Elder Care Business in 2009 – Opening and Marketing Your Dream

I love the start of a new year. It brings to mind that the possibilities are endless, and for many of us, it’s a great time to start something new or different in our lives.

I’d be a rich person if I had a nickel for everyone out there who has decided to open a new in-home care agency, open a professional geriatric care management practice, or start some sort of elder care business. (I get a call or email about this at least 3 times per week consistently!)

What I know for sure is that there is plenty of business to go around. As we live longer, as our parents and grandparents live longer, we create an unlimited opportunity and need for senior related services.

The key is to create an appropriate and realistic business and marketing plan that generates clients and results. The key to the senior market, is not surprisingly, their adult children.

If you have been in the senior market for any amount of time, you know that families often contact senior service providers when they are in crisis due to an acute illness or other event that signals the need for services and support.

So whether you are just starting a new senior/elder care business, or already own one- think about marketing to more than just seniors. Your target audience may be a little younger than you imagine!

Consider some of the other things we have talked about over the last few months:

o Issues related to senior living options, senior care options, and financial issues that affect seniors require education, so educate your prospects.

o Advertising with vanity ads and the “same old thing” is “OUT”, and offering information in the form of a free report, CD, seminar, or consultation is “IN”.

o Directing messages to baby-boomers who HAVE aging parents is key. Finding them is not as easy as buying a “list”.

o Understanding financial options for seniors is a MUST for all senior service providers. It’s impossible to offer good advice to a family if you aren’t up on the latest programs and strategies.

o Networking is possibly the most effective and least costly form of advertising and marketing. You should attend only the networking events that make sense for your business. Pick 2-3 key groups and stick with them. (But try as many as you can, it never hurts to check out a new group!)

o Finally, when you are budgeting for your marketing, budget for consistency and frequency, not the big bang. This market does not work like that.

o The reality is that you must touch a consumer 6-10 times- either through print, radio, or TV, in order to get a response. o Running a radio ad 4 times and pulling the ad because you didn’t get a phone call is not the way to execute a marketing strategy.

o This is a sensitive subject for many (long-term care needs), so in short order you must articulate your message, interrupt your target (ie get their attention), engage them, educate them, and then make an offer.

o Offering something for free- your time, your printed report, your audio CD, etc, will get the most response. Some people like to remain anonymous…so let them, but engage them.

Finally, this is a very good year to live your dream, be an entrepreneur, and serve the greatest generation of all time. Take a realistic, slow but steady and consistent course of action, and you will succeed! We need more senior service providers who really know their stuff. We need senior service providers who are educated, efficient, and trustworthy. Best wishes for continued success in 2008!

Small Business Help For Getting Federal Business

The US federal government is the world’s largest purchaser of goods and services. While it does a majority of the dollars spent with large business it does have a mandate to do a portion of business with small business- 23 percent to be exact. Within this, there are further designations that businesses can utilize to get federal business should ownership match those designations.

Small Disadvantaged Business
Five percent of government business is designated for Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB). One program that helps SDB’s is the Small Business Administration 8(a) certification- a minority program. The 8(a) program gives minority businesses some advantages for getting contracts. It also includes designating 8(a) businesses as a SDB.

Women-owned Business
Five percent of federal civil purchases and contracts are to be done with women-owned businesses. There is no federal certification for women-owned business and a business may designate as woman-owned when registering in the federal government’s contractor database- Central Contractor Registration (CCR).

HUBZone Business
Three percent of government contracts go to businesses that reside in designated geographic areas. These areas are called a Historically Underutilized Business Zone or HUBZone. HUBZones are based upon an area’s unemployment rate and/or poverty rate as determined by the most recent census. Should any area’s rates be high, it could be designated as a HUBZone. Businesses which have its primary office and a percentage of employees residing in a HUBZone will be designated a HUBZone business by the SBA.

Service-disabled, Veteran-owned Business
Three percent of the civil government procurement is to go to service-disabled, veteran-owned small business concerns (SDVOBC). Like a women-owned business, there is no formal certification for a SDVOBC. They can self designate when registering as a federal vendor.

A business is not limited to one small business designation. As a matter of fact, a business should be encouraged to enroll in as many programs as they can. Federal purchasing can count a single purchase in multiple areas toward goals mentioned. Meaning if a business receiving a contract is 8(a), women-owned, and HUBZone, that a purchasing agent can count that one contract in all three areas to reach quota. Such small business designations are a huge boost to help get business with the federal government.

Best Home Businesses Are Those That Deliver on Promise – Beware of the Hype

The best home businesses out there are those that deliver on the promise but how will you know that when you are researching?  If you were to put the phrase into the search engines there will be hundreds, perhaps even thousands of results because after all everyone thinks their home business is one of the best home businesses out there, right?

My definition of the best home businesses is those that are right for you, those that meet your needs and exceed your expectations. People have a number of reasons why they want to start up a home business. It may be that you want to get out of the rat race, you want to sack your boss, want to spend more time with your loved ones doing things that you want to do that a regular job prevented you from doing. It is very easy to get caught up in the marketing hype that is out there and to lose sight of your reasons for wanting to find the best work at home business.

How to find the best online home businesses out there

The first place you would start is the search engines. Your decision should not be taken lightly nor should you act on a whim by jumping straight into the first home business that is attractive to you. You want to be asking yourself a number of questions:

  • What is it I enjoy and am good at (my motivators and strengths?)
  • What is my level of IT ability – do I want an online home business or offline?
  • Do I want to buy into an already established business or do I innovate and start a business in a low niche market?
  • Can the home based business be worked alongside my regular job, at least in the early stages?
  • How much time do I have to devote to the home business?
  • Is the business time sensitive, i.e. do I have to have things done by a specific time each day?
  • How much money am I willing to invest and what is the predicted return on my investment?
  • How long could it take me to get my initial investment back?
  • Are these home businesses I am researching aligned with my strengths and motivations? 
  • If not, is there a new skills set I could learn, something that will both challenge and develop me?

Home based business ideas?

You may have a number of home based business ideas you are toying with and that is good. If your home based business is something you have a real passion for, then this will be evident to those potential customers as you will build your business around your passion. On the other hand, if you are moving into the home business arena out of necessity, then this could lead to desperation and again this will come across to your potential prospects.

What if it is something I have never done before?

The best home businesses that are out there tend to be those that have a mentoring program already built in. You will probably find that alongside the mentoring, there is a whole plethora of training tutorials also built into the business. Caution though, please do your due diligence with these types of home based businesses as all too often they do not deliver on the promise and you could find yourself really struggling. Do ask questions, lots of them; speak to others who are in the industry, research the organisation through all mediums such as articles, blogs, videos etc and find out what people are saying about it.

Most of all though, never give up on your dream of finding that freedom that the best home based businesses can offer you. Even after you have made your purchase, be mindful of the reasons why you came into the industry and ensure the promises made to you are being delivered upon. Do not settle for less because you deserve more.