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As the home care industry becomes increasingly populated, brands need to ensure that they can stand out from the competition.
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For nearly 30 years, my career in healthcare was about helping people in need by building programs or businesses for my employers. I enjoyed this work, and while I was successful, it always felt like there was something holding me back.
I found myself seeking out opportunities to become my own boss and build something that could be uniquely mine. Despite the risks, taking the leap to become an entrepreneur and starting my home care business, Golden Heart Senior Care, has been the most rewarding decision of my professional life.
COVID-19 continues to shine a light on the unique value of home care, and we have seen a significant surge of interest from seniors who prefer in-home care as opposed to assisted living facilities or nursing homes.
“Clients and their families may feel disconnected when a brand feels too large and detached from the caregiving experience”
According to a survey from Transcend Strategy Group, more than 50 per cent of family members are now more likely to choose in-home care for their loved ones than they were prior to the pandemic. The demand for home care is spiking, creating opportunity and increasing competition among senior living brands.
The key to early success is to build a trustworthy brand, hire and train the right caregivers, and invest in technology that aligns with your business model.
While it is important for any business to provide excellent customer service and a personal touch, fostering a “small business” feel is even more crucial in the home care industry.
Clients and their families may feel disconnected when a brand feels too large and detached from the caregiving experience. In the business of home care, loyalty is created through the small business feel, prioritizing individual relationships and establishing trust.
At Golden Heart Senior Care, we recently partnered with Fransmart to franchise nationwide because we see the long-term potential of our business model and expect that local franchisees will play a key role as the industry prepares for the continuing wave of seniors.
Local franchisees are already tapped into their business communities, and their understanding of the needs, preferences and priorities of seniors in their area make them uniquely qualified to create this small business experience.
This localized approach to home care enables us to prioritize individual relationships and build trust with clients and their loved ones. Forging an emotional connection is not only the right thing to do – it is also impactful for business.
According to Forbes, companies that provide an emotional connection with customers outperform the sales growth of their competitors by 85 per cent.
To thrive in the home care business, technology has become an essential tool. Solutions that are mobile-friendly support our franchisees in multiple ways – from talent acquisition and caregiver scheduling to new business development. The ability to make decisions remotely is now more important than ever, and having smart, efficient software at your disposal saves valuable time.
At Golden Heart Senior Care, we use the SMARTcare mobile app, which streamlines several different functions within one platform. SMARTcare allows us to recruit and manage client and caregiver databases, while other talent acquisition tools like CareerPlug support recruitment by pinpointing the best available candidates.
As a business owner, monitoring day-to-day activities like bookkeeping and scheduling can be time-consuming. Many mobile technology solutions offer time-saving scheduling capabilities to set up or adjust scheduling, manage staff assignments and notify caregivers of shift details.
With the help of geolocation services, franchisees can also check the real-time status of their caregivers, tracking important information like their arrival time and the duration of home visits. SMARTcare also automatically tracks billing information for clients and records caregiver payroll information to minimize errors in record keeping.
When multiple franchise owners are involved across a particular business, communication is key for sharing resources or asking questions. Programs like BaseCamp are available to keep franchise owners connected and facilitate communication between franchisees and franchise leadership. BaseCamp also serves as a unique branding tool to host pictures, logos, policies and procedures in a singular digital location for company-wide use.
A strong online presence is also mandatory in today’s home care environment. Developing a user-friendly website and maintaining your brand’s social media pages should serve as an all-encompassing resource for prospective clients and their loved ones. A well-designed and informative site will explain your brand, purpose and service offerings to showcase whatever it is that makes your business unique. Remember – this is often a prospective client’s first impression of your values and priorities as a brand.
Home care is part of the service industry, so your success relies primarily on your ability to form strong relationships with caregivers, referral partners, and most importantly, clients.
This ability to connect with others is found in leaders from a wide variety of backgrounds, meaning that experience in healthcare is not required to start a home care brand or become a franchisee. In fact, one of our most successful franchisees started at Golden Heart Senior Care after 28 years in the finance industry.
This is why investing in training is so critical. One of the most important things for a franchisee to do before running their own business is to participate in on-site training to dig deeper into the finer details of owning and operating their home care business.
A strong training program prepares business owners for all aspects of daily management, including how to effectively use technology in support of their business. Franchise owners must be well-versed in the software so that they can operate with the highest level of efficiency and answer questions that their team may have about the technology. Simply having the technology without the proper training hinders an owner’s ability to lead a successful franchise.
While competition is on the rise in the home care industry, clients and their families are always on the lookout for a brand they can connect with. Securing and continuing to build upon those connections is at the heart of creating a successful home care brand. Establishing the small business feel helps to forge those special relationships, while strategic investments in technology and training set a strong foundation for success. By preparing yourself and your team to meet the evolving challenges of the home care industry, your brand can set itself up for long-term success.
Craig is the owner and president of Golden Heart Senior Care. He has over 27 years as a senior executive leadership in managed health care organizations and delivery systems focused on caring for frail and vulnerable Americans
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