The crisis in the care sector isn’t anything new and it is something that business owners have been dealing with for a long time now.
The effects of Brexit, the demographic ageing of the population and the relentless tightening of local authority pursestrings all combine to leave care business owners feeling like they have a mountain to climb.
But all is not lost. There are some things you can do to either start to lighten the load or to transform your business model entirely.
So in this post, we thought we’d look at ways automation, integration and even outsourcing can help your health and social care business.
In this post:
The first tip has to be to look at where your value comes from.
Do you make more of your money from providing at-home care? Is your time better spent doing care assessments or would you be better off concentrating on adult special needs provision?
The point of the exercise isn’t to drop unprofitable tasks, after all, they may be the most enjoyable ones and they may be the reason you came into care in the first place but as they say, knowledge is power.
So you could choose to concentrate your efforts on the most profitable services. Alternatively, you could decide to charge more for the loss-making aspects. Or you could decide that you will do X% of the profitable things and accept that some services will lose money.
But whatever you decide to do, you’ll be in a better place because you have done a little financial analysis and you’ll know that your decision making is based on a firm footing.
Ask your accountant for help with this if you don’t feel confident or, if you don’t have an accountant then look at outsourcing it on services like Upwork or PeoplePerHour.
So much of what we do is routine.
A good example here are requests for information from new customers.
Do you type an individual email to each person? If so then you really need to think about your processes and how you go about things.
Non-value add activities like administration really needs to be standardised so that you don’t spend your time thinking about what to say and how to say it.
Having a standardised process for all of your admin tasks allows you to automate and integrate.
The good news is that with apps like Zapier, you can automate almost anything and this will save you tons of time that you can then spend dealing individually with people when they want to buy.
Integrating your payments with your accounts or CRM system enables you to consolidate data in one place, enabling invoices to be sent quickly and payments received on time without the manual reconciliation or chasing of invoices. A good example of this is integrating Direct Debits from Access PaySuite with your accounting package.
Automation is a brilliant time-saver and allows you to be more professional and when combined with integration you suddenly find that your back office systems run as smooth as silk.
Don’t think that you have to invent new ways to do things when actually those ways may well already exist.
There are a lot of care companies out there and you can bet that a lot of them have had the same problems as you.
At the same time, there are a lot of companies out there in different sectors and they may have struggled with a good CRM system or a shift scheduling app.
Don’t try and reinvent the wheel, instead use learnings that other people have gained and adapt them to your particular situation.
This is one of the easiest things to say and the hardest things to do.
Delegation is really difficult, especially if you are not used to it or you have never handed over responsibility to anyone before. Yes, you can be sure that people will make mistakes and they won’t do things as well as you and you’ll feel uncomfortable.
But, if you are to have a healthy and growing business you will need to delegate sooner or later so you are better off learning how to do it early on.
What are you good at?
What things do you enjoy doing?
What things make you the most money?
If you have tasks that don’t fit into these three categories then they are prime candidates for outsourcing.
Now admittedly you will face the same pressure as with delegation because you are letting go of some tasks but see it as getting an expert in to free you to do more important things.
Remember that although it may cost you money to get someone to do your books or your marketing, they will almost certainly do it better than you, faster and you’ll be working on vital tasks whilst this is going on.
If running a business was easy then everyone would do it so don’t worry if a lot of this seems like hard work.
If you are worried about bringing in new systems or people then the best advice is to do it little by little.
Start by working out how to connect your accounting system to the bank or answer requests for information automatically.
Then you can roll out more ambitious elements until little by little you have transformed your entire business model.
And remember that if you want an easy way to take Direct Debits, or a simple way to pay staff, sessional workers and suppliers, then Access PaySuite is here to help.