Two years ago, the coronavirus pandemic brought a tidal wave of change, with social distancing restrictions, staffing shortages, and the stress of encountering a new, deadly disease. Over 600 million people, including over a million in the U.S. alone, died of the disease, according to the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center. The global economy experienced major upheaval, and no more so than in the healthcare industry, which had to rapidly evolve to meet the needs of the time.
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Home Healthcare Network
In a previous Qualicare blog, How to Grow a Qualicare Client Base, we outlined a few ways that franchise owners develop a client base for their new business.
Networking is one way franchise owners grow business, and it’s worth a strategic deep-dive. Though it can seem overwhelming and time-consuming, networking is absolutely key to establishing a healthy client base, and it deserves thoughtful planning.
Qualicare franchise owners are suggested to spend the first year heavily networking with healthcare workers and specialists, social workers in hospitals and clinics, discharge planners, and community health organizations. These people are key to network with, as they already have relationships with prospective clients who may need Qualicare’s services.
The mantra, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” really is true in creating a successful in-home senior care franchise.
Here are a few tips to establishing a successful networking plan:1. One-on-one meetings
Individuals are more likely to trust people who they’ve met in-person or talked to on the phone or through video chat. Getting to know other professionals who could help with your at-home health care business will require many cultivated relationships, and one-on-one meetings are a great way to quickly establish a connection.
One-on-one meetings with caregivers and social workers is vital to finding clients. Additionally, relationships with people such as clergy and faith leaders, who work with individuals who may require long-term home health care, are also vital to accessing a network of prospective Qualicare clients and partners. Requesting a one-on-one business meeting or more casual coffee meeting is the first step to accessing new networks.
2. Join entrepreneurial organizations
Joining a professional organization means you immediately have access to like-minded people in your profession. A shared connection to an organization or club is an easy starting point of conversation with other professionals who may want to help support your business.
Getting involved in these organizations could be a big boost to your visibility as well. Helping plan events for the organization or taking part in them, especially if it pertains to senior care franchise professionals, will help other professionals get to know your face, your name, and your business.
3. Attend conferences & local functions
Like joining entrepreneurial organizations, the benefits of attending local events and conferences means meeting a higher quantity of people in a shorter amount of time.
Speaking at conferences, in particular, is a great way to establish credibility with prospective clients, and to help other healthcare professionals see Qualicare as a great company to work with. Sharing information helps establish trust, which is why conferences are ideal places for networking.
These connections may not be as meaningful however until having a one-on-one meeting, so following up with individuals you’ve met at conferences and functions no more than one week after meeting is recommended.
4. Maintain a strong and steady online presence
These days, it is very important to maintain a steady online presence on social media, and on your website. Communication is key to networking, and the ways that businesses communicate online say a lot about their business as a whole.
Many companies schedule posts on social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as LinkedIn. Updates to company blogs and websites throughout the week serve to maintain a steady stream of communication to current and prospective partners and clients.
Blogs on company websites are particularly helpful in networking new connections as well. Well-placed SEO (search-engine optimization) terms can help prospective clients and partners in business find your Qualicare franchise easily through search engines.
Networking online by commenting on other companies’ or individual’s social media accounts, and actively engaging in conversations online, also contributes to algorithms which can help promote your content.
5. Hiring strong employees
One aspect of networking that naturally occurs are the connections made through quality employees. When hiring a home health care professional, consider the background of the prospective hire. Have they worked at a variety of places? Do they have strong professional connections in the field? Could they bring in multiple new valuable connections to your business?
The strength of the employee will correspond to the network of new connections, and fortunately for franchise owners, Qualicare has an established system for vetting prospective employees.
6. Schedule events 3 months out
One way to be certain networking is always a priority, is to maintain an active social calendar of networking events, scheduling at least 3 months out. Networking should be viewed as a vital aspect of any business plan and will be more easily maintained if it is always included in your events calendar.
Interested in learning more about how networking can help make you a business success in one of the best senior care franchise opportunities available? Check out Qualicare’s franchising website & request information today!