Wednesday, April 20, 2016

"To Start Or Grow An AIP Business, We Need A Vision"

For those aging-in-place professionals who took the CAPS training with the aim of starting their own consulting, modifications, or assessments business - or some other activity they have identified and feel strongly about - the thought process and planning to launch that business needs to begin with a vision. The same is true for professionals who are expanding or reinventing their existing health care or renovation businesses to include more services or emphasize a different approach.

It's easy enough to start a business, notwithstanding the financial aspects of being able to produce sufficient revenue to remain viable, but without the vision, there will not be the level of passion and commitment necessary to launch or sustain the business. While it might do well initially, it won't have the staying power to attract new customers or to even excite those associated with the business.

A vision is more than just a dream to create something or a desire to achieve something. It starts with looking around us and identifying a need - something that is not being addressed currently in any form or not to the level desired. Maybe that need is already apparent without any additional observation. Regardless, that need must be factored into a plan to facilitate a way to address it. The vision encompasses what it necessary to happen and shapes how it can happen. It doesn't have to be explicit in every detail, but it has to be expressive enough to identify what needs to be done and why it's important that it happen. It should address a desired outcome.

A vision will be defined from a real or perceived need that can be met or addressed through specific actions or activities that we will take or set into motion. Without that drive to address a specific unmet or under-addressed need, the urgency to pursue it will be absent.

It is the vision that fuels and propels our business. It provides the passion to be creative, to persist, to innovate, and to reach out to invite and include others who can help implement the vision as well as those who will benefit from having our services in their homes. The vision must excite and motivate us because that is how we are going to generate the enthusiasm in others to help make it happen.

By defining our vision, we will be expressing what makes us different - as professionals or as a company - from other aging-in-place providers or other contractors or health care professionals. We can use this as our business model, to express our USP (unique selling proposition, or what differentiates us from others in our marketplace that provide similar services), in our branding, and in our marketing message. It will underscore how and why we are delivering the types of services we are and to the people we are serving. 

To have the kind of aging-in-place business that conveys our intense desire for helping others remain independent and safe in their current home environments, we have to identify a vision that we can get behind and attach ourselves to as the primary explanation for why we are - or want to be - in the type of business we are.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.