123: How to Build a Dietitian Private Practice Business Plan

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In today’s episode of The Dietitian Success Podcast, I wanted to bring it back to the basics and talk a little bit about creating a dietitian private practice business plan. I walk you through 6 steps to take regardless of...

In today’s episode of The Dietitian Success Podcast, I wanted to bring it back to the basics and talk a little bit about creating a dietitian private practice business plan. I walk you through 6 steps to take regardless of whether you are just getting started with your dietitian business plan, or you’re looking to add another offer to your services.


Download the DSC Business Planning Workbook here: https://www.dietitiansuccesscenter.com/businessplanningworkbook 

Join the Nutrition + Business Membership here: https://www.dietitiansuccesscenter.com/membership 

Check out Online Course Blueprint here: https://www.onlinecourseblueprint.info/

Episode Transcript:

Hey there and welcome to another episode of the dietitian success podcast. So in today’s episode, I wanted to bring it back to the basics and talk a little bit about creating a business plan. The reason why I chose this topic. This is a little marketing SEO hack. Is when we are using key search, which is our SEO tool, by the way, if you are brand new to business and you don’t even know what I’m talking about, when I say SEO,

That’s totally fine. You can disregard this section of the podcast episode, but if you are familiar with SEO and you’re looking for some of those sort of advanced marketing tactics one of the things that we do is we look at the keywords that dietitians are typing into Google, and we do that through a platform called key search.

And then key search will show us. Okay. These are the topics that dietitians are searching for most often. And business planning is something that comes up quite a bit. So I thought, Hey. Let’s create a whole podcast episode on this topic. And I think that a business plan is something that’s typically associated with the very beginning stages of a business. And so it’s a process where we plan out, we map out what our business is going to look like.

But in reality, I think if you haven’t done this exercise, if you haven’t actually gone through these stages business plan can be done at any stage of your business. I still start the year by creating a business plan. For that coming year, if I’m launching something new, I’ll do a very similar path plan to what we’re going to talk through today. So it can be an awesome tool, regardless of whether you’re at the very beginning or you’ve been in business for a little while. And you just want to.

Refocus and get more clarity on who your audience is, what you’re offering them. If you’re launching a new offer, like an online course or group program, again, getting clear on who is the target audience what are you going to offer them? What are you going to price it? And how are you going to reach them through your marketing?

And so definitely recommend doing this at any stage of business. This episode is relevant for you at any point in the process. So today I want to walk you through. My steps in developing a dietitian business plan. I think that every business owner has their own process, but what I found from teaching this material and just myself having my own business, doing my MBA, all of those different pieces have pulled them together.

To create this step-by-step process that I think makes the most sense. For pretty much any type of business. So that’s the other cool thing is that regardless of the type of business that you want to create, and by that, the services that you are predominantly offering. So if you’re predominantly doing one-on-one or you want to do group, or you want to keep it.

Completely passive and build a monetized blog or sell an ebook or whatever. This business plan can work for you. And by the way, I actually have an awesome freebie that goes with this episode. If you haven’t already definitely recommend my free business planning workbook. I’m linking it below this episode. It is a 13 page fillable PDF. And by the way, I’ve completely revamped it.

And so if you haven’t downloaded it for a while and I’ve revamped it this week, so if you downloaded it before this week, before the week that this podcast episode goes live, which is today is Thursday, February 9th, 2023. Then, if you downloaded it before that date, then I would definitely recommend re downloading it because there’s some new information there I’ve restructured some of the prompts.

It looks different. It’s basically a whole new document. Highly recommend. Re downloading that again. And this is one of my. Popular downloads. Absolutely. We offer a few different free resources, free downloads through dietitian success center. This one has helped over 600 dietitians, which is really cool.

Start and build their businesses. So definitely check that out. If you haven’t already, again, linked below this episode. Okay. So I want to talk through first, why we create a business plan. And again, this applies to any type of service you’re offering, and then I’m going to walk you through my six step business planning.

Process. All so why do we have a business plan? I think the biggest piece is that having a plan helps to keep you focused. At any stage of business, one of the biggest challenges. I can be number one, getting clear on who you want to help. So your target audience. And then the second piece is coming up with an oppor offer that helps them.

And then staying focused on that. Shiny object syndrome is what I call it. When you are. Multi-passionate and as a side effect of being multi-passionate, you tend to focus on a lot of different things. And so sometimes what ends up happening is that you get started on a bunch of different ideas that feel really fun for you and really exciting for you. And you never actually finish any of them, or you never actually see them come to fruition.

This also manifests when we start a business and we try and offer too many things right off the bat. So we start a business and we try and do one-on-one and a group program and an online course and all the things. And that just ends up getting really overwhelming for you. And then also overwhelming for the people that you are trying to sell to.

This helps to keep you focused that the intent of this business plan is that we, yes, we can absolutely brainstorm and we can dream, but then we pick one thing and we start to move forward on that one thing. And then once we’ve finished that one thing and we start to get some traction with it, then we can start to add some of the other things.

And then the second piece here is that it, it gets you to think holistically about your business and it gets you to think about a number of different elements and not just your offer. Or not just your Instagram or not just how you’re pricing. I think that, especially at the beginning, we. Often think through certain things and we just neglect others purely because we just don’t know. We don’t know what we’re supposed to be paying attention to.

And so often what I see here is that we think a lot about what we’re going to offer, what we’re going to price it. Creating our website. And then when it comes to thinking about how are we going to market to these people? That tends to be a bit of a block. And we don’t think that through, we don’t think about, okay, how am I going to reach these people? How am I going to market to them? What am I going to say to them?

What is my sales process going to look like. And so by going through this business planning process, we think about all of that stuff holistically. Okay, so let’s get right into it. My six step business planning process. So step one of this entire process is to take a step back and do a little bit of personal reflection.

At the end of the day, everything you do in your business needs to start with you. It will not matter if you found. At profitable gap in the market. If you don’t enjoy the work that you are doing. So the questions here to ask yourself are, what do you want from your business? And what role does your business play in your life? And again, you can actually download the freebie as we’re going through this podcast.

Episode, because these question prompts are there for you and it’s a fillable PDF. So you can just type your responses right into the document. And by the way, There are no right answers to this question. And sometimes there’s a bit of a perception that a business needs to be all or nothing. It’s either full time, go all in or bust. When in reality.

You get to decide what role your business plays in your life. That is entirely up to you. There’s no one right way to do this. And there’s no one right way to answer this question. Your aspiration might be to go full-time at some point and quit your day job, but your aspiration might also be that you just want to supplement your day job income.

So you have more spending money. Maybe you just want to work with one or two clients a week or even a month. And that’s it. You just want to do this as a fun, fulfilling professional development project because Hey, you’ve always wanted to do it, but you also really the stability of your nine to five job. That’s totally fine.

And those are very valid reasons to start a business. And then the next piece of this personal reflection is to dream a little bit. And this can, and absolutely should be done at different stages of your business. This is an exercise that I like to do at the beginning of every year, where I think about, and I visualize what is my business going to look like for that year? And as a consequence, what does my lifestyle look like for that year and beyond in my business?

What is my goal? What is my aspirational lifestyle? And so some prompts that can get you started with this process are things like. What does your ideal future schedule look like as a business owner? How do you spend your time? What are you able to do in your personal life? Because you have your own.

Business and again, there’s no right or wrong answer to this question. It’s more so about dreaming without any fear attached. And this exercise you can do, too. If you’re thinking about creating something like an online course or coming up with something that’s a little bit more of a passive offer is just this idea of being able to think about, okay, what does my schedule look like? What does my future look like when I’ve built some more of those passive income streams into my business?

And I don’t have to spend quite as much time on the day-to-day stuff. So that is step one, which is personal reflection. Step two is where we do a services brainstorm. Now this is very high level in step four. Let me just check on my sheet. No step five. We’re going to get more granular about this, and we’re actually going to think through exactly what’s included in your offer and how you’re going to price it.

But in step two, we are just doing a high level services brainstorm. And so I call this sort of like your business blueprint, right? It’s what do you want to offer? What types of services do you think you want to offer at some point now? An important piece to consider here is that we aren’t going to do all these at once. So this is a place where you’re able to brainstorm. You’re able to put all of those ideas that are floating around in your head.

On paper, but we’re not going to do all of them all at once. I just often find that sometimes some of that overwhelm that comes with the beginning stages of a business is really because we have too many ideas that haven’t been put down on paper. We have no. We have all these ideas, but we haven’t put a plan together for when we’re actually going to do these things. So this is that opera. This is that opportunity.

To put all of those things onto paper. And then what we’re going to do is we are going to prioritize, what are we going to start with? So some examples of things. That you may want to offer in your business might be, Hey, I want to do one-on-one coaching or one-on-one counseling. I want to eventually have a group practice. I want to eventually offer meal planning. I want to eventually offer a private community. I want to have an online course. I want to create a monetized blog.

I want to sell eBooks. I want to sell physical products on Etsy. The world is really your oyster here. You can list whatever you want. And that’s the coolest thing about having a dietitian business. Is that there’s so many different ways you can take it and you can do all of these things. We just don’t start with all of these things.

And so think about, as we’re thinking about these services we want to think of them all like bricks, we start with one brick and then once we have that set up, it’s up and running, we can start to build, we can start to add more bricks until a few years down the road. Hey, you have all of these different bricks and there they represent different income streams in your business, but we’re going to start by laying one.

Brick. So you’re going to start with that brains brain dump, and then you’re going to bold the first thing that you’re going to start with the first service that you are going to start with now. A little tip here. If you are someone who wants to work with individuals one-on-one and you also want to have an online course, you also want to have a group program. Maybe you want to do some freelance, Flint freelancing work.

I recommend starting with one-on-one. Reason being is because this is the lowest hanging fruit. And it’s technically the most simple to get up and running and actually start working with people and actually start bringing some money into your business. And there’s a lot of other reasons for that with regards to, so with online course creation,

There’s just a lot of strategy that goes into that. And that takes quite a bit of time. We have to build up an audience of people who want to purchase our course or who eventually are going to want to purchase our course. And so anyways, One-on-one low hanging fruit. It’s the most simple to get up and running.

And if you’ve been in business for a little while, and you’re thinking about the next offer, this is really a time for you to start brainstorming about what that next offer might look like. What is included with it? What is your ideal client really want in terms of a service? So that’s number two is that high level services brainstorm.

Now step number three is where we are defining your niche or your ideal client. And so this is an important process. Have you ever listened to someone’s podcast? Maybe you’ve read an Instagram post that you’ve put out there that they’ve put out there. You’ve heard them speak and you’ve thought, wow. I feel like this person is speaking directly to me. They’re speak in my language.

That is really the power of honing in on a clear niche. We find our target audience and we’re able to tailor our communications so that it speaks directly to them. And so again, this is an opportunity to do a bit of a brain dump. We want to start by writing out a list of. Types of niches or types of ideal clients that you feel strongly about working with?

And this can include anything. It can include nutrition-related medical conditions that you’re interested in. So maybe oncology, maybe PCOM, maybe women’s health. It can include age demographics, perhaps you’re interested in working with millennial parents, maybe you’re interested in working with older adults. It can include groups of people. So for example, students.

Or parents with babies, anything that you want? And so as we go through this process, we can start by answering these questions, writing a law. A list of these topics, these potential Nisha is that we’re really interested in. And then the whole goal being that we continue to narrow that down and we’ll do a little bit of that work in step four.

Now in the dietitian success center, nutrition plus business membership, we do a deeper dive into how to choose your niche. So we talk through common questions, like how narrow do we get, how narrow is too narrow? What happens if we’re interested in multiple things? Can you start with more than one niche. If those questions are coming up for you.

Then you definitely want to check out the membership. So now that we’ve done that brainstorm. Now we’re going to get a little bit more granular here and instead of four, we’re going to get clear on your ideal client. So in this section, we actually start to paint a picture of who exactly your ideal client is. We essentially come up with a persona for them.

And so why we do this is because it becomes a lot easier to design an offer for them and to market to them. When we are familiar with what they need and where they spend their time for marketing purposes. So a couple of things that we want to note here is that number one, an ideal client is supposed to be the aspirational person.

That you would love to work with a hundred percent of the time. Not every client you actually get will be an ideal client, especially at the very beginning. And that’s totally normal and totally okay. The goal is that you are learning about the type of person. Who is exactly right for you and your services.

And who might be better suited. And so who’s exactly right for you. And on the flip side, who might be better suited to refer out to a different provider or a different program who. Is going to fit their needs better. And another thing to note here is that just because you define an ideal client, it doesn’t mean you’re not going to attract other people. You will attract other people. So for example, if you define your niche as IBS and your ideal client is somebody who has.

IBS C you’re going to get people who come to you with other types of IBS. You’ll probably even get people who come to you. With IBD or who have been diagnosed with celiac because they just see, Hey. This person helps with digestive issues. And it’s totally up to you as to whether these individuals are suited for your offer or whether a referral is more appropriate.

And then lastly, by defining an ideal client, you’re not limiting yourself. If anything, you were opening yourself up to opportunities for people who are looking to find someone who has a specific expertise. In what they need help with. And you’re opening yourself up for consulting or freelancing gigs with companies that are looking for niche experts. Trust me.

This is absolutely a way to set yourself apart. From all of the other people who are generalists. So I hope I have sold you on the idea of getting clear on who your ideal client is. And to retrain your brain around this idea that by defining an ideal client, you’re limiting yourself. You’re absolutely not.

So some of the questions that we want to ask ourselves when we’re defining an ideal client is number one. What is their name and age. So we actually want to give them a persona. And again, just because we’re giving them this persona, let’s say it’s Megan, who’s 29 years old. Isn’t it. We’re not only going to attract 29 year old. Megan’s right.

We’re going to attract all different types of people. But the idea being that this is our ideal client, we’re trying to attract more people who embody characteristics of 29 year old Megan. Second question here. Is where do they live and what do they do for a living? And then last question is what are their main challenges related to nutrition?

And this is a really important question. And these challenges come up again and again, the language that you use around these challenges come up again and again, as you go through your process, these are things that we’re going to use components that we’re going to use as we’re coming up with marketing messaging, as we’re coming up with sales messaging.

So we want to get super specific here and write out as many challenges as you can possibly think of. Do a big brain dump here.

For example, let’s say that your ideal client is somebody who has been diagnosed recently with type two diabetes. Let’s say that their challenges might include that their A1C is above where it should be. This makes them feel fearful. It makes them feel nervous. It makes them feel a little bit ashamed when they go to the doctor’s office, they have other comorbid conditions.

Let’s say they’ve also been diagnosed with high blood pressure. And so they’re super confused about how they eat for both things. Maybe there’s somebody who doesn’t generally like to cook. They don’t want to give up their favorite foods, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And if you’ve worked with these people before in any other setting,

It’s not going to be that challenging to come up with this list of those nutrition related challenges. And by the way, if you are creating a freelancing or consulting focus business, you can still do this exercise. Your question just has to be reframed to what is your ideal client. So maybe your ideal client.

Is somebody from the food industry that would hire you because maybe you are wanting to really get in to doing some marketing work for food brands. Their main challenges are what you need to focus on here. What would that person who is. From the food industry, maybe on a marketing team, what do they need your help with? What are their challenges? For example, they need to create high quality nutrition content for their website that incorporates their product.

They don’t have in-house support. They’re looking for stuff. That’s high quality and evidence-based, they need information that is timely. They need somebody consistently. They need stuff that’s relevant, et cetera. So that’s step number four. As we’re really thinking through who our ideal client is.

Step number five is where we take all of that brainstorming work that we did in step two, when it comes to your services. And we get a lot more clear on what exactly is included within your offer. And what are we going to price it? We build something more concrete through the lens of, okay. So now that I know I want to be offering one-on-one and I know that my ideal client is this person that’s just recently been diagnosed with type two diabetes.

And there’s all these nutrition related challenges. Okay. So here is what my offer is going to look like. Here’s what my program is going to look like. And so we cover this in pretty great detail within the dietitian success, in our nutrition and business membership. We go through, how do you create your signature program? Step-by-step how do you come up with your offer? How do you come up with pricing?

And then if you’re looking for information specific to creating an online course, definitely check out online course blueprint. That is a separate course that I offer. It is a 12 week program that is specifically designed. Only for online course creation, marketing sales, and launching. So it’s basically your blueprint for how to do everything related to an online course.

So both of those have been linked below this episode. But a couple things we want to think about when we’re getting clear on our offer. Is number one, what are the features included in your offer? So what exactly are you selling? What is going to make your offer really exciting and appealing to your potential client or customer? What is really going to help to solve their problems?

So we need to think about how long is your program, how many sessions are included? How long are the sessions? What else is included? Are there additional resources? Are there additional fun things that you’re adding are, is there a community, is there et cetera, et cetera. What are the things that you feel like are going to help make somebody successful in your program?

If we’re thinking about online courses here, we’re going to get a little bit more granular in terms of what exactly do you want to teach? What are you going to cover within your modules and your lessons? How long is it going to take somebody to get through the course? And when we think about pricing is often challenging. We, when we think about, okay, so how should we price ourselves? How should we price or our services?

And so one thing to think about here is that although looking at your competition and seeing how they are pricing is one part of the equation, it shouldn’t be the sole factor. So I do give you a pricing guide within the DSE nutrition and business membership. We also talk through online course pricing within online course blueprint.

Within the DSC nutrition and business membership, we go through, how do you price for one-on-one groups, recipe, development, writing, et cetera. But all in all pricing should be entirely based on your value, your experience and your offerings. I, so I do encourage you to ask yourself the following questions.

How much money do you need to make with your business? The amount that you need to make in order to achieve your goals is going to be different than somebody else. So this is a highly individualized process. So once we understand, okay, how much money do I want to be making in my business every month, then we need to work backwards and think, okay what am I going to sell?

And how many do I need to sell at what price point in order to be able to take on that or in. In order to be able to meet that goal. Based on your lifestyle. Are you looking to take on fewer higher paying or more lower paying? Again, this really depends on you and what you are selling, what you want to offer. So for example, like with the dietitian success center membership, because we are a membership model, the idea behind a membership model is that we’re operating at a bit of a lower price point to make it more accessible.

And so consequently, our goal is to reach. As many people as possible and get as many members as possible in order to reach our financial goals. But let’s say you were doing predominantly one-on-one coaching. Maybe you want to be at a bit of a higher price point, a bit more premiums so that you’re taking on less clients each month.

All right, so that’s step number five. Our last step number six really comes down to our marketing strategy. Now that you know who your ideal client is, how are you going to reach them? And again, this all comes back to your marketing strategy. I am a strong believer. In thinking about your market marketing strategy. Very holistically. We think about it from both an online perspective and then also an offline perspective.

So a couple questions here, which online platforms are being used by your ideal client. So we want to do a bit of a brain dump here, which social media platforms, which blogs are they reading? Which websites are they consulting? And then on the flip side, which offline platforms are they using? What complimentary services are they using? What clinics are they visiting? Are they visiting gyms? Are they visiting local organizations? Are they making use of local organizations?

There, this is really a great time to get creative and start thinking about how do I leverage both the online atmosphere and also the offline atmosphere. And I will say to you that if you are only wanting to market your business on Instagram, I do think that there’s a bit of a missed opportunity because there’s so many different other platforms that we can use to reach our ideal client.

Honestly, offline platforms getting out into the community, getting in front of people is one of the best ways to be able to build relationships and ultimately see that return. So the whole idea being here, being we meet them where they are. We get in front of them. We add value. We provide information about us, about our services.

I just did a whole recorded workshop on content planning within the DSC nutrition plus business membership, where I talk exactly. I talk about exactly how you map out your content topics, what to say from an online marketing perspective. And then we also have a whole course on offline marketing plus creating community referrals within the membership as well.

So definitely check that out. Okay. So I hope that was helpful for you to summarize our six steps in the business planning process. Step one personal reflection. So getting clear on exactly what you want your business to look like in your life. Step to doing a high level brainstorm of the types of services you want to offer. Step three, defining your niche or your ideal client. I use those terms interchangeably. Step four is getting clear on your ideal client.

Step number five is mapping out your offers. So getting more clear in terms of exactly what you are selling, what you are including and the price point, and then last but not least is your marketing strategy and thinking holistically about marketing from both an online and an offline perspective. All right. I hope you enjoyed that episode as a special favor. I would absolutely love it and appreciate it. If you’d be kind enough to leave a five-star rating and review for the dietitian success podcast.

If you’re listening on apple podcasts or Spotify, because positive readings really helped to ensure that the show is visible to more people. So on apple podcast, all you have to do is open up the dietitian success podcast page, scroll to the very bottom where it says ratings and review reviews and leave me a review and a comment if you’d like, and then on Spotify, it’s super easy.

Just go to the podcast page. There’s a little button with a star on it, right under the podcast name and description. Okay well have an awesome rest of your week and i will see you next thursday in the next episode