There’s only one question bigger than how to start a business—how to sustainably grow and build your business’ financial health. It can be daunting to set up a growth plan that you’re actually able to enact without drastic measures, like working all the time or charging more than your clients can afford.
Luckily, there are several ways to make sure that you get paid what you deserve while still offering necessary services to people who need them. Some might just require exploring creative options.
1. Expand Your Caseload
One option you have is to reevaluate your schedule to see if you have room to schedule more clients. Some days are full no matter how you look at them, but a wholistic review can help you see where they may be gaps in your schedule.
If you schedule more appointments rather than raise your rates, your existing clients won’t be impacted much, if at all. And, the extended working hours could help you grow your client list, as you might be available to take on more new clients.
On the other hand, this strategy does mean significantly more work for you. Even if you love your work and are eager to help more people, a bigger caseload could increase your chances of burnout. That doesn’t mean that growing your practice and seeing more people is a bad idea. But it does mean that you should make sure you understand your boundaries, and work to maintain work-life balance as you grow your business.
If you do decide to scale up your workload, there are ways to streamline your schedule and maximize your working hours, like implementing online booking and a late cancellation policy. A late cancellation fee can incentivize clients to keep to their appointments, and consequently improves your efficiency by reducing the number of holes in your schedule.
2. Raise Your Hourly Rate
It may seem simple, but just raising what you charge per hour is perhaps the easiest way to increase your revenue. If you accept insurance and your clients don’t pay out-of-pocket, figuring out what goes into raising your rate requires a little digging.
With some private-payer contracts, you have to request and negotiate a reimbursement rate increase from the insurance company. While this process is not always successful, it’s always worth exploring what your options are. If you don’t ask, you might be leaving money on the table.
Raising rates for your clients who do pay out of pocket gets a little more complicated. Such a change does run the risk of alienating long-standing clients who may not be able to afford the increase, or turning away potential clients who can find a cheaper option elsewhere.
Sometimes, though, an increase to your hourly rate is inevitable. Your business needs revenue to operate, and as you grow, so will your costs. So if you do decide to raise your rates, make sure you communicate it clearly to your clients—in person first, if you can. Make it clear to them that you’re ready and available to discuss any concerns they might have.
3. Create Products That Scale
Although raising your rates and expanding your schedule are two relatively easy ways to make more money, both have difficult aspects that might not work for your practice. If you decide not to pursue either of them, that doesn’t mean you’re out of options. You can develop workshops, books, and other products that only need to be created once, and then can be used over and over again. This makes it easier to provide more people with the benefit of your expertise without spending hours on end repeating the same work.
There are a lot of benefits to incorporating these kinds of products and services into your practice. You cankeep all your long-standing clients and acquire new ones—without permanently extending your working hours. Your efficiency can improve, as you won’t need to spend as much of your time on the same concerns and treatment plans that you consistently encounter with clients. Instead, you can focus clinical time on the unique needs of individual cases. And as your efficiency increases, so does your income.
Of course, these benefits will not materialize without any effort. You’ll have to spend time outside of your scheduled sessions developing your products and making sure they’re really as useful and engaging as you want them to be.
At the end of the day, how you choose to scale up your practice should depend on your specific, individual needs as a practitioner. Explore and settle on the strategy—or strategies—that make the most sense for you and the goals you’ve set for your practice.
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Pollen Magazine examines the health and wellness industry through the lens of the professionals that are redefining private practice. Find inspiration, learn from others, and discover insights on how to build the best version of your practice.
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