Has that time come for you in which you realize it may be time to grow your group practice space (or add another location?!)? But then you have that back and forth conversation with yourself where you talk yourself into and out of change. I have literally had that conversation now 5 times in 5 years! From deciding to rent a room from an acupuncture office, to getting my own solo office (and then deciding to hire my first therapist), to moving to a 4 office space, building out into a 6 office space and now a second location, I feel ya! Each of these times I spent hours a day over weeks trying to decide if I was brave enough to take the plunge. Some days, I was sure of it all and promised to take the jump. Other days self doubt sent me back to the drawing table.
One thing that I can say is that I am a risk taker, but to a small degree (if that is possible in business!). So instead of going straight for the 6 office suite, I grew what I had and took a step up and grew into that and stepped up again. There’s a point where taking that step up becomes a larger step. Right now, I am building out a second location that is a 4 office suite. So my jump isn’t so small anymore; I’m not growing one room by one room anymore. That being said, I get questions often about how and when to grow your group practice.
Most practice owners fall into one of the following categories when I would say it’s a good time to take that leap.
- Their practice space is being used at full capacity and they have referrals coming in.
- Their space is pretty full and referrals are coming in.
- There is a completely different area they would like to grow another practice location.
Let’s take number one. You have a group practice whose offices are being used daily. There isn’t room for growth inside the office (as you may know, you can always grow your practice by providing services in the community, but that’s for another blog post). If it is part of your business plan, this would be a great time to look into whether you want to expand your current space into a larger space or take on a second location.
The second one is what I did. Once my practice was pretty full, meaning that most days most of the offices were being used, I started looking into making my space larger. I had a vision of having a big space with many offices so that my practice would feel bustling and busy with therapists and clients, so growing one last time to a 2000+ sf space made sense to me.
Now I am on number three. My current space is as large as I want it to be, and there are two other locations in Chicago I want to grow into (which means one day, I may have three locations!). My current space I have been in just over a year and it is pretty full with a steady stream of referrals. What’s important is that there is enough income to cover the new space as I hire and fill those new clinicians. This is what I think makes it a low risk risk.
The last one, number three, is one in which you will feel like you are starting from scratch again, a whole new practice. In this way, you will have to get your business recognized as you did with your first practice, and have to build clientele by marketing more (sort of starting over again!).
Where are you at in your practice’s growth? What is/are the risk(s) to growing? Is growing something you actually want to do, and are you intrinsically motivated?
Maureen Werrbach is a psychotherapist, group practice owner and group practice coach. Learn more about her coaching services here: LEARN MORE HERE