The #1 Way to Position Your Private Practice to Succeed
Not long ago my husband, Eric, and I opened a vinyl record store in a small town one block over from an established record store. The feedback and comments from some people sounded something like this, “There’s no way this town can support two record stores.” My usual response, “How many Mexican restaurants are in town?” (For reference, there are 10, and all seem to be thriving).
My dentist is across the street from a dentist. Directly across the street. Turn left or turn right and you have one or the other dentist.
Like our record store, people often question how her dental practice survives. But let me tell you, there are seven other dentists in town and my dentist is doing just fine.
Several factors contribute to a successful business, such as marketing and profitability, and having a plan toward success (check out my blog on business planning). But one of the most important factors is how you position your private practice.
What does positioning your private practice mean?
In any marketplace, you have to understand how your business fits in. It can be something that you, alone, offer that is unique and different. It can be the benefits that you provide in addition to the actual product. Sometimes it is your expertise, your niche, your clientele, your location.
Any of these allow you to stand out from other practices or businesses doing the exact thing you are doing, or even offering the same services you are providing.
When you can identify what it is that you uniquely do and how you do it, you are in the position to craft your Unique Selling Proposition (USP).
Now as therapists, we don’t like to think of selling our services. It sounds too-salesy, seedy, perhaps even offensive.
However, in every business, we must recognize that we are offering something for sale, which includes health or wellness care. The exchange of money for services means that with each transaction we sell our services.
Your unique selling proposition is what makes your services stand out.
Often it is made up of the little things we don’t think about: Like offering coffee and tea to every client; or whether you only provide couples services but not individual services; or how you onboard clients, such as with a welcome packet made up of literature.
It also includes the approach you use, which is the integration of your theoretical orientation and how you make sure clients understand the work you’re doing. Your unique selling proposition may even be where you deliver services: In-home, concierge, VIP packages, online, in an office, walk-and-talk or activity therapy.
Unless you can pinpoint what makes your private practice unique in the face of other therapy practices, it’s difficult to attract clients because they don't know why, what you have to offer, is any different than what anyone else has to offer.
In the case of our little vinyl record shop, we have several USPs: Incredible quality of selection; expertise that is unmatched locally; outstanding personalized customer service; and free coffee. It’s certainly different than other vinyl stores that have more of grunge, college vibe with full bins and impersonal, but very cool, clerks.
Pinpointing your USP requires some hard soul-searching and creativity. It means you need to evaluate not only what you do differently than what other clinicians do, but you have to recognize how this helps to support your clients.
Ready to identify your Unique Selling Proposition?
1. Brainstorm all that your services and private practice have to offer. Why is it that clients enjoy working with you? What makes a difference to your clients?
2. Identify the top three that stand out in your local marketplace.
3. Develop your USP and allow your private practice to shine.