This summer I'm working with a group of wellness pros to show them how to brand and launch their wellness business the right way. After getting clear on their brand, message, niche market and service offerings, the first thing I asked them to do was set up their private practice systems that help their wellness biz grow, and make them look and feel like a total pro.
And one of those systems is getting clear on your private practice policies.
- cancellation and no-show policiy
- make-up for missed session policy
- payment plan
- business hours and in-between appointment availability
- how to book appointments with you
- pre-framing testimonial and referral requests
- session time frame and what happens when clients show up late (hint - you end on time no matter what time they show up)
- and whatever else is relevant for your modality (IE - if you're a massage therapist, let people know if they are supposed to tip you or not, it can be really uncomfortable for your client if they're not sure)
This should not be pages and pages of do's and don'ts, but should fit neatly onto one page and languaged in client supportive verbage. IE - "I want the very best for you. Please try not to cancel your appointment. If you do need to cancel your appointment… ENTER POLICY HERE."
Very often, policies are non-existant or entirely way too loose in the wellness profession.This gives the client too much wiggle room to well, wiggle out of their committment to themselves and to you, and subjects your practice to the whims of your client. Not a great way to ensure you'll be in business years from now.
No matter what you put in your policies, the first thing to understand is that they are designed not to create strict rules and regulation, but to be in service of your client AND your business. It's not unusual for a wellness pro to make sure everyone gets what they need, no matter the cost to their own personal and professional well-being.
Consider policies as another way of setting empowering boundaries and making sure you as the wellness pro is well taken care of too. Anything less than that makes your practice unsustainable and does not support you doing what you love in any dedicated way.
Your policies (or "details of working together" as I like to call it) are designed to help your clients succeed. And they are designed to protect your business from the very nature of the the business that you are in.
In any transformational work, where your client base is attempting to heal, transform or achieve something they have not been able to do so on their own, it's natural for them to get scared and want to bail, even as they enroll in one of your programs and plunk down some money.
To ignore this is simply bad business. To acknowledge this is to create policies that gives them the nudge they need to follow through and honor their word. IE - If you offer a payment plan, consider shortening your clients' payment plan to complete BEFORE the end of your program . Your client is more likely to finish their program and continue showing up for their sessions, and therefore create success for themselves, when they've already paid.
Another example: If you know that a certain percentage of your clients will not show up or follow through with your recommendations, no matter what you do, then plan for it and create a supportive policy. This is a GIVEN in the wellness industry. If you ignore this, you would be taking a serious financial risk every time you took on a new client. Fitness centers know this and that's why they have automatic monthly billing. If they left it up to their clients to pay them when they showed up to work out, they would be out of business fast.
Bottom line: Clear private practice policies help you and your clients thrive. And who doesn't want that?
To your continued success,
About the Author and WellProNet.org: Karin Witzig Rozell has been teaching health and wellness professionals how to grow their business since 2003. She started as a nutrition counselor who knew a lot about nutrition, but not a whole lot about business and marketing. After learning some tough lessons she cracked the code and now her passion is transforming practitioners into profitable business owners using the power of authentic marketing strategies. In 2009, she expanded her private practice and launched The Wellness Professional Network as the go-to place for practitioners to learn about making more money doing what they love. Karin lives in Upstate New York and works from home with her husband and baby boy.