Do you want to start a marriage counseling business? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a marriage counseling business with NO money and no experience.
If you are planning to start a highly profitable business in the united states, then you need to start thinking of the marriage counselling business especially if you have the required skill set like giving people workable advice, being caring, fun to be with and other related traits. As marriage is something most people look forward to, so no one would want to choose wrongly.
It is at this juncture that marriage counsellors are needed. This is a growing business with potentials for further growth. This article will be telling you all you need to know about this business so that you can make informed decisions as regards the marriage counselling business.
Steps to Starting a Marriage Counseling Business
Table of Content
- 2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- 3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
- 4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
- 5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
- 9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
- 10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
- 11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
- 12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
- 13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
- 14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
- 15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
- 16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
- 17. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
- 18. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
1. Understand the Industry
The Marriage Counselor industry belongs to the same industry as Psychologists and Social Workers. Study of the Marriage Counselors industry shows that the sector has grown consistently in the last half decade. Regardless of economic conditions, private counseling services are needed.
A report recently published by IBISWorld shows that the Psychologists and Social Workers industry in which Marriage Counseling is a part of has a low level of concentration, with most firms employing less than five people while no industry firm is accounting for more than 1.0% of total industry revenue.
The Marriage Counselors industry is a thriving sector of the United States economy and they generate well over $15 billion annually from more than 141,495 registered and licensed Marriage Counselors, Psychologists, and Social Workers scattered all around the United States of America.
The industry employs over 231,393 people. Experts envisage that the industry would grow at a 3.4% annual rate within 2011 and 2016. It is also important to note that no single organization has a lion share of the available market in the industry.
The demand for private counselors cannot be over emphasized as the services offered continues to grow when people’s ability to handle the issues on their own wanes.
Lastly, as a marriage counselor, the key attributes you need to make good success is passion, patience, and enthusiasm about the specific area to be handled, and constant positivity. You are also expected to be proactive, have good organizational and planning skills.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The composition of those requiring the services of a marriage counselor is not restricted to any particular age group or gender; though people of marriageable age are the most likely to need the service of a marriage counselor. The marriage counselor business cuts across geographic location. Its services are needed all around the globe.
So, if you are looking towards defining the audience for your marriage counseling business, then you need to make it all encompassing.
3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
Marriage counseling service comprises of a lot of services which you can offer to your clients. So you need to be very versatile to be able to compete with other players in the industry. You need to explore some other niches in this industry that will make you stand out amongst your competitors.
Here are some niches you could specialize in your marriage counseling business;
- Learning Disabilities coaching
- Spiritual counselling
- Counselling on Poverty Issues
- Education Counselor
The Level of Competition in the Industry
At the moment we still have few marriage counselors when compared with the number of people who need marital counseling. There are new entrants into the industry, so you have to be on top of your game by coming up with detailed services and concepts needed to survive in the industry. Clients will come to you if they know they will get the best from you.
In this marriage counseling business, distance is never a barrier when competing for clients. What most clients want is the best counseling service; hence they are ready to hire your services no matter the part of the world you operate from as long as you can deliver excellent service.
4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
In every industry, there will always be brands that will stand out from others and are better regarded by clients and the general public than other companies in the same business. These brands have been in the industry long enough to establish their credibility. These are some of the leading marriage counseling companies in the United States and also around the world;
- Couples Therapy Inc.
- Restoring Hope Counseling, LLC
- Greenville Center for Mindfulness, LLC
- Brie Childress, LISW-CP, LLC
- YES Clinics
Before you start-up your marriage counselling business, you need to carry out a feasibility study. In order not to fail in this business and to be as profitable as you can be, you need to consider several factors. One of the most important factors to consider is how you would create a unique brand which would be a household name when it comes to marriage counselling service.
To achieve this you would need to make extensive research and consultations. You also need to devise means to showcase your unique strength and make it attractive enough for your clients to notice you. You will also need to write a business plan which will be comprehensive enough for you to know if this business is viable for you or not.
Another important thing to consider is your source of business start-up capital. This is very important as most lending institutions will be more eager to lend to already established and successful marriage counseling businesses than to a start-up. An exciting business plan will help you source for funds.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
For this type of business, it is advisable that you start from the scratch instead of buying a franchise. It is easier to start a marriage counseling business from the scratch.
Making profit from this business while starting from the scratch might take some time but in the long run, you will surely start making your profit and clients will patronize you for your efficient service delivery and affordability as against relying on a franchise.
It is interesting to note that most of the big and well established marriage counsellors all started from the scratch and they gradually built a strong and reliable brand. However, it takes dedication, hard work, and determination to achieve success in this line of business.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
If you intend to start your own marriage counselling business today, one of the likely challenges you are going to face is the presence of well – established marriage counselling businesses offering same services. The only way to avoid this challenge is to ensure you start your own business with a distinction by introducing something unique.
Some other likely threats in the course of starting this business in the United States are the arrival of a competitor within your business location, unfavourable government policies, and global economic downturn which usually affects spending power.
There is hardly anything you can do concerning these threats except for you to be optimistic that things will continue to work for your good.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
When planning to start your marriage counselling business, you need to choose your legal entity carefully as it will go a long way to determine how big your business can grow. In choosing a legal entity for your marriage counselling business, you have the option of choosing a Limited Liability Company (LLC), sole proprietorship or general partnership.
Ordinarily, the sole proprietorship should have been the ideal legal entity for your marriage counselling business especially if you are starting out with a modest capital. But most entrepreneurs prefer limited liability Company (LLC) for obvious reasons.
As a matter of fact, if you intend to grow the business and have clients in the United States of America and other countries of the world, then you should choose the Limited Liability Company, LLC over the general partnership.
One of the notable reasons why you should consider setting up a limited liability company, LLC is because it protects you from personal liability. If the business doesn’t go as planned, it is only the money which you have invested into the LLC that will be at risk.
It is not so for general partnerships and sole proprietorships. It is much simpler and flexible to operate an LLC as you don’t also need a board of directors or other managerial formalities.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name
When it comes to choosing a business name, you are expected to be creative because whatever name you eventually pick will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents to the people. Usually people like to follow the industry trend they intend to operate from when naming their business.
In naming your business, a simple name is often the best choice. If you are planning to start your own marriage counselling Company, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;
- Moral right Inc.
- Emotional therapy Inc
- Marriage fixer
- Integrity Collaborations
9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
Most countries have strict laws on insurance as they make it a prerequisite to operating your business. The case is the same in the United States as you won’t be allowed to operate your business if you don’t have the required basic insurance policies in place for the industry you intend to operate from.
Based on this, you would need to set aside a budget for insurance policy covers while you might also need to consult an insurance broker who will guide you to choose the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your marriage counselling business.
Here are some insurance policies you should consider purchasing to start your marriage counseling business in the United States of America;
- General insurance
- Liability insurance
- Health insurance
- Workers Compensation
- Payment protection insurance
- Employment Practices Liability Insurance
- Overhead expense disability insurance
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
Every business runs the risk of being in a legal tussle. Though you might not be dealing with much intellectual theft or legal issues in this business, you could still go ahead and file for intellectual property protection/trademark to protect some important documents of the company like your company’s logo, banner design, etc.
This enables you to run your business successfully without getting into any legal issues involving your company’s intellectual properties.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
Aside from the services you provide, professional certification amongst your key members of staff will stand you out from other competitors. If you want to make an impact in the marriage counseling industry, you should work towards acquiring most of the essential certifications needed in your area of specialization.
You are strongly encouraged to pursue professional certifications as this will go a long way to show your commitment towards the business. Here are some of the professional certifications you should acquire to run your marriage counseling company;
- Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)
- Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC)
- Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
- Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC)
- Licensed Clinical Psychologist (LCP)
- Gottman Certified Couples Therapist
Most states in the United States of America require marriage counselors to renew their licenses every year by taking additional courses, workshops or attending professional conferences.
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
It is very important in any business to have the necessary documentation for the business you intend to start. You won’t be allowed to run your business in the United States without the proper documentations in place. If you try it, you would be caught by the law enforcement agent.
Here are some of the legal documents you need to legally run your own marriage counseling company in the United States of America;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License and Certification
- Business Plan
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Consulting contract documents
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- VAT Registration
- Federal tax identification number
- Apostille (if you intend to operate beyond the United States)
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
When it has to do with financing a business, one of the first and most important factor to consider is a good business plan. With a good business plan in place, you would find it easier to convince your bank and other investors to invest in your business. Here are some of the ways you could source for startup capital for your marriage counselling business;
- Raising money from personal savings
- Raising money from sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- applying for business grants and seed funding from investors and donor organizations
- Source for soft loans from your friends and family members
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
Whatever business you choose to venture into, you are bound to face challenges. So also is the marriage counseling business.
Location is not a barrier or challenge in this business as it could be done from anywhere; even from home. If you would get a business location for your clients to visit you, you must ensure you rent or lease a facility in a visible location. Look for a well accessible location.
Note that it is going to be more expensive to get a business facility in a good location, so, you will need to allocate funds in your budget that will cover for leasing/renting. If you are not good at getting the right location for your business, you should consult a business consultant or a realtor to guide you in choosing the right business location for your marriage counseling business.
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
To be successful in the marriage counseling business, you need to enroll for some professional certifications which would give you an edge over your competitors and make your clients prefer your counseling service. It would also enable you to offer quality service to your clients.
The cost of these certifications should also be included in your business plan in order to raise sufficient capital to pursue these certifications. The manpower aspect is also of equal importance as the technical aspect.
You need to also hire qualified and experienced staff to help you run your business. The overall success of the business hinges on the quality of the workers at your disposal. There are no restrictions on the number of employees you could employ, but ideally, you will need to start with about 3-5 competent staff.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
As a marriage counselor, your main aim is to provide quality and excellent service for your clients. You need to ensure that your clients are satisfied with your personalized services.
To achieve this aim, you need to ensure that you put some things in place like getting a professional and certified marriage counselor assistant to work with you, ensure that you have excellent communication and relationship with your clients.
You should also ensure you give your clients quality service at an affordable price based on their budget. To ensure excellent service delivery, you need to put your clients at the heart of what you do.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
To make a name for your brand as a marriage counseling company, you would have to prove your worth over and over again before you can be recognized and trusted by people. So, if you plan to start your own marriage counseling company, it will be good for you to learn how to sharpen your interpersonal communication skills.
People and organizations will make you their go-to person when it comes to marriage counseling if they are assured that they are going to get value for their money.
So, when you want to draft your marketing plans and strategies for your marriage counseling service, you should ensure to create a compelling personal and business profile. Aside from the qualifications and experience that you have acquired, it is also important that you state clearly what you have been able to achieve in time past as it relates to marriage counseling services.
This will go a long way to boost your chances in the market when sourcing for marriage counseling contracts. Below are some of the ways you can market your marriage counseling services;
- Introduce your marriage counseling business by sending your brochure along with introductory letters to all the small scale businesses and corporate organizations which may need your services in the United States
- Advertise your business in magazines, radio and TV stations
- List your marriage counseling business on local directories
- Work with your client’s budget by creating different packages for different client categories
- Make good use of the internet to promote your business
- Make use of direct marketing by engaging the services of marketing executives and business development executives
17. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
The marriage counseling business has a little competition which you must stay on top if you want to make a profit out of it.
This means that you must come up with a unique strategy to outsmart your competitors in the industry. Part of what you need to do to is to continue to offer professional, excellent and affordable services to your clients. Organizations and people will always patronize you when they know that you provide a better alternative as it relates to offering excellent service.
Another strategy to adopt is to ensure that you employ highly skilled and qualified counselors who would provide couples and clients with excellent personalized services.
18. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
Your goal in any business should be on how to boost your brand awareness and communicate your corporate identity. One of the secrets of success larger corporations is their willingness to spend heavily in boosting their brand awareness to better communicate their corporate identity to people.
If you intend to make your marriage counseling business grow beyond the city where you started to become a national and international brand, then you should be ready to spend money in promoting and advertising your brand.
You should make use of the print media, electronic media and also social media to promote your brand and corporate identity. It is pretty cost effective to promote your brand via the internet and social media platforms. It also has a wider range compared with other media.
Another effective strategy is to sponsor TV and radio programs that have a program similar to your business while you should also advertise your business in relevant magazines and newspapers. Below are the channels you could take to boost and promote your business;
- Encourage your loyal customers to help publicize via word of mouth
- Make use of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Google+ and other internet platforms to promote your business
- Position your banners and billboards in strategic positions around your city
- Distribute fliers and handbills about your business in target areas in and around your neighborhood
- Make contact with corporate organizations and small business owners and inform them about your business and the various services you offer
- Advertise on your official website and employ ways to pull traffic to the site