8 Thoughts Group Practice Owners Have (Or Will Have at Some Point)

By Maureen Werrbach, LCPC on December 19, 2018
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After working with thousands of group practice owners, I’ve come to see a common thread of thoughts and questions that all group practice owners have at some point.

Most of us think that we are the only ones thinking these things, which often leaves many group practice owners to think that they aren’t cut out to lead others and run a business. What I can assure you is that every group practice owner has had or will have certain thoughts about running their group practice. We’re human. We’re growing. We’re learning.

Ready to feel validated? Here’s a list of some of the most common thoughts group practice owners have.

Why Did I Think I Can Do This?

It’s usually in the thick of a crisis that this thought pops up. A clinician leaves the practice abruptly, causing other staff to question their employment. You find out that a client is enraged, threatens to call your therapist’s licensing board, and left a bad review on Yelp. There are no new client calls for a week after hiring two new therapists. Staff question your business decisions. It’s always during these times that confidence in yourself as a business person wane and you think, “Why did I think I can do this?” You can do this.

I Should Have Stayed a Solo Practice

I can’t count how many times I have heard this, and I admit that I’ve said this before, too. Managing a business that employs people is hard. Of course, it’s easier to be solo. You only have you and your caseload to manage. But the benefits of group practice ownership usually outweigh those fleeting thoughts. Remember, it takes time and practice to lead confidently, and there will be bumps in the entrepreneurial road.

I Need Help

Yes, we all do. You're not alone. There’s something about group practice ownership that tells us we need to know it all, do it all, and not ask for help. Because if we do ask for help, that means we shouldn’t be running a group practice at all. It’s OK to need help. I’d even argue that it should be a requirement of entrepreneurship.

Why Is the Hiring Process So Hard?

Because if it was easy, everyone would be doing it. How’s that for hard truths? The recruiting, interviewing, hiring, onboarding, and employing process is no easy feat. It involves a lot of trial and error, lessons learned, and experience to truly feel comfortable with the hiring process and trusting your gut. Sometimes, there will be a drought, and it could take months to find a quality therapist. Other times, they’ll be knocking down the door at the most inopportune times. You’ll never be able to control it, so roll with the punches and find comfort in knowing that we all face it.

When Will I Make More Money Than My Staff?

Yuck. If I had a dollar for every time a group practice owner asked me this, I’d be able to take a nice vacation around the world. Depending on how you start and grow your group practice, you may face a time where your full-time therapists are bringing home the big dough while you barely scrape by. My advice: take control of your business finances. Start a financial system like Profit First or You Need a Budget to help you start taking a profit. It is possible to not only take a profit but also make a great living. When I first started my group practice, I didn’t take a paycheck for over a year, and when I did start to take a paycheck, it was another good year of making less than the clinicians I employed. This was before practice coaches and group practice support systems and was probably one of the bigger mistakes I made when starting out.

What If I Make the Wrong Decision?

You may. I like to think of that quote, “A person who makes few mistakes makes little progress.” I also like to point out the fact that we will likely make many mistakes in our businesses. From bad hiring strategies to spending a fortune on a marketing strategy that doesn’t give you a return on investment, it’s bound to happen. What you can do is keep going. When you make a mistake, own it, learn from it, and move on.

I Feel Alone in This

This is the number one struggle I hear time and again. You can’t talk to your staff about how you are feeling, and you may not know another group practice owner on a personal level to have that camaraderie. Now is the time to change that. Research shows that one of the best indicators of entrepreneurial success is having a support system. Not just the support of your family and friends (that’s great, but not what I’m talking about) but support from other business owners. In today’s digital world, if you don’t have a local group practice support system, you can use Facebook groups, masterminds, accountability groups, coaches and so much more for that support. No one is meant to do it alone.

I’m Grateful for What I Have

This is one of those pack-it-up-in-a-box moments. Take that feeling and hold onto it. This is part of our greater purpose. To feel gratitude and a sense of pride in what you’ve put together. Use this to help you through some of those not-so-fun days.

* The content of this post is intended to serve as general advice and information. It is not to be taken as legal advice and may not account for all rules and regulations in every jurisdiction. For legal advice, please contact an attorney.

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