It applies for all businesses. At one point we have to serve that first customer. This can be a nervous time for some. So many questions abound…and for some so many anxieties crop up.
We can manage these anxieties best by being well-prepared. You are right, its just like anything else in life. Getting ready means everything. Even in situations where you have benefited from the technical help of others, it is still your business. You must innovatively be committed to its start and success.
How can you enhance the process without extreme stress?
Well since obviously at this point the regulatory items are cared for, here are a few tips for start-up:
1. Physical Plant
Make sure the home is constantly presentable for guests. Treat it like you do your own home, at least for most of us. If no one is living there, stop in regularly to dust and disinfect, etc.
2. Know Your Program and its Capabilities…Talk the Talk…
You need to have a total grasp of what your program is all about. Are you equipped to serve a special population? Why? Is it because of the credentials and background of an owner? If so, you need to articulate that to guests you are walking through the home.
3. Have What You Need in Place
Stress can escalate when a referral decides to live in your home and you are not prepared. Is the bedding in place? Is there a 3 in 1 commode in the garage just in case the first resident or two may need it?
Remember, you may not have much time to get ready when that first resident decides to utilize your home. So there is a need to get ready well in advance.
4. Arrange for a Regular Open House
An open house allows referral sources, families, neighbors and others to learn of what your assisted living program offers. You serve humans. As a result, all humans represent someone who may know of a person who can benefit from what you do. During the open house arrange for a well-managed, professional environment. Be mindful of the kind of guests that may be present.
For example, that relative or friend whose pants are hanging off of him should probably not be around. The same applies for the house sitter who never manages to get up and start the day or that neighbor who just wanted to stop by and chew the fat. They can visit later. Click Here for Success Tips for organizing your open house events.
5. Conduct Meaningful Outreach
If you are serving medically fragile seniors or even the younger disabled, develop early and meaningful relationships with hospital and nursing home discharge planners. Many work hard to maintain a library of community-based care resources as do committed, independent case managers. You are now among those resources. Just make sure you follow-up every written communication with a phone call.
Remember, all marketing and advertising – executed with precise messaging and dignity – matters and has the potential to be effective.
Of course, the outreach is a bit different for those of you who are looking to contract with community mental health agencies to serve the mentally ill and developmentally disabled. However, the need for good messaging and professionalism remain.
6. Conduct Meaningful Tours
We like having a folder in our hands or a card of some type to help make sure we do not miss any key points. Some you are touring may also like this approach, viewing it as your commitment to ensuring you do a thorough job.
Sure you might be nervous a bit. Its normal. However, preparation can help get rid of that and keep you focused on being ready for that first resident.
Please share your thoughts below.
Another Blog Post from Direct Care Training & Resource Center, Inc. For more on our commitment to the success of group living for vulnerable adults, please join the LinkedIn Group: Small Scale Assisted Living Success Strategies.