3 Home Care Start Up Pitfalls And How To Avoid Them

Sylvian Care franchise
Sylvian Care Providing a professional, individual and personal approach to Domiciliary Care

Sylvian Care is a family owned and managed business whose purpose is, to allow our clients the opportunity to enjoy the maximum level of independence for as long as is practical in the comfort of their own homes.

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Lunching a home-care startup is an exciting venture. The rewards of business ownership in this industry are not only financial. They can also offer personal fulfilment. But, as with most things in life, high reward comes with hard work and challenges.

In England, there are over 12,000 registered care providers, all facing the same hurdles.

In an evolving economic, and technological landscape, any aspiring entrepreneur must tread carefully. This is particularly true in the home care industry, where shifting consumer behaviours and stringent regulatory frameworks are significant factors to consider.

1. Underestimating Regulatory Requirements

The home-care sector is stringently regulated to protect both clients, and providers, and rightly so.

However, entrepreneurs often overlook the complexity of regulatory requirements. With constant updates, and recently the launch of an entirely new framework by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), compliance for both registration and inspection can be challenging to navigate.

To avoid falling short in this area, it is vital to be on the pulse of regulatory changes and prioritise compliance from the outset. Furthermore, having the support of professional guidance in this area can be invaluable.

Why? Falling short in this area could lead to enforcement action from CQC, and ultimately, legal repercussions. Aside from this, client safety risks, damage to reputation and consequently loss of business are all likely outcomes resulting from lack of compliance adherence.

Partnering with Sylvian Care gives you access to our Quality and Compliance support team from Day 1. You’ll receive training sessions, policies and procedures as well as guides and templates prior to CQC registration, so that you are confident and well-equipped when it comes to your interview. Our guidance continues throughout your business journey, with a calendar of training events to keep your knowledge current. You’ll also benefit from our weekly newsletter, containing the latest updates, insight, tips, and ideas.

2. Lack of Marketing Strategy

The number of people aged 65-79 is expected to increase by 30% in the next 40 years. While the fastest growing segment of the population, the over 80s is set to double. So, it's no wonder that savvy investors seek to launch in the elderly care industry. In fact, the number of CQC applications from new care providers has risen by 30% since the pandemic.

So how does a business stand out in this competitive market?

Firstly, a clear marketing strategy and the right visual identity are essential. The marketing strategy is a comprehensive plan outlining the approach to promoting your services to the target audience. It involves setting goals, identifying the right audience, determining the most effective marketing channels, creating messaging and positioning, and continuously measuring and optimising performance. A solid strategy will increase brand awareness, attract and retain clients, and draw in new employees.

At Sylvian, our Business Support Team are on hand to guide you through your marketing strategy. What’s more, we even have a 12 week launch plan, with practical ways to start promoting your business.

What about visual identity? This is the collection of elements that a company uses to portray the desired image of itself to the target market. It's essentially the outward expression of a brand, encompassing visual elements; brand name, logo, tagline, colour palette, typography, imagery style, voice, and overall brand personality. The right visual identity will resonate with the target audience and differentiate your brand from competitors.

At Sylvian Care we’ve done a lot of the leg work. We partnered with an award-winning branding company to design our compelling brand image. Our franchisees are local operators of a national brand, which truly stands out in the home care market.

3. Poor Financial Planning

Two words: working capital. In the early stages of building your home care business, having enough working capital is essential. This is certainly not a low entry cost industry. You’ll need to cover premises costs, recruitment, wages, marketing and if you don’t have another source of income, of course, your own living costs. Without the funds to ensure that your outgoings are covered, your business will fail before it even gets started.

Here’s where a proven business model, like Sylvian, is hugely helpful. We know what to anticipate in terms of outgoings and the rate at which your business will grow. This means we can give you a good estimate of the amount of working capital you will need. Then we can either support you in gaining funds for the business project or help you with budgeting from your own capital. It’s also vital that you understand your margins. As has been well covered in national news recently, local authorities are experiencing significant financial struggles from under-funding, with some even facing bankruptcy. Consequently, local authority pay rates for care services are becoming increasingly squeezed, leaving very little, if any, margin for the care provider.

The solution? Firstly, at Sylvian Care, our model is based on 100% private pay clients. By acquiring our own clients, we are able to set charge rates which truly reflect the cost of care provision. By charging an appropriate rate for care services, we are able to offer a better quality of service, improved pay rates, and therefore attract the best staff.

If you’re thinking about starting a home care business, we can understand why. What could be better than being your own boss and contributing to your local community in a compassionate yet profitable way? But before you set out, make sure to avoid the common pitfalls. Planning and preparation are the key to success. Ensure that you are knowledgeable on the compliance aspects of operating in this sector. Pay particular attention to your brand and how you will set yourself apart in a competitive market. And finally, don’t let cashflow be the downfall to your hard work. Ensure that you are clear from the start on how much capital you’re going to need, and for how long.

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