Each day is a gift.

The first of the big holidays is past, and now the countdown is upon us for the biggest holiday of the year. Whatever holiday you celebrate around December 25th, it is a time in the home care industry that is trying, to say the least. Many families and frail elderly suffer from high expectations and poignant, sometimes painful, memories of holidays past. Families and frail elderly all need more help during this time as there are so many time consuming tasks that are assumed. The caregiver pool, on the other hand, also wants a break from the regular work schedule to be with family, and also needs more time for those many time consuming tasks.

It is a time in the home care industry that is the most difficult for all involved. However, making the most of it is possible by planning ahead. If you run a home care agency and have not already started the process of planning for the extra staff needed, then you may be too late. October is the prime time to start recruiting for that extra holiday help, since the process for screening takes so long. And, the likelihood of those who self identify as being available actually being available is about 50-50. So, if you have not planned ahead this year, good luck and God bless. Make a mental note to put this on the calendar for next year, and get busy doing what you can with those you have available.

And, whether or not you have made your agency ready for this year’s holiday season, December is the prime time to start thinking about next year, reviewing what was done this year, and planning for how to be more successful. Surveying clients and employees is a first start. What did they enjoy about working for you last year, and what would they suggest as goals for this upcoming year? How can you do what you do better?

What are your sales and marketing goals, and what will you do differently this next year than last? Have you asked each and every caller how they heard about you and why they called you instead of the competition? Have you done an analysis of your current clients to see who they are, and if there are ways to get more just like them?

In the next few weeks, we will focus some on specific ways to start your planning for the next year, and offer some helpful ways to do just that.

In the meantime, realize that each day IS a gift, and that each and every day you do need to accomplish something, learn something new, and be open. Tomorrow corecubed holds two webinars that are significant. One is about using Google to increase search engine traffic to your website. The other is a peak inside our home care specific monthly communications program. You might want to sit in on one or both of these as a first step in your planning for success in 2011.