Counseling is a great field to get into right now. But it also means that you must deal with some heavy competition in this area. A good way to address this challenge is to lay a strong foundation for your new counseling firm. This will help you stay geared to tackle competition and stay ahead.
To lay a strong foundation for your business, you must approach the start-up stage in the right way. Here are some tips you can use:
Define your target market
When you are thinking about setting up your counselor’s firm, you need to first think about what niche you plan to cater to. Who is your target audience? Which segment are you offering services to? Once you know your target clientele, you are in a better position to streamline your activities to them specifically. For example, you may be able to advertise in the right places where your target clients are likely to be.
Fix the right charges
A counselor charges client on an hourly basis. This rate depends on your experience, your credentials, your reputation, and the demand for services that you offer. Choosing a niche that is in great demand is a good move here, as you can see.
But apart from that, fixing your charges with attention to the current ‘market’ rates is important. You do not want to overprice your services. Clients may just go to a cheaper counselor then.
You also do not want to underprice yourself and seem like you are desperate for work. If you know someone who has been working in this niche for a while, asking them for advice on this aspect is a smart move.
There are many ways to do this. Staying visible in your community might just need you to be active in neighborhood events and play a prominent role in community service activities. Take part in events that are aligned with your professional skills. Attend webinars, be the keynote speaker at events, write articles for your local papers/magazines, and give lectures on your subject. These put you in the spotlight when it comes to your field of work. These also help establish your credentials as an expert in the niche.
It is equally important for you to have a presence online to ensure it tells potential clients what you offer and why you should be their choice. Create your website and make sure that it has all the relevant information about your counseling service- what you do, how you are qualified, how to take an appointment etc. Also, stay active on social media, engaging and interacting with people. You never know who a potential client might be.
Once you have defined your target clientele and your niche, you can even add to your credentials with qualifications that are very specific to this area. This puts you ahead of your competitors quite significantly. It is important for you to market yourself so that more people come to know about you and what you do. Learn to talk about your work in an interesting way, highlighting how you have helped people live their lives in a better manner.
Direct advertising is also important, and you can make use of local papers, social media, local TV channels, and more for this. Feedback from clients is an excellent way to show future clients that you are trusted. Also, happy clients are your best advertisement so ensure that you keep in touch with your old clients via phone or messages. Wish them on birthdays and anniversaries or during seasonal holidays. Sending thank you cards to clients is also an easy and effective way to maintain good relations with them that can translate into great feedback as well.
Protecting your business
Once you have your business ready to start, you also need to start thinking about the risks it faces. Insurance to safeguard your business is a critical first step in setting up your firm. Most business owners are well aware of the general liability insurance that is important for businesses, but they overlook risks arising from unhappy clients.
What happens when an unhappy client files a lawsuit against you for inadequate service? Or what if they claim that your advice caused them a loss? You may face lawsuits for delayed service or unskilled staff too. With Professional Liability Insurance covering your business, you will be protected from these potential risks.
Along with taking the right steps to set up your business so that it is geared to succeed, you also need to empower it with the right safeguards. Professional liability insurance is one such safeguard that you should consider.