How to define your services
What will your private practice sell?
If you’re a psychiatrist, you’ll sell psychiatric treatment; if you’re a chiropractor, you’ll sell chiropractic treatment, if you’re a counsellor, you’ll sell counselling sessions, and so on. Right?
If only it were that straightforward!
Your answer to the question "what are you going to sell?" should be far more detailed and more carefully planned than that.
With the right planning, you’ll be able to "package" your skills, qualifications and experience into services that attract the most clients and make the most profit. You’ll confidently offer a diverse and appealing range of services, giving your private practice every chance of success.
This process is not daunting. Let’s get started.
Who are your customers?
Note down the customer groups that would benefit from your expertise. Depending on your industry, customer groups may include:
- individuals (end users)
- employers (companies who buy your services on behalf of their employees)
- solicitors and insurance companies
- rehabilitation companies
- the NHS
- private clinics
- gyms or health clubs
- sportsmen and sportswomen
Tip: our article about target markets will be helpful at this point.
Some customer groups may need to be broken into smaller groups - for example, individuals could be split into male / female, different age ranges, occupations, and so on.
What do your customers need?
Think about what these customer groups will be looking for. What sorts of service do they need? What problems do they have that you could solve?
Interview friends, relatives, even strangers to find out what they might like or dislike in a particular service. This may include elements such as length / number of sessions, the specific nature of sessions, availability, cost, and so on.
The above should help you to define your service and also package it in a way that will appeal to your market. For example, you may decide to offer one-off sessions for a set fee, intensive sessions or long courses of treatment. You may decide to specialise (see below) or to provide a service that will cover a wide range of concerns.
What do your competitors offer?
Have a look at your competitors’ websites, particularly those in your local area. This will not only give you ideas about the sorts of services that you could be offering, but will help you identify how you can differentiate yourself from them.
To specialise or not to specialise?
You may wish to offer one service, and one service alone, for example, hypnotherapy for individuals who want to give up smoking. Specialising in one area has its benefits, but will limit your target market. It should only be considered if you have already built an excellent reputation in your field, if there is less competition in that specialism and if you are likely to achieve good word of mouth.
You should therefore consider offering a variety of services, particularly when starting out.
Don’t be afraid to say no
Don’t fall into the trap of offering every service possible, and accepting every single client or job offer that comes your way. For example:
- avoid accepting work that carries a financial loss
- only offer services that you are qualified to provide
- never compromise your own safety or professional code of conduct
As well as standard services such as therapy, there are other areas that you could consider. For example, workshops can be a lucrative way to promote and enhance your business. You could also offer training services, career advice or supervision. You could even write a book or sell e-courses from your website.