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What Is Doomscrolling, and How Is It Impacting Your Mental Health?

business plan for mental health private practice

Day in and day out, we take in a lot of upsetting or anxiety-inducing news. For some of us, staying glued to our Twitter feeds or news outlet of choice has become something of an obsession — so much so that there’s a new word to describe that (seemingly) ceaseless compulsion to keep refreshing and devouring all those unsavory news stories. That word? Doomscrolling.

In all likelihood, many of us have been practicing this unhealthy habit of consuming large quantities of negative news without naming it — or, in some cases, without realizing it. But it’s essential that we start taking notice, especially when it comes to safeguarding our health. While doomscrolling has already been linked to experiences of depression and poor heart health, there’s also mountains of evidence to support the idea that long-term stress negatively affects our physical health and mental wellbeing too. However, more often than not, those studies don’t specifically address the stress that stems from social media or smartphone usage — at least not yet. 

What Exactly Is Doomscrolling?

At its most basic level, doomscrolling is the act of looking through social media posts or news websites, almost to an obsessive point, while feeling more and more anxious and depressed with every story or update we read. Despite feeling worse and worse as we read more and more, we continue to scroll through anyway, almost as if we’re on a quest to find as much disheartening information as possible. Sometimes called “doomsurfing,” the behavior doesn’t just involve getting caught up in negative stories; it also refers to our tendency to actively seek out negative information instead of positive, feel-good headlines. That’s where the “doom” element comes into play.

business plan for mental health private practice

There’s an almost-masochistic undertone to doomscrolling — the more we consume bad news, the more likely we are to seek out additional stories that make us feel depressed. And it’s become especially easy to doomscroll in a time of climate dread, the COVID-19 pandemic, highly visible police brutality, and increasing political polarization. With access to doomy news always at our fingertips, breaking the cycle can be very difficult.

Why Do We Doomscroll?

So, what is it about our brains that makes us want to doomscroll? According to Dr. Ken Yeager, a psychiatrist at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, it has to do with an evolutionary process that possibly once helped us protect ourselves. “We are all hardwired to see the negative and be drawn to the negative because it can harm us physically,” Dr. Yeager explains . This need to seek out dangerous things so we can learn about them once served a very important purpose: It helped us thousands of years ago. It taught our ancestors how to observe and anticipate harmful events so they could better respond to those events — with the end goal of increasing the likelihood of survival.

business plan for mental health private practice

While most of us no longer need to know the subconsciously recognizable indicators that a tiger might be on the verge of attack or that a wild fruit may be poisonous, that evolutionary relic remains in our brains. There are plenty of modern-day negatives we can seek out to satisfy that mental itch — namely those posts on social media and articles elsewhere online. These sites can give us the “hits” of negativity that our brains are looking for, but they also have a variety of other effects on us.

As researchers delve more deeply into the effects of social media and instant information-sharing networks, they’re beginning to find that these sites and the posts on them have the tendency to divide their users and cause them to feel isolated . In short, our favorite social media apps or sites might be making us feel alone, and that can exacerbate the sadness we feel after reading negative headlines. This phenomenon isn’t relegated to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram; even news sites can make us feel down.

We doomscroll when we have a longing to connect and learn about current events that may address our worries. The behavior often sneaks up on us while we’re attempting to catch up with our social circles or on local and global happenings. That impending feeling of doom and hopelessness can come on strongly after we’ve scrolled past the 20th depressing story about destroyed forests, flooded homes or corrupt politicians — and it might affect us in some detrimental ways.

What Does Doomscrolling Do to Our Brains?

In the past, tragedies were something that affected communities very deeply. Sad stories became touchstones for several generations, often serving as warnings while also shaping the ways those communities conducted themselves. That was partially due to the fact that news didn’t spread as quickly and people didn’t have access to headlines from around the world at the click of a mouse. Nowadays, however, it’s challenging to go about daily life without receiving a flood of tragic news from every possible corner of the world.

business plan for mental health private practice

Instead of spending months mourning, say, the death of a small child as a community might have decades ago, we have mere seconds to comprehend and process the deaths of hundreds or thousands of people — just moments to think about human and animal suffering, the impacts of climate change, the corruption happening in various countries, and the fear and despair and utter hopelessness of it all. That’s quite a bit to ask our brains to handle, a seemingly impossible feat, and our minds simply cannot process all of the information they receive. To cope with multiple stressors, our brains dull the events’ effects and cause us to enter a state of stress . Instead of feeling relaxed when scrolling through our phones after work, we often end up feeling far more agitated or depressed, particularly if we were already experiencing those emotions.

According to the Cleveland Clinic , “doomscrolling can reinforce negative thoughts and a negative mindset,” and this can impact our mental health immensely. If you’re already prone to depression, for example, reading depressing news stories can worsen your symptoms and increase feelings of loneliness and disconnection. And excessive consumption of negative news stories correlates with increased stress, fear and anxiety and with poor sleep even in people who weren’t already experiencing these emotions and effects on a regular basis. This causes our bodies to continually expose our brains to stress hormones, which can eventually lead to exhaustion and other mental health issues. So what can we do about it?

How Can We Stop Doomscrolling?

If you’re keen to avoid the negative effects of doomscrolling, the first thing that can help is to learn to recognize the habit — you might be engaging in doomscrolling without even realizing it. From there, you can begin to take steps to change your behavior, keeping in mind that lifestyle shifts don’t happen overnight.

business plan for mental health private practice

Fortunately, and somewhat ironically, there are plenty of apps designed to help you limit your amount of screen time. If you tend to wake up and fall into a pit of doomscrolling while you’re still in bed in the morning, you can use the apps to “lock down” your phone during these early hours to train yourself to stay away from worrisome stories and posts. After a little while, going to your phone to check it won’t be your automatic wake-up reaction.

It’s also helpful to enjoy activities that keep you more aware and in the moment. Exercise, socializing and meditation are excellent examples of activities that help you focus on the here and now by engaging your mind and body at the same time. Learning how to live in the moment can help you relax and lower your stress levels. This is like hitting a mental reset button and can be particularly helpful after a doomscrolling session.

If you’re someone who doomscrolls because being informed feels like a part of your civic duty, consider connecting with an actual, in-real-life activist organization local to you. It can be easier to disconnect from grim news across the globe once you focus in on tangible ways that you can make a difference.

Even a brief pause can help you break the doomscrolling habit. Do you often find yourself picking up your smartphone and navigating to your news app almost reflexively? If so, try to be more intentional in these actions. When you pick up your phone or wake up your laptop, stop for a moment and think about what you’re doing and what you’re planning to look at. Then, make a choice not to open Twitter — or even put your phone back down and walk away.

Learning to Live a Doomscroll-Free Life

It’s no secret that stress can have harmful effects on your mind and body. Being under constant stress can lead to everything from high blood pressure to ulcers to heart disease — and doomscrolling is one of those activities that can keep you in a near-constant state of stress, however low a level it may be. It’s essential to lower your stress levels to lead a happier, healthier life, and cutting out doomscrolling is one way to get you closer to this goal.

business plan for mental health private practice

If you’ve found yourself doomscrolling lately and you’re finding the tips above difficult to implement, it can help to get in touch with a mental health professional. A counselor or therapist can address your concerns in a positive, supportive and uplifting environment and help you cope with any symptoms of stress, anxiety or depression you’re feeling. They can also help you formulate an effective plan for changing behaviors you want to move away from and teach you techniques you can apply to make measurable progress.

There will always be bad news in the world — and there will always be good news, too. Making a conscious effort to limit your consumption of the negative or even seek out content that’s a bit more positive can do wonders for your mental health and go a long way towards improving your outlook on the world. And as you’re getting started, it doesn’t hurt to put down your phone or shut your laptop for a little while, either.

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business plan for mental health private practice

business plan for mental health private practice

Counseling Private Practice Business Plan Template

Written by Dave Lavinsky

counseling private practice business plan template

Counseling Practice Business Plan

Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 500 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans to start and grow their counseling private practices. On this page, we will first give you some background information with regards to the importance of business planning. We will then go through a counseling private practice business plan template step-by-step so you can create your plan today.

Download our Ultimate Business Plan Template here >

What Is a Business Plan?

A business plan provides a snapshot of your counseling private practice as it stands today, and lays out your growth plan for the next five years. It explains your business goals and your strategy for reaching them. It also includes market research to support your plans.  

Why You Need a Business Plan

If you’re looking to start a counseling private practice, or grow your existing counseling private practice, you need a business plan. A business plan will help you raise funding, if needed, and plan out the growth of your counseling private practice in order to improve your chances of success. Your business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes.  

Sources of Funding for Counseling Private Practices

With regards to funding, the main sources of funding for a counseling private practice are personal savings, credit cards, bank loans and angel investors. With regards to bank loans, banks will want to review your business plan and gain confidence that you will be able to repay your loan and interest. To acquire this confidence, the loan officer will not only want to confirm that your financials are reasonable, but they will also want to see a professional plan. Such a plan will give them the confidence that you can successfully and professionally operate a business. Personal savings and bank loans are the most common funding paths for counseling private practices.

How To Write a Business Plan For a Counseling Private Practice

If you want to start a counseling private practice or expand your current one, you need a business plan. Below are links to each section of your counseling private practice business plan template:  

Executive Summary

Your executive summary provides an introduction to your business plan, but it is normally the last section you write because it provides a summary of each key section of your plan.

The goal of your Executive Summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the type of counseling private practice you are operating and the status. For example, are you a startup, do you have a counseling private practice that you would like to grow, or are you operating a chain of counseling private practices?

Next, provide an overview of each of the subsequent sections of your plan. For example, give a brief overview of the counseling private practice industry. Discuss the type of counseling private practice you are operating. Detail your direct competitors. Give an overview of your target customers. Provide a snapshot of your marketing plan. Identify the key members of your team. And offer an overview of your financial plan.  

Company Analysis

In your company analysis, you will detail the type of counseling private practice you are operating.

For example, your counseling private practice might specialize in one of the following divisions:

  • Clinical psychology : this type of counseling private practice assesses, diagnoses, treats, and prevents mental disorders. Specialization within clinical psychology may focus on areas such as neuropsychology, geropsychology, child psychology, etc.
  • Industrial-organizational psychology: this type of counseling private practice specializes in applying the principles of psychology to the workplace, to assist with a range of HR issues such as employee retention or productivity.
  • Marriage and family therapy: this type of counseling private practice is licensed to diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders within the context of marriage, couples, and family systems.
  • Social work: this type of counseling private practice includes services such as individual and group therapy, crisis intervention, and child and family counseling.

In addition to explaining the type of private practice you will operate, the Company Analysis section of your business plan needs to provide background on the business.

Include answers to question such as:

  • When and why did you start the business?
  • What milestones have you achieved to date? Milestones could include the number of patients served, number of cases with positive outcomes, reaching X number of clients served, etc.
  • Your legal structure. Are you incorporated as an S-Corp? An LLC? A sole proprietorship? Explain your legal structure here.

Industry Analysis

In your industry analysis, you need to provide an overview of the counseling private practice industry.

While this may seem unnecessary, it serves multiple purposes.

First, researching the counseling private practice industry educates you. It helps you understand the market in which you are operating.

Secondly, market research can improve your strategy, particularly if your research identifies market trends.

The third reason for market research is to prove to readers that you are an expert in your industry. By conducting the research and presenting it in your plan, you achieve just that.

The following questions should be answered in the industry analysis section of your private practice business plan:

  • How big is the counseling private practice industry (in dollars)?
  • Is the market declining or increasing?
  • Who are the key competitors in the market?
  • Who are the key suppliers in the market?
  • What trends are affecting the industry?
  • What is the industry’s growth forecast over the next 5 – 10 years?
  • What is the relevant market size? That is, how big is the potential market for your counseling private practice ? You can extrapolate such a figure by assessing the size of the market in the entire country and then applying that figure to your local population.

Customer Analysis

The customer analysis section of your counseling practice business plan must detail the customers you serve and/or expect to serve.

The following are examples of customer segments: individuals, schools, families, and corporations.

As you can imagine, the customer segment(s) you choose will have a great impact on the type of private practice you operate. Clearly, individuals would respond to different marketing promotions than corporations, for example.

Try to break out your target customers in terms of their demographic and psychographic profiles. With regards to demographics, include a discussion of the ages, genders, locations and income levels of the customers you seek to serve.

Psychographic profiles explain the wants and needs of your target customers. The more you can understand and define these needs, the better you will do in attracting and retaining your customers.

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Competitive Analysis

Your competitive analysis should identify the indirect and direct competitors your business faces and then focus on the latter.

Direct competitors are other counseling private practices.

Indirect competitors are other options that customers have to purchase from that aren’t direct competitors. This includes psychiatrists, other healthcare providers, or members of the clergy. You need to mention such competition as well.

With regards to direct competition, you want to describe the other counseling private practices with which you compete. Most likely, your direct competitors will be counseling private practices located very close to your location.

For each such competitor, provide an overview of their businesses and document their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you once worked at your competitors’ businesses, it will be impossible to know everything about them. But you should be able to find out key things about them such as:

  • What types of customers do they serve?
  • What type of counseling private practice are they?
  • What is their pricing (premium, low, etc.)?
  • What are they good at?
  • What are their weaknesses?

With regards to the last two questions, think about your answers from the customers’ perspective. And don’t be afraid to ask your competitors’ customers what they like most and least about them.

The final part of your competitive analysis section is to document your areas of competitive advantage. For example:

  • Will you provide options for the uninsured?
  • Will you provide services that your competitors don’t offer?
  • Will you provide better customer service?
  • Will you offer better pricing?

Think about ways you will outperform your competition and document them in this section of your plan.  

Marketing Plan

Traditionally, a marketing plan includes the four P’s: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. For a private practice, your marketing plan should include the following:

Product : In the product section, you should reiterate the type of counseling private practice company that you documented in your Company Analysis. Then, detail the specific products you will be offering. For example, will you provide psychodynamic therapy, behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, or integrative therapy?

Price : Document the prices you will offer and how they compare to your competitors. Essentially in the product and price sub-sections of your marketing plan, you are presenting the services you offer and their prices.

Place : Place refers to the location of your counseling private practice company. Document your location and mention how the location will impact your success. For example, is your counseling private practice located in a busy retail district, a business district, a standalone office, etc.  Discuss how your location might be the ideal location for your customers.

Promotions : The final part of your counseling private practice marketing plan is the promotions section. Here you will document how you will drive customers to your location(s). The following are some promotional methods you might consider:

  • Advertising in local papers and magazines
  • Reaching out to websites
  • Social media marketing
  • Local radio advertising

Operations Plan

While the earlier sections of your therapy business plan explained your goals, your operations plan describes how you will meet them. Your operations plan should have two distinct sections as follows.

Everyday short-term processes include all of the tasks involved in running your counseling private practice, including answering calls, planning and providing therapy sessions, billing insurance and/or patients, etc.

Long-term goals are the milestones you hope to achieve. These could include the dates when you expect to book your Xth session, or when you hope to reach $X in revenue. It could also be when you expect to expand your counseling private practice to a new city.  

Management Team

To demonstrate your private practice’s ability to succeed, a strong management team is essential. Highlight your key players’ backgrounds, emphasizing those skills and experiences that prove their ability to grow a company.

Ideally you and/or your team members have direct experience in managing counseling private practices. If so, highlight this experience and expertise. But also highlight any experience that you think will help your business succeed.

If your team is lacking, consider assembling an advisory board. An advisory board would include 2 to 8 individuals who would act like mentors to your business. They would help answer questions and provide strategic guidance. If needed, look for advisory board members with experience in managing a counseling private practice or successfully running a small medical practice.  

Financial Plan

Your financial plan should include your 5-year financial statement broken out both monthly or quarterly for the first year and then annually. Your financial statements include your income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statements.

Income Statement : an income statement is more commonly called a Profit and Loss statement or P&L. It shows your revenues and then subtracts your costs to show whether you turned a profit or not.

In developing your income statement, you need to devise assumptions. For example, will you see 5 patients per day, and/or offer group therapy sessions? And will sales grow by 2% or 10% per year? As you can imagine, your choice of assumptions will greatly impact the financial forecasts for your business. As much as possible, conduct research to try to root your assumptions in reality.

Balance Sheets : Balance sheets show your assets and liabilities. While balance sheets can include much information, try to simplify them to the key items you need to know about. For instance, if you spend $50,000 on building out your counseling private practice, this will not give you immediate profits. Rather it is an asset that will hopefully help you generate profits for years to come. Likewise, if a bank writes you a check for $50,000, you don’t need to pay it back immediately. Rather, that is a liability you will pay back over time.

Cash Flow Statement : Your cash flow statement will help determine how much money you need to start or grow your business, and make sure you never run out of money. What most entrepreneurs and business owners don’t realize is that you can turn a profit but run out of money and go bankrupt.

In developing your Income Statement and Balance Sheets be sure to include several of the key costs needed in starting or growing a private practice:

  • Cost of computer software.
  • Cost of furniture and supplies
  • Payroll or salaries paid to staff
  • Business insurance
  • Taxes and permits
  • Legal expenses

Attach your full financial projections in the appendix of your plan along with any supporting documents that make your plan more compelling. For example, you might include your office location lease or a list of insurance plans you accept.  

Putting together a business plan for your therapy private practice is a worthwhile endeavor. If you follow the template above, by the time you are done, you will have an expert counseling private practice business plan; download it to PDF to show banks and investors. You will really understand the counseling private practice industry, your competition, and your customers. You will have developed a marketing plan and will really understand what it takes to launch and grow a successful private practice .  

Counseling Private Practice Business Plan FAQs

What is the easiest way to complete my counseling private practice business plan.

Growthink's Ultimate Business Plan Template allows you to quickly and easily complete your business plan.

What is the Goal of a Business Plan's Executive Summary?

The goal of your Executive Summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the type of private practice you are operating and the status; for example, are you a startup, do you have a private practice that you would like to grow, or are you operating a chain of private practices?

OR, Let Us Develop Your Plan For You

Since 1999, Growthink has developed business plans for thousands of companies who have gone on to achieve tremendous success.

Click here to see how a Growthink business planning advisor can create your business plan for you.  

Other Helpful Business Plan Articles & Templates

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Mental Health Private Practice Business Plan Template

Mental health private practice business plan.

You’ve come to the right place to create your Mental Health Private Practice business plan.

We have helped over 1,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans and many have used them to start or grow their practices.

Below is a template to help you create each section of your Mental Health Private Practice business plan.

Executive Summary

Business overview.

Harmony Mental Health Center is a new mental health private practice located in Portland, Oregon. The practice is focused on helping community members cope with their mental health concerns, such as dealing with life challenges or living with severe mental health disorders. The practice will have a full staff of counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists in order to offer as many services as possible to help our clients cope and improve their mental well-being.

Harmony Mental Health Center is led by Sasha Pascal, who has been a trained and licensed psychiatrist for 20 years. She has seen many people stop care or not get care at all due to the expensive costs of the mental health industry. She has made it her mission to create a practice that offers a sliding scale so that more members of the Portland community can get the help they need.

Product Offering

Harmony Mental Health Center will provide several mental health services to its clientele to help them with their life challenges and mental health concerns. Some of these services include:

  • Mental health disorder diagnosis and management
  • Individual counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Couples counseling
  • Medication prescription and management
  • Complementary mental health services (such as yoga or meditation)

Customer Focus

Harmony Mental Health Center will serve the residents of the Portland, Oregon area who are struggling with difficult life challenges or serious mental health concerns. We will primarily target residents earning less than the local median income by offering a sliding scale fee system.

Management Team

Harmony Mental Health Center is led by Sasha Pascal, who has been a trained and licensed psychiatrist for 20 years. Throughout her career, Sasha has helped hundreds of clients improve their mental health by providing counseling and medication management services. However, she has seen many people stop care or not get care at all due to the expensive costs of the mental health industry. She has made it her mission to create a practice that offers a sliding scale so that more members of the Portland community can get the help they need.

Success Factors

Harmony Mental Health Center will be able to achieve success by offering the following competitive advantages:

  • Friendly, knowledgeable, and highly qualified team of mental health professionals that will provide effective treatment plans depending on the clients mental health history and needs.
  • Comprehensive list of mental health services that allows the counseling staff to find the best treatment options for each client.
  • An affordable sliding scale that makes our mental health services far more affordable than the competition.

Financial Highlights

Harmony Mental Health Center is currently seeking $650,000 to launch. The funding will be dedicated towards securing the office space and purchasing equipment and supplies. Funding will also be dedicated towards three months of overhead costs to include payroll of the staff, rent, and marketing costs. Specifically, these funds will be used as follows:

  • Office interior build out and design: $100,000
  • Office equipment, supplies, and materials: $100,000
  • Three months of overhead expenses (payroll, rent, utilities): $300,000
  • Marketing costs: $50,000
  • Working capital: $100,000

The following graph below outlines the pro forma financial projections for Harmony Mental Health Center.

Harmony Mental Health Center Financial Projections

Company Overview

Who is harmony mental health center.

Harmony Mental Health Center is a new mental health private practice located in Portland, Oregon. The practice is focused on helping community members cope with their mental health concerns, particularly those who are living with severe conditions such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The practice will have a full staff of counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists in order to offer as many services as possible to help our clients cope and improve their mental well-being.

  In addition to providing these services, we offer sliding scale rates for members who earn below the local median salary. Mental health services are typically very expensive, which prevents many people with mental health disorders from getting the help they need. We hope that by providing this sliding scale, more people will be able to afford our care and get help.

Harmony Mental Health Center’s History

Once Sasha came up with her idea to offer affordable mental health services, she immediately began to do the groundwork to make it a reality. She conducted a market analysis to see who would benefit the most from these services and recruited other mental health professionals who were interested in joining the practice.

After finishing her analysis, she set out to find a potential office location. She has found an ideal location and is currently due diligence on the property. Once the lease is signed, all operations will move there.

Since incorporation, Harmony Mental Health Center has achieved the following milestones:

  • Found a potential commercial space and signed a Letter of Intent to lease it
  • Developed the company’s name, logo, social media accounts, and website
  • Determined space design and required equipment
  • Hired an administrative assistant to help with bookings and schedules
  • Hired several mental health professionals to the team

Harmony Mental Health Center’s Services

Harmony Mental Health Center will provide a wide variety of services to help our clients cope with their challenges and mental health concerns. Each client’s path of treatment will vary depending on their condition or particular challenges and needs.

Below is a list of some of the services that Harmony Mental Health Center will offer to its clients:

Industry Analysis

The mental health services industry is expected to grow substantially over the next few years.

Now that the world understands the importance of mental health, many people are seeking out care for their mental health concerns. This is creating incredible demand for mental health private practices and the expertise and care of mental health professionals. This demand will ensure the industry continues to expand and remains profitable.

One challenge to private practices is the popularity of app-based therapy companies such as BetterHelp and Talkspace. These apps have thousands of customers due to their convenience and affordable rates. Private practices that offer remote sessions and inexpensive fees will be able to compete with these apps.

Another challenge is the skyrocketing costs of mental health care. Due to demand and inflation, counseling fees and medication costs are quickly rising. This makes it much harder for people in middle or lower economic brackets to receive the care they need. Practices that offer sliding scale fees or partner with numerous insurance plans are more likely to keep a steady clientbase.

Customer Analysis

Demographic profile of target market.

The demographic for the Portland, Oregon area are as follows:

Customer Segmentation

Harmony Mental Health Center will primarily target the following customer profiles:

  • Residents with mental health conditions
  • Residents earning less than the median income
  • Young adults

Competitive Analysis

Direct and indirect competitors.

Harmony Mental Health Center will face competition from other companies with similar business profiles. A description of each competitor company is below.

Mount Hood Therapy Center

Mount Hood Therapy Center is a large and popular therapy clinic that provides a wide range of counseling and mental health services. It staffs dozens of mental health professionals who all have various backgrounds, training, and education. This allows them to serve as many clients as possible and provide them with the exact mental health treatment they need. These services include traditional counseling, medication management, and complementary therapies, such as yoga.

While we expect Mount Hood Therapy Center to continue to thrive based on its popularity and variety of services offered, the clinic is very expensive and primarily caters to residents who earn a high income or have great insurance. Residents earning under the median income are not likely to afford these services and will come to Harmony Mental Health Center to receive care.

Stumptown Wellness

Stumptown Wellness is a counseling clinic that will be located in the same business center as Harmony Mental Health Center. It is a fairly affordable clinic that provides individual, group, and couples counseling services. It is one of the more popular counseling clinics in the area and has had a great reputation since its opening in 2005.

Though Stumptown Wellness is thriving, the practice does not offer psychiatry services or medication management options. Many people with mental health conditions utilize these services to manage their symptoms and need a practice that provides them. Therefore, people with these conditions will be more inclined to seek the help of Harmony Mental Health Center.

Mental Health Matters

Mental Health Matters is a community service of affordable therapy offered by a local university. It is run by students who are training to become licensed therapists but do not have a license yet. They are supervised by their professors, who are trained, experienced, and licensed therapists. Because licensed professionals do not conduct the services, they are offered at an affordable rate and only to clients who earn less than the median income in the area.

Though Mental Health Matters offers a great service to the community, many clients prefer working with a licensed professional. We will be able to provide a similar sliding scale but also provide mental health services that are administered by trained and licensed professionals. Mental Health Matters also does not provide psychiatric services which our practice will have.

Competitive Advantage

Harmony Mental Health Center will be able to offer the following advantages over their competition:

  • Friendly and qualified staff : Harmony Mental Health Center will hire a team of friendly, knowledgeable, and highly qualified mental health professionals that will provide effective treatment plans to our clients.
  • Quality mental health services : Harmony Mental Health Center will have a comprehensive list of mental health services that allows the counseling staff to find the best treatment options for each client.
  • Sliding scale : Harmony Mental Health Center will offer a sliding scale fee system that makes our mental health services far more affordable than the competition.

Marketing Plan

Brand & value proposition.

Harmony Mental Health Center will offer the unique value proposition to its clientele:

  • Convenient location
  • Qualified and highly trained team of counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists
  • Comfortable, relaxing atmosphere
  • Sliding scale for residents earning less than the median income

Promotions Strategy

The promotions strategy for Harmony Mental Health Center is as follows:

Website/SEO

Harmony Mental Health Center will design an efficient and appealing website to attract clients. The website will be well organized, informative, and list the services that we provide. The website will also list information about our sliding scale.

We will also manage the company’s website presence with SEO marketing tactics so that when someone types in a search engine “Portland mental health center ” or “mental health center near me”, Harmony Mental Health Center will be listed at the top of the search results.

Social Media

Sasha Pascal will create accounts on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube. She will ensure Harmony Mental Health Center maintains an active social media presence with regular updates and promotional content to incentivize customers to utilize our services.

Doctor’s Offices

Sasha will visit multiple doctors and primary care offices to ask them to refer our company to any patients needing affordable mental health services. We will ask them to keep a handful of our brochures on hand and hand them out to whoever requests a mental health clinic.

Ongoing Customer Communications

Harmony Mental Health Center will publish a monthly email newsletter to provide education information about mental health as well as self-care tips.

Harmony Mental Health Center’s pricing will be moderate so clients feel they receive great value when utilizing our mental health services. We will bill our clients’ insurance companies first and then charge our clients directly for whatever their plans don’t cover.

Operations Plan

The following will be the operations plan for Harmony Mental Health Center. Operation Functions:

  • Sasha Pascal will be the President of Harmony Mental Health Center and oversee the general operations of the practice. She will also provide counseling and psychiatry services to her initial clientbase.
  • Sasha recently hired an Administrative Assistant named Janie White. She will help with scheduling appointments, basic marketing tasks, and other general administrative duties.
  • To meet the mental health needs of the community, Sasha will hire a solid team of counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists who can provide a wide variety of mental health services for the company.

Milestones:

Harmony Mental Health Center will have the following milestones completed in the next six months.

  • 07/202X – Finalize lease agreement
  • 08/202X – Design and build out Harmony Mental Health Center
  • 09/202X – Hire and train initial staff
  • 10/202X – Kickoff of promotional campaign
  • 11/202X – Launch Harmony Mental Health Center
  • 12/202X – Reach break-even

Sasha Pascal has a Ph.D in Psychology from the University of Oregon. In addition to helping clients with their mental health concerns, she has been running her own private practice for nearly ten years. Therefore, she has the necessary experience to run a larger mental health private practice and will lead our company to success.

Financial Plan

Key revenue & costs.

The key revenues for Harmony Mental Health Center will come from the fees charged for providing mental health services. The fees will either be charged directly to the client or their insurance carrier, depending on whether or not they have insurance coverage for mental health care.

The major cost drivers for the company will include the cost of supplies, salaries, overhead costs, and marketing expenses.

Funding Requirements and Use of Funds

Key assumptions.

The following outlines the key assumptions required in order to achieve the revenue and cost numbers in the financials and pay off the startup business loan.

  • Number of clients per year:
  • Year 3: 125
  • Year 4: 165
  • Year 5: 200
  • Annual rent: $100,000
  • Average counseling session cost: $100

Financial Projections

Income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement, mental health private practice business plan faqs, what is a mental health private practice business plan.

A mental health private practice business plan is a plan to start and/or grow your mental health private practice business. Among other things, it outlines your business concept, identifies your target customers, presents your marketing plan and details your financial projections.

You can easily complete your Mental Health Private Practice business plan using our Mental Health Private Practice Business Plan Template here .

What are the Main Types of Mental Health Private Practice Businesses?

There are a number of different kinds of mental health private practice businesses , some examples include: Cognitive Therapy, Behavioral Therapy, Holistic Therapy, and Interpersonal Therapy.

How Do You Get Funding for Your Mental Health Private Practice Business Plan?

Mental Health Private Practice businesses are often funded through small business loans. Personal savings, credit card financing and angel investors are also popular forms of funding.

What are the Steps To Start a Mental Health Private Practice Business?

Starting a mental health private practice business can be an exciting endeavor. Having a clear roadmap of the steps to start a business will help you stay focused on your goals and get started faster.

1. Develop A Mental Health Private Practice Business Plan - The first step in starting a business is to create a detailed mental health private practice business plan that outlines all aspects of the venture. This should include potential market size and target customers, the services or products you will offer, pricing strategies and a detailed financial forecast.

2. Choose Your Legal Structure - It's important to select an appropriate legal entity for your mental health private practice business. This could be a limited liability company (LLC), corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks so it’s important to do research and choose wisely so that your mental health private practice business is in compliance with local laws.

3. Register Your Mental Health Private Practice Business - Once you have chosen a legal structure, the next step is to register your mental health private practice business with the government or state where you’re operating from. This includes obtaining licenses and permits as required by federal, state, and local laws.

4. Identify Financing Options - It’s likely that you’ll need some capital to start your mental health private practice business, so take some time to identify what financing options are available such as bank loans, investor funding, grants, or crowdfunding platforms.

5. Choose a Location - Whether you plan on operating out of a physical location or not, you should always have an idea of where you’ll be based should it become necessary in the future as well as what kind of space would be suitable for your operations.

6. Hire Employees - There are several ways to find qualified employees including job boards like LinkedIn or Indeed as well as hiring agencies if needed – depending on what type of employees you need it might also be more effective to reach out directly through networking events.

7. Acquire Necessary Mental Health Private Practice Equipment & Supplies - In order to start your mental health private practice business, you'll need to purchase all of the necessary equipment and supplies to run a successful operation. 

8. Market & Promote Your Business - Once you have all the necessary pieces in place, it’s time to start promoting and marketing your mental health private practice business. This includes creating a website, utilizing social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, and having an effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. You should also consider traditional marketing techniques such as radio or print advertising.

Dr. Cassidy Freitas LMFT

What to Include in a Private Practice Business Plan

Takeaway: In private practice, you’re more than a therapist–you’re also a business owner. Whether you’re just starting your private practice or want to revamp it, having a solid business plan can help.

In this post, we’ll answer all your questions about creating a private practice business plan: what it looks like, why you should have one, and what to include.

private practice business plan

Congratulations on your decision to start your own private practice! This is a huge step in your career that deserves to be celebrated.

At the same time, it's okay if you have mixed feelings. I've been in your shoes before, and I'm all too familiar with the anxiety, overwhelm, doubt, and imposter syndrome that can come along with building a counseling private practice.

These feelings don't dictate your worthiness as a therapist or your ability to build the modern practice of your dreams, though. With a solid business plan, you'll have the confidence and inspiration you need to create your private practice.

Therapy private practice business plan basics

You might feel a little hesitant or uncertain when thinking about a business plan for your mental health private practice-that is, if you're anything like I was when I was first starting out. After all, our grad school training focuses on providing counseling services, not conducting market research or calculating financial projections for a business.

However, your therapy practice is a business. Like any other company, it needs a business plan to really succeed. Here, we'll cover the business plan basics for your counseling private practice: what it is and why you need one.

What is a business plan for a therapy practice?

A business plan is exactly what it sounds like: a document that outlines all the details of your business. Think of it as your roadmap for starting and growing your practice.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration ( SBA ), a traditional business plan usually includes information about your business itself, the services you offer, your marketing plan, and financial information.

Your business plan should be a living document. Your personal, financial, and professional needs may change, and so can your ideal client. Keeping your business plan up to date will make it as effective as possible.

Oftentimes, more detail is better. Having a clear picture of your future practice can help you work toward your business goals and attract more potential clients.

With that being said, there is no right or wrong way to create a business plan for your counseling private practice. You can use whatever format and components make the most sense to you.

Why should I have a business plan for therapy practice?

Some therapists might feel resistant to creating business plans. You might wonder what the purpose of writing out your business plan when you've already conceptualized it in your head. You might think that formal business planning feels unnecessary for a counseling private practice. Maybe you simply feel lost and unsure where to begin.

I get it-I've been there. I can say for sure that having a business plan has been super helpful for growing my modern practice-and it has been for the hundreds of therapists I've helped, too. Here are just a few benefits of business planning when building your practice.

It defines your ideal client

When creating your business plan, you'll hone in on your ideal client. This isn't about excluding people from your private practice-it's about identifying who you work best with so you can be the most effective therapist you can be.

Consider what season of life your ideal client is in. Are they in the day-to-day of raising young children, or are they adjusting to an empty nest? Are they navigating the transition out of college, or are they at the peak of their career?

From here, you can gain perspective on what your ideal client's strengths and struggles are. Of course, each individual is different, but it's likely that you see themes amongst the people you work with.

Once you identify your ideal client, you can then formulate a marketing plan to help you reach them. (For more on therapist marketing strategies, read my blog post here !)

It reminds you what you have to offer

Part of your business plan is identifying which services you'll offer. On the surface, this might seem obvious-as a private practice therapist, obviously you're providing therapy services. However, there's more to it than that.

Do you offer therapy for children, adults, or both? Do you offer individual sessions, couples sessions, family therapy sessions, or group sessions? What modalities or approaches do you offer? Will you see clients in person or provide virtual therapy? How long will your sessions be?

Your offerings are unique. Taking the time to write them in your business plan can help recenter you when you lose sight of that.

It gives you a structured financial plan

When you have your own counseling private practice, your cash flow will be much different than if you worked for an agency. Chances are, you won't have the same amount deposited in your bank account every Friday.

This can definitely have its benefits. As a sole practitioner, you get to make all the financial decisions. What are your rates? Will you accept insurance or cash pay only?

I recommend taking the time to make an intentional financial plan as part of your business planning process. This will ensure that you can reach your financial goals instead of just winging it and hoping for the best.

It allows you to return to your business goals as needed

Your mission statement is the cornerstone of your business plan-and your practice. Like any job, having your own business isn't all rainbows and butterflies. There are times when work feels tough and times when it feels lighter-especially as a therapist.

Having a mission statement within your business plan can be incredibly grounding. When you're in a challenging season or just having a rough day, reviewing your business plan can help you remember why you started and where you want to go.

private practice business plan template

Creating a business plan for mental health private practice

Now that you know what they are and why they're important, it's finally time to create your own business plan! Hopefully, these prompts will get your wheels turning and help you visualize the modern private practice you want.

Again, there is no right or wrong way to make a business plan. If you'd like some structure, though, I have a private practice business plan template available as a free download here . In it, I include tons of prompts and brainstorming space to help you make your practice come to life.

What to include in a business plan for your therapy practice

Ready to dive in? Here are some of my top suggestions for things to include in your counseling private practice business plan!

Mission statement

Like we discussed, your mission statement is the foundation of your entire therapy practice. It encapsulates your "why": why you started your business, who you want to help, and what your goal is.

Our motivations are often complex. However, I highly recommend boiling your purpose down to one simple sentence. It gives you something to ground yourself throughout the entire process of building your practice. You may even consider keeping your mission statement somewhere you can see it often.

I also recommend identifying your values alongside your mission statement. This can just be a bulleted list. For example, do you value accessibility? Maybe you can offer a few sliding-scale spots if so.

Information about your ideal clients

Your business plan should also include information about the potential clients you hope to work with. It can be difficult to narrow down your ideal client, especially if you've worked with a variety of populations in the past. However, doing so can give you a clearer picture when growing your practice.

Try to be as specific as possible. Consider their age, gender, location, and other demographics along with their problems, goals, and where they're looking for help.

Details of your offer(s)

Again, getting clear about what you offer can help you structure your business-and your marketing plan. Think about where, when, and how you'll meet clients. Will you offer weekly sessions or biweekly sessions?

It's also important to consider the types of therapy you'll offer. Most therapists use a variety of different approaches, but you'll likely resonate with some more than others. Do you need additional training to hone your skills in these areas? This is worth considering as you get up and running.

Competitive analysis

I'm a firm believer that there is room for everyone in the counseling private practice space. With that being said, it's wise to get a sense of what your competitors offer. It can help you get a sense of what's currently working in your niche-and what's not.

When thinking about competitors, take a look at their offerings and marketing strategies. What services do they provide? How are clients accessing those services? How are they reaching clients? If you can identify a gap in the market or something you might approach differently, you can use that to your competitive advantage.

Legal information

This isn't the most fun part of building your practice, but it's necessary. You can also work with a local attorney to help you through this process.

Start by deciding which type of business entity you'll register as. For example, I started off as a sole proprietor and then formed a Corporation as my business grew. Depending on which business entity you choose, you may also need to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) through the IRS.

You'll also need to choose your practice's name. Check with your state registry to make sure that the name you want hasn't already been taken.

Finances are an important part of any business plan. Here, you'll decide what your rate is. You'll also make decisions about whether to panel with insurance companies or accept private pay only.

There is no right or wrong choice-do what aligns with your values as well as your professional and personal goals. When setting your rate, you'll also want to consider the cost of running your business, household bills, savings, and other expenses.

You can also factor in a growth plan. Will you increase your rates on a regular basis? How can you diversify your income? Of course, your practice isn't all about the money, but it's an important part of your business-and wellbeing.

When developing your practice, you'll also need to consider the day-to-day logistics. What practice management software will you use? Do you need to furnish your office? Figuring out these details can help your practice run smoothly.

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Get support with creating your private practice business plan

Want personalized advice and support as you build your practice? I've helped dozens of other therapists create modern businesses through private practice coaching for therapists . If you're interested, I encourage you to reach out today.

If you’d prefer a self-paced comprehensive roadmap to building a modern private practice, check out my course The Crafted Practice (I also have an Established Therapist Toolkit for the therapist who has already built their practice and is just looking for the modern marketing and diversifying income support!)

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How To Develop A Private Practice Business Plan

  • May 30, 2022
  • Becky DeGrossa

Last week, Howard Baumgarten of Smart Practice Central joined me to share his expertise with the CounselingWise community. In the webinar, he talked about the importance of having a private practice business plan for counseling, as well as what goes into creating one.

One of the things I took away from his presentation was to be successful, you need to be prepared, and you need to have a plan.

As the owner of a small business myself, I know that having a solid plan in place has been a vital aspect of CounselingWise’s growth and success. I’ve found that having a plan is what drives a business forward to achieve its goals . Without a plan, as Howard mentions, you are less successful.

During the webinar, Howard talked about the 11 different parts (or “modules”) of a business plan . Each part is equally important and pieces together an organized view of any business. Today, I am going to highlight five parts of Howard’s business plan. To learn about the other six (equally as important) parts, be sure to check out the webinar replay here .

Before we dive into the different parts of a successful business plan, I want to lead you with something to think about. During the webinar, Howard advised, “ Think about your business plan as a matter of survival in your professional life . It’s an opportunity for you to really organize yourself and appraise what is going on in your business.”

Business plan layout next to laptop.

5 Key Parts of a Successful Business Plan

1. the four c’s of your vision.

If you are familiar with the SWOT technique (a planning method use to evaluate your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats), then the 4 C’s will be something you relate to . 

Because he didn’t want to focus on a person’s weaknesses or threats, Howard viewed this planning method through a different colored lens.

The 4 C’s stand for:

  • What Are Your Capabilities? (your strengths)
  • What Are Your Challenges? (your weaknesses)
  • What Are Your Chances? (opportunities)
  • What Are Your Concerns? (threats)

This piece of the counseling business plan is key to evaluating your practice from a personal and professional level. 

Take out a pen and paper and jot down all of the above as they apply to you.  Get a piece of paper and breaking it into four columns. In each column, write down your professional and personal capabilities, challenges, chances and concerns. One thing to keep in mind—it’s okay to have the same thing in multiple categories.

By having your capabilities, challenges, chances, and concerns outlined on paper, you can better plan for the future of your practice and your personal life .

It forces you to take what’s kind of hazy and abstract in your head and makes it a tangible reality. That way then you know where you stand and how to move forward with your vision for your practice. 

2. Your Mission Statement

The next part of the private practice counseling business plan I want to highlight is your mission statement. In Howard’s presentation, he said to ask yourself… 

“What is my purpose? What was I born to do? What do I really want to do? How do I want to affect the populations I am working with? What am I empowered to do?”

By answering the above questions, and really digging down into the meat of the reason you get up every morning , you will develop a wholehearted mission statement for your practice.

But what does developing a mission statement look like in practice? 

For his therapy practice, Howard’s mission statement is, “ Build something new in order to change something old in order to grow .”

One thing to keep in mind when writing your own mission statement… 

Make sure you are writing the statement in lay terms , and not professional/clinical terms. Try to stay away from words like “depression,” “anxiety,” etc. You are writing this not only for yourself, but also for your clients.

3. Your Services

This is the who , what , when , where and why of your services as a private practitioner. 

This part of the private practice business plan is key to giving you the clarity you need in terms of the services you provide , and the services you may want to offer in the future.

  • Who? Who are you working with? Who are the populations you treat? Do you work with couples, adults, children (what age children?), teens? What kind of couples do you work with? For example: high conflict, couples about to get married, etc. Really dig deep into the “who” of your services to determine what clients you have and what clients you want.
  • What? What are the issues you want to focus on? If the “who” is couples, what type of couples issues do you want to work with? Howard’s example was that he likes to work with couples that have a high degree of conflict and are tired of fighting with each other.
  • When? When are you providing your services? When you are first starting out, as Howard mentioned, it could be Fridays and Saturday mornings. When you build your practice more, you can shift your hours more and more. Determine when you want to practice and include it in your plan.
  • Where? Where do you want to practice? Maybe you want to do a day in a doctor’s office. Maybe you want to offer therapy out in the community, or in the wilderness. Think creatively about where you want to practice. It will maximize the benefits of your services.
  • Why? For the why, you will want to see your mission statement. The why is all about your passion and purpose.
  • How? How do you treat your patients? This is all about your treatment intervention style (EFT, mind-body-connection, EMDR, etc). What are your technique leanings?

This part of the plan is powerful. It helps move you in terms of defining yourself and who you are. You will also draw from this part as your quick “this is what I do.”

As you are completing this part of your business plan, keep in mind that you will probably have three or four different sub-sections under each of these .

Answer each question for each service you offer or want to offer. Eventually, this will all be useful information that you’ll want to include on your website. 

If you’re thinking ahead and want to use this exercise to generate content for your website, check out how to write informative specialty pages .

business plan for mental health private practice

4. Personal Growth

To grow professionally, it’s important to take care of yourself so you can grow personally. 

In order to have a healthy work-life balance, you will want to focus on 4 main areas :

  • Nutrition: Are you eating a healthy, well-balanced diet?
  • Sleep: Are you getting enough sleep?
  • Exercise: Are you moving your body?
  • Spirituality: Are you expressing yourself spiritually? This could look like anything, such as a religious practices, time in nature, yoga , etc.

Think of things that are important to you on a personal level and write them down. Personal growth is a key piece of your business plan.

Because if you don’t grow yourself, how can you expect to grow your private practice? It all works in concert, together. 

5. Administration

The Administration part of the private practice business plan can be hard, especially if you are used to being a one-person show. 

And  if you think you can run the show without any professional support throughout your entire career, you will be spread very thin .

As part of your counseling business plan, you need to create an administration plan to ensure you have the support you need to build a successful practice—and keep your sanity. 

Think about the people who you currently have supporting your practice professionally. Then think about the people you may want to include in your group of practice professional support.

Naturally, some people may not be ready for this, so think about this part of your private practice counseling business plan when you are ready. 

You know you’re ready when you say to yourself, “I am getting really sick and tired of doing this admin task, and I am now in a place where I can afford to hire someone to do it for me.”

By getting support, you free up emotional space so you can pursue things that drive your interests and passions . This is a vital piece to your professional growth.

Administrative support includes but is not limited to… 

  • a medical biller (if you accept insurance),
  • a bookkeeper,
  • an accountant for tax purposes,
  • a financial manager/adviser,
  • an investment banker,
  • a corporate attorney,
  • an insurance agent,
  • a commercial real estate broker (rent or buy)
  • and a virtual/actual assistant.

Each part of the counseling business plan that I discussed today is vital to a successful practice. Your business plan, however, really isn’t complete without the remaining six. To learn about all 11 parts, and to learn more from Howard about a successful business plan, watch the webinar replay here .

You can also download the Business Plan Template here .

One last tip : Don’t just write your plan and forget about it. Howard recommends going back every six or so months to revisit the plan and stick to your goals.

You can also watch my interview with Howard Baumgarten, founder of Smart Practice Central, below. 

Enjoy the replay!

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Mental Health Private Practice Business Plan

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Want to start a private practice business? The rapidly increasing demand and untapped market make this an extremely lucrative business opportunity.

Anyone with expertise and resources can start a new business. However, you will require a detailed business plan to leverage your niche market and raise funds.

Need help writing a business plan for your mental health private practice? You’re at the right place. Our mental health private practice business plan template will help you get started.

How to Write A Mental Health Private Practice Business Plan?

Writing a mental health private practice business plan is a crucial step toward the success of your business. Here are the key steps to consider when writing a business plan:

1. Executive Summary

An executive summary is the first section planned to offer an overview of the entire business plan. However, it is written after the entire business plan is ready and summarizes each section of your plan.

Here are a few key components to include in your executive summary:

Introduce your Business:

Start your executive summary by briefly introducing your business to your readers.

Market Opportunity:

Products and services:.

Highlight the mental health private practice services you offer your clients. The USPs and differentiators you offer are always a plus.

Marketing & Sales Strategies:

Financial highlights:, call to action:.

Ensure your executive summary is clear, concise, easy to understand, and jargon-free.

2. Business Overview

The business overview section of your business plan offers detailed information about your company. The details you add will depend on how important they are to your business. Yet, business name, location, business history, and future goals are some of the foundational elements you must consider adding to this section:

Business Description:

Describe your business in this section by providing all the basic information:

Describe what kind of mental health private practice you offer and the name of it. You may specialize in one of the following private practices:

  • Psychiatry practice
  • Neuropsychology practice
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Cognitive therapy
  • Specialized Mental health practice: Couples therapy, eating disorder, trauma and PTSD, addiction, grief.
  • Describe the legal structure of your private practice company, whether it is a sole proprietorship, LLC, partnership, or others.
  • Explain where your business is located and why you selected the place.

Mission Statement:

Business history:.

If you’re an established mental health private practice service provider, briefly describe your business history, like—when it was founded, how it evolved over time, etc.

Future Goals

This section should provide a thorough understanding of your business, its history, and its future plans. Keep this section engaging, precise, and to the point.

3. Market Analysis

The market analysis section of your business plan should offer a thorough understanding of the industry with the target market, competitors, and growth opportunities. You should include the following components in this section.

Target market:

Start this section by describing your target market. Define your ideal customer and explain what types of services they prefer. Creating a buyer persona will help you easily define your target market to your readers.

Market size and growth potential:

Describe your market size and growth potential and whether you will target a niche or a much broader market.

Competitive Analysis:

Market trends:.

Analyze emerging trends in the industry, such as technology disruptions, changes in customer behavior or preferences, etc. Explain how your mental health practice will cope with all the trends.

Regulatory Environment:

Here are a few tips for writing the market analysis section of your mental health private practice business plan::

  • Conduct market research, industry reports, and surveys to gather data.
  • Provide specific and detailed information whenever possible.
  • Illustrate your points with charts and graphs.
  • Write your business plan keeping your target audience in mind.

4. Products And Services

The product and services section should describe the specific services and products that will be offered to customers. To write this section should include the following:

Describe your services:

Mention the private practice services your business will offer. This list may include services like,

  • Assessments and evaluation
  • Treatment planning
  • Medication management
  • Therapy sessions
  • Psychoeducation

Treatment and therapies:

Mention different types of treatments and therapies you will offer at your private practice.

Quality measures

: This section should explain how you maintain quality standards and consistently provide the highest quality service.

Additional Services

In short, this section of your mental health private practice plan must be informative, precise, and client-focused. By providing a clear and compelling description of your offerings, you can help potential investors and readers understand the value of your business.

5. Sales And Marketing Strategies

Writing the sales and marketing strategies section means a list of strategies you will use to attract and retain your clients. Here are some key elements to include in your sales & marketing plan:

Unique Selling Proposition (USP):

Define your business’s USPs depending on the market you serve, the equipment you use, and the unique services you provide. Identifying USPs will help you plan your marketing strategies.

Pricing Strategy:

Marketing strategies:, sales strategies:, customer retention:.

Overall, this section of your mental health private practice business plan should focus on customer acquisition and retention.

Have a specific, realistic, and data-driven approach while planning sales and marketing strategies for your mental health private practice, and be prepared to adapt or make strategic changes in your strategies based on feedback and results.

6. Operations Plan

The operations plan section of your business plan should outline the processes and procedures involved in your business operations, such as staffing requirements and operational processes. Here are a few components to add to your operations plan:

Staffing & Training:

Operational process:, software & tools:.

Include the list of equipment and machinery required for mental health private practice, such as diagnostic tools, office equipment, EHR system, etc.

Adding these components to your operations plan will help you lay out your business operations, which will eventually help you manage your business effectively.

7. Management Team

The management team section provides an overview of your mental health private practice management team. This section should provide a detailed description of each manager’s experience and qualifications, as well as their responsibilities and roles.

Founders/CEO:

Key managers:.

Introduce your management and key members of your team, and explain their roles and responsibilities.

Organizational structure:

Compensation plan:, advisors/consultants:.

Mentioning advisors or consultants in your business plans adds credibility to your business idea.

This section should describe the key personnel for your mental health private practice services, highlighting how you have the perfect team to succeed.

8. Financial Plan

Your financial plan section should provide a summary of your business’s financial projections for the first few years. Here are some key elements to include in your financial plan:

Profit & loss statement:

Cash flow statement:, balance sheet:, break-even point:.

Determine and mention your business’s break-even point—the point at which your business costs and revenue will be equal.

Financing Needs:

Be realistic with your financial projections, and make sure you offer relevant information and evidence to support your estimates.

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9. Appendix

The appendix section of your plan should include any additional information supporting your business plan’s main content, such as market research, legal documentation, financial statements, and other relevant information.

  • Add a table of contents for the appendix section to help readers easily find specific information or sections.
  • In addition to your financial statements, provide additional financial documents like tax returns, a list of assets within the business, credit history, and more. These statements must be the latest and offer financial projections for at least the first three or five years of business operations.
  • Provide data derived from market research, including stats about the mental health private practice industry, user demographics, and industry trends.
  • Include any legal documents such as permits, licenses, and contracts.
  • Include any additional documentation related to your business plan, such as product brochures, marketing materials, operational procedures, etc.

Use clear headings and labels for each section of the appendix so that readers can easily find the necessary information.

Remember, the appendix section of your mental health private practice business plan should only include relevant and important information supporting your plan’s main content.

This sample mental health private practice business plan will provide an idea for writing a successful mental health private practice plan, including all the essential components of your business.

After this, if you still need clarification about writing an investment-ready business plan to impress your audience, download our mental health private practice business plan pdf.

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What are Key Elements of Business Plan

What are Key Elements of Business Plan

Frequently asked questions, why do you need a mental health private practice business plan.

A business plan is an essential tool for anyone looking to start or run a successful mental health private practice business. It helps to get clarity in your business, secures funding, and identifies potential challenges while starting and growing your business.

Overall, a well-written plan can help you make informed decisions, which can contribute to the long-term success of your mental health private practice company.

How to get funding for your mental health private practice business?

There are several ways to get funding for your mental health private practice business, but self-funding is one of the most efficient and speedy funding options. Other options for funding are:

  • Bank loan – You may apply for a loan in government or private banks.
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) loan – SBA loans and schemes are available at affordable interest rates, so check the eligibility criteria before applying for it.
  • Crowdfunding – The process of supporting a project or business by getting a lot of people to invest in your business, usually online.
  • Angel investors – Getting funds from angel investors is one of the most sought startup options.

Apart from all these options, there are small business grants available, check for the same in your location and you can apply for it.

How do I write a good market analysis in a mental health private practice business plan?

Market analysis is one of the key components of your business plan that requires deep research and a thorough understanding of your industry. We can categorize the process of writing a good market analysis section into the following steps:

  • Stating the objective of your market analysis—e.g., investor funding.
  • Industry study—market size, growth potential, market trends, etc.
  • Identifying target market—based on user behavior and demographics.
  • Analyzing direct and indirect competitors.
  • Calculating market share—understanding TAM, SAM, and SOM.
  • Knowing regulations and restrictions
  • Organizing data and writing the first draft.

Writing a marketing analysis section can be overwhelming, but using ChatGPT for market research can make things easier.

How detailed should the financial projections be in my mental health private practice business plan?

The level of detail of the financial projections of your mental health private practice business may vary considering various business aspects like direct and indirect competition, pricing, and operational efficiency. However, your financial projections must be comprehensive enough to demonstrate a complete view of your financial performance.

Generally, the statements included in a business plan offer financial projections for at least the first three or five years of business operations.

Can a good mental health private practice business plan help me secure funding?

Indeed. A well-crafted mental health private practice business plan will help your investors better understand your business domain, market trends, strategies, business financials, and growth potential—helping them make better financial decisions.

So, if you have a profitable and investable business, a comprehensive business plan can certainly help you secure your business funding.

What's the importance of a marketing strategy in a mental health private practice business plan?

Marketing strategy is a key component of your software company business plan. Whether it is about achieving certain business goals or helping your investors understand your plan to maximize their return on investment—an impactful marketing strategy is the way to do it!

Here are a few pointers to help you understand the importance of having an impactful marketing strategy:

  • It provides your business an edge over your competitors.
  • It helps investors better understand your business and growth potential.
  • It helps you develop products with the best profit potential.
  • It helps you set accurate pricing for your products or services.

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Developing A Business Plan for Your Mental Health Private Practice

Developing A Business Plan for Your Mental Health Private Practice

Business plans act as the foundation for any type of business and are important for setting benchmarks to measure success. But how do you write a business plan for a mental health private practice? Valant takes a look at the components of a business plan and translates it into an easy-to-use framework for both mental health professionals looking to start their own private practice and those looking to expand their current practice. Check out our guide to creating an effective private mental health practice business plan below.

Mission Statement / Vision Statement:

As behavioral health providers, you all are in the business of saving lives. But what makes your services unique? What value are you bringing? Make sure when you are drafting your mission statement you answer these four questions:

  • What does my practice do?
  • How do we do it?
  • Whom do we do it for?
  • What value does your practice bring?

Description of your Practice and Service:

What is your service delivery model? What kinds of patients do you want to see, including age range and presenting problems? How many hours per week do you wish to work and on what days? What types of services will you provide (e.g. therapy versus medication management)?

Legal Framework:

The three basic choices for your psychiatric business entity are: sole proprietorship, LLC, and S corporation . The choice is based mainly on relative costs, tax implications, and general business liability (rather than professional liability). If you do plan to expand to a group practice, you should probably consider an LLC or S corporation so you have the option of continuing under the same tax ID number, but we recommend consulting with a local accountant and lawyer with experience working for other health care providers before deciding.

Mental Health Practice – Operations Model:

Operating processes can be broken up into four categories: facilities, front office, back office, and insurance.

Facilities refers to your plan for location, furniture, phone, internet, hardware, and any other tangible item or service that enables you to provide your clinical services.

Front-office refers to your plan for handling non-clinical patient facing interactions such as your intake process, administrative phone calls, reception and scheduling, eligibility and verification checking, handling of patient payments, no show and cancellation policies, and prescription management policies and procedures.

Back-office functions are dominated by medical billing but could also include transcription services and handling of documents.

Insurance refers to the package of insurance that you’ll need, including general liability, professional liability, or any other insurance you might want for you or your staff (medical, dental, and long and short term disability).

An electronic health record has the potential to influence and streamline all operation models, so it is important to have the right EHR in place.

Watch our product videos to see how Valant’s EHR and practice management system streamlines operations for mental health private practice

Team refers to internal staff and outside consultants such as a lawyer, accountant, bookkeeper and medical biller. We recommend developing a strategic employee incentive system that addresses benefits, compensation, appreciation, and recognition. One of the most costly expenses your practice can endure is staff turnover. Want to learn more including recruiting tips? Watch our webinar “How to Recruit and Retain Top Talent in your Mental Healthcare Practice”

Marketing Strategy / Generating Patient Flow:

Developing A Business Plan for Your Mental Health Private Practice

Especially for new practices, it’s important to dedicate a certain number of hours each week to marketing your private practice , generating patient flow, and supporting your practice’s capacity goals. Many practitioners find that word-of-mouth marketing and/or referrals are their most effective sources of new patients; in today’s saturated therapeutic market, however, establishing a digital presence may also be necessary.

Building A Website

With that in mind, building a website (or hiring a professional to build one for you) is the natural first step in promoting your practice online. Your website will act as the home base for all of your digital marketing efforts — meaning, every other digital marketing initiative you try should direct traffic back to your website. As the foundational piece of your marketing strategy, your website should be intuitive, attractive, and optimized for search engine visibility.

It will also be important to support your website with new, high-quality content once it is built out and launched. Starting an informative, active blog can be a fantastic way to highlight your expertise, reach engaged audiences, and support your positioning in search engine results.

Referrals & Directories

In most cases, the two most common means for finding new patients are to 1) utilize and nurture a referral network and 2) be on insurance contracts. This makes sense in practice; people trust other people to give honest referrals of a practitioner and their practice. They also want to ensure the provider is on their insurance network before moving forward.

With that in mind, you will need to develop referral sources to generate patient flow and to build the kind of practice that you want. Your referral sources will know your strengths and weaknesses and will refer accordingly.

In the online space, users often look to directories, insurance networks, and review sites to determine whether a provider is a right fit for them. Having active, complete profiles or listings on as many directories as applicable ensures you’re considered in the most relevant patient-provider searches possible. Additionally, directories and review sites act as an opportunity for current patients to leave reviews, providing invaluable feedback to support your practice’s long-term success.

A few examples of relevant, high-traffic directories you could sign up for include Google My Business , Psychology Today , GoodTherapy , or most social media platforms. Depending on the supply and demand characteristics in your area, however, being on insurance contracts and having profiles on insurance networks is sometimes all that is needed. 

Generating Patient Flow:

The two most common means for finding new patients are to utilize and nurture a referral network and to be on insurance contracts. Depending on the supply and demand characteristics in your area, being on insurance contracts is sometimes all that is needed. But, in most cases, you will need to develop referral sources to generate patient flow and to build the kind of practice that you want. Your referral sources will know your strengths and weaknesses and will refer accordingly.

Financial Model:

It is not necessary to have fancy financial projections to start and successfully operate a small psychiatric private practice, but it’s important to have an idea of what your net income will be and to understand the variables. Let’s break down the equation: net income = revenue – expenses.

Revenue Revenue = Average fee per face to face hour x hours worked It’s easy to overestimate this number by overestimating collections rates, fees paid by insurance for a unit of service, show rate, and patient flow. We recommend budgeting for 20% less than whatever you come up with in your plan, at least until you get validation from real revenue.

Expenses Expenses = Facilities + Front Office + Back Office + Insurance

A basic rule of thumb for expenses is that they represent anywhere from 15-30% of total revenue for a solo practice. If you employ staff or outside services for front office and back-office work, they tend to be divided pretty equally between the three. If you do not employ staff, then these expenses are more heavily loaded on facilities. Make no mistake, you are paying for those front office and back-office functions with your time. This is where the concept of opportunity cost applies. The cost of your time is dependent upon either the value you place on your time or the revenue you could generate by seeing patients during that time. However, opportunity cost does not explicitly appear in your financial statements.

If you would like to learn more about these financial metrics, we recommend reading our blog Financial Metrics 101

Private Therapy Practice Tips:

  • Don’t sweat excessively about location. You will probably move within 2 years. At that point, you’ll better understand your needs. You’ll also better understand the nature of your local market and the level of competitor saturation ; especially in areas where therapy is popular, it’s important to identify your niche and find an area where you can assert yourself as the local expert, rather than offer the same expertise as competitors in your neighborhood. Modern telehealth technology also makes the location of your practice less important. By offering virtual sessions in addition to in-person visits, you can reach a larger network of patients, regardless of their proximity to your practice. Learn more about Valant’s telehealth software .
  • Networking always pays off in terms of building the type of practice you want. Start early since that is when you will have the most time.
  • Most small business owners overestimate revenue, especially during transitions. Make sure that you have other sources of cash during your ramp up including other part-time work, savings, or a line of credit.
  • Understand the opportunity cost. There are many things in life that you love and do well. If you don’t love medical billing, don’t do it. That time could be better spent elsewhere.
  • Start with a behavioral health care focused Electronic Health Record. By using an EHR focused on your specialty, you’re eliminating spend on features and functionality that is not going to be pertinent to your practice, plus gaining efficiencies in having technology workflows that are intuitive for your discipline. It’s easier to build it into the fabric of your practice from the beginning rather than switching later.

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