What’s one key aspect that can allow your practice to jump from 100k to 500k? Why must CEOs of seven-figure practices place their trust in their team? What does it look like to move from five figures into six and then seven?
In this Seven Figure Practice Series podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Lisa Duez on early decisions that made a huge impact on her success.
Podcast Sponsor: Alma
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Meet Lisa Duez
Lisa’s journey from observing leadership in others to becoming the CEO of a successful seven-figure group practice in Hampton Roads, Virginia, showcases her remarkable dedication to leadership and well-being in the mental health field. With over two decades of experience as a trauma therapist, she not only provides vital support to clinicians but also serves as a respected speaker and trainer, furthering her impact on mental health awareness and effective leadership. Lisa’s story is a testament to the power of self-awareness and perseverance in pursuing one’s passion.
In this Podcast
- The growth journey into six figures
- The vital leadership roles that are needed to succeed
- Going from 100k to 500k
- The challenges of becoming a seven-figure practice
- Trusting your team to do their jobs
- EASE leadership
- Lisa’s advice to private practitioners
The growth journey into six figures
When we were under six figures, we had a smaller practice … And I think the change for us had to be, for me, [toward success] was putting leadership in place. (Lisa Duez)
One of the main factors that led to the boosting of Lisa’s practice and its success was installing tiers of leadership within her team.
Having an internal support structure that was tailored to her team’s needs as well as the goals they were working on achieving was a huge push toward helping them move beyond the five-figure mark into six, and beyond.
Hiring a clinical director and installing someone in that role was another boost that allowed Lisa to nurture her practice to generate higher levels of income.
I knew if I was going to really [do it], I was like, “Okay, this is the ride we’re on. If this is going to get here, I need someone to make sure that my clinicians are taken care of, that our measurements are right, that our numbers are right, and that we are providing the best service.” (Lisa Duez)
The vital leadership roles that are needed to succeed
Of course, a successful private practice can be run by one person.
However, that route is not always so sustainable, and it could lead you to pull your hair out over being the bookkeeper, admin checker, systems administrator, and supervisor while holding the position of CEO.
It can be done by one, but it doesn’t mean that it has to be. Surround yourself with a team of competent people so that your success can be sustainable.
For Lisa, hiring a clinical director and a practice manager were game-changers.
If you’re the CEO and you have two arms of the business; one to handle the clinical, one to handle the practice [admin, like] billing … Two people specifically focused on that, and then our revenue increased because we had that focus. (Lisa Duez)
Both employees receive a salary because their jobs are based mostly on tasks. They do see clients, but their work is more closely related to fulfilling tasks than making hours.
Going from 100k to 500k
Bringing in 100k jumped to 500k once Lisa added in an office.
They organized an office space in an area where there were no clinicians. It took about eight months for the office space to get organized, but having that brick-and-mortar location significantly boosted their presence and success within the community.
So it was expansion, number one. And number two, it was; “Let’s sit down and really come up with policies and processes that make sense and really look at defining what our culture is and how we operate in the world as a team.” (Lisa Duez)
Apart from landing the office, honing in on their culture setting and unique approach to therapy and business is the second piece of their success.
Knowing who they are, who they help, who they hire, and who they work with allowed Lisa and her team to get clear on their values, vision, and mission, and draw out a plan for the goals that they wanted to achieve.
The challenges of becoming a seven-figure practice
For Lisa, everything just gets bigger. The challenges, the successes, the roadblocks, and the solutions all increased in size once she moved from earning six figures to seven.
Everything is bigger, obviously with the numbers … The expenses, with the operations … I’m always thinking about [our] two full-time administrative assistants, practice managers … I’m watching workloads and if this is working, what is coming up? There’s a little bit more whack-a-mole going on than in a small practice. (Lisa Duez)
Lisa explains that because of the sheer volume of the business, there’s never really a dull moment. As the CEO, she’s constantly monitoring and keeping an eye out for her team to fill in and help wherever she can while she manages her own work.
It’s nothing specific but it’s this general [sense of]; “This is a big operation now, there’s a lot at play”, so you have to … be very serious about processes, policies, and you very much have to walk your talk as a leader. (Lisa Duez)
Trusting your team to do their jobs
As the CEO, Lisa’s role is hers to fill. She can keep an eye out and manage the day, but she also allows her team to do what they need to without stepping in and doing it for them.
In a practice so large, you need to have trust and communication. Let your team know what is expected of them and then allow them to execute what needs to be done without trying to do it on their behalf. Be around to help and support, but let them have a go.
I let them do their job. They’re competent, they understand the vision, they understand what’s needed. Sometimes we have crazy stuff happen … and they handle it, and I make sure in the background that it’s handled by providing support, by checking in, by giving what I need … When you have a good team, they will let you know [if] they need you. (Lisa Duez)
Lisa, like many clinicians, experienced a tough working environment when she was starting as a therapist.
So when she decided to open her practice, she wanted to center her leadership style around providing others what she wished she had when she was working in private practice.
I’m like a lot of people in that I didn’t come from good leadership. I was not trained in good leadership … I think a lot of [clinicians] have those stories and I think a lot of why people get into group practice ownership is because we want to do it differently. (Lisa Duez)
This journey led her to do what she’s doing now, which is writing a book about her experience, and how she structures her leadership. She’s put her work into her own “EASE” leadership style, which stands for:
E – Emotional
A – Authentic
S – Solving problems
E – Elevating
Lisa’s advice to private practitioners
Be flexible! Be open to whatever comes your way.
Sponsors Mentioned in this episode:
- Learn more about building a thriving private practice with Alma at helloalma.com/joe
- Find out more about the Seven Figure Club!
Useful links mentioned in this episode:
Email Joe at [email protected] to suggest guests for the show
Check out these additional resources:
Apply to work with us — a decision-making matrix for your next steps
Meet Joe Sanok
Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners who are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.
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