When opening your own behavioral health practice, your business plan can make or break your practice. From your clinical approach to your administrative operations, a business plan should guide your decision-making in all aspects of your practice. Here’s how to get started:
Start small and go slow.
Launching your behavioral health practice is exciting, but shouldn’t be rushed. Start creating your business plan with a simple list, or search online for a business plan template to provide a little more structure.
Explore other practices to get some ideas and decide how you may (or may not) want to organize your own practice. Network with other behavioral health professionals, or consider taking local or online business classes or tutorials on different aspects of business ownership.
Plan your general business operations.
No matter the industry, every business plan should include several common elements:
• What products or services you offer
• Your legal structure (sole proprietorship, an LLC, or an S corporation)
• What other employees or partners you may hire
• How you will market your business
• What makes you different from competitors
• Your business goals and how you will measure success
• Obtaining additional financing, if necessary
• How to handle accounting
• What federal, state, or local licensing or permits are required
• What insurance (payroll, liability, etc.) is needed
• Your mission statement
Include the clinical aspect of your business.
Your business plan should also address questions unique to a behavioral health practice, including:
• Who are your clients (including age groups, demographics, or conditions)?
• Will you rent or buy a space, or work out of your home?
• What therapeutic approaches will you use?
• Do you need additional education or training?
• Will you partner or collaborate with other behavioral health providers, social service organizations, or hospitals?
• Will you offer telehealth?
• How will you handle documentation and client data?
• Will you use software solutions, such as accounting or an EHR?
• What will your rates and payment options be? What insurance will you accept?
• Will you join a referral network?
• How will you bill clients? How will you handle late or missed payments?
• What will your scheduling process be like?
• How will you handle a client that is not a good fit?
• Will you work with an accountant or an attorney?
Make your business plan your own.
You can personalize your business plan to address your personal work and productivity style. This part might help guide decisions like:
• Establishing and maintaining boundaries with clients
• When you will take lunch breaks
• Whether you have a mentor you can consult
• How much time you need between client sessions
• How you will stay motivated and disciplined
• How to respond to serious, negative feedback
• How much time you will dedicate to administrative tasks and how much on clinical tasks
The benefit of running your own practice is having the flexibility to change your operations. If you want to change your accounting software, marketing style, or work hours, you can! Your business plan should grow and evolve with you and your practice, so don’t worry about getting it perfect right away.
Your behavioral health business plan should address the type of software you use to make things easier for you. BestNotes EHR and CRM solutions, created for behavioral health and addiction treatment providers, can help you start your practice on the right track. Contact us today to learn more!