How to Make Better Business Decisions with the Therapy Business Triangle

One aspect of being a better CEO for your therapy business is found in improving your decision making. One way to improve your decision making is to take a larger, more global view of the various constituencies impacted whenever you make a business decision.

What do I mean by constituencies? In the corporate world, these would be “stakeholders”- people who are impacted by the decisions a company makes.

When running a large public company, like IBM or General Mills, the CEO must balance out the needs of the business with the needs of the shareholders (stakeholders) with the needs of the consumer and the employees.

Even though you aren’t running a large public company (most likely) – your therapy business, too, must balance between the needs of the involved parties.

This is where the Therapy Business Decision Triangle comes in:

(This is excerpted from my newest book: From Clinician to Confident CEO)

As you can see from the graphic above, every business decision needs to be considered from three sides: what benefits the business? What benefits the clients? What benefits the clinician?

Not all decisions impact all three sides of the triangle, but let me take you through an example to show you how to apply this to your business decision making.

Let’s say that you are thinking of reducing your work hours each week, perhaps by starting to take Fridays off.

The clinician (that’s you) is probably thinking “Oh, it will be so wonderful to have Fridays off.” Even though you went into private practice to be your own boss, are you sure this is a good idea?

If you use the triangle, you’ll know to ask these questions too:

1) How will this change in schedule impact the business?
2) How will the change in schedule impact my clients?

And then you might come up with answers like these:

1) Your business might say, “This is OK, except you’ll need to raise your fees or work more hours the other days of the week so your income doesn’t go down.”
2) Your clients might say, “I really like the flexibility of being able to schedule with you just before the weekend.”

So what do you decide to do?

The actual decision depends on the balancing point between these three perspectives. Let’s say that the clinician really wants to take Fridays off, and, in deference to the needs of the business, and the clients, decides that s/he will work longer days Monday-Thursday and perhaps work 1 Saturday a month.

In this way, the clinician is satisfied, the business’ needs and the client’s needs are also addressed.

This would represent a solid business decision.

Not all decisions impact all three sides of the triangle, but the model is useful to know about and use anytime you’re thinking of making a change in your therapy business.

Try it out for yourself, and let me know how it helps you.

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