Today we are going to talk about Business Plans for your ABA practices. ABA Business Plan Template. ABA Business Plan Template
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Business Plans are important for two reasons. First, the process makes you think through the details of your company so you’re set up for success. And second, it helps potential investors understand that your bottom line makes sense and your company is sustainable. It helps them determine if they want to invest.
A Business Plan should be no more than eight to ten pages long and should include these seven sections:
- Marketing Strategy
- Financial Plans
- Road Map/Goals
- “The Ask”
Section 1. Introduction
The first part of your Business Plan is called your “Introduction,” or “Executive Summary.” It includes your business name, contact information, and business structure. Examples of your business structure include corporation, LLC, or sole proprietorship. If you are a non-profit, you will want to make a note about that as well. Then include a brief description of your company with a few sentences about your company and what makes your it unique. Next should be your team biographies–this is your greatest strength. Emphasize the experience and expertise of your leadership team and their responsibilities; this is a big selling point to investors and they want to know this information. You will need strong leadership for your company to succeed.
Section 2. Message
The second part of your Business Plan is your “Message,” or, more specifically, your culture. This includes your Mission Statement, your Vision Statement, and your “Why.”
Your Mission Statement should answer four questions:
- Who is your target market?
- What do you offer?
- How do you offer it?
- Why do you offer it?
Your Mission Statement should be one to two sentences long and project approximately one year ahead. Your Mission Statement will change and evolve over time whereas your Vision Statement is looking five years ahead and should be no more than ten words. Think big picture. What is your cause?
Lastly, what is your “Why?” This is the heart and motivation behind your company. Why are you starting your own ABA practice instead of working for someone else? Answer “why” two to three times to get to the core of your decision. This should be short. This should be personal.
You will repeat your Mission, your Vision, and your “Why” a thousand times to clients, investors, and employees. This is foundational to your company culture. Make them memorable. Make them concise. Do not underestimate the value of these three things.
Section 3. Offering
The next part of your business plan is your “Offering.” An offering is traditionally known as your product or service. You will need to remember that many banks, families, or private equity firms don’t know about Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). This is your opportunity to emphasize that ABA is research and evidence-based and its methods are rooted in the science of behavior. Support the significance of your offering with statistics and data.
Next, what problems face the families that you will serve? What solution does your offering bring? How will you help them? And how will their lives be different after you are done?
And then, where will you deliver your services, and why? Will it be in a home, school, or clinic? Emphasize the benefits of what you have chosen.
Lastly, are there other ABA providers in your market? What makes your offering unique to theirs? Is it the insurance you accept, the location of your services, or perhaps the quality of your services? Many different factors can make your offering unique. Traditionally, this is considered your “competition,” but we want to emphasize the importance of collaboration in this industry. The supply of providers is far from meeting the demand for services, and part of our vision is to help these families. So refer and collaborate with the other providers and know the competitive advantages of your offering.
Section 4. Marketing Strategy
The fourth part of your business plan is your “Marketing Strategy.”
First off, define your target market. That includes the demographics and psychographics. The demographics include age, gender, income level, and diagnosis of the children you serve. It may also include the insurances that you’ll accept. The psychographics include the interests, desires, and fears of your clients.
Articulating the psychographics will explain why you have chosen to provide services in schools, homes, or clinics. If you are working with an aggressive child, is it safer to work in the clinic far away from the siblings, or is it safer to be in their home?
Next, determine the size of your market. The CDC reported in 2020 that 1-in-54 children are diagnosed with autism. Multiply that by the number of children in your region, and you’ll have an estimated size of the market.
Then determine where you can find groups of your target market. Where can you find a high concentration of clients in one place? Are there non-profits, autism events, schools, neurologists, social workers, or clubs near you? By determining these locations or events, you’ll improve the efficiency of your marketing strategy.
Now, define your Marketing Strategy. How will clients first hear about you? What will be their first impression? Will it be a flyer in the doctor’s office, or will it be by word-of-mouth? And then, how will they get referred to you? Do you want them to email, call, text, or reach out to you through social media?
After they have gotten ahold of you, how will you convert them to an active, paying client? This is known as a “conversion strategy.” Putting these pieces together outlines the fourth part of your business plan, the “Marketing Strategy.”
Section 5. Financial Plan
The 5th section is the “Financial Plan.”
Begin with determining your billing rate. To determine your billing rate, there are a few options: 1) You can benchmark other ABA companies in your area and make yours comparable, 2) Some payors have set rates for ABA services already and it isn’t negotiated, or 3) You can download the Business Plan template which has a link to one provider that lists ABA rates for service areas across the country.
After you determine your billing rate, determine the billable hours you want your office to achieve. This is a critical variable to the scale of your practice. For example, if you are working with 6 children, each receiving 20 hours of billable services per week, then your office would bill an estimated 120 hours per week.
Then multiply the billable hours by your billing rate to determine your revenue projection. This will give you an estimated gross revenue per week. Extrapolate to determine by month or year. If you want to increase your revenue, then you will have to increase the billable hours of your office or bill at higher rates.
Next, determine how many employees you will need to support this caseload. Full-time employees are typically defined as 35 hours of work per week, but billable hours may only be 25 of those. You’ll need to account for the differences when you determine pay rates.
Next, include your top major expenses. You only need to list the largest few. In a Business Plan, not every penny needs to be allocated. This isn’t a Pro Forma. The goal is to see that the bottom line makes sense, so including only your payroll, facility costs, and marketing budget is generally enough to see that the bottom line makes sense.
Section 6. Road Map/Goals
Tied to your Financial Plan, is your “Road Map,” or “Goals.”
This defines your largest business opportunity and the goals that will help accomplish it.
For a new ABA company, the first business opportunity you are trying to accomplish is growing your practice’s billable hours. The first important factor to consider is getting clients. This is your marketing intervention as outlined in your marketing strategy. The second factor to consider is maximizing your billable hours that have been approved. If you are authorized for providing 20 hours/week, then utilize the 20 hours to the greatest benefit of the child. If you only work with the child for 10 hours, you not only miss the opportunity to help the child, thereby missing the opportunity to accomplish the mission of your company, you also miss out on critical revenue for your company. So, define the activities that you can measure that directly impact receiving referrals and maximizing authorized hours of service.
Next, measure the progress of the activities and the results. Examples of the results you could track include the billable hours and revenue. An example of marketing activities you could track would be your outreach activities (such as the number of calls with other providers, social workers, or referral sources per week). Set daily, weekly, or monthly goals, and then track them. This doesn’t take much time and it prioritizes your activities.
Chart your progress. Charting the business opportunity and the activities that support it helps you visualize your progress. Then celebrate your progress. Will your celebrations be a new decoration for your office or taking a great referral source to a nicer lunch the next time you connect? Integrate your celebrations into your work so that your work becomes even more reinforcing! This will increase the joy of your work and the likelihood that you’ll continue to progress.
Setting specific, measurable, attainable, and timely goals for your ABA practice provides direction and lays a road map for your company. The goals should be linked to the mission of the company to increase engagement and focus your efforts.
Section 7. The “Ask”
The 7th part of your business plan is your “Ask.”
If you are seeking investors, what do you want from them? Are you seeking $50k or $100k? Are you seeking professional help from them? They will want to know how their money and time will be invested. This is your opportunity to tie it to your Road Map. Will you be leasing a building, putting the investor’s money toward a competitive benefits package to recruit the best BCBAs, or will you create a very prolific marketing strategy? Lay out two or three goals that the funds will go toward and how that will increase your growth.
It is not advised to write out in your business plan what you are willing to offer to investors if they invest in your company. Do not include equity or discuss interest rates at this stage in the process of negotiating. By excluding this, your Business Plan is presentable to banks, private equity firms, or angel investors. Business Plans need not be tailored to each investor you approach. Keep it simple and let them initiate the conversation about terms.
If you are seeking investors, make sure to include your “Ask” in your Business Plan.
That concludes the seven parts of your Business Plan for your ABA company. If you are interested in more resources, explore these articles on our website. You can download the Business Plan by clicking below.
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