Finding new market opportunities usually requires some effort, but for those psychologists who can find creative ways to apply their skills and meet the changing needs of society, the possibilities are abundant. These basic steps can help you identify and start to develop full-fee practice opportunities.
Identify your strengths and areas of interest. Think both personally and professionally. What types of activities do you excel in? What do you enjoy doing? What professional topics draw your attention? What are your hobbies and personal interests outside of work? When adding new practice activities, try to build on something you are passionate about. You will be most successful in new endeavors if you enjoy your work and find it meaningful and stimulating.
Assess the market opportunities. Identify potential practice opportunities that can help you establish a new niche. What types of services do people want and what are they willing to pay for? Do a quick survey of the popular literature in your area of interest. For example, if you are thinking about pursuing organizational work, skim the latest bestsellers in the business section, magazines like Fortune and BusinessWeek, and the Wall Street Journal. For life coaching, get a quick read on hot topics by browsing the self-help section of your local bookstore. Other useful exploratory activities include conducting Internet searches to look for current trends in your area of interest, talking with others who work in related areas, and attending meetings of relevant organizations. These activities will suggest the issues people are concerned about and what they are willing to spend money on.
Evaluate the market realities. In addition to identifying potential opportunities, you should also assess market realities. What is the likely level of demand for these services? How much competition is there? Is there a target market and if so, can you reach it? What barriers (for example, high start-up costs, necessary competencies, required credentials) will you have to overcome in order to enter the market?
Create a plan. Create or review your business plan. Do the new services you are considering fit with your mission statement? How will internal and external environmental factors identified in your environmental assessment affect your plans? Who are your potential referral sources and how will you reach out to them? How will you market your services? What will it cost to provide these services and how will you finance your new operations?
Invest in business development. Be sure to allocate the necessary time, money and other resources to developing your new practice area. Devise and follow through with a comprehensive marketing plan that includes a variety of efforts, such as creating and distributing promotional materials, giving presentations to community groups, and conducting outreach efforts with potential referral sources. Even the best ideas may fail if you are unable to reach your target audience and effectively communicate the benefits of your services.