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Why Your Private Practice Needs a Business Plan (and how to Write One)

Do you have business plan for your private practice? Have you ever considered creating one?

Heather and I were both mental health nurses who spent many years working in the NHS before setting up our own businesses. Together, we have well over 10 years’ experience running successful private practices. Our business models are very different – Heather has associates and leads a number of workshops in addition to seeing clients while I rent out rooms and sell digital products alongside my client work.

We both have a real love for the business side of things. We formed the Facebook group CBT in Private Practice a few years ago after hosting a workshop for therapists who were just starting out on their own. The group now has over 1K members and is constantly buzzing with advice and support.

One thing we’ve noticed is that many therapists start building their private practice without a clear plan in place. We think there’s a better way…

What is a Traditional Business Plan?

In simple terms, a business plan is a document setting out a business’s future objectives and strategies for achieving them. Traditional business plans tend to follow a standard structure. They’re usually very detailed and can be dozens of pages long, using some combination of the following elements:

  • Executive summary
  • Company description
  • Market analysis
  • Organisation and management
  • Service or product line
  • Marketing and sales
  • Funding request
  • Financial projections
  • Appendix

Sounds boring, right?

So boring, you might want to stop reading! Maybe it’s starting to feel a little bit corporate too? Perhaps it sounds complicated, overwhelming and time consuming? Business planning isn’t for you.

We thought the same thing.

To be honest, neither of us had a business plan until a few years ago when we sat down together and worked through one during a peer mentoring session. We quickly realised therapists needed a business plan formula relevant to their specific needs. Traditional models just didn’t cut it, so we started developing our own.

What Are the Benefits?

Ultimately, a business plan provides a clear direction for your private practice. It gives clarity, reduces risk and uncertainty, and helps you feel more confident. We both wish we had had one from the start. It would have saved us time and energy and prevented some of the obvious mistakes we made along the way.

A good business plan tells you what you need to do and how to do it. It’s a working, living document. Reviewing it regularly will ensure the running of your business doesn’t consume your time or overwhelm you.

When your business is running smoothly, you can focus on the therapy you provide and maintain the delivery of high-quality CBT. Working in this way also maintains the reputation of CBT as a gold standard treatment, securing your future and ensuring you’re able to continue doing what you love and have trained so hard to deliver.

Business Planning for Therapists

We’ve established traditional business plans aren’t the most exciting documents to pull together! But they do provide a really solid foundation for development and growth. We believe they’re essential for building successful, sustainable and profitable businesses.

That’s why we’ve created The Business Plan Coaching Programme. It’s designed to help therapists develop a business plan that’s modern, motivating and applicable to private practice.

The Business Plan Coaching Programme

Mirroring the format of CBT, you will Assess, Formulate, Plan and Accelerate your business within our 5-week coaching programme. Each week, there will be a 90-minute online workshop you can watch live or in your own time. Alongside this, you’ll have a workbook to complete. This will become your business plan document. You’ll also have access to a secret Facebook Group so you can become part of a small community who will keep you accountable and motivated.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Week 1 – Assess

Together, we’ll assess where you are now and where you want to get to. We’ll identify your core values and goals and figure out how to achieve them by creating a business and a life you love.

Week 2 – Formulate

Following this assessment, we’ll dive into the details. You’ll decide on the fundamentals of your business – the name, style and how it will run. We’ll also look at policies, procedures and legalities such as GDPR, contracts and agreements. Once completed, you’ll know exactly what you need to put in place to get going.

Week 3 – Reflect

Rest week! Or time to catch up on anything outstanding from the last two weeks. We’ll host a live Q&A to keep you motivated.

Week 4 – Plan

Getting your therapy out there is key. We’ll cover everything you need to know about marketing including creating a strategy and finding referrals.

Week 5 – Maintain

This week is maintenance week. We’ll review where we are and establish how to maintain progress even if things go wrong. We’ll look at your self-care needs and identify your strengths and weaknesses. Finally, we’ll pull together everything you’ve worked on so far to build your company profile.

You can learn more about The Business Plan Coaching Programme here.

Our Last Word

Running your own business is one of the most rewarding things you can do. You are your own boss, you set your own rules and you can be as creative as you like. But you also have to work harder than ever before. It doesn’t come easy and it’s easy to lose your way. A business plan does some of the hard work for you, creating a solid foundation from which to succeed and grow.

If you’re interested in joining the programme in June or would like to go on the waiting list for the next intake in March 2021, please get in touch via We would love for you to join us and we’re more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

Sarah and Heather x

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