Episode 189 : Going Beyond 1:1 Services
WITH MAUREEN WERRBACH
- Episode 189 : Going Beyond 1:1 Services 00:00
Hi Group Practice listeners! The new podcast episode is out today! In this episode, I’m going to be talking all about expanding your services in your group practice beyond one on one counseling, specifically about offering CEs (Continuing Education) and/or training in the community.
In this episode we cover:
- Benefits of becoming CE providers in your group practice
- Why offer CEs to the community or therapists while making sure it aligns with your business values
- Who will be the training providers, Who will run and spearhead the program
- How long does it take to build, market, and reach the break-even point
- Ensuring the quality and relevance of the training by screening appropriateness
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Maureen Werrbach: You’re listening to the group practice exchange podcast, where the business development resource for group practice owners, where we talk candidly about business ownership and leadership from practice building tips, to live coaching, to real talk episodes with other group practice owners, where the resource you’ve been looking for to help you grow your group practice.
I’m your host group practice owner and entrepreneur, Maureen we’re back.
Welcome back. Today. I want to talk about expanding your services in your group. Practice beyond one on one counseling. This is a topic that a lot of group practice owners are looking at in an attempt to diversify their services. And I wanted to talk specifically about one type of service that is helpful in our group practice and something that you might be thinking about.
And that is offering CES and or trainings in the community like webinars or speaking engagements. One of the things that we found particularly helpful in our group practice was to become a CE provider by applying for NBCC CE provider, where you don’t have to apply for every single talk that you’re giving or presentation that you’re giving.
And it essentially makes your practice. Certified CE provider and any sort of trainings that you do that fall within the scope that would be covered by NBCC or NASW is then covered automatically. And there’s some things you need to do to keep your documents in order and things that the NBCC or NASW requires.
But what I’ve found is that it’s really helpful, not only in expanding the services that your group practice provides, it also expands the type of work that your team provides because it allows them to not only do one-on-one counseling, but it also allows for them to be paid, to do presently. To do webinars and things outside of seeing clients to help reduce burnout.
A secondary helpful thing that I’ve found is that it also is a benefit that you can offer as employment to your. So one of the things that we found was by becoming a CE provider in our group practice, a lot of the things that we are doing in our practice, like supervision and just trainings to the community, the time that the supervisor spend supervising or the prep time that it takes a person to build a CE training.
Also counts for CES, for the person providing that supervision or the training themselves. And so an alternative or an additional benefit is that if you’re a CE provider, you could potentially cover all of the CDs. For your whole team at pretty much a very low cost, essentially the cost of becoming a provider, if you’re providing any sort of internal training or your staff has specialties that they want to provide training on, or staff is getting supervision.
Those things can count as CES for both the person providing the CES or providing the supervision as well as the person that’s getting that supervision. Or training in house. And if they’re providing training outside in the community, the person giving the training also gets to get CES for the prep time and the providing of that training.
And so not only is it a benefit in terms of diversifying the services of the work that your team is doing, it provides potentially all of their CES to be paid for. And Which is a huge benefit in something that you can offer as a benefit of employment that I think a lot of people are really looking for.
As an aside, the way that we’ve looked at providing training, both CE and non CE, is because we provide training to other therapists through our academy and we also provide training to the community. For us, it’s a way to provide low cost or no cost options for people who either might not have the money to go to therapy, or they maybe haven’t done therapy before and they want to dip their foot into your practice to see what your therapists are like without fully getting into one-on-one at that time.
It also serves as an adjunct to therapy, then being able to watch a training that maybe specifically speaks to the issues that that client is potentially working on. One of the things that we’ve learned is that offering it definitely is like building another arm of the business, which means that it takes a lot of time to build it up, to get recognition.
And for people in your company, To actually realize that it’s something that you offer. And so it’s not something that can be built really quickly. We found that it took about a year for us to go through the application process, to provide the CE people with the documents that they needed. And it took about a year to get that done at the time that we did it.
It was at the beginning of COVID. And so it was taking them a little bit longer to get our documents in order, and to review them and to accelerate. As a provider, but then secondly, the next step of building some sort of platform on your website or on an additional website that allows for people to actually pay for that training, to watch the training and to take the quizzes that they’re going to need to take in order to get their certification or to get their certificate as well as to actually receive a certificate.
And so one of the things that you’ll want to be thinking about is what platform would you want to use that encompasses all the things that you need it to do? Because what I’ve learned is it’s simple in the grand scheme of things, it’s simple to think of trainings and to build the training, right? If you have a specialty or a clinician has a specialty that you want to provide training to the community or to other things.
The building of that one hour webinar, isn’t that hard if that’s your specialty, but as your practice becomes recognized for providing these webinars or online trainings, you want to make sure that you’re able to automate as much of it as possible so that it is something that can be done. And then can be housed on your site and automatically people can go in purchase watch and get their certificate at the end, without you having to sort of lift a finger.
Once you put that training into the website, the platform that we use is called LearnDash. It’s a program that you can put into your existing web. And for us to learn dash provides all of the things that we need, especially for CES, where it houses the videos. You can build quizzes, which for most CE programs, if it is a live training and you’ll have to look this up, depending on what provider you want to become a CE provider for.
So we did NBCC which pretty much covers social workers, counselors, and LMF. And what we found was that for us, if it is a live training that people are attending like a live webinar or in person they’ll need to sign in and you’ll have to have some way of knowing that they signed in and watched the video or attended which LearnDash does, and you’ll need them to fill out a form that essentially reviews what they did and gives feedback, write a feedback form, and then a certificate will automatically be built for them and sent to them automatically.
And if they’re watching a recording, right. Which is one of the big benefits to us applying for this full CE ability is not just, they have lives. You can apply to provide live training and there’s an extra application and an additional fee to have home study, be a part of your CE program where people can then watch the live recording.
At a later date that is then recorded and for recorded or non-life training along with being able to show that the person actually watched the training, they need to take a quiz that you can then also build in the platform similar to learn. And once they take that quiz and pass at, I think it’s an 80% or above, they then automatically get that certificate, emailed to them so that they have their CE ready to be able to send when they have to renew their license.
So the first big thing to really be thinking about is why you want to offer. CES or webinars training to the community or to therapists, and to make sure that it actually aligns with your business values as a whole. Number two is thinking about who’s going to be offering these trainings. One of the things that I learned is that great therapists might not be great presenters.
And so you want to make sure that you have people on your team who are willing and able and wanting to provide training. Because if not, you’re going to have this platform that you paid for this CE certification that you paid for. And no. Maybe other than you that are going to be providing these trainings.
And that was something we ran into initially. And what we have done since then over the past couple of years is we work this question of providing webinars or CE trainings into our interview process with potential hires, to screen for their willingness and their comfortability with providing training.
The third thing you want to think about. Who’s going to be spearheading this because it’s one thing to come up with this idea of providing webinars for the community or CES for therapists. And it’s a whole nother thing to actually run that and make sure that documents are in order that the website is consistently working.
Responding to questions from therapists, providing that training and making sure that they’re doing professional training that are appropriate and responding to emails from people who are attempting to purchase training or have questions about the training specifically. And then marketing it. And so it’s very likely that you, as a business owner, who’s trying to run the group practice as a whole likely won’t have the time to actually ensure that this program is running smoothly.
And you’ll likely want to make sure that you can have someone in your practice who can spearhead that program, who can make sure that all the things are running. And so to make sure that you have that person or you yourself has the free time to actually be able to effectively run it is going to be really.
Last thing that I want you to think about is the time that it takes to really build it. It’ll take a couple of years for this program. If you’re doing it to have it be something that provides profits to your practice, it’s going to take a few years for it to break even only because it takes at least a year to build it and it’s going to take another year or so to market it where you’re making more than.
A handful of registrants per training. And so keeping that in the forefront of your mind, when you’re paying to add these websites and pay your staff to provide those training that you’re taking into account, that it might take a little bit of time and longer, likely longer. And you anticipate to actually have it be something that’s profitable.
But one thing I really love about it is that it allows our team to have all their seas covered. So we don’t have to pay CE stipends, which I know a lot of group practices do. They spend $500 per person, CE stipends. And we spend about a thousand to, I think, around a thousand to become a CE provider. Maybe another thousand or so to build out the site.
And now all those CES for the rest of time, our staff will have unlimited amounts of CES that they can do. That they will not have to pay for, which obviously becomes more than $500 worth. If you think about it without actually having to pay that much per person. And so it’s a real value to the practice financially in offering this benefit.
And it’s a great benefit for staff because they have all their CDs covered without having to pay for them. And it provides them an alternative way to make money outside of seeing clients so that they can reduce their burden. And still be able to make money. Last thing, when it comes to community presentations, because group practice has two tracks.
One is the CE track, which is training for other therapists that can get CES. And the other track we have is just community webinars, non CE webinars. And what’s great about that for us is that we have made it pay what. And our platform allows for people to choose how much they want to pay for a training that’s on our site from $0 to whatever they’d like.
And that allows us to be able to reach our community who may not be able to afford therapy or to be able to afford training and be able to pay $0. To get that training. And we found over the course of years that it really balances out the yoga field has been doing this for a while. These pay what you can, yoga sessions.
And what they have found is that it really equals out financially the same as if they were charging a flat rate for every single person to get. Because there’s going to be some people who can pay more, who just will. And there’s going to be people who can’t pay a lot and pay $0 or $5. But at the end, it tends to even out to what you were expecting to make per training, which we found to be true as well.
And so we really love that. We’re able to offer this to our community and know that they’re getting quality training by our staff. The thing I want to end with is making sure that your team, when they provide training or ask to provide training that you’re screening the appropriate. ’cause one of the things you don’t want to happen is that people who maybe are great therapists, but not great presenters are now providing training that you feel like are not the quality of training that you want to actually put up on your site.
And now you’ve wasted money, right? Paying that therapist to provide a training that you don’t really want to. And so we have a screening process where anyone who’s interested, we have a single sheet form that they fill out that essentially gives all the information that our CE provider NBCC wants to have, which is essentially like, what’s the topic, the title, what is the description of what they’re going to learn?
And what are one to three objectives? The listener is going to learn by watching this training or attending this training. And we have them fill that out and then send us a five. Video recording on their phone, explaining what they’re going to be talking about, just so we can get a sense of what their presentation style is like.
And then we either approve it and say, yes, we’d love for you to have it. Or we say, go at it again. And we give really valid and honest feedback about why we may not be approving them to do this training. If it has to be. Their presentation style. We’ll give them feedback. Our program manager will give them feedback on ways to do a better presentation if it has to do with the topic itself.
And it needs refining. She’ll then work with them on that as well. But that ensures that the training that is actually coming to. By your staff or by people in the community, because we’ve had therapists out in the community that we’ve paid to provide these training as well. That they’re the quality and topics that we think are important and relevant to our audience.
And so that’s the last thing that I would suggest if you’re thinking about offering CE training or presentations in the community is ensuring that you have a way to screen that the people that are going to be providing these training actually have the topic, the content. The presentation style that is important and valuable to your group practice.
So if you are providing any sort of CE training or community training or webinars, and they’re helpful, I’d love to hear it. And if this is something that you’re looking into, talk inside of the group, practice exchange Facebook groups, and collaborate with some of us that are doing that. So we can give you some feedback.
All right. Have a great day. Thanks for listening to the group practice exchange podcast. Like what you heard, give us five stars on whatever platform you’re listening from. Need extras. Join the exchange, a membership community just for group practice owners with monthly office hours, live webinars, and a library of training.
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Thanks For Listening
Thanks for listening to the group practice exchange podcast. Like what you heard? Give us five stars on whatever platform you’re listening from. Need extra suppor? Join The Exchange, a membership community just for group practice owners with monthly office hours, live webinars, and a library of trainings ready for you to dive into visit www dot members dot the group practice exchange dot com forward slash exchange. See you next week.
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Meet your host
Maureen Werrbach is a psychotherapist, group practice owner and group practice coach. Learn more about her coaching services here:
The podcast is structured so that you get practice building tips in small doses, where an episode can be listened to (and a group practice building lesson can be learned) in a single car ride.
Episodes are structured into categories: coaching sessions where I coach a group practice owner on a specific topic, tips of the day by yours truly, real talk where you get to be a fly on the wall while an established group practice owner and I talk about the highs and lows of ownership, and trainings done by experts in the field.
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