Starting your own practice can maximise your talent as a professional psychologist. You can also extend a broader reach for helping others, as well as create a network that is easily accessible to the public. By employing all the methods below, you can develop a long-lasting private practice that will be successful over time.
Evaluate your business and clinical skills. In order to run a profitable business as an independent practitioner, you must be a licensed or certified psychologist in your area with the ability to manage cash flows, budget money and make business plans. You must be ready to market your skills in psychology to guarantee profit and success. In addition, you must be able to take financial risks. It usually takes one to two years to build a profitable practice. You may lose money at first until you establish a referral network and build up your patients.
Build a client base and establish a referral network with marketing strategies. This primarily involves providing quality service. Happy and satisfied patients will refer you to their friends and family, which can increase your client base over time. Offering free counselling services to both profit and non-profit groups is another way to increase your client base. Additionally, create and distribute your business cards freely.
Identify a location and set up your office. Find an office location that is within your budget. Your office should be easily accessible by car or public transportation. You can choose to set up your practice in an urban or rural area. Urban practice can offer a wider client base, along with the convenience of having many other psychologists close by for referrals and consultation. Rural practice can be profitable and less competitive since there are fewer practitioners in rural areas. Make sure the establishment is in an area that is safe, attractive and clean. Also consider handicapped access.
Manage your finances by creating a business plan. Business planning is a critical part of independent practice. Make sure your business plan outlines the goals of your business and pinpoints how you will achieve them. Thoroughly identify start-up costs, operating expenses and profit-and-loss forecasts. This is especially important if you want to take out a bank loan for your practice in the future. Contact the U.S. Small Business Administration for free assistance on how to create an effective business plan. See the link below under resources.
Get advice from another psychologist who is running his or her own private practice. Call him or her and ask for suggestions on improvements for your own practice, as well as better ways to market your practice to potential clients. Ask for any references for other practices to contact for further advice and suggestions.