all the action items have been ticked off, you’d be fairly certain that the tactical strategy has been completed successfully.

A practical example for your psychology private practice:

For example, if one of your tactical strategies is to “Post Regular Blog Articles”, your action items could be:

  • Set up a blog on the website (call your website developer);
  • Detail the workflow from article creation to posting;
  • Create a content calendar for 3 months;
  • Assign employees to topics (or block out regular time in your own calendar);
  • Email employees their topics and due dates;
  • Create the first draft of your first article;
  • Find appropriate images;
  • Review and edit your first article;
  • Post your first article online;
  • Post your blog post on social media;
  • Set reminders in your calendar to follow up next articles;
  • Check your web statistics periodically for visitor traffic and conversions.

Right, that’s it, one page, and it’s got everything you need to keep you focused on building your practice, complete with growth strategies and the means to implement them. And, best of all, you can start using it today. The first time around, it might be a bit daunting, especially if you’ve never taken a hard look at your revenue figures or clearly defined your vision. But, once you’ve made a start, you’ll be able to refer back, and you’ll be amazed at the progress you can make in just a few short months.

Keep in mind that as a practice owner, you’re really a small business owner, which means you need to stay flexible. Certain details in your private practice psychology business plan may change as you grow, discover new needs, or respond to a changing economic landscape. You might add new staff, develop additional therapy approaches, or offer new products or services. It’s a good idea to regularly revisit your business plan (at least twice a year) to update any information or change strategies that haven’t given the results you need.

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