Get SMART about building your practice.
It's hard to build something you've never built or get somewhere you've never been without directions. Doing things without guidance can leave us feeling anxious and vague, and just isn't great for productivity.
When your practice building efforts feel vague, it's time to get SMART. SMART is a mnemonic that is frequently used in project management, but you may know it from writing treatment plans in community agencies or from working with insurance panels. It can stand for several things, but my favorite translation is Specific, Motivating, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. If you've written treatment plans in the past, then you already know how to use an important tool for building your practice. Let's look closer-
Set practice building goals that are SMART- Specific, Motivating, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
When you are in a state of vagueness, you can wind up playing whack-a-mole-- doing whatever pops up in front of you at the moment, rather than taking focused actions toward your long term goals. Vagueness can also breed anxiety. Knowing what you are going to specifically do can be incredibly containing and help you focus your energies.
This is your practice, you should be excited about it! Write goals that are will help you realize the vision of your ideal practice- and keep this image in mind. You might want to keep your written vision statement for your practice right next to your practice treatment plan.
If you are generally a high-achiever or a perfectionist, this might be a hard one, because you'll probably set high goals for yourself. Things usually take longer than you think they will, so overestimate how long you think things will take. Set a goal you know you can meet. Why aim medium instead of high? Because a repeated feeling of having not done quite enough can erode your sense of confidence and generally feels bad. But what about Motivating, you might say. Personally, I find it pretty motivating and empowering to see that I've accomplished something in the time I said I was going to. Then I move on to the next thing with a sense of confidence and perhaps try something I hadn't previously thought I could do. Trust me, it feels so much better to know you've done what needed to get done, rather than have a gnawing sense of having not done "enough".
This is your practice, so don't worry about what other people may be doing to market and grow their practices. Not every marketing strategy or practice-building tool is going to make sense for you. Choose goals and objectives that work for who you are, and are connected to what you are trying to achieve. For example, if you are a in a solo practice in a saturated market and have a pretty general practice, having a goal to be on page one of google with SEO strategies is probably not all that relevant. It probably makes more sense to start with efforts to build and strenghten your referral network or do some work about potential areas of specialization.
This is your practice, so don't worry about what other people may be doing to market!
Give yourself deadlines. You are your own boss, so it's not like you'll get fired if you miss a deadline, but having one will help you stay accountable and motivated. You might want to share your time-bound goals with a friend, your consultation group, or your consultant so they can check in with you and offer support and encouragement. Making time-bound also includes scheduling specific times in your week that will be devoted to working on your practice building objectives.
If you want support from someone who has your back and can help you design and implement a practice building treatment plan, maybe individual consultation is right for you. You can schedule a free phone consultation by clicking below.
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