More often than I care to admit I speak to people regularly who are looking to quantify how many people they may be able to serve in their new care oriented business. Sometimes its home care, adult day care, assisted living or even pharmacy. In places such as the American State of Michigan some contemplate entering the care business to serve those injured in catastrophic auto collisions.
Michigan’s auto no-fault law – admired by some, considered worthy of destroying by others – allows for lifetime medical benefits, that which is reasonable and necessary after a covered auto accident. So those entering the business will generally seek to find out how many are seriously injured annually in such events. From this data many make educated guesses we call projections to identify how many persons they might be able to serve.
What is the problem with this calculation?
Like with any business, it is never best to count solely on the prospect of serving those who need your type of service for the first time. Cadillac buyers sometimes decide to go with Mercedes. Owners of the former Mercury Grand Marquis (yours truly included) decided to switch to the Lincoln Town Car. These are not first time purchasers but savvy shoppers in pursuit of a change, for any variety of reasons.
The same applies for the adult day care program participant whose families have had it with their current program that has no clinical initiative or a sub-standard activities program. Several times per month a daughter is taking a day off work to drive mom to a medical specialist since this center has no such visiting physician which would make the program a real mechanism for family relief. The same is true for the home care client who is being served by a company whose supervisory structure makes infrequent visits to the homes of its clients at best, resulting in lackluster performance and constant broken rules.
Add to the list the child care provider who thinks “well maybe all of the children in my community are being served” when the real question is how many are being served to the satisfaction of the parents who would make a mid-year change for the good of the child and household? The provider of child care services has to also think of those families who simply want a change or who as a result of your marketing message begin to give deeper thought to how under-served they are.
Bearing this in mind, a new business must consider not only those who have recently experienced a health setback or those who were recently seriously injured. Attention must also be given to those, and there are many, many more of them, who area already recipients of care on one level or another but who are anxious for a change as are their guardians, case managers and family. No one wants to expose someone they care about to services that make them unhappy, dissatisfied or even angry.
So be careful ignoring the reality that you need to market to dissatisfaction. You need to know the weaknesses of your competitors and market to those they simply cannot please.
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