If you’re considering setting up a care agency that supports people in their own homes, then the first task is to write a detailed business plan.
This step-by-step guide to creating a domiciliary care agency business plan will help you to design your dream business. It will include the following:
Before you put pen to paper or open up your laptop to start typing, first remind yourself why a thorough, considered business plan is so important.
Starting a new business in any sector involves a lot of initial planning and consideration. Scrimp on this and your start-up could fail spectacularly. But put time, effort and attention into the early preparation and your business is more likely to succeed and grow exponentially.
A comprehensive business plan will not only help to ensure success in the long term, it will also aid you in securing funding, as it clearly demonstrates you have done your homework. It will direct your attention and assist you with organising your time. And, in the future, you can refer back to it to help you expand, or guide you back on track if you’ve lost focus.
With this in mind, make sure you put aside dedicated time to research, write and prepare your home care agency business plan. It will make all the difference in the long run.
Now that your mindset is in the right place, start writing your domiciliary care agency business plan. The first step is to introduce yourself.
A detailed section upfront about who you are and why you are qualified to run a business of this kind will reassure potential investors, as well as help you to sell yourself and your business to new clients.
This summary should include the following points:
1. Your career background and experience in the industry
If you, personally, don’t have extensive experience in the industry, then detail how you plan to expand your knowledge. Perhaps you have a mentor, or plan to employ someone who is an expert in the home healthcare field.
2. Your qualifications for adult care
There are many rules and industry regulations when it comes to providing care. And those providing support in people’s own homes must have the required qualifications.
England’s independent regulator of health and social care is called the Care Quality Commission (CQC). All domiciliary care agencies must be registered, and it carries out regular inspections and enforces high standards. The details of the relevant qualifications required are noted on the website.
If you already have these qualifications, then ensure they’re listed in your business plan. And if you don’t, then include a plan for how you will train to acquire them. Or, if your strategy is to hire qualified staff, then ensure this is explained clearly.
You, and anyone you plan to employ, must have a Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check to ensure you’re eligible to work in healthcare.
3. Any existing connections you can utilise
Detail here any relationships you have, for example with suppliers or potential clients, that you can leverage for your business.
This section needs to showcase the most important and relevant points about you and your career history. Don’t be tempted to simply copy and paste your three-page CV here. That can be attached to the end of the business plan as an appendix, or supplied if requested.
This executive summary should clearly state what your business is, who you intend to target and how you plan to operate. You can go into more detail in supporting sections later on in the document.
This succinct statement of intent should include the following:
- The name of your business
- What services you plan to offer
- Who you plan to offer those services to (your target market)
- How you plan to operate and staff the business
This section should also contain:
Your business vision
A business vision is future-based and states, at the highest level, what a company wants to achieve in the long term. Its purpose is to inspire the leadership and employees, rather than customers, and give a purpose and meaning to the organisation. It should encapsulate where your business is going and be aspirational.
Business vision statements can feel lofty, but they should be meaningful. A famous example is Disney’s vision ‘to make people happy’.
Your mission statement
This differs from the vision in that it’s all about what you’re doing right now. A mission statement is present-based and should demonstrate how you plan to fulfil your vision. It should be actionable.
For example, if your vision is to ‘make people happy in their old-age’ then your mission might be: ‘by providing around-the-clock high-quality and affordable care to the elderly in their own homes in the city of xxx’.
A SWOT analysis details your business’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
In the strengths section you can detail your unique selling points and what sets you apart from your competition.
Break down your business weaknesses, such as low public awareness, recruitment difficulties or client retention.
The opportunities can highlight the number of potential customers in your target location, or other areas that you can expand to. You can illustrate your plans for future growth by using SMART goals which are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.
And the threats could include competition, change in government policies meaning expensive re-training or economic downtown impacting the elderly’s spending habits.
How you plan to finance your business
Detail here how you will fund the start-up investment required to launch your new business. Create a detailed budget which includes all the expected expenditures to get up and running. This could include premises rent, utilities bills, website development, travel, insurance, printing business cards, training etc.
Note down if you have already secured funding, for example from personal savings or private loans from family and friends, and what investment you still require. Explain what additional investment or loans you might also require and where / how you plan to acquire these, such as loans from banks or specialist providers.
This section should also include sales forecasts for the first three years, as well as any time period breakdown you would like to include (e.g. monthly, quarterly etc.). You’ll need to project what sales you need to make to cover your regular outgoings (e.g. monthly expenses), and make a profit.
Following your overview summary, this section of your domiciliary care agency business plan should go into depth about your business’ services.
This can include:
The home care services you plan to offer
For example, nursing, companionship, domestic or housekeeping, personal care or emergency care. It might also include mental health counselling or assisting with home medication management.
How you’ll carry out the services
Such as 30-minute appointments, eight-hour shifts, 24-hour live-in care or emergency call outs.
How much the services will cost you to deliver
Detail here the equipment, training, travel, business software etc. that you require to operate effectively.
This strategy includes the rate card prices you plan to charge for all your services. Include whether you will offer payment plans, contracts or pay-as-you-go hourly billing. What the payment options will be (e.g. cash, Direct Debit, mobile card machine) and any discounts for repeat business or longer-term contracts.
The sales strategy determines how you’ll sell these services to customers. For example, customers can book a package of home care visits online through your website, in-person at a physical office, or over the phone etc.
Legal and insurance requirements
As noted above, the home care industry is strictly regulated. You can’t start operating until you’re registered with the CQC and staff have the appropriate qualifications.
Also detail the insurance your business will require to be able to care for clients in their own homes, administer medication and be responsible for their wellbeing.
Essential procedures and policies you’ll put in place
The CQC looks for specific procedures and policies to ensure a high standard of governance.
These could include a grievance policy, a confidentiality policy, a procedure on bullying or harassment, as well as specific policies on showering and bathing clients. You should also consider application forms for new customers, employment contracts and cancellation procedures.
Growth potential for your services
This can include your plans to expand into new locations, upsell or cross-sell different services to existing clients as well as signing up clients to annual contracts.
Following the top-line overview on your target market in your summary, this section takes a deep dive on your ideal customers.
This market evaluation can be pulled together from desk research including online searches and by consuming media such as newspapers. You can also undertake field research in the form of interviewing your potential customers, conducting questionnaires and gathering first-hand feedback on your proposed offering.
This section will help strengthen your home care agency business plan with quotes and soundbites, statistics from credible sources and industry forecasts.
Incorporate the following:
- General standing of the UK domiciliary care market, predictions for growth, industry forecasts
- Who your target customers are e.g. age, gender, location, needs and desires, lifestyle and hobbies etc.
- How many of these customers will your business potentially be able to reach
- Any existing relationships with these target customers that you can leverage
- Why will these customers buy your services over the competition
You might have touched upon your competition in the ‘threats’ part of your SWOT analysis, however this part of your home care agency business plan will further explore your competitors.
As with your market research, scrutinising your competitors will involve desk and field research. By getting out and about in the community you plan to target, you’ll be able to identify other similar companies that operate in the same location. They might advertise in local media or on prominent billboards, or they could have signage outside their offices or branded vehicles.
Evaluate your competition by:
- identifying direct competition to your business and map out their strengths, weakness and differences (e.g. operating in the same target geography, offering the same services, offering similar prices etc.)
- identifying indirect competition (e.g. residential care homes or nursing homes) and identify their strengths and weaknesses
- mapping out how you plan to differentiate from this competition
Having a thorough understanding of your competition will enable you to see clearly any ‘gaps’ e.g. how your business can stand out from the crowd; what services aren’t currently being offered; what price points aren’t available; and what target customers’ needs aren’t being met.
A marketing strategy is an important part of your domiciliary care agency business plan. Effective marketing will target the right audience at the appropriate time and via the most relevant channels. This will ensure that you have customers flocking to your new business.
Your strategy should detail:
- any tasks that need to be completed before marketing begins e.g. creating a logo, setting up a website and business phone number etc.
- when you plan to promote your business, for example during the launch period, and then ongoing activity
- what tactics you plan to use, e.g. advertising, leaflet drops, website, branded vehicles etc.
- proposed budget for marketing activity
You can also detail incentive schemes for clients to prompt word of mouth, and any other ways you plan to promote your business, such as networking.
Write Your Home Care Agency Business Plan Today
Launching a new business takes careful consideration. Dedicating time and focus to creating a comprehensive business plan will ensure your domiciliary care agency booms rather than goes bust.
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