How to Develop a Private Practice Business Plan by Soribel Martinez

How to Develop a Mental Health Private Practice Business Plan

How to Develop a Private Practice Business Plan

As a therapist, you may be accustomed to writing treatment plans, but what about a plan for your business? If you are in private practice, it may be tempting to keep things casual and proceed with no formal plan. The idea of a medical or  counseling private practice business plan might sound daunting. Still, it is an integral part of a successful private practice, and when you see how it works, it isn’t overwhelming. You can simply follow the guidelines.

Your private practice is a business, whether a small business or a global entity. You may be newly starting a private practice or have been in business for years. There is always the need for a private practice business plan.

This blog is here to help you develop that business plan template. You will discover:

  • The definition of a business plan 
  • What a business plan includes 
  • The benefits of a business plan
  • How to set your goals
  • The importance of continuing education 
  • Helpful next steps

The Definition of a Business Plan

A business plan is a blueprint for the entire structure. Let’s think about that blueprint imagery. Suppose a blueprint detailed plans for the flooring and walls of a building but ignored the roof. That would not be a solid structure. It is the same for a business plan. It is a detailed plan which describes the course of action for every aspect of your business. 

The decisions you make as you construct your business plan are essential but not permanent. A business plan is a living document. It is not another to-do list item. You don’t check it off and move on. You continue to evaluate and make changes as you grow and learn. Regularly review and adapt your plan to include new opportunities and challenges. 

Included in a Business Plan

What's included in a business plan: Mission Statement, Vision, Ideal Clients, Goals,  and a Marketing Plan

A business plan includes broad ideas such as your purpose and analyzes details such as client demographics. Including the big picture items and the small details is essential. Here are the things that your private practice business plan should include:

Mission Statement: Your mission statement is your purpose for being in business. It also includes a description of the business and how you plan to serve your clients.

Vision: A vision includes your current and future objectives. These are listed in broad terms. The specifics will come in the goal-setting section. 

Ideal Clients: This will include two aspects of market research.

  • Demographics such as age, income level, profession, and location
  • Details of your ideal clients’ emotions and the problems your services and products can help them solve

Goals: When you understand your purpose, objectives, and ideal clients, your business needs come into focus. This provides the perspective to begin constructing goals for your practice to meet clients’ specific needs and increase referrals. We discuss goals in more detail below.

Marketing Plan: You will need marketing plans to reach new clients. Depending on  your staff’s and your expertise, these marketing plans may include social media or podcasts. A financial plan based on financial projections will also be crucial. 

This wide variety of tasks and skill sets are needed within a healthcare provider’s practice, whether it be your own skill or the skill of the staff members you hire. 

The Benefits of a Business Plan

A proper private practice business plan will take some time and effort to develop well, but it is worth that effort. Your business plan has substantial benefits and is critical to running a successful business. Here are a few of those benefits:

  • It keeps you focused. There are plenty of excellent and exciting ideas available. A business plan moves the discussion from whether something is a good idea to whether it is the right idea for your business. 
  • It keeps staff members informed. Your business plan will not be for your benefit alone. It will serve as a roadmap, pointing you and any staff members you have in the direction of success. 
  • It provides clarity to your clients. When you are clear on your business plan, you will provide your clients with the ability to determine if you are the right company for them. 
  • It supports your funding efforts. Suppose you are approaching a bank seeking a business loan. That will require a sound financial plan and structure with an understanding of your profitability. 
  • It informs your marketing. When you understand your clients’ demographics and needs, you can be specific in your marketing. Advertising that you are a therapist through a random array of media is ineffective and wastes time and money. Knowing your target audience allows you to choose specific media to reach potential clients and explain precisely how you can help.
  • It helps deal with change. Remember, your business plan is a living document. Your regular review process gives you the ability to adapt to changing conditions. A dramatic example is the global pandemic of 2020. The landscape for businesses of all kinds immediately changed. Those that were clear on their purpose, objectives, and the needs of their clients and customers could develop new methods and adapt.  

How to Set Your Goals

How to set your goals:  A.S.M.A.R.T. goals

You’ve heard of SMART goals before, but let’s take them a step further to ensure your success. The key to setting your business goals is to make them ASMART: Aligned, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Based. Your ASMART goals should be both short-term and long-term. Intervals include goals for one month, three months, six months, and one year. There should also be long-term five-year goals. Here is how ASMART goals work:

  • Aligned: Your business goals must align with your company purpose, mission, and vision to ensure success. 
  • Specific: Rather than “I will fill my caseload,” try “I will serve 20 clients.” Being specific allows for better assessment of goal achievement and provides accurate information to plan for the future.
  • Measurable: Your goal should include a measurable outcome. In the statement, “I will serve 20 clients,” adding “each week” makes it easier to measure success. If you’re only serving 15 clients a week but have 20 clients total, you’ve not met your goal yet.
  • Attainable: Your goal must be realistic based on all life factors. Family, sleep, and office work are all considerations when evaluating if a goal is attainable. If you only have time for 15 clients a week when you account for office work and your personal life, set your goal accordingly.
  • Relevant: Your goals should relate directly to your mission and vision and serve the needs of your clients. If the goal doesn’t fit into your business plan, eliminate it. Even worthy goals and grand ambitions are a diversion if irrelevant to your mission. As a business owner, you do not have time for distractions. 
  • Time-Based: Stating that you want to serve 20 clients a week is great, but in long-term planning, you want to set goals with an end date. This helps with tasks such as adjusting marketing efforts, setting up systems, and developing processes. “I will serve 20 clients a week within six months of opening my business” is a goal that will allow you to track progress, adjust your efforts, and reflect as you go.

The Importance of Continuing Education

Mental health professionals, doctors, and other healthcare providers receive training in medical, psychotherapy, and therapeutic techniques. You may have never had a class that covered marketing strategies and how cash flow influences your financial goals. This is why continuing education is vital.

 An entrepreneurial journey requires lifelong learning. As part of your short-term and long-term goals, detail any certifications you want to pursue or courses you plan to take. Be honest about your weak areas and take the challenge to improve. As you evaluate your demographic location, what future needs are on the horizon that fall within your purpose? Be prepared to meet those needs for your clients through your continuing education.


Soribel Martinez

Soribel Martinez is a Licensed Clinical Psychotherapist with dual graduate school diplomas, an MBA and MSW, with over 25 years of experience. She is the owner of SMPsychotherapy and Counseling Services, which has given her the hands-on business experience and know-how to help you reach your greatest potential.


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Helpful Next Steps

Now that you are ready to develop the business plan for your private practice, I want to help you make it a reality. Order your Private Practice Business Assessment to start setting yourself up for success. Click here to apply!

For more on developing your life and business to live the life of your dreams, check out the new book, Unbreakable by Soribel Martinez, LCSW, CEO of SMPsychotherapy and Counseling Services. It’s a story of one woman’s journey through adversity and how you can use her principles to build your successful life. Get your copy here.

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