A growing ministry or counseling practice may be a blessing, a nightmare, or some of both. Whichever situation you find yourself in, you are not alone and there is a path forward for healthy growth.
Here are a few great tips for your growing practice…
1. Define Successful Growth for You and Your Ministry
Spend time clarifying the dream and vision for your organization. Set aside time to “stay in the question” as you ask yourself important questions that will shape your future:
- How will growth help you achieve your purpose?
- What risks will growth present to your purpose, values and principles?
- What value will you bring to the lives of your clients?
- What work schedule do you want?
- What type of work do you wish to focus your time?
This last question leads into the second step toward healthy growth…
2. Do What You Love and Love What You Do
Growth changes things. Hopefully this is for the better, but the saying “no pain, no gain” can be said in reverse also: “with gain comes pain”. Growing pains are a fact of life and this is certainly true in business and ministry. As Michael Gerber explains, there are three critical roles for every small business owner. For our purposes, these are: The Clinician, The Manager and The Entrepreneur.
As a counselor or minister you automatically assume these three hats. The problem is most therapists are only trained for one hat – the role of the Clinician. Most graduate school programs don’t spend time training you on how to run a business, yet the other two roles are at least as important as the one for which you were trained. Building a plan for growth and living out that plan will require you to spend more time wearing the other two hats. What team do you have to support you in this journey?
2. Warm Up Your “Bus”
Jim Collins, bestselling author of Good to Great, uses the metaphor of a bus to describe an organization. He explains that great companies focus on having the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and people in the right seats. Depending on where your practice is today, growth will eventually lead to the need for your own bus in the form of employees, contractors and/or business partners to help you accomplish the work.
4. Systems, Systems, Systems
Certainly serving our clients is job #1, but studies have shown that a successful practice must have strong systems to grow. This requires management skills. Going back to the State of the Business Owner survey, E-Myth concluded the data showed companies fail to grow if the owner feels out of control. If you are unhappy or out of control, it is the wrong approach to simply focus on growing your client base or profit. The key is to establish strong systems first, which will set the foundation for growth and greater freedom in your practice.
5. Invest in Your Leadership Capability
Strong leadership is essential for any business to succeed.
- As the owner of your practice or as a member of one, on a scale from 1 to 10 how would you rate your leadership skills?
- What are three things that would help you achieve a 10 rating?
6. Plan for Regulatory Compliance
Another element of growth is the increasing role of government regulation on your practice. Don’t be caught by surprise. Ensure you have a team to guide you through these hurdles, such as an attorney and accountant. As your practice expands you may find that you have to consider new laws such as the Affordable Care Act, which requires businesses with more than 50 employees to provide substantial health care coverage or pay stiff penalties. There are other regulations such as the Americans with Disabilities Act that affects companies with more than 15 people and the Family and Medical Leave Act, which also impacts those with more than 50 employees.
Don’t be overwhelmed with trying to develop the perfect plan. A good plan executed well is always better than a great plan that never comes to life. If you would like more information on how to grow successfully visit us at www.GenesisAssist.com and find our monthly podcasts on iTunes under Practice Management Live.
Written By Dr Trina Greer and Steve Greer.
Dr. Trina Young Greer, LCP, is the founder and Executive Director of Genesis Counseling Center. Genesis is an outpatient counseling group with multiple sites, based in Virginia. Dr. Greer obtained her Doctorate of Psychology degree from Regent University and is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist. She obtained an Educational Specialist degree in Counseling from The College of William and Mary. She is passionate about applying best practice models to bring operational excellence to clinical settings of Christian counseling. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steve Greer, B.S., is the Chief Operating Officer of Genesis Counseling Center and a leadership coach. He has over 28 years of corporate leadership experience with Procter and Gamble. Steve is passionate about personal, leadership and organizational growth. He co-leads Genesis Assist which helps counseling practices start, grow and succeed. You can contact him at email@example.com.