To niche or not to niche?

That is one of the most asked questions I receive from therapists building a practice.

Many therapists often tell me they don’t want to be tied down to a specialty that they choose early in their career. The common concern is that it may be difficult to branch out to other populations later and there won’t be enough variation in private practice.

Their is some truth to the limitations of being a specialist.

It’s true that if you only focus on marketing to a few specific populations then you will predominantly see these populations day in and day out. And I can say from personal experience, variety is important for the sustainability of a practice over the course of time.

So this poses an interesting dilemma.

Here’s why…

When starting or trying to grow a practice, it’s almost always easier, faster and more efficient to focus on a few specialities. The reason for this is that you can become known as an expert in your location for those specialties in a relatively short amount of time.

It’s like pointing a laser in the vast sea of possible clients and hand picking who you want to see. This also allows you to be easily found and recognizable by your referral sources seeking help for their clients and patients.

When we market ourselves as therapists that do everything and anything, it can be difficult to communicate in our marketing why we are effective with the specific struggles a prospective client is having.

But then there’s the dilemma….

You would only want to call yourself a specialist in something you actually feel highly knowledgeable in. You don’t want to pigeonhole yourself into a speciality in your area that you can’t break out of. And you most likely want to be able to see a variety of types of people with different types of problems in your practice.

So, if you’re going to specialize you need to be able to truly believe in what you’re offering.

But there is a solution to choosing between being a specialist and a generalist.

It has to do with your marketing. And it’s going to show up most on your website.

The key is to have a website that shows a more expanded version of your services on your home and about page and then have a services tab in your navigation with individual pages for each specialty.

What you’re essentially doing is allowing space for a generalized population to feel included when they visit your website on those first couple of pages, while also directing your targeted population to your specialty pages so they know they found a expert.

It’s a win, win.

You can go out in your local networking efforts and meet with specialized referral sources that are always looking for another great practitioner to help with their patients and clients.

And overtime you will get that more generalized population from word-of-mouth that find therapists mostly through friends and family. When they get to your website they will know they are in the right place because they will land on your homepage and almost alway read your about page if they are interested.

So, that’s one way to solve the dilemma.

The other way is don’t specialize, don’t worry about it and grow your practice through other mechanisms.

There are always multiple paths to reach your goal. Find the one that is best for you.

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