Private practices need clients in order to be successful.
But most private practitioners don’t want to treat just anyone –
they want to narrow their focus and so that they can serve their ideal client base.
But how do you find ideal clients to treat?
How do you stand out against competitors and carve out your own little spot so that you can provide your best work within your area of interest and cater to unmet needs in your area?
How do can you use your expert status to be a “big fish in a small pond” and command higher prices?
What is a niche (and why you absolutely need to have one)
A niche is defined as:
a job or position that is very suitable for someone, especially one that they like
A niche private practice serves the unique needs of a well-defined (and usually smaller) client population (ex. teens with autism, musicians with repetitive strain injuries, new moms with postpartum depression)
Having an established private practice niche allows you to be a “big fish in a little pond” and treat clients you truly love, day after day.
Many private practitioners are terrified about two things:
- Not having enough clients
- Not making enough money
Having a private practice niche increases your chances of success by being able to treat a larger subset of a smaller population, while commanding higher prices.
Yes – higher prices.
Why are specialists able to command higher prices? Both clients and referral sources trust experts. Private practitioners in an established niches have a specialization that comes with experience.
If your child had a rare condition, who would you hire to help them:
a generalist who frequently works with their issue or a specialist who has an excellent reputation for quick progress and works solely with their condition?
Would you pay a premium to work with the best person because it would mean a better overall recovery or a faster recovery? Of course you would.
Developing a niche will not only allow you to work with the kinds of clients you like best but will allow you to get paid significantly higher for those services.
What opportunities come with having a private practice niche?
Some communities have only a few clinicians in private practice and some have many.
If you find yourself competing with other practices – or if you want to make sure that you’re only working with clients whom you can make the biggest difference for –
developing and growing a niche private practice is a necessity.
While this may seem counterintuitive, niching down and specializing in a certain area doesn’t close doors or limit your chances of success, it allows you to capture populations that may be a part of growing trends (ex. picky eaters, kids with autism, baby boomers) before other clinicians get there.
As a clinician, you are a “helping people” person and you have a calling to help a specific group of people improve their lives with the benefit of your therapy. Niching down will help you and your clients find each other.
Your goal: Get a smaller piece of the market, serve them well and you’ll be rewarded for it.
Jena H. Casbon, MS CCC-SLP is a speech-language pathologist and private practice consultant. She started her own speech therapy private practice in 2006. She is the founder of The Independent Clinician and author of The Guide to Private Patients and The Guide to Creating a Web Presence for Your Private Practice. Since 2008, she has helped thousands of clinicians get the flexibility, income and freedom they desire from starting their own private speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy practices.