Starting a private practice can be an exciting and rewarding venture for therapists. However, it requires careful planning and execution to ensure success. Here are 10 steps to follow when starting a private practice:
- Determine your therapy product/service: Identify the specific type of therapy you plan to offer, such as individual counseling, couples counseling, or group therapy. Define the scope of your services, the pricing, and any other necessary details.
- Identify your target market: Conduct market research to understand your potential customers’ needs and preferences. Determine the age range, geographic location, and other demographics that are most likely to benefit from your services.
- Create a business legal entity: Decide on the type of legal entity that will best suit your business structure. This could be a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or corporation. Research and consult with a legal expert to ensure you meet all legal requirements. A great resource to help influence what might work best for you is available in Choosing the Right Business Entity for Your Private Practice: A Comprehensive Analysis.
- Register your business: Register your business with your state or county and obtain any necessary permits or licenses. This includes registering for a tax identification number.
- Open a business bank account: Open a separate bank account for your business to keep your finances organized and trackable. This is especially important for tax purposes.
- Create a business plan: Develop a comprehensive business plan that includes your business goals, financial projections, marketing strategies, and operations plan. Use a tool such as the Business Model Canvas to guide your planning process.
- Develop a marketing strategy: Determine how you will reach your target market, such as through social media, advertising, or referral programs. Develop a marketing plan that includes a budget, timeline, and specific tactics.
- Create a management, IT, and security system: Establish a system to manage appointments, client records, billing, and other aspects of your practice. Consider using an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system such as Embark EMR to streamline these tasks and improve your workflow. Ensure that your IT systems are secure and HIPAA compliant. An effective and pragmatic solution to add many aspects is utilizing Google Workspace with a “Business Associate Agreement (BAA).
- Refer HERE for more information on achieving HIPAA compliance and completing a BAA with google.
- Steps to reviewing and accepting Google’s Business Associate Amendment,
- In your Google Admin console (at admin.google.com)…
- Go to Account settings > Legal and Compliance.
- In Security and Privacy Additional Terms, under Google Workspace/Cloud Identity HIPAA Business Associate Amendment, click Review and Accept.
- Answer all three questions to confirm that are a HIPAA covered entity.
- To accept the HIPAA BAA, click OK .
- Obtain liability insurance: Protect yourself and your business by obtaining liability insurance. This can include professional liability insurance, general liability insurance, and worker’s compensation insurance.
- Launch your practice: Once you have completed all the necessary steps, launch your practice by advertising your services, networking with other professionals in your field, and building a strong online presence. Continuously evaluate and refine your marketing and operational strategies to ensure the long-term success of your business.
Starting a private practice requires a lot of hard work and dedication, but it can be a fulfilling and financially rewarding career choice for therapists who are passionate about helping others. By following these 10 steps, you can increase your chances of building a successful and sustainable private practice.