One of the most rewarding endeavors for many entrepreneurs is starting a business that has the aim of helping people. Life coaching and individual counselling (counseling) both provide opportunities to grow a business that can help you make a difference in people’s lives. You can focus on individual counselling or offer your services to companies that need counselling support and training for employees. There are steps to building a successful practice that involve more than just getting an education and finding clients, and I’ve highlighted some of them.
Start with a clear vision of the type of business you want to create and lay out some concrete steps for making it a reality. Realize that running a business is a dynamic endeavor, and you’ll never stop improving your techniques and coming up with new objectives. Don’t try to do everything on your own. Instead, focus on your strengths and delegate less important tasks. Devise a budget and stick to it since most new businesses don’t even turn a profit until after the first year or two.
Refine Your Goals
Pay special attention to your goals and objectives in opening a counselling business. For example, what kind of hours, clients and financial return do you have in mind? An effective roadmap to success includes milestones to aim for as you build your business, and you’ll want to list concrete steps for meeting them. What’s the timeline for achieving these goals? A solid business plan is a prerequisite for any business startup.
When you study for a certificate, diploma or degree in counselling, you’ll want to find a program that includes information about how to best apply your skills. A counselling degree is useful not only in starting a private practice but also in many areas of business, finance and commerce. This page with counselling courses in Melbourne points out that once you’ve completed your studies, jobs will be available in community organizations, non-profit companies and human resource departments in a variety of industries. As an entrepreneur, you can become a consultant in any of these areas.
Keep Learning and Networking
Becoming a corporate or private counsellor is a worthy goal and one that you can achieve if you put your mind to it. One key piece of advice is to never stop learning. Take advantage of seminars, conferences and any continuing education opportunities that will enhance your knowledge and understanding of counselling. Network with other advisors and consultants about best practices and the nuts and bolts of being an entrepreneur in this field.
Don’t Go It Alone
If you try to do all the tasks related to your counselling business on your own, you won’t be able to do any of them especially well. Since advice and counsel is the main focus of your business, that’s where you need to devote most of your energy. One of the most common pieces of advice for any one-person business is to hire a professional to keep the books. You don’t want to get bogged down in insurance filing, billing, collection or even appointment scheduling. It will only take away from the energy you need to be an effective counselling professional.
Stay Abreast of Innovations
One clever and economical tool for the busy entrepreneur is the virtual assistant. Obviously, it’s not cost-efficient to hire a receptionist, secretary or scheduler when your business is just starting out. However, you can contract these services out for much less. There are companies that will provide your practice with a dedicated line and a representative who is a member of your team, just not on the premises. This polishes your company’s image, and it can also increase your earnings because you don’t have to worry about losing business because of missed calls.
Conserve Your Cash
Your accounting service will advise you on deductions and write-offs you can use to reduce the taxes on your business. It will be up to you, though, to keep up with the receipts that back up those deductions. Accurate record-keeping can make a dent in your taxes and put your new business in the red sooner. Be sure to file and organize receipts for mileage, supplies, business lunches and other write-offs. The first year you make a windfall profit, it might be tempting to splurge, but a smarter strategy would be to create a rainy day fund for unexpected expenses.