A newly formed Systemic Psychotherapy practice was looking to establish a presence in the mental health sector to support families and individuals to overcome the impact of trauma on their lives. As an individual practitioner attempting to establish a new service offer in the middle of a global pandemic, the opportunities were both vast and massively restricted.
Systemic psychotherapists are highly qualified professionals operating under governing bodies with strict ethical codes of practice. The client was looking to establish a practice that would provide support and practical techniques to help children and their families overcome traumatic experiences that could otherwise have a significant detrimental impact on their lives.
Working with such a venerable segment of society, the client was struggling to position their service to allow a profitable operation with a consistent flow of “customers” without breaking their values of supporting families or associating their approach with becoming an “ambulance chaser”. Also, Systemic Therapists view the world as a series of interconnected relationships or “systems” and as such, there was an added challenge of defining who their services should be aimed at. Finally, due to the restrictions of the global pandemic, the client was looking to transform their way of working to an online practice – allowing their traditional face-to-face methods to be delivered thorough video conference calls with vulnerable people.
Although the specific circumstances were unique to this particular client (vulnerable client group, new approach to therapy, global pandemic), the core challenges to overcome where typical of many organisations and leaders – how to define the customer, concisely defining the offer and developing a consistent narrative to describe the company. An iterative approach was used to progressively refine the narrative and offer proposal all centred around the key to the strategic roadmap, a clear definition of a specific customer.
At the end of this engagement, the client was presented an integrated strategic roadmap complete with a clear Vision and Mission, key strategic areas of focus for the first 3 years of operation and a detailed plan of the first 12 months of operation including KPIs and main tactics to deliver success.
The client has been able to use this framework to develop a practice directly with families, to establish a supervision offer that is already in operation with a number of trainee therapists and to build an engagement plan to work with other service providers in the mental health profession to broaden the reach of the support provided.
Within the first 12 months of operations, the practice has become a profitable operation with a roadmap for growth over the next 3 years.