Back when I was a waitress I worked at a restaurant/cafe. The restaurant did pretty well so the owner was hesitant to change anything, but something that customers would repeatedly ask for were breakfast sandwiches. The restaurant didn’t make breakfast sandwiches so we had to turn them away. Sure, McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts sold breakfast sandwiches but apparently people wanted something more gourmet in a nicer atmosphere. If the owner had been willing to listen to his customers and start offering these sandwiches, I’m sure that his business would have skyrocketed in the morning, which was typically on the slower side.
How often do you listen to your customers? Although everyone is their own unique individual with their own set of unique needs, you can be sure that if one person wants something, others do too. Years ago clients would complain to me that there weren’t any good couples counselors in the area. Rather than just say “I’m sorry but I don’t offer couples counseling”, I decided to fill that void. I put in tons of time and money and effort into becoming the best couples counselor I could. Now it’s hard to imagine a time when I wasn’t doing couples counseling. It was a gamble that worked out really well for me. Of course, looking back it really wasn’t a gamble. There really wasn’t much risk at all considering that the community was telling me that that was what they wanted. They wanted couples counseling. I filled that void. I now have a busy practice.
Your clients might not tell you directly what they are looking for, but they will say it in other ways. Listen to what they complain about in this profession. Also listen to what they praise. Listen to what they wished existed. Something I’ve been hearing complaints about for a long time are the cold and prison-like atmosphere of a lot of the counseling agencies. Think concrete walls, looked doors, sealed off areas, and angry support staff. Obviously you shouldn’t have your office be prison-like, but maybe you can take this further by having your office in a cool non-typical setting. Another thing I’ve been hearing is that clients are really looking for something new in terms of therapy. Someone who can combine other healing arts with psychotherapy, such as massage, reiki, and spiritual healing. I’m not sure if I’m the right person to offer those services, but maybe you are. If you’re willing to take the risk of filling the void, you’ll probably find it really wasn’t much of a risk at all.