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Clients - What They Want from You
A growing number of individuals are finding themselves called to help others and go on to fulfil this call by training to become a practitioner in one of the healing arts.
The range of conventional, traditional, holistic, complementary and alternative therapies is extensive with new thoughts on old themes being introduced almost daily. In some ways, the professional training undertaken to practice the therapy or therapies you have chosen, is the simple bit. Yes, I know there are lots of hours spent studying, lots of time dedicated to practical work, lots of supervision and lots of examinations but believe me, this was relatively easy to complete because there was some passion behind your purpose.
The fun starts when you hang up your sign and open for business. Some enlightened Professional Institutions are now including modules on practice management in their curriculum, which is a good thing. Many still don't. It doesn't matter how stunning your therapy skills are, if you have no clients to work with, your practice will not survive. You must learn how to manage cashflow, how to maximise your personal productivity, how to develop your client base and how, in due course, to appoint and manage staff.
Whether you are starting out on this path straight from school or college or whether this is a career change for you, know that practising any healing art is a wonderful offer to your community and your fellow man. I hope that my efforts to make the business side of practising your therapy "easy", will free your energy to do what you do best.
Remember that the success of any therapeutic intervention depends largely on the attitude of the therapist - the client is greatly affected by your intention, attitude and expectation. Be impeccable, know what you are capable of achieving and always walk the talk. Set high standards for yourself, even when you are off-duty clients have expectations of you. A successful therapeutic practice depends on clients being willing to trust and refer. They will not do this if they see you doing your supermarket shopping or filling up the fuel tank of your car whilst wearing your whites. You know all of this but you will also find, if you haven't already, how easy it is to forget and lapse into easier habits!
There is nothing quite like working in your own business, calling the shots, making the decisions and knowing that the profit is all yours. There is also another side to being an entrepreneur which is carrying the risk, isolation, being the last to be paid, playing many roles some of which you feel ill-equipped to handle. I wonder, is it still sounding like such a good idea?
8 times out of 10, expertise in your field is not enough to ensure business success. In fact the more diligent you are in your technical work, the more pride you take in doing a good job, the more likely your business is to fail in the first year.In his book, "The E-Myth Revisited" Michael Gerber refers to people such as you as "The Technician". You have technical expertise in your chosen field. Every business needs technicians but problems can and often do arise when the technician gets his hand on the tiller and ends up steering the ship.
Successful businesses exchange value to customers for money. Part of this is doing a good job but there are other aspects to supplying value to clients:
The trading experience - is it easy, pleasurable and consistent?
Follow up service - is there any?
Product/Service - is it what your clients want, when they want it and how they want it?
Yes, I know the technical expert within you is arguing with me as you read this. Yes, I know that receiving a wonderful treatment is important to your clients but it is only one ingredient in the recipe which produces a successful Private Practice.
Donnie Harrison is a Coach and Business mentor who specialises in working with clients who are setting up or building a Professional Private Practice, particularly in the healthcare sector - be it traditional, complementary or alternative. Further information from http://donnieharrison.com
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