4 skills you need to learn before starting a practice

Starting a practice is very rewarding but it can also be challenging and take up more time than you realised – administration time is one of those forgotten time-consuming roles that you will need to devote time to when you start up. Having some good knowledge of basic business skills will help you ensure you hit the ground running and that you are making the most of your time and resources. Here are 4 skills I think are essential when starting up a practice.

Self-knowledge: It is really important to develop the ability to understand yourself. You need to have knowledge of what you want to do and where you want to go. What makes you happy and what consumes your mind and stresses you out? Knowing these, and then ensuring your practice methods and structure aligns with your own values and interests is really important. I often see start-up practices trying to do many different areas of treatment that often don’t correlate. This can make it harder to market to your target audience but it can also make it harder for you to engage the clinical expertise you have already. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Instead, know your strengths and weaknesses and use these to develop a service that you are comfortable offering, you are knowledgeable about, and again, align this with your business vision and plan.

Managing finances: I never learnt this at an undergraduate level, however, I wish at some stage, there had been an opportunity to learn this prior to starting my practice ten years ago. There are skills that are essential to running a successful private practice and these include being able to create a budget, understand your profit and loss statement, developing financial measures of how your practice is tracking and knowing your financials so you can confidently set your prices knowing that you are not making a loss.

Business planning: You need to have some direction. I often hear therapists tell me they are not sure where they are headed. It can be really hard when you first start out with your practice to imagine what the possibilities might be in 5 years time. People often then avoid the planning stage because they find that future projection step difficult. If this is you, start smaller, and try to focus on what you might like to achieve in a year from now. If you want to be successful in your practice, you need to set goals and develop strategies to put them into action. Learning to set aside time to work on the business, rather than just in it actually pays off.

Communication: Such a vital aspect of running a practice and it involves so many areas of our work. Your written and verbal communication skills need to be clear, concise and jargon-free where possible. Communication with your clients is essential, so think about things like which handouts you need to write, how you will communicate your value and how you will communicate payments for your service. Secondly, it is important to develop skills in communicating with referrers and the general public. Articulating what you do, why you do it and how you can be of benefit is a great skill to continue to practice.

If you would like to learn more about essential knowledge when starting a private practice, then, please join in our free webinar on ‘Getting started in private practice’ - click here to find out more.

Planning, Business Basics, Self Growth

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