Key Care Business Success Ingredients: Strategic Thinking and Rationality

PIC - IM IGNORING YOUIn some Michigan cities, staff who handle documents for grant preparation and more are ignoring the calls of adult foster care providers when they can.  In other instances, people are sacrificing a possible sales commission – namely insurance reps – by trying to avoid having to write a policy for an adult foster care home.  Too many have decided to avoid doing business with this community and not because there are too many claims filed.  While claims and not paying premiums in a timely manner play a role, the general attitude of impatience and inappropriate expectations are what runs many professionals away.

My office has not given up although we are quite discerning in terms of whom we choose to do business with.  The largest complaint comes with the lack of strategic planning.  Too many, often resulting from a lack of business training, seek to expand their business or even to diversify their populations being served without being properly capitalized to do so.  And even this can be overcome with strategic planning -n a simple plan of sustenance while growth occurs.

When a business project is embryonic it is not unusual for the entrepreneur to pursue another income source for the sake of personal stability PIC - MALE STORE CLERKwhile the expansion process takes hold.  In far too many instances the minute a contract is signed either with a community mental health agency or even an agent of a Medicaid waiver for placement of vulnerable residents, the proprietor expects if not demands immediate attention to their business.  They want constant placements to start today as though the placement agency is creating people to live there through some magical process.

Even evangelism is referred to as a process where we “throw our breadcrumbs out onto the waters and wait many days for them to produce” signifying that this kind of conversion rarely takes place overnight. Yet the same people who accept this reality look for business success in a matter of weeks regardless of how irrational this approach may be.

PIC - ME ON PHONE OFFICE 2 12-2010This week alone I spoke with 9 banks and 2 representatives from the U.S. Small Business Administration about three, (3) prospective loans for clients. The conversations are intense, educational, exploratory and sometimes tiring but they need to occur in order for me to bring the project to closure, often before the loan documents are even done.  Grant writing is similar.  It is only when we give the impression to others that processes do not matter and what does is filling our own needs with immediate attention, that project oriented professionals want to run the other way.

To ensure we do not get caught in this web of disappointment these tips might help:

  1. Be careful developing the habit of hearing what you want to hear or need to hear for the sake of your own peace of mind instead of hearing what someone is actually saying.
  2. During times of pressure especially cash-flow pressure be sure and first take a look back at how you may have created or at least contributed to it.  Were you charging too little for your residential services and unable to create a cash cushion as a result of your own business management?  If so this means you succumbed to short-term thinking instead of long-term strategic planning and for this you must accept responsibility.  Use it as a learning tool.
  3. Do not allow pride to keep you from pursuing other income sources as you build or rebuild even though this new income outlet may be temporary.  The financial stability of your household is your responsibility and if you get tied up playing the blame-game you will ignore opportunities to stabilize as your business grows or transitions.

Michigan has so much to offer in terms of long-term, community based care.  We need 6 and 8 bed care villages that house disabled veterans and the catastrophically injured who may feel overwhelmed in larger facilities.  We need medical model, clinically competent adult day care centers that offer a comprehensive approach to patient stabilization post hospital discharge. Only the smart entrepreneurs will rise to help make these things happen and even they need Strategic Thinking and Rationality.

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