Starting a Private Practice and SWOT Analysis

SWOT

SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) is an analytical tool used to evaluate the external competitive environment as well as internal capabilities. This process is intended to utilize those things identified to create the basis for establishing short and long-term strategies and goals.

Strengths are internal (meaning they are completely in your control) to your individual practice and, if utilized, would provide you with a competitive advantage. They are often referred to as distinctive core competencies. One of the keys is distinctive, which would be unique to you and your practice. An example might be, “available 24 hours a day”.

Weaknesses are also internal and identify where you have shortcomings and, where possible, how you can eliminate or avoid them. An example might be, “do not have a good understanding of technology”.

Opportunities are external (meaning they are not directly controllable by you), but do offer opportunities. An example might be, “the rapidly changing regulations as they apply to the use of online counseling”.

Threats are external and are generally environmental factors that hinder in achieving objectives and goals. An example might be, “insurance does not cover online counseling in my state”.

STRENGTHS OPPORTUNITIES
Location Not Much Competition
Schedule Flexibility Growing Demand for Testing in General
Insurance Accepted Growing Demand for Testing Earlier for Children
Title/Specialty (allows for testing)
Attention to Client
All Ages
Staff
Office Appearance
WEAKNESSES THREATS
Insurance NOT Accepted Medicaid Being Cut
MCOs Not Paneled With Testing Not Being Covered
One Qualified Tester Testing Not Being Covered
Translation Loss of Referral Source
Carol Inability to Work Expenses Increasing
Loss of Employees

Strengths

ITEM DESCRIPTION CORRECT ACTION(S)
Location Centrally Located to Multiple Cities Yes Continue to market the ability to offer testing with flexibility in locations
Schedule Flexibility Have the ability to schedule during normal office hours & after hours Yes Continue to market the ability to offer testing with flexibility in time
Insurance Accepted Paneled with Medicaid, BCBS, & CIGNA Yes Possibly pursue getting credentialed with other insurance companies such as AETNA, United Healthcare, etc.
Title/Specialty Specialty allows for testing where others do not Yes
Attention to Client Focus on the client and their needs and attempt to personalize with each client Yes Continue and expand environment of personalizing with each client and their family
All Ages Can do all ages; children, adolescents & adults Yes
Staff Have a trained staff to assist with scheduling, testing assistance, report writing & billing Yes Continue to support staff
Office Appearance Have office setup for children & adults. Have multiple offices to do simultaneous actions Yes Possibly look into office space in Mt. Airy

Weaknesses

ITEM DESCRIPTION CORRECT ACTION(S)
Insurance NOT Accepted Insurance Companies NOT Paneled With Yes Pursue Credentialing with Other Insurance Companies
MCOs NOT Paneled With Only Paneled with Vaya and Partners Yes Pursue Paneling with Cardinal
One Qualified Tester Carol is Only Person That Can Test Yes Pursue Finding a 2nd Person with Testing Credentials
Translation Do not have Spanish speaking employee No Although could be a potential problem, it has not been a limitation yet
Carol Inability to Work When Carol is unavailable cannot move forward with testing Yes Pursue Finding a 2nd Person with Testing Credentials
Loss of Employees Do not have “backup” in some categories Yes Look at additional employees and/or cross training existing employees

Opportunites

ITEM DESCRIPTION CORRECT ACTION(S)
Not Much Competition Very few therapists qualified to do testing Yes No required
Growing Demand for Testing Demand for testing to identify issues & qualify for benefits Yes Contact agencies to inform of testing services
Growing Demand for Testing Children Earlier Demand for testing children to identify issues & corrections at an earlier age Yes Contact schools to inform of testing services

Threats

ITEM DESCRIPTION CORRECT ACTION(S)
Medicaid Being Cut Continued possibility of federal government reducing Medicaid funds Yes Continue to monitor and adjust focus of testing outside of Medicaid funds
Testing Not Being Covered Possibility of testing services not being covered by insurance Yes Low likelihood. Continue to monitor
Competition Coming In New testing practitioners or agencies Yes Continue to monitor
Loss of Referral Source Having referral services go out of business or stop referring Yes Continue relationships with current referral sources & expand referral sources
Expenses Increasing Unexpected increase in expenses such as rent Yes Continue to monitor

The SWOT analysis begins with asking questions.

  • Strengths

  • Weaknesses

  • Opportunities

  • Threats

  • Once you have answered these questions, the next step is to analyze the answers and answer the following questions.

    • Strengths – Is this really a strength and, if so, how do I capitalize on it?
    • Weaknesses – Is this really a weakness and, if so, what steps can I take to overcome them?
    • Opportunities – Is this really an opportunity and, if so, how do I capitalize on it?
    • Threats – Is this really a threat and, if so, how do I minimize my risk on it?

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