As a an owner of a small business (i.e., private practice), I have heard from many fellow small business owners (i.e., private practitioners) about the summertime slump.
You know, that dreaded time of the year when counselors experience a lull in the frequency of clients resulting in a decrease in income/profits. Oftentimes, clinicians ask one another what should they do to overcome this slump. Suggestions abound such as adding on additional duties in order to compensate for the reduced income received during this time period. These additional duties
typically include conducting a webinar/workshop/seminar, writing blogs, creating and conducting podcasts, etc. I wonder, has anyone ever did an analysis to determine what is actually a proven method(s) that help to alleviate the summertime slump?
When I was in graduate school, I had to conduct research and write a thesis paper in order to graduate. I remember learning about how to do statistics, analyze my data, and justify my hypothesis by engaging in research using dependent and independent variables. Granted, it's been more than 20 years since I had to do such a project. Nevertheless, I recall that one of the benefits of doing so was that I had to prove my hypothesis, my belief, my supposition, by conducting objective research and analyzing the data in order to confirm or deny my hypothesis.
Why don't we apply this same process to a common, well-known problem within the mental health/behavioral health private practice arena (i.e., summertime slump) and come up with proven, effective methods that can be applied to any small business (i.e., private practice)? Why am I saying this? Because I want our profession to be more business-minded? I want our profession to move beyond suppositions and suggestions to proven effective techniques (akin to what we do with our clients).
Rather than accepting the premise that summertime is slow-down time, I propose a different approach: conduct an independent analysis of your business operations by first asking yourself why is it that your business has a slow down in the summer months. Instead of working harder, let's work smarter. My business (i.e., private practice) has not experienced a summer slump in the past three years. I have found out how to continue to keep my business operating and profitable by engaging in an analysis of my business operations that allows me to be more
strategic about how I run and operate my business. There are different types of analytical tools that businesses conduct, one of them being SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats).
I also have used SWOT as a method to help me become more strategic about my business. To put it succinctly and in terms we can understand, when we create treatment plans with our clients, it is useful to review it every 90 days to ensure effectiveness and determine if you and your client(s) are reaching the agreed upon goals. If not, you and the client(s) make changes and continue to review the treatment plan periodically (typically every 90-120 days). Why not apply this same principle to your own business. Using strategic analytical tools helps you become more purposeful about how your business will continue to operate now and in the future.
If you'd like to hear more, or would like a free 15 minute consultation on how we could work together to provide a strategic analysis of your business, feel free to sign up on the contact form and we'll follow up with you.
Let's work together for the future of our profession and overcome the summertime slump by having year-round profitability and growth!