As a passionate startup ABA therapy practice owner, you may find the prospect of scaling your organization both compelling and intimidating. This journey comes with unique hurdles that demand strategic planning and thoughtful consideration. From expanding your team to enhancing services, managing finances, and more, scaling your ABA practice requires a great deal of dedication and a clear roadmap. As we shift into the new year, consider the following recommendations for scaling your startup ABA practice.
Develop Plans for Staffing Your Team
As you embark on your journey of scaling your practice, you must consider how to grow your team. With growth comes increased responsibility. Startup practice owners tend to wear multiple hats, from conducting direct care and case oversight to marketing, billing, and more. It takes a delicate balancing act to delegate some of these duties while staying within your budget.
Evaluate your responsibilities and determine which positions to prioritize as you staff your growing team. It may be best to focus on growing your clinical team first, as administrative positions are not reimbursable and thus can be more costly. Consider also whether any duties can be outsourced. While your budget may not support hiring internal employees for all aspects of your practice at this time, outsourcing some of these responsibilities, such as billing, can reduce the strain on you so you can focus on growing your clients and staff.
Establish Marketing Practices
Next, evaluate your marketing practices. Start by clearly defining your organization’s core values and determine what sets you apart from others in your service area. Not every organization provides the same type, level, or quality of care. Establish marketing efforts that focus on what you do differently.
Consider the following marketing efforts as you scale your practice:
- Create a referral program– Offer incentives to your clients and staff for referring your organization to others.
- Develop an online presence– Contribute to ABA-related topics by posting blogs on your website and sharing on platforms like Facebook and Linkedin.
- Contribute to your community– Build relationships with community members by participating in local events and reaching out to pediatricians and other medical professionals in your area.
Focus on Client and Staff Satisfaction
As you scale, it’s critical you continue to prioritize the satisfaction of your clients and team. Develop ongoing plans for seeking feedback from all team members and clients to ensure your organization is living up to your expectations. Create a culture of feedback by encouraging open communication about concerns and areas of needed improvement. Offer a mode for anonymous feedback, such as providing a link to an anonymous Google form.
While you grow, ensure your client-to-staff ratio remains balanced. Avoid placing excessive responsibilities on your existing team as you grow, as that can be a recipe for burnout.
Consider Your Service Offerings
This is another opportunity to set yourself apart from your competitors. Evaluate the services you currently offer and consider whether you can redefine your current services or add additional ones. Consider adding social skills groups, school consultations, and consultative parent training to optimize your growth plans. Conduct a cost-benefit analysis to ensure the additional resources and time spent on expanding your services will be beneficial in the long term.
Evaluate Your Finances
While providing high-quality care is of the utmost importance, the financial health of your organization is critical to continuing that care. As you scale, it’s vital that you closely consider the financial impact of each business decision.
If you don’t already have a well-planned budget for 2024, now is the time to develop one. As your organization grows, so too do your expenses. Be sure to consider the additional costs of doing business, such as software additions, supplies, staffing expenses, and payroll.
Ensure you can pay yourself. While it is typical for a startup practice owner to struggle to pay themselves in the early days, this can lead to burnout, reduced motivation, and personal financial instability. If you’re unable to pay yourself, revisit your business plan before adding staff to your team.
As you look ahead into the new year, carefully consider what your practice needs to scale beyond startup mode. In our paper, Scaling Beyond Startup Mode in 2024, we delve deeper into what it takes for small ABA practice owners to grow past the startup phase.