Setting up a business is fairly straight forwards and there may be start up workshops or in the case of Speech and language therapy, ASLTIP run a very successful introduction to setting up in independent practice. But what next? Here is often the more difficult part and where potentially money can be wasted and hours can be mis-spent.
I have been lucky enough to have set up and developed several businesses during my time out of speech therapy i.e. UK Garden Buildings Ltd which became the largest independent manufacturer of garden buildings in the UK, Hill Properties Developments Ltd, a property development company, Bexfield Developments Ltd, a leisure and entertainment business, and Armour Security Personnel Ltd, a security company.
What I learned was, that in many respects all businesses are the same, in that the same drivers need to be established. The answers will be different but the questions need to be the same. The lessons I learned from the other businesses helped me enormously when I was developing my speech and language therapy business which I started in 2007.
I've just read an ASLTIP forum post where the person was asking whether a website or leaflets or business cards are essential. A much better question would be 'who am I targeting and what would help me reach them? However, if you don't know the questions you should be asking, you are unlikely to get the right answers.
We are running a course to look at such matters called 'Developing your therapy business'.
If you come on this you will:
- understand essential business drivers
- learn about effective advertising and marketing
- be able to identify social media potential and learn how to harness this
- examine the usefulness of websites and SEO.
- learn how a business plan can be a practical tool.
I'm doing it with Ray Wellington who is Director of Strategy at Milton Bayer Communications which is a strategic,creative marketing agency.