While it may be easy to fall into complacency when your business is thriving, in today’s crowded aging care market, it’s important to always stay on your toes and stand over and above the competition. And the only way to do that is to KNOW your competition.
Think of the aging care industry as a chess match. One strategic and innovative move from your opponent and you could easily fall behind. It’s crucial to stay a step ahead and understand their strategy as well as you do your own.
That’s where a competitive analysis comes in; and keep in mind, there are a number of methods for analyzing your competitors, so it may take several attempts to gain the insight you need. A couple of options to try include:
- Identify what makes an aging care business successful, and then rate your competitors’ abilities to meet those factors. Be sure to include your own agency!
- Compare strengths and weaknesses in a variety of areas: scope of services offered, pricing, certifications, accreditations, customer reviews, technologies used, service area covered, niche, brand, website, collateral, presence in community, etc.
Either way, the competitive analysis should answer the following questions:
- What products or services do each of your competitors offer?
- What is the quality of those products or services?
- What are their primary and secondary service areas?
- What is your competitors’ market share? How many customers do they have?
- What are their competitive advantages and disadvantages?
- How do they/will they react to your market penetration?
- What barriers does your competition face? (Lack of quality personnel, changing technologies, operational costs, etc.)
As new businesses continue to enter the senior care market at a rapid rate, it’s more important than ever to assess the competitive landscape on a regular basis. Experts recommend conducting and/or updating a competitive analysis at least once per year. Be sure to also include secondary competitors who are not exactly like your business, but who compete regularly for your clientele. For instance, include assisted living facilities among your competition, and vice versa.
You may be thinking, “I’m already overloaded and running on fumes; I can’t afford to spend time on this when I need to run my agency!” But the hard truth is, you can’t afford NOT to if you want to grow your business. Truly differentiating your business from the competition is the key to success. This downloadable tool from Market Home Care can help you discern your agency’s niche so that you stand out from the crowd.
The experts at corecubed specialize in aging care marketing, with years of experience in strategic analysis and planning, helping aging care businesses just like yours to thrive and grow well beyond their expectations. Let us do the work for you, so you can concentrate on what you do best: run your agency!
After three calls yesterday from folks who are planning on starting a home care company, I am feeling really scared about the level of care that our nation’s older folks are going to get when they need it. In each case, the person had no health care or aging care experience, no business experience, and no idea of what a caring for the elderly business actually means. This inquiry from start-ups is not new, but it seems that lately the quality of those callers has degenerated. And, it certainly seems that they are coming with more frequency.
I know there have previously been concerns voiced over the franchising of elder care, but, the established franchises have checks and balances in place, and train and educate so the new owners have some guidelines to follow, and help on issues when they arise. However, there are now almost 90 franchises that serve the home care industry, and some of them new to the game are as bad as these independents of which I am now writing. No experience, no standards, no quality measures….only $$ is their eyes.
The independent individual who is just starting out and only reads that elder care is a good business for the future, really has no idea how hard it is to care for people. Plus, the caregiver shortage is everywhere. And, if you look at the demographics, that should be no surprise. We do sell a manual, a start-up manual, about how to start a good elder care business, and the items that are necessary to know prior to start-up, but these folks are not interested in spending any money to know what to do, they are only interested in making money without knowing what it is they are doing.
I like to cite my entering 1st grade as a great example of a nation unprepared for the boomers. It should have been no surprise that the children entering the first grade were going to overwhelm the system in 1953. After all, we were born in 1947 and, 6 years later we would be entering first grade. You cannot tell me that the hospital maternity wards were not bursting at the seams in 1946 and 1947. Logically, without a plague, we would all grow, age and be ready to start school.
The same is now happening with caring for our aging society. Back in the 90’s Ron Crouch (noted demographer) and I used to do workshops on envisioning the future out to 2020. We presented at the American Society on Aging, and around the Kentucky regions where we were both active. The information on the numbers who are aging has been no surprise, as well as the information on the decreasing numbers of those younger who could provide care.
And, what if we had chosen home schooling for our boomers? Instead of double shifts for 1st grade, we would have been in a no school zone. There simply would not have been enough teachers to go one on one. What makes us think that caring for people at home (one on one) as the population is bursting at the seams is going to be any different? In private duty, there are oftentimes more than one on one care needed. When I had my ElderCare Solutions business, we even had clients who needed two caregivers at once, 24/7/365. So, it took at least 5 caregivers to maintain that one person at home. Unusual, but not unheard of. More likely today it is one or two caregivers for each elderly person needing care.
So, home centered care is the model for the future, and, I think it is a good model, but it has to be done with some sense of reality and thought. The Future of Home Care Project that the AHHQI is undertaking is a great first step. Also, technology will have to play a great part in this care. We are just at the beginning if looking at ways to meet the care needs that are impending.
What scares me today is the people who are now starting these in-home care businesses and buying untested franchises, and running those businesses, with no idea of what they are doing, the nuances of care needs, and what is in the best interest of the client. Join Sam Smith from AXXESS and me at the American Society on Aging conference in March as we explore some of these issues in depth and look at the future of home care in America and what we (as a nation) are doing about it.
In the words of Bob Dylan, “the times they are a changin’.” By 2030, there will be about 72.1 million older adults, more than twice their number in 2000, according to the Administration on Aging. It’s time for aging industry leadership to shift thinking from the status quo to thinking about how we’re going to solve the influx of aging issues before us.
Thankfully, the 2015 Aging in America Conference is about a month away, and it’s the only summit that is totally focused on issues that an aging population will face, and what’s being done to create fail-safe systems to handle the extraordinary numbers that will cause unprecedented usage of our care systems. This year, I’m proud to be among the presenters—co-presenting with Sam Smith, Chief Culture Officer and Vice President of AXXESS—at the annual conference of the American Society on Aging.
When it comes to the industry, we need to be prepared, we need to become future thinkers and planners to be equipped to meet the demands of the what’s to come. Our workshop entitled Home Centered Care is the Model for the Future of Home Health: Chronic and Value Added will cover what home health agencies need to know and do today to prepare them to survive and thrive in the future. Sam and I have been attending the Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation workshop and symposium held recently in Washington, DC. The AHHQI workshop was held at the Institute of Medicine with the National Research Council, and the topic was The Future of Home Health. A follow up symposium covered the salient topics in more depth. Sam and I are continuing that dialog as to what the future of home health will look like, and how the industry needs to change to meet the demands of the future.