10 Mistakes in Starting a Personal Care Business

Starting a business entails finding a need and filling it It’s also important to build a brand, value and credibility for your business to grow. After all, you’re not the first personal care business out there so getting off to a right start the first time around is critical to the success of your business

With the right concepts, vision, mission, information and a good team, your personal care business will survive but more often than not, newer entrants in the murky terrain of entrepreneurship tend to make common mistakes that in many instances could have been avoided.

10 Common Mistakes When Starting a Personal Care Business

  1. Failure to Plan

A formal business plan isn’t really necessary, but you certainly need a plan to begin the process. According to Tim Berry, the Palo Alto Software chairman; ‘Most people see business planning as homework they are unwilling to embark upon’. Yet initial planning is what helped him in many areas of his business.

Critical planning elements should include;how to market to potential clients, target population, staff training and location of your personal care home or home care office.

{Frankly, I not placing my Mom or Dad anywhere where unsafe, unclean or where I’m uncertain of her condition or care once I walk away.  Walkable communities are to be considered for personal care homes.  However, home care agencies should consider locations whereby the community can support their services. } I’m not sure you need this, if so, re-word.

Before starting any personal care business, make sure you have a clear direction of how you plan to execute each stage. Create a plan and a goal. Booking a consultation from an expert is paramount to getting off to the right start and a better use of your time rather than relying on tight lipped providers who are already in the business.

  1. Too Much Focus on Less Important Stuff

Firstly, begin the process as fast or as soon as you can. This may seem obvious, but a lot of personal care business owners spend more time on less important things. Don’t be that kind of provider! Time is your greatest commodity in the long run, so use it judiciously.  Many prospective providers of a personal care business tend to give little thought to the rules and regulations governing the programs they want to set up.  In fact, this is the most important aspect of your business. Knowing the rules is the best way to keep your personal care business out of trouble with the state.

Are you spending too much time thinking about your business logo? If so, you are more than likely wasting time. Instead, spend time on what can take your business to the next level such as marketing.  Ask yourself the following: how will I obtain my clients?

  1. Undervaluing Your Service

It doesn’t matter what you’re selling, whether a product or service, set your price at a point where it’s sure to make a comfortable profit.  Also, be mindful of what the competition is doing and consider the efforts and costs of your product or service.  Consistently accepting clients with a less than market per diem can make your business unprofitable and fast.  Know your worth and deliver a top quality service each and every time.  I hope this list has so far been beneficial to you.  We’re only at number 3 of the 10 Mistakes in Starting a Personal Care Business.

  1. Not Paying Attention to Customer Service

There’s a general phrase that reads like this, “The Customer Is King”. While this may seem obvious to many, less and less personal care business owners and staff actually realizes this factor as pivotal.  Never neglect customer or employee concerns and always take them seriously.  As with many businesses, customers and employees can make or break your business. Just remember that good news travels fast and bad news even faster.

  1. Offering Less Than Your Competition

People like to get the most for their buck.  My Mom did and so do most who earn money the hard way.  Therefore, what you offer needs to be competitive with what other personal care homes and home care agencies are offering at the moment.  Potential clients WILL check out the competition – even if you don’t.  Not offering transportation at your personal care home?  Well, the Johnson’s up the street, do. So your home care company does not assist Dementia patients or those with challenging behaviors?  No worries, ABC Home Care service do offer these services and are over booked.

Being knowledgable about your competitors in the industry can only help level the playing field whilst allowing you a strong advantage in the industry.

  1. Moving Way Too Fast

I have seen too many providers start a personal care business and before they are full or have mastered their operations, have already opened another one! Bad move.  Ensure you have learned your business well, having worked out all the kinks. Time allows for the opportunity to learn new things and to master your craft, so don’t be too quick to grow too fast. Licensing issues and a bad reputation can be hard to overcome.  Take your time and establish a sound business model.  This is the best way to ensure longevity.

  1. No Passion

Some providers venture into a personal care business with absolutely no passion. This can kill a business very fast as passion is the fuel that keeps you going during the sometimes rocky journey to building a successful business. It is my opinion that healthcare workers such as RNs, LPNs and CNAs make the best home providers and Administrators of home care agencies.  I of course have nothing against Doctors but as an RN for many years, many of the MDs I have encountered did appear to have lost some of their bedside manner.  However, we welcome their business.

In this industry, you need to love what you do or you will burn out fast.  The 10 Mistakes in Running a Personal Care Business are an extension of my 20 years in the industry.

  1. Being a Distance Provider

Having spent plenty of money and tons of hard work getting your personal care business up and running, you disappear. Not literally, but you do leave your entire business in the hands of employees without the vested interest in the business which you have built.  This isn’t a good idea, especially during those early days.

  1. Think Way Out the Box

Whether it’s a home care company or personal care home you want to open, when it comes to service delivery, populations served and location don’t scrimp on creativity and surveying the competition.  Come up with a business model that sets you apart from all the others.  Competition is real and there is no room for error.

  1. Hiring Family

Perhaps your luck with hiring family has been a bit better than mine and the last hundred or so providers I’ve worked with! If so, great. My former business partner the late Dr. Fredrick Salsman once told me to avoid hiring family members.  Family members tend to come with a sense of entitlement that can cause mostly preventable problems for providers.  If you are insistent of hiring family members, tread lightly and carry a life jacket! After more than 20 years in this industry I have come to the conclusion that hiring family can adversely affect a company. As Dr. Fredrick Salsman once said, this should be listed as mistake number one!

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