Whether it's for Independent Living, Assisted Living, or Memory Care, Getting Your Employees the Tools they Need is Important
It’s that time of the year again, where you have to take a long hard look at the numbers and set your priorities for the year. Whether you’re making a decision for the company as a whole or just your own department, it can be daunting to decide what areas of the overall budget you have the money to invest into and which ones you should cut. This is especially true in the senior care business, as every decision you make can mean the difference between someone having the opportunity. To help ease the burden, here are some tips on how to get the most out of your senior care community’s budget this year, whether your independent living, or assisted living.
The First Step: Making A Budget
To start, you’ll need a written budget to work with in the first place. Getting started is the hardest part, especially when you think you’ve already got a system that works, but even if you don’t need a complex outline for a loan or taxes, the fact of the matter is that you will need one if you want your community to have strong and steady growth. A rudimentary budget with everything laid out is better than none at all. For easy calculations, use software like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets to organize your data. Start with your expenses; fixed costs that are the same week to week or month to month are the easiest to pin down. Those are things like nurse call system fees Then there are variable costs, like electricity and water bills, general maintenance, and employee compensation - for these, it’s best to overestimate how much something will cost rather than underestimate. Wishing the best of a situation is just human nature, but in the long run you’ll be happier to have wider margins than you originally thought, rather than having surprise costs and no way to account for them. Once you feel like you have all of those down, then it’s time to think of one-time costs that may be coming up. Security cameras, uniforms, medical equipment, or décor, for example. Things that you may have to replace later, but years down the line.
Feeling a little worried looking at all of those red numbers? Next it’s time for income. Pool together all lines of income, and separate them into passive and active income. Passive income is just that - money you will continue to accrue with little to no maintenance, like renting spaces out. Active income comes from your business, paid classes that your employees put on, or other premium services. When you aren’t 100% where the income will land for the year, you should tend to underestimate income, so that actual numbers are less likely to exceed your projected budget. Tally them up and there you go - you have a tidy place to see where your money is going and where it comes from. Just make sure that you come back to visit it monthly - things change rapidly, new forms of income and expenses come and go, and keeping track of it all will be near impossible if your projections don’t have an updated measure of the actual state of your community.
ROI: Measure your Successes
Your return on investment is important - you want to make sure that all of your hard work comes through in the numbers. For everything you get money out of, you want to compare how much money you’ve put into it, and look at it in that context. Perhaps you should be spending more of your time enriching other parts of your business that you make better returns on, but you’ll never know unless you take a hard look at the reality of the numbers.
The simplest formula, of course, is ROI = ((Net Return on Investment)/(Cost of Investment)) x 100%. In other words, take your net return on your investment and divide that by how much money you put into it, then multiply by 100. You will end up with a percentage that you can use to easily compare the overall success of this investment with your other investments. Not everything is in the numbers, of course - there are long-term benefits to some programs, activities, or equipment that don’t provide a direct monetary benefit, but there are still ways to compare them with monetary investments. For example, if you invest in a program in the hopes that it will teach your front desk associates how to make regular calls to clients with updates on their loved ones, you can use other data like call volumes, or conduct surveys before and after the program with a 1-10 scale (for numeric indicators to plug into the formula) to see if client satisfaction has improved overall.
Not only do you need to know what your business needs to thrive, you need a way to measure that success, so you can keep a close eye on the actual growth of your business and assets.
Getting Ahead with Free Tools
A great way to help your business grow without worrying about budgeting or capital expenditures is to make use of free services. Youtube, for example, has tons of videos by and for senior care professionals and business professionals who have valuable information on how you can get the most out of your community. You can even utilize the service to post your own videos. That’s right, we’re talking about social media marketing here. Youtube, while not largely considered a social media site on its own, hosts videos for free that can be embedded on your website or on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook (Meta), or LinkedIn. These are great for others to see exactly what life in your community will look like, for themselves or their family. An active community on social media means that the families feel secure that they can get a hold of you on their favorite platform, which eases up the phone line for non-urgent questions.
Getting your business out there on social media is important, and once again, totally free! Sign up, make your page pretty, and even if you can’t regularly update, make sure that all notifications show up in your email so that you can have another active line between your business and potential clients.
Working with the Best - like Sure-Response!
Your final tip for busting those budget blues - whenever you reach out to other companies for capital expenditures, like equipment, tools, and calling systems, make sure that you invest in companies that work around your budget, not the other way around. Sure-Response knows how not only how important your line of work is, but how hard you work to secure the future of your essential business. We want to help you grow, not become an obstacle in your path; We are sure to work carefully around your budget, providing you with the best options in terms of performance and durability that you actually need, and even rolling out orders slowly over time, so that you can have the money and equipment you need when you need it. Not all businesses will have this level of flexibility, so it’s important to recognize when you find it, and take advantage of it.
Building a real, thriving community that takes care of its residents as well as its bottom line isn’t easy, but we know you have the best people on the job. Get those people the equipment they need, have the money you need, and invest in businesses that truly care about what you’re doing. When you’re building a budget for your senior care community - the financial backbone to your entire operation - keep in mind every expense, every flow of income, and watch that ROI go up… every month!