Depending on what you do, you may very well spend your days behind a closed door, working with one client at time, all day long.
That’s certainly the case with psychotherapists, some coaches, and holistic health practitioners such as massage therapists or acupuncturists. It may be the case, too, if you’re an herbalist, an attorney, or even a graphic designer.
(And if you work by phone or Skype, you may never see anyone but the cat!)
No need to complain, though. After all, isn’t that what it means to be a “solopreneur”?
But just because you run your business on your own, doesn’t mean you have to BE alone.
In fact, one of the most rewarding things you could do as a solo practitioner of any kind, is to build a group around you.
I did this, long ago, when first starting out. Previously, I’d worked in hospital settings as part of a treatment team. I knew that isolation was one of the risks (among others) of running a solo practice.
So, long before I began coaching other businesses, I built a group practice unlike most others. I still see a few clients there today. Not only are we respected for the care we offer, but we are equally known as a great place to work.
One of the premier sites for outpatient counseling in our community, our practice is an Association of Independent Practitioners that offers services for a variety of needs.
That means that everyone there works for herself – but that independence doesn’t mean that we’re a lonely, isolated bunch.
Far from it. :)
Instead, we’ve built a community who’ve come together around higher ideals we all share. And what we’ve created, you can create as well, regardless of your industry.
5 Foundations for a Great Group Practice
1. Operate from an abundance mindset.
One of the strongest values we share is a belief in an abundant universe. We don’t see other practitioners as competitors – at all. There’s enough business to go around, and the more we give, the more we receive. Our primary concern is that potential clients find the provider who’s best for them – whether that’s in our office or not.
2. Make customer service your prime directive.
Building on #1, what matters most is what’s best for our clients. That sounds so simple, doesn’t it? And yet, it isn’t, always.
No matter what type of business you’re in, are you making sure that your clients and customers are getting what’s best for them, whether or not they work with you?
3. Allow and encourage each other’s independence.
A few years ago, I ran for office and served on our county commission. To say that was disruptive to my practice at the time, would be an understatement.. And yet, no one in my practice even blinked. They were totally supportive all the way through, no matter what.
Over time, I’ve seen that same support for a practitioner going through a divorce, taking time off for family or medical care, changing the direction of her business or the focus of her life.
As a community of connected colleagues, we support one another through it all.
4. Set the bar high for expertise.
This is how you make sure #2 is in place.
Part of ensuring top quality care, is making sure that we only invite the best practitioners to the table. Over the years, we’ve grown increasingly clear about what that looks like for us, and have developed a process for finding those folks.
(Hint: it has more to do with setting the right intentions than posting an ad.)
5. Take time to connect.
Even in an office full of folks, it’s still pretty easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of running a business. We take various steps to make sure we stay connected with each other, including monthly gatherings and an annual retreat.
There are plenty of other factors of course, in terms of the structure and logistics of building a group practice. These principles, though, are our foundations, they are our North Star; our guidance for every decision we make.
What principles guide your practice?
Photo Credit: Moyan Brenn on Flickr