Client Name: Susan Borchert
Business Name: Counseling Associates
Business Website: https://ca-mh.com/
Industry: Behavioral Health
Location: New Boston, NH
SBDC Advisor's Name: Julie Glosner

Counseling Associates client story

Counseling Associates looks forward to celebrating 20 years in business this fall - and what a ride it’s been. The company offers a wide variety of counseling services for individual, couple, family, and group therapy sessions as well as medication management services. Both in-person and telehealth appointments are available.

Counseling Associates opened in October 2004 after its co-founders, Susan Borchert and Betsy Harrison worked together at another practice that had moved out of New London.  The two knew they worked well together and with mental health services no longer available in New London, they understood there was a gap in services.  So, they opened in a small leased second floor office on Main Street in New London and things just took off. “There was kind of no turning back from there,” says Susan. “We kept adding space and people and then more space to fit the more people we hired, and then more people to fit the space we leased.”

Counseling Associates has grown so much, they moved out of that second-floor office to purchase their own building, still in New London and now with locations across NH in Claremont, Newport, Hanover, and Plymouth.  Most recently, they even expanded out of state, now providing services in Hattiesburg, Mississippi after one of their clinicians moved there. “Our goal is pretty much always employee retention,” notes Susan. “One motivation was we really wanted to nurture and support the leadership development of this clinician who moved, but we also have a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, and this fit our mission.”  

Susan is proud to share that Counseling Associates is also a primary private practice provider for Dartmouth College and is the provider for Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. “One of the other things we are very proud of is our training,” adds Susan. “For all of our new hires, whether beginning interns, candidates, licensed clinicians, or supervisors, we have a variety of training levels at Counseling Associates. We invest heavily in training and leadership opportunities, which we believe is part of the not-so-secret secret to our success.”

Over the years, Counseling Associates has received support that has contributed to their success, including from NH SBDC. Their relationship with SBDC started when they first opened in 2004, so they’ve worked with various business advisors over the years. Most recently though, that guidance and support has come from NH SBDC Southern Regional Director Julie Glosner who Susan says, “has been great.”

Counseling Associates logo

Julie worked with Counseling Associates on some different marketing initiatives, including connecting the business with UNH. Through that connection, Counseling Associates received support with their website, as well as some marketing and recruiting strategies developed by a UNH marketing class.  Through a reference from NH SBDC, Susan also participated in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses training, which she says, “was helpful from a ‘pay attention to your numbers’ point of view.”

In addition, Julie provided Counseling Associates with useful referrals including an accounting firm and an HR firm, both of which have been helpful as Counseling Associates continues to grow. Susan says, “Julie is very accessible and thinks about who she can pull in to support the different needs we have.” For instance, Julie connected them with fellow SBDC Business Advisor Hollis McGuire who could offer more in-depth guidance on accounting and business management. Susan notes, “the thing I hear a lot about SBDC is they have such a wealth of knowledge. So, even if you have one advisor, they can pull in other advisors.”

As the business has grown from two employees to 90, Counseling Associates is implementing more structure. SBDC has been there through it all. Susan believes it important also to give credit to their banker, Ledyard National Bank, who she says helped them through the pandemic. She adds, “You can’t really be a success without your banker, and that’s important and certainly something the SBDC underlines.”

From the inception of Counseling Associates, Susan explains, “the SBDC’s support was crucial in our success because it helped us work out our sense of ourselves. When you're working, you don't really have the perspective that this is going well.” SBDC, from the beginning, was able to encourage them that they had a good business. Susan adds,

“And sometimes, you know, that's what's important. When you're a smaller business, you're more like a little dinghy in the ocean. You're more vulnerable to the big waves. And so that's when I think it's super important to pull in experts like SBDC.”

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