How networking can help your private practice
Networking can help you extend your business reach within medical and local business circles.
The benefits of networking with other practitioners are many and varied. For example, meeting up with new people can boost your reputation and open up new work opportunities or referrals.
You can often find people to refer clients on to if you dont’ have the necessary experience or capacity to help them.
Networking with other therapists also allows you to develop your knowledge by swapping ideas and discussing common issues.
Chris & Karene Lambert-Gorwyn from Passion to Profit for Practitioners have an excellent checklist - "Networking Success Checklist - Are You Making The Most Of Your Networking?".
Where can you network?
On a local level, start by seeking out local GPs, practice managers, hospital teams, agencies and clinics. Get to know the key people there and make them aware of who you are and what you do.
Similarly, revisit any old contacts that you have lost touch with. Think about people who you’ve worked with previously or people you trained with. Reconnect with them and let them know about your therapy business.
Another approach is to host a get-together for local practitioners. Invite some of the people you’ve identified to meet up with you and get to know them over dinner.
You should also be on the lookout for breakfast clubs, which bring like-minded local business owners together. It can be a good way to meet new people, learn new skills and win new business.
Beyond your local area, you can reach out to practitioners right across the country using the Internet. They may be approached by people in your area, and refer them to you – or, they may need a referral for a client’s family member.
If you haven’t done so already, join professional organisations such as BACP and participate on related forums and in the comment sections of related websites.
Social media interaction is another avenue well-worth exploring. As an example, LinkedIn hosts a group called Therapists Linked. The groups description reads: "We invite direct clinical practitioners, and people with a clinical background to join, and "talk shop". Perfect.
What to do next
- Set aside some time for networking - there’s no quick fix.
- Always network. Always carry your business cards - you never know who you’re going to meet. You can also give family and friends your business cards - you never know who they’re going to meet.
- When you meet somebody useful, always ask them if there’s anyone else that you should meet or talk to.
- Follow up quickly with any new contact that you develop. The most useful professional relationships are those that are active and ongoing.
- Become a powerful resource for your network. People will want to have you as a contact if you are perceived to be influential.