Preparing Your Home Care Business for Unforeseen Challenges
As the owner/operator of a home care business, how will you react when you’re hit by unexpected challenges? Ideally, you’ll never need to worry about natural disasters, sudden staff loss, or a personal emergency that keeps you from running your business. But if you’re not prepared for these kinds of situations, you’re putting your business at risk.
At Visiting Angels®, we know how important it is to safeguard a home care business against unforeseen and unexpected challenges. We also know what it takes to prepare your business for high-risk scenarios. Below, we’ve compiled a short overview of both.
Types of Unforeseen Challenges You May Face
There’s a near-limitless number of challenges that a home care business can face. But you’ll want to focus on the ones that pose the biggest risk in terms of likelihood and impact on your business.
- Owner Emergencies. Everyone faces personal emergencies at one point or another. But if you’re a business owner, personal emergencies can turn into business emergencies. If your home care business can’t run without you there, that’s a serious problem.
- Natural Disasters. As the owner of a home care business, you need a plan for natural disasters, like floods, ice storms, and hurricanes. When one hits, you’ll need to make sure that your clients are safe. Plus, you’ll need to protect your office infrastructure from environmental damage.
- Staff Loss. There are a few different scenarios where a sudden loss of staff can lead to problems for your business. If several of your caregivers leave in a short period of time, or if you lose an important administrator without warning, you could be in trouble.
- Major Expenses. How big would an unplanned expense have to be before it threatened your home care business? While every business has its breaking point, it’s important that you can withstand unexpected financial challenges.
- Economic Downturns. A sudden and unexpected loss of income can do just as much damage as a sudden and unexpected expense. If an economic downturn hits your client base, many of your clients may need to scale back their care visits or stop care entirely.
- Data Breaches. Home care agencies handle sensitive data about their clients. If a breach occurs, exposed data can make seniors vulnerable to fraud and criminal targeting. Or it could reveal sensitive personal information.
Keep Your Home Care Business Prepared
The more prepared you are for unexpected challenges, the more resilient your home care business will be when challenges arise. Here are three important ways to prepare your business for these situations.
Develop a Strong Support Network
The more a business depends its owner, the more vulnerable it becomes to unexpected challenges. If your business is fully dependent on you, what happens when a major challenge hits and you can’t spend as much time on day-to-day operations? Or what if you face a personal emergency and need to take time off from your company?
To make your business less vulnerable, you need to foster a team atmosphere and a strong support network. While you should still be deeply involved with day-to-day operations, you should be confident that your business will function without constant oversight. And if there are any jobs that only you know how to do, take the time to train others in how to handle these tasks.
Maintain a Financial Safety Cushion
It goes without saying that a financial safety cushion can do a lot to shield your home care business from disaster. The longer you’re able to operate at a loss, the more time you have to get back in the black. And if you’re hit by a sudden expense without warning, you’ll have the reserves to withstand the blow.
Unfortunately, many businesses fail to maintain a proper safety cushion. They keep limited cash reserves for expenses, and they pile up unmanageable debts. Others fail to insure their business, making themselves even more vulnerable to financial disaster.
To protect your business, be careful not to overextend your finances. And make sure that you’re insured for things like property damage, professional liability, workers compensation, and data loss.
Plan Your Response to Emergencies
There are some emergencies that you simply can’t predict. But others can be managed much more easily by planning ahead. All of the scenarios outlined above — from personal emergencies to natural disasters to data breaches — can be planned for ahead of time. They might never occur, but if they do, your home care business will be ready.
For urgent emergencies, put a chain of communication and command in place. Who needs to be contacted when emergencies occur? What decisions does each team member have the authority to make? Make sure that every team member has the training and resources they’ll need to respond in a timely manner.
For less urgent situations, try to think ahead and give yourself the resources you’ll need to solve the problem. If you suddenly lose multiple caregivers, where can you go to hire new staff in a hurry? If you start to lose clients to an economic downturn, what short-term and long-term strategies can you put in place to adapt?
Looking for home care business opportunities? Call 800-365-4189 or contact us online to request information about franchise opportunities with Visiting Angels!