7 Deadly Mistakes Made By New Practice Startups

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35. More Mistakes to Avoid When Starting Your Speech Therapy Private Practice

Recently, a listener named Darlene emailed me about starting her own speech therapy private practice. The more I read, the more I could see that she was unsure and scared about the process of getting started. She wanted to know the most common mistakes that people make when starting their own therapy practice.

Back in August 2017, I made a video post about the most common mistakes that people were making at that time.  Whenever I have monthly coaching and strategy calls with other business owners,  I always take notes.  So in this post, I go through all of my notes and update my listeners on additional mistakes that you should avoid when starting your own speech therapy private practice.

In this episode:
01:20 – + 29,930 listeners to the show
02:10 – Answering listener question
02:55 – Too much, too fast
06:11 – Relying on others
07:23 – Obtaining good advice
08:21 – Investing in yourself/knowledge
09:03 – Don’t Waste Your Time with insurance contracts, credentialing and billing – Let us Help You!


We’ve all seen those YouTube videos with cats and dogs who jump on a fast moving treadmill or those joggers when they jump on a treadmill. It’s going way too fast and they fall flat on their face and they get kicked off the treadmill. Now think about Private practice being that treadmill and if you jump on to a fast moving treadmill you’re going to fall flat on your face and not only that you’re going to get kicked out of the treadmill space.


Hello everyone you’re listening to the Speech Therapy Private Practice StartUp Podcast. This is episode number 35. My name is Kyle Meades and I’m a speech pathologist since 1993. And these podcasts are designed to help you improve your business and your life one Podcast at a time.

Welcome back to the show everyone. Thanks again for all the emails and all the questions and as of today, today is March the 10th 2018. It’s a Saturday and as of today we have well over 29,930 listeners to the show. And I’m glad that each and everyone of you guys are out there and if this is your first podcast welcome to the show. I hope that you will find everything that you’re looking for when you start your own Speech Therapy Private Practice.

And don’t forget the reason that I did this was because when I first started out there wasn’t anything out there like this so this is a way for me to give back and I hope you guys get the same valuable information that others do and for other people to find the podcast easily. If you wouldn’t mind just please go to the iTunes or Android platform of your choice and just leave some 5 star feedback. That way other people can find the podcast easily.

Now I wanted to go ahead and jump into today’s topic and it is from a listener. Her name is Darlene. She is from Pennsylvania and she emailed me a question recently and she says, “Hi Kyle, what are some of the biggest mistakes that you see when dealing with new therapy business startups?” Now I take notes when I speak to other private practice owners on the phone. And I do speak to private practice owners a lot and I take notes on every single phone call and I put it on my life sheet and that’s an Excel spreadsheet that I keep in my google drive and so I went back through that google drive and I searched my drive and I found these important points and I wanted to share that with you guys today.

Now one of the biggest mistakes with new Speech therapy business owners is starting out way too fast and just taking too large of a first step. Now let me give you an example. I spoke to someone recently who was just head over heels ready to get going. And I had to remind that person I said you want to take small steps and here’s the example think of a treadmill.

We’ve all seen those YouTube videos with cats and dogs who jump on a fast moving treadmill or those joggers when they jump on a treadmill. It’s going way too fast and they fall flat on their face and they get kicked off the treadmill. Now think about Private practice being that treadmill and if you jump onto a fast moving treadmill you’re going to fall flat on your face and not only that you’re going to get kicked out of the treadmill space. So you have to be very careful because we’re all human we all see other people who are successful who have their practices, who are making it and making a good living and having a great life. And of course we want that too. I mean I saw that, that was one of the things that made me want to do that first step and start my own Speech therapy private practice.

I remember after Hurricane Katrina I was out of work for a long period of time and I had a lot of time to sit and reflect and I just remember thinking about some of those private practice owners in New Orleans and seeing those lifestyles that people were living and I wanted that too. And so I got on the internet and I searched and searched and found a couple of PDFs and things like that. It just wasn’t a lot of information. So that’s one of the reasons I’m giving this back to you guys but don’t forget we see other people making it and we want that too. A lot of us still subscribed to that old thinking that old cliche. Build it and they will come.

I think that’s dead now because there’s so much competition out there with the Internet and social media. You can’t just throw up a clinic and put some chairs out there and buy a bunch of fancy equipment and hire a bunch of employees and borrow a bunch of money from the bank. Because if you do that too quickly without any patience you’re going to fail and you’re going to go belly up and you’re going to sink just like a ship with a hole in the bottom of it. So we have to take small steps. You don’t want to be on the hook for a lot of money because I’ve said it in those first three podcasts you’re going to be working for the bank and that is just no fun.

If you really stop and think about it to get what you want, it’s going to take about three to five years and once you have that in your brain add another year to it because this takes a long time to get established. Because you have to work out your referral base, you have to work out your payer sources or your contracts and your credentialing. And you have to save up money at the same time that you may have to borrow a little bit of money from the bank. But you want to do that slowly and gradually. It’s a long game and if you listen again to episode number 12 you’ll realize that Speech therapy private practice and in the startup process it’s a long game so you want to be in this for the long haul and it takes a certain personality and someone who is very driven and very motivated.

Now one of the second biggest mistakes that I see is relying on others too much. As humans we’re all fearful and we get nervous, we get scared, we get anxious and sometimes we want to cling on to somebody else but because of fear some people just think they need a business partner. Now I’m not saying that people shouldn’t or should have a business partner. That’s not my decision. I personally didn’t want any advice from other people. So I started my Speech therapy private practice by myself. I didn’t want any partners so I just chose not to do that. And if you do want to have a partner or multiple partners you want to make sure that the personalities fit the clinic and the partnership you want to make sure that everyone gets along. There’s nothing worse than having friends and I’ve seen this and this is why I wanted to put this out there. I have seen and spoke to people who went into business with others who they loved and respected. And it tore their friendship, it tore everything up. So at the end of the day make sure you get this part right if you’re going to have partners.

Also too you want to make sure that you seek the advice of an attorney because if you do have a partner in your business you want to make sure everything is legal and legitimate. So that’s what I wanted to say about that. Also again I chose to go into Speech therapy private practice by myself but it wasn’t until I hired a team. That’s when I started seeing the growth.

Now again a lot of people think that if you have a lot of employees you’re just making a ton of money, right? Wrong. Don’t forget with employees you have a lot of expenses, payroll taxes and things like that. So again a sole provider a one person show can do well in Speech therapy private practice but you have to remember it takes a team to really grow it to the next level take it to the next level and scale it. So don’t forget about that.

Now the third biggest mistake that I see new Speech therapy private practice owners make is they forget to invest in knowledge for themselves. Now don’t reinvent the wheel. I’ve seen so many people out there and spoken with so many people out there who are isolated and who just don’t take the time to invest in themselves and to network and get help. That’s one of the big reasons I started this Speech therapy private practice All Access Community forum. So people just like you can connect with people others who are just like you in the community. So you can find that at privateslp.com/coaching.

Another problem that I see people were just wasting too much time with insurance contracts and credentialing and billing. Again if you are a one person show and you are seeing every single person, you’re doing this scheduling, you’re doing the referrals, you’re doing the follow up phone calls, you’re doing the billing, credentialing and contracting. Don’t forget in order to get paid so you can be sustainable you’ve got to do your billing at the end of the day and that takes time. So if you’re seeing a full caseload 8-9-10-11-12 hours I mean that’s what it takes to be a private practice owner sometimes right. We have to work more than others so we can be successful. You have to have help. And when you start getting some payments you want to save those payments so you can pay your team to help you bill and collect more so you can get paid and continue to grow.

So I mean it’s a very simple process you want to free up your time to do what you do best that’s provide Speech therapy services not spin your wheels with credentialing, billing and collections. So I didn’t know if you guys knew this but we do provide a billing and credentialing service at privateslp.com/billing. So if that interest you you can always go there too.

So these are the four biggest mistakes that I see that private practice startup owners are making right now so I hope this has been helpful. And if you have any questions about anything in relation to your speech therapy private practice just reach out to me and I’ll help kyle@privateslp.com. And as always thank you for listening.

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