Strategies: Marketing, Company Logo, Company Image & Consulting

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.

Thinking Strategically about your House Cleaning Business
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.
Web Site

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.

Creating a Web Site for your House Cleaning Business
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, 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 business!)
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, etc.
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!
A) Your Logo

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 simple?

Choosing a Logo for your House Cleaning Business
B) Your Company Image

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.

Choosing a Company Image for your House Cleaning Business
C) Consulting

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.

Consulting about your House Cleaning Business
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
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