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Grow your mental health practice in the second half of 2023 by setting, adjusting, and reaching achievable SMART goals around patient growth, finances, staff, and EHR.

Many business owners shy away from goal setting because of overwhelm. Mental health practitioners, however, have the advantage of understanding the importance of clarity and mindfulness when a client works toward self-improvement. Use this same logic for your practice!

Set SMART Goals to Grow Your Mental Health Practice

Business and mental health align when you set Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART) goals for your practice.

Where do you start and how does this approach work for business? Pick a goal. Maybe you’d like the practice to increase the average number of patients seen monthly?

Now, imagine you’ve already reached this goal. What steps did you take to get there?

Did you improve the patient experience? Was there an increase in marketing? Did your practice better communicate with interested patients? Brainstorm and write down every possible step you and your staff can imagine. Once you have a list of potential actions, you have the foundation for setting your SMART goals.

Break Big Goals into Specific, Bite-sized Actions

Apply this brainstorming technique to any big goal, such as increasing revenue or adding staff, and watch as the most overwhelming goals become manageable.

For instance, using SMART as your template, what specific actions could streamline your mental health practice in terms of billing and administrative tasks? Break it down and get specific.

Transform Your Brainstorm Into an Organized List

In the case of streamlined billing, are there other mental health practice owners willing to discuss their experiences with billing? Have you noticed any articles on the topic? Are there EHR programs you’d like to explore?

Take this a step further. Which colleagues will you consult with? How many EHR solutions will you consider? What’s your timeline? Six months? A year?

Measure Those Actions Through to Completion

Sometimes the best way to track your goal-achieving efforts is by simply crossing smaller actions off the list. Smaller goals, like speaking with three fellow business owners about experiences with billing, could count as a measure of success because this action brings you closer to streamlining your own billing processes.

Assess the Actions for Attainability, Relevance, and Timeliness

Take it even further and assess the attainability of these actions. How many hours of research will you devote to this goal in a month? Are these goals realistic given your workload? Can you achieve this goal alone, or do you need to delegate some of the smaller pieces? Is your timeline doable?

Follow this Template to Goal Achievement

The following is a mental health SMART goals example:

While looking at your profit and loss from a year ago, you notice profits are down. This forces a deeper look at the mental health private practice’s finances.

Goal: Catch up to last year’s profits within six months.

Growing your private practice means having constantly evolving goals. Even if you set the goal mid-year, it’s fine. The goal you create today will be useful next year and the year after.

  1. Make a list of all the reasons profits declined. Did you lose any patients? Did a staff member leave? Did expenses like rent increase? Are your administrative tasks bogged down by outdated systems?
  2. Make a list of potential actions to increase profitability. Granted, each of these points will have sub-points, but don’t get bogged down by trying to list everything.
    1. Hire another staff member.
    2. Select an EHR program that will help with your clinical and administrative efficiency.
    3. Consider moving your mental health private practice to reduce overhead.
  1. Go back over the lists. Share with a colleague or business partner for feedback. What points have value? What points lead to specific, measurable actions you can realistically achieve within the next month or two?
  2. Break it down further by defining actions for the first month through the sixth month. Month one might be a simple and honest financial inventory. Is there money for EHR software or a new hire? Is it possible to skip some steps and reach your goal more quickly?
  3. Twice a month, take a look at where things stand. What needs adjustment? Is your goal still relevant? Are the actions still specific, attainable, and relevant to your profitability? As economic stresses and staff shortages continue to drive behavioral healthcare, stay up-to-date with the latest trends in the industry.

Streamlining your mental health private practice with a one-stop software solution removes tons of time-consuming steps and gives you an opportunity to focus on clients. Look for software designed specifically for behavioral health professionals with user-friendly patient scheduling, billing, automated reminders, and more.