There are individuals who believe that being an entrepreneur should be a priority to not only among those who are already established in their career, but also to those who are just about to start their career. For therapists who wish to start their own business, being involved with a profitable business will guarantee us a financially successful future. However, before starting a business, they should learn how to create business plans for therapy professionals.
This is a continuation of last weeks featured article, “Yes, You Really Do Need a Business Plan.”
Read This First:
I am not an accountant or a lawyer. I am a Speech-Language Pathologist. Please do not misinterpret the following as advice for your situation. Below is a general how-to guide intended for the general solo practitioner.
If you are opening a full, free-standing private therapy practice, you’ll need to write a much more descriptive and complete version of a speech, occupational or physical therapy business plan because you’ll need it to secure a loan. There are books written by therapists who specialize in opening private practices that can teach you how to do this as well as general books. I am not qualified to give advice for those in that situation. Here’s a link to one book that I recommend: How to Write a Business Plan.
If you’re an independent therapist who is working by themselves, treating patients in their homes or community settings and not needing to write a business plan for a bank or loan officer, read on. This is written for you!
If you search the keyword “business plan”, there are about a million websites that teach you how to write business plans and most of them have sections in different orders. My list of components in a business plan is largely taken from the Small Business Association website, this is what makes it different from those you will find in other websites and books.
One more thing, try not to let the business terms scare you. I tried to explain everything in the tone of a therapist.
The sections of a business plan
The following sections are standard components of a business plan:
1. Cover sheet
Remember making cover sheets for book reports and term papers? You’re basically making that same cover sheet, but with your therapy business information. At a minimum, you need to have the following information on your cover sheet: the name of your company, your contact information, the type of business, a brief, 1-2 sentence description of the service you’ll be performing.
2. Executive summary
The executive summary is the most important section of the therapy professional's business plan. This section provides a concise overview of the entire business along with your background. You’ll want to describe what your vision for your business is and why you’re able to make it happen.
You’ll want to think about developing a mission statement, describing the types of services you’ll offer, expectations about growth and sustainability and what you’ll practice will “look like” when it’s fully established.
3. Table of contents
This is the easiest thing you’ll do. The table of contents will outline what information is to come. You’ll want to have the headings, sub-headings and page numbers listed for quick access.
- Description of the business: Much like the executive summary, you’ll want to describe the overall business in a brief summary. Think of this like the “elevator pitch” and give the facts about your practice as if you were talking to a stranger who might not know much about clinical and therapy services.
- Market analysis: In looking at the market, you’ll want to analyze the “3 C’s” which is your company (strengths and weaknesses), the competition (what other practitioners in your area might draw your clients) and the customer (who are your potential private patients and what do they need).
- Marketing strategy: How are you going to let your customers know that you exist and are ready to help them make progress? Will you have a therapy website? Use a direct mail campaign? Set up appointments to meet with pediatricians? How much money will you have to spend to acquire new patients? (The cost of marketing will be covered more in-depth in the financial section).
- Operations plan: Here’s where you need to outline the basics of how your business will operate. What will your practice look like on a daily basis? Will you be the only one treating or will you be working with other professionals? How many hours do you plan on treating and also doing non-clinical work like marketing and billing?
- Management team: More than likely the management team is just you, but if you do have any advisors (like an accountant, lawyer, colleague) you can list them here. This is especially important if you’re asking for a loan.
Consider to start your own business and learn to create business plans for therapy professionals. Get a chance to grow more in your career and be one of the best therapist your patients will know.
Click here to read part 2 of this article.
About the Author: Jena H. Casbon, MS CCC-SLP spends her days treating adults with cognitive-communication disorders and her nights helping fellow speech, occupational and physical therapy providers start and grow their own private practices. Her company, The Independent Clinician, seeks to provide information, community and a confidence boost to those who want to get started treating privately but don’t know how.
Jena’s first book is available now: The Independent Clinician Guide to Private Patients. She is also finishing her second (yet untitled) book for SLP/OT/PT therapists on building a web presence (websites, social media and more) to grow their private practices.
Click here to read more about Jena Casbon, MS-CCC-SLP
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