It’s important to consider how
you’re going to market your new home health care
business. You can have excellent employees, who are
well-trained, and have excellent administrative back-office
systems in place, but if no one knows about you, you’re
not going to get any business.
I’ve found, in working with a variety
of Home Health Care businesses, that frequently marketing
doesn’t get enough attention, and business suffers
as a result. Therefore, make sure you have allocated
enough money in your initial budget (which is part of
your business plan) to launch your marketing initiatives.
|You’ll probably want to consider
all or some of the following:
|Yellow Pages Listings
|Although the Yellow Pages is not as important
a source as it once was, it still remains a basic source
of advertising – letting people know that you’re
there, and open for business.
Nowadays, more and more people search
for services and products on the internet. In my experience,
people under 30 rarely, if ever, use the Yellow Pages.
They grew up with the internet and are familiar and
comfortable with it. So make sure you have a web site,
where people can find you.
There are many web designers out there
who can design a web site for you. Getting your personalized
web page for your home health care business launched involves
several steps, from conception to implementation.
If you want to save money initially, you
can consider buying a “web page in a box”.
There are various companies that will provide you with
a generic web page. They’ll offer to change the
name and a address shown on the main page, and perhaps
a few other details, to customize the site for your
Home Health Care business. This may be sufficient for
a start, but if you can, you’ll probably want
to get your own web site specially designed for you.
|I have met many people over the years who
tell me they don’t need a web page designer to create
their web site – their brother, or son, or brother-in-law
knows how to create web ages easily, and it’s going
to save money. So why bother with a professional designer?
Well, I don’t know your brother, son, daughter,
or brother-in-law, so I may be wrong. But … in my
experience, I have never seen a web site designed for
free by a relative who’s an amateur that looks well-done
and professional. Your web site is going to present you
and your business to thousands of prospective customers.
Make sure it looks good, and don’t try to cut corners.
|Some web pages for home health care businesses
have a section where visitors to the site can enter their
details and request a quote. Some even have software included
in the web site which generates a quote for the prospective
customer. I personally don’t recommend this unless
your prime approach to getting customers is based on having
the lowest price.
|Once you have selected a web designer whose
previous work you like, you’re almost done. Once
the web page is completed, you’re going to register
a URL for the web site, and arrange for the site to be
hosted at a server somewhere. Many web designers can help
you in arranging to get your URL registered, and your
hosting account set up. Inquire from them before you sign
your contract. Are these services included? If not, what
is the cost for each service?
|You may think that now your web site is
completed, and it’s hosted, and you can now type
in www.my-home-health-care-business.com, and see your
new site, that you’re done. Not so fast! Now you
have to think about how people will find your site, and
SEO (Search Engine optimization).
|The first thing you’ll need to do
is submit your site to all the major search engines –
Google, Yahoo, MSN, ASK, etc. This can be time-consuming
to do yourself. You might want to arrange to have your
web designer do this for you.
|Search Engine optimization (SEO) is a new
field of endeavor related to the web, that is becoming
a specialized industry in itself. Once your web page has
been created and is now sitting on the web, along with
a billion others, you may want to consider finding ways
to have your listing do better in the search engines.
A SEO specialist can help you do this.
|PPC Campaigns: Most people searching the
web with a search engine – Google, for example –
will read through only the first ten or twenty listings
that appear in response to the search term they entered.
Fortunately, you can pay Google a certain amount to arrange
to have your listing/s appear in the “Paid listings”
section of their site. (How do you think Google makes
those enormous annual sales figures, and why their stock
keeps soaring upwards? PPC is a huge multi-million dollar
|Costs for this will vary. First you need
to sign up with Google, and then you’ll need to
decide how much you want to bid for individual search
terms. You can also set a daily limit, defining how much
you’re prepared to spend a day for clicks.
|Leaflets, Door Hangers,
|Leaflets are an old standard for marketing
any service business. Many home health care businesses
around the country use leaflets from time to time to advertise
their services. One of our clients spent between $30,000
and $50,000 on leaflets and door hangers in the first
few months after opening his doors, to attract new customers.
He was successful in giving his home health care business
a good, quick kick start. However, this was before the
days of the internet, when internet advertising wasn’t
available. This doesn’t mean, however, that leaflets
and door hangers won’t continue to be effective
in this day and age!
You’re going to want to have a
pleasing logo, which you can use to identify your business.
This can be used on your web page, on your letterheads,
business cards, etc. There are specialty designers who’ll
design a logo for you. Costs can vary from a couple
of hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. The amount
you pay won’t necessarily correspond with the
effectiveness and beauty of your logo. The logo for
the 2012 Olympics in London was recently shown to the
public, and no one seemed to like it. It cost the London
Olympic committee $500,000! I have seen many excellent
logos designed for anything from a few hundred to a
couple of thousand dollars. Go figure!
Take a look at some well-known logos before
you hire a designer. Have you noticed that some very
memorable logos (Microsoft, IBM for example) are pretty
You’ve already decided
what market segment you plan to appeal to, haven’t
you? If not, it’s important to decide if you’re
going to present your business as one appealing to the
wealthy, discriminating consumer, or you might be appealing
to the average consumer, or you may be appealing to
people to hire your business because you’re the
least expensive. You’ll want your web site to
reflect the style of your business.
I believe a Home Health Care business
needs to have a personal touch. If I’m looking
for someone to come and clean my house, I want to feel
comfortable that the person I hire is reliable, honest
and trustworthy, competent, and accessible if and when
I need to talk with them, to give them any special instructions
on what to clean, how to clean it, etc.
You’ll want your business to be
able to provide this personalized service, as much as
possible, by having friendly, well-spoken, intelligent
people answering the phones, and having specialty Home
Health Care software that enables you to record the
special requests and needs that each individual customer
wants. These notes should print out onto the job tickets
that are given to the employees when they go out to
do their home health care jobs for the day.
If you’ve run one or more businesses
before, then you probably have learned through experience
about the many do’s and don'ts of starting and
running a business. If you don’t have experience
in running a business, whether a home health care business
or any other kind of business, then you should probably
get some sort of training and help, so that you don’t
have to learn everything through experience.
I started my first business when I was
about 18 years old, and being arrogant and consumed
with an unrealistic sense of my own skills in almost
any endeavor I chose to undertake, I launched into the
business without much forethought. I was studying business
at university, and had done very well in all the business
courses I took at university and high school. The business
started off well enough, and soon I had the main newspaper
in town giving me free publicity – something I
took somewhat for granted at the time. When I look back
on these events, I’m personally amazed at my own
naïveté. I was so good at promoting and
selling water beds, the first in this large city to
do so, that I actually educated a lot of other people
about the beauty and advantages of water beds. Soon,
some businessmen with a lot more experience than I had
set up a shop with elegant displays, were purchasing
expensive, sexy ads in the press, and were promoting
water beds as the latest thing in luxury furniture that
you must have of you are to be fashionable.
| I had a great idea, but didn’t execute
it well. I was under-capitalized and lacked a coherent
business and marketing plan. Others with less imagination
then me, but with better organizational skills managed
to outdo this 18-year old.
|I look back at this with some amusement.
I invested only a few dollars in the enterprise and actually
sold enough water beds over a three-year period to give
me a reasonable income. But I missed out on the opportunity
of becoming the waterbed king of the city! No worries.
That was a long time ago, and money wasn’t the most
important thing on my mind back then.
|You’re probably going into your new
Home Health Care business with the object of making a
good profit, and having a good living come out of the
business. You will be putting a certain amount of capital
at stake, and spending a considerable amount of time,
so the fewer mistakes you make the better. If you are
planning to become part of a national franchise, you’ll
receive a lot oft training from the franchise organization.
If the franchiser has done their job well, they will provide
you with a lengthy and detailed list of things to do,
and not to do. For this you’ll pay an up front franchise
fee, and you’ll also be paying the franchiser a
percentage of your monthly sales every month, for as long
as you continue to be a member of the franchise organization.
|Statistics show that a large percentage
of new businesses fail within the first year of starting.
Many more fail in years 2 and 3. There is a very small
percentage of small businesses still in business after
five years. However, the figures for members of franchises
are much better.
|Why is this? A lot of it has to do with
the fact that a good and competent franchise organization
has thought through all the aspects of what it takes to
run a successful home health care business. They’ve
thought about how to select and train the employees; the
design of uniforms, the company logo, where you should
spend your marketing dollars, and more. Some franchisers
also provide you with computer software, which you can
use to help manage your franchise (and which will be used
to keep track of your monthly sales, so that the franchiser
and you will know exactly how much you owe the franchiser
from month to month.)
|Note that some franchisers will allow you
to choose your won software. This is not a bad idea, in
my opinion. Consider what could happen of you’re
locked in to using a particular piece of software. One
very large national franchise chain nearly had a resolution
on its hands a few years ago, because the franchisees
found the software they were provided to be inadequate
and slow, and lacking in flexibility.
|Another alternative is to find a different
way of educating yourself about running a Home Health
Care business. These days, there are other alternatives.
Some other options include:
|Internet Sites (such as this one)
|Consultants and Coaches