For many private practices, they experience a “summer slump.” Summer is a time when people go on vacations, spend time away, and may feel better because of the weather. As a result, many private practices experience a downturn in clients.
If you don’t plan ahead, this usually happens. But, I have watched hundreds of my consulting clients have their best months ever in the summer. How can this be?
- They planned ahead
- They prepped their clients
- They created new referral sources
Plan Ahead in Private Practice
In early summer, it’s important to look ahead at your own schedule. When will you be gone? How are you spending time enjoying summer? What will you do if your case load goes down? A few important tips that can help you thrive in summer:
- Have savings of 3-6 months of operating expenses so that if you reduce your caseload, it won’t sink the business.
- List out 10-20 blog posts ideas, so if things slow down, you can work on something that will boost SEO
- Don’t just let summer happen, instead expect that summer will be a great time for your practice. People have more free time, kids can come to sessions during the day, you can partner with summer camps, and offer experiential approaches to therapy (for example I started a sailing program that also offered therapy). Plan ahead!
Prep Your Clients for a Stellar Summer
In business you may have heard the Julian Patel quote, “It is generally agreed that it cost 5-10x more to bring on a new customer versus keeping and developing an existing one.” Think about that, if you talk to a client and come up with a summer treatment plan, they’re likely to stick with it and get good results. Say they come 8x at $150 that equals $1,200. What would it take to attract, onboard, and treat a new client? You’ll probably have to develop new referral sources, spend time on the phone, emailing, and having a virtual assistant do the intake. Then they may no show or come infrequently.
Spend time talking to your current clients to set a plan for them for the summer. Also, they may want to engage their partner or kids in therapy too. With more flexible schedules in the summer, it’s a great time to do more intensive therapy.
How to Create More Referral Sources
We all know that you need multiple referral sources. What happens if everyone comes through Psychology Today and then for some reason that changes? You’ll want to be constantly developing new connections in the community. These could be doctors, massage therapists, specialists in your area, school counselors, and attorneys.
Summer is a great time to evaluate those systems and make sure you have created several strong referral sources
When you begin to plan ahead, talk to your clients, and create more referral sources, the summer slump is less pronounced. Go take action!
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Joe Sanok is a podcaster and private practice consultant. In the summer he loves stand-up paddle boarding with his family.