Ok, so you have just graduated from a speech-language pathology program, and now you are considering your next move. You could try teaching special education, become a private school administrator, a counselor, consultant or speech and hearing therapist. Though these options are great, you may eventually feel stifled by the limits of your work environment or you may want more flexibility allowing for better work-life balance. Starting a private practice could be a good option.
Opening up your own private practice is essentially becoming an entrepreneur. You only have to answer to yourself, you could earn more money, you may be able to truly focus on relationship building with your clients and because you are the boss, you can enjoy way more flexibility.
Starting your own business is can be a frightful step and it requires a lot more responsibility and accountability. If this is your first time starting a business, the process can be kind of overwhelming. Despite all the challenges that may come your way, starting a private practice sounds like a good idea, then here are some tips.
Research, Research, Research
Creating your own business is more than you following your dreams. At the end of the day, it is a business and businesses make money. That is why it is important to do research before starting your business. Clearly define your area of expertise. You may now have a speech-language pathology degree, but define your area of expertise and find out if there is a need for this type of expertise in your geographical area. Will your local economy support your services? Will you have any local competitors? All of these things are important and can only be found upon doing research.
Create A Business Plan
Writing a business plan is imperative to creating an effective business plan. The plan should include your industry, business structure, your particular product or service and how you intend to make your business a success. You should also lay out your strategy and specific actions to take that will help you reach your goals for your business.
Your business plan should also include what your products and services are and why people should buy them. Be sure to layout a marketing plan and if there are other people involved who are they and what are their backgrounds. Last but certainly not least, your business plan should illustrate your projected financing needs.
Prepare And Plan
Before treating patients, make sure you have liability insurance to cover any legal problems. It is also important to have an HIPPA-compliant documentation tool. These things are imperative when opening up your own speech-language pathology private practice. You will be working with many clients and it is best practices to insure yourself and your company if anything were to come up. It is also important that you adhere to HIPPA, as you do not want to be fined for enormous amounts of money for violating HIPPA.
Promote Your Service
Find a way to market your services. Marketing is one of the most important parts to this process because if no one knows about your services, you will never have any clients. There are different things you can try to market your new business. Send out unique mail-outs to local medical practices, for example. Establish relationships. Introduce yourself to different schools locally since most SLPs are school-based. Develop your private practice’s online presence and create a website. Engage in social media networks like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn and Twitter. Reach out to your current client base and show them appreciation. Incentivize them to make referrals. Having a steady stream of referrals is a good way to ensure your business will always be booming. Another way to market your service is by sponsoring local events in your local community. Try to sponsor events that align with the scope and interests of your own and your private practice.
A part of effective marketing also entails having things like business cards and brochures. These can be great options to hand out upon meeting new people or at networking events. Though a business card is small, it is something that can help potential customers remember you and your services.
Determine Your Payment Model
Do you want to be cash-pay or cashless? It all depends on what is best for you and your business. Do research on payers and find out if the reimbursement rates are worth the contracts or the compliance requirements.