Evaluating Your Business Model

Your private practice business model describes who you aim to serve, how you create value for those individuals, your cost structure and revenue streams, and the key activities, resources, and relationships that make up your practice infrastructure.   Every so often, you should set aside some time to evaluate your business model.

A classic method for doing this is to consider your practice’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.  Strengths and weaknesses refer to the internal workings of your practice.  Opportunities and threats refer to how your practice is positioned within the larger environment.

Review the following questions from these four categories to get started.  Then determine where you might want to make adjustments:

• Do my practice offerings align well with what my prospective and current clients actually need?  Which additional client needs could I satisfy?  What extensions of my offerings are possible?

• Am I providing high-quality clinical work to my clients? Is there any way in which my offerings or the quality of those offerings might be disrupted?

• How’s my brand? Are the channels that I use effective in reaching those I want to serve?  Are those channels well integrated?

• Are any of those channels in danger of becoming irrelevant to prospective and current clients?

• Am I charging what prospective and current clients are willing to pay? Can I increase my fees?

• Is my income predictable? Are my income streams sustainable?  Are any of my income streams likely to disappear in the future?  Do I depend excessively on one or more income stream?

• Are my costs predictable? Which costs might grow more quickly than the income they support?

• Where can I reduce costs? Can I use less costly resources to achieve the same result?

• Am I partnering with other therapist colleagues or organizations? How are those relationships going?  Am I too dependent on certain partners?

• Which resources are under-utilized?

• How well am I balancing managing the business alone with hiring help?

These questions are adapted with permission from Osterwalder, A., & Pigneur, Y. (2013). Business Model Generation. New York: Wiley & Sons, one of my favorite business books.  One of the authors also created Strategyzer, a fantastic site with many tools for business owners.