It seems easy at first, but as your client load grows and you grow as a business owner, there are many competing priorities that make it challenging to do and be all of what you want for your clients and practice.
So what do you do when the time competition begins?
Well, first you need to remember one very important thing…
Everything about the way you design your services must send a signal to your clients that you are competent, compassionate and on top of things.
The way that your practice interacts with your client—everything from phone calls to being fully present in session--impacts the quality of your therapeutic relationship. You have to be on your “A” game in order to set the right tone with your client.
So how do you do that?
Growing your practice requires that you learn everything from marketing and networking to document creation and financial management. It can be overwhelming. What happens when an administrative task is pressing, but a client needs your attention now? You must remember that focusing on your clients is themost important part of your business. In fact, it is the whole reason why you have built the business in the first place. Stay in the moment with your client whenever you are in session. Give your full attention to your client’s needs, no matter how pressing of a business matter you may face.
A growing practice should have a system of client care that can be used at minimum and maximum client capacity. As you are thinking through your client care plan, really focus on providing a level of client care that you will be able to sustain when your practice is full.
Your system should answer questions like "How will you handle scheduling and payment collection so that it feels smooth and seamless?" "What happens if you need time off?" Having a plan, developing systems, and doing things the same way all the time helps clients to build a trusting relationship with you. It also keeps you from having to overthink what to do when certain situations arise.
Streamline administrative duties.
The real time drain on your practice will come in the form of things you have to do outside of the session in order to keep the practice moving forward. I remember early on, having a handwritten billing log that I updated manually for each and every client. This was in addition to the billing sheet that I submitted to my outsourced biller! That kind of internal redundancy was such a drain on time and took away from my ability to grow my practice in other ways.
Administrative tasks are absolutely essential to your private practice’s success. Take care to develop simple plans for how you'll manage those things. Wherever you can, merge certain tasks to maximize your efforts and free up time. That is precisely what I did with my billing redundancy issue. I asked myself, "Where is this information really needed?". The result was letting go of individualized hand written logs and tweaking my daily billing sheet so it captured all the information I wanted to retain. Doing so not only freed up time, but began to set the stage for thinking like a group practice and not just an individual managing a single caseload. Ask yourself, "What do you really need to accomplish here?"
Be all about professionalism.
When you hear the word “professionalism” what comes to mind? Is it appearance, timeliness, appropriate conversation, competency in service? Everything from the way you look, how you speak, and the way you engage sends a message to your clients about your professionalism. Starting now, take a no excuses approach to showing up with excellence. If there are areas where you are challenged in your professionalism, set small goals to help you improve in that area.
Be willing to see the beauty in complaints.
When complaints come (and they will)...be open to what your clients are expressing. Every client complaint, no matter how small or outlandish, is an opportunity for you to consider a new and better way of doing things. Perhaps there is a need for a change in policy or procedure. We can't learn when we think we know. Take personal responsibility for everything that happens in your practice as it will activate a secret weapon called personal growth.
If you want your practice to show up its best, be open to improvements no matter where they come from. Learn from your clients and stay committed to giving them your absolute best. Treat them with special care, focusing on their needs first. In the end, you’ll be rewarded with a client who sticks with you and may even be a great referral source.
What can you do to take good care of your clients? Give me a call and let’s talk about it.