I enjoy getting together with colleagues who are able to and interested in kicking around business ideas. My wife (and business partner) and I frequently find ourselves engaged in brainstorming. Many project ideas come from these bull sessions. They tend to happen spontaneously, often during business trips or even on vacation. Sometimes we deliberately work together on a project, such as our current collaboration on a short piece for Psychiatric Times. As we craft the article we riff on some tangential ideas that may have business potential.
Another reliable brainstorming partner is Mark O’Brien of O’Brien Counseling Services. I met Mark through mutual colleagues at Columbia College Chicago. For the past year or so he and I have gotten together over coffee (my drink now is Iced Passion Tazo Tea) at My Starbucks at Jackson and Wabash here in Chicago’s Loop. Our conversations regularly result in one or both of us seeing things from a different point of view allowing the possibility of new approaches to old problems. Our latest visit was yesterday afternoon.
After a bit of social chit chat, Mark and I kicked around marketing, networking, and practice promotion strategies. Mark’s day job is in administration at Columbia where he has functioned as a crisis counselor, therapist, and case manager. He is developing a clinical practice outside the university setting. His novel approach to targeting the “emerging adult” population sparked my interest in finding ways to market both my clinical practice and consulting business outside my usual routine.
We both agreed that social media will begin to be more important modes of outreach and community building that would likely raise awareness of our businesses. The topic of the general slowing of the economy led to strategies such as reducing fees, offering a free introductory meeting, and delivering practice evaluations and coaching to small groups of clinicians.
Today I continue pondering various pieces of that conversation. Already earlier today I posted the following on FaceBook, Twitter, and Google + : “Considering offering practice development coaching in a small group format for interested clinicians. What do you think of that idea?” I’ve also placed a call to my insurance broker to inquire into the proper type of liability insurance for my consulting business and executive coaching practice.
The main point of this piece is to open yourself to opportunities to brainstorm with colleagues. What surprises me is how few of mine are interested. What is your experience? Please leave a comment by clicking on the Leave a Comment link at the top of this article.