Tuesday, May 30, 2017

"We Need A Properly Framed Business Model To Be Successful"

Many people take the Certified Aging In Place (CAPS) classes to expand their existing businesses or re-purpose them. Others look forward to offering new services in a newly structured or created business. That business may not even exist yet.

Regardless of why the CAPS training was undertaken - or why it will be for those who have yet to take it - it is a great opportunity to offer a real service to people and make money at the same time. It can be a little tricky to capture correctly, however.

Whether the business involves consulting, project management, design, modifications, assessments, or related services, the thought process and planning to launch that business needs to begin with a vision. Just having a business because it seems like the right thing to do or because aging in place is very popular right now will not pave the way for success. It must feature a burning desire or inherent passion for the work that will be undertaken.

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 drive 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.

For most aging in place professionals, the business model includes creating a network of strategic professionals to partner on various assignments to deliver a high quality, effective solution for the client. A contractor needs an occupational therapist in health related matters - possibly a designer, architect, and DME consultant also. We all need complementary professionals to our basic profession to enable the work to be created and implemented. We can't - and shouldn't attempt to more than we are capable of from a experience, knowledge, and professional, and formal training basis.

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.

Nevertheless, our vision will express 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 to define 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.

We have to carve out a special niche in terms of the type of work we can perform (better than anyone else who attempts it), at a price point and scale of the job, for a particularly type of client needs, and for a specific type of home. That is a specific business model and one that adds true definition to a business that can be explained to the public and interested professionals that we might work with or invite to help us.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging In Place Specialist-Master 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. Also check out the "Aging & Accessibility" groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.