Many of us become therapists because we want to help people. When we start a businesses, we quickly realize that our desire to help and our need to make money are often in conflict. The good news is, we don’t have to choose one over the other--we can generate an income and be generous!
In today’s brief post, I offer 4 practical strategies for incorporating a culture of giving and generosity into your business, while still prioritizing profit.
The Foundation of Pricing: Boundaries
If you own a business, then you are a business owner before you are a therapist. Essentially, you hold a dual role in your business: administrator and service provider. The administrator is responsible for assuring that the business continues to exist, and the service provider is responsible for providing the services that are essential to the business. These two roles do not always align. For example, the administrator cannot make all decisions based on what’s best for the business, because customers will eventually feel unimportant. And, the service provider cannot make all decisions based on what’s best for customers, because the business will eventually cease to exist.
The best way to manage each role is to establish boundaries that serve both roles, by allowing for the building of a profitable business and the nurturing of clients. The following strategies establish boundaries that keep the administrator and provider roles in balance.
1| Market a Niche
By marketing a niche, you set very clear, specific boundaries regarding the focus of your business. As you establish your expertise, you can set higher rates, and therefore be more generous with your clients and philanthropic in general.
2| Establish a "Lowest Fee"
Set a fee that you will not compromise, under any circumstances. By establishing this fee, you allow yourself room to negotiate with potential clients, without betraying the value you hold for your work.
3| Offer a Sliding Scale, or Pro Bono Sessions, With Limits
First, make sure that your pricing policy benefits your business. When including a sliding scale and/or free sessions in your policy, do so with specific limits. For example, offer only a certain number of discounted sessions per month, or set a maximum number of pro bono clients for your case load. Once you hit your target number, start a waiting list. This number is, of course, dependent on your number of full-fee clients. For example, if your discount session maximum is 10%, then you should have 9 full-fee sessions for every 1 discounted session.
4| Partner with Non-Profits and Other Organizations
Partnering with organizations can be a win-win, because it offers networking opportunities for you and special perks for the organization. Here are a few options for establishing partnerships:
Offer no-charge educational programs
Offer an education program on a topic relevant to the organization's customers, and include a special rate for participants that schedule counseling or for anyone they refer. The program can be offered on an ongoing basis, helping you establish long-term relationships with the organization's leadership, as well as its customers.
Establish a special nonprofit rate
Some nonprofits, especially places of worship, will pay for counseling for their members. If you establish a working relationship with these organizations, you can offer a specific, discounted rate for the organization as a third party payer.
Through setting boundaries and establishing pricing policies that work for your business, it IS possible to maintain your values of helping and serving while running a profitable therapy business.
For simple steps to create a pricing policy that works for you, download the Pricing Policy Checklist, and a special bonus: How to Design Packages, here:
Let me know in the comments below:
- What is your #1 struggle when it comes to pricing?