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Q 1.    Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.

Ans:    Our business is all about helping people achieve the quality of life they want and as much independence as possible—even when they need a little help. Seniors or their family members call us when there are things they can no longer do on their own, but they want to stay in their home. They may have fallen and hurt themselves, or are unable to drive any longer, or need help bathing, or be unsafe because of dementia.

One of our registered nurses will do a thorough assessment and write a detailed plan of care to help them achieve their goals. Then we will assign a certified home health aide to be their personal assistant or caregiver, following the nurses’ plan of care.

Some of our clients need just companionship and a little help with tasks such as laundry, meal preparation or errands. Others need hands-on help with bathing, toileting, feeding or ambulating safely. And some are hospice patients requiring complete personal care and emotional support. “Live your best life possible” is our slogan, and that is our goal right up to a client’s last day.

The service adapts to the individual needs of our clients. The number of hours can shrink or grown as client needs change. We offer everything from a 1-hour bath visit to 24/7 care. We might be there just to help a client through a short-term health crisis, or we might stay in their life for over a decade.

We provide service throughout Somerset and Northern Middlesex Counties and accept private pay clients, long-term care insurance clients, and clients who come to us through the NJ Veterans Administration or the Board of Social Services.

Q 2.    Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).

Ans:    I opened my ComForCare office in 2005 in one tiny office in Branchburg. By 2010 the business had grown to the point that my husband, Roger, joined as my business partner and we moved to larger office space in Somerville to accommodate an office staff of 7 people. Our field staff includes over 100 home health aides and nurses.

When I started the business I was new to home care. It was personal experience with my own mother that opened my eyes to the value of this service for seniors and families. After she passed away, I decided to enter the field. In the past dozen years I have learned a tremendous amount from our clients, caregivers, and the nurses and other professionals who are colleagues. As part of my own professional education, I became a Certified Senior Advisor and a Certified Dementia Practitioner.

Dementia care and dementia education is a particular focus of our agency and an area where I believe we really shine. Families caring for a loved one with dementia need so much help. Taking the time to talk with them about their challenges, educate them about the different forms dementia can take, and offer coping strategies is one of my greatest pleasures.

I like to think of success in terms of the hours of care we provide in our community. In the past year that number was almost 120,000 hours. That’s a lot of baths, medications given, falls prevented, nourishing meals prepared, and smiles exchanged.

Knowing that we are making a difference in people’s lives and that our efforts are appreciated by clients and our colleagues in the community is our most important achievement.

Q 3.    What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

Ans:    Make sure you have enough of a financial runway to give yourself time to take off. Be kind to yourself because you won’t do everything right. Talk to as many people as you can and view everyone, even your competitors, as potential allies and teachers.

Q 4.    What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

Ans:    Starting a business is a leap into the unknown. You have to be comfortable with uncertainty and willing to learn and change. You need to be patient because, most often, success builds slowly. You have to enjoy what you are doing because you will spend a lot of time at it!

Q 5.    How many hours do you work a day on average?

Ans:    I generally work 50 to 60 hours a week, but because I’ve never hired an answering service, my clients and employees can reach me 24/7. We have clients receiving care round-the-clock, so it’s a necessity to be available to them.

Q 6.    To what do you most attribute your success?

Ans:    I work hard to be sure that both our clients and our employees know that we see them as individuals, that we value them and will go out of our way to help them. This is an intensely personal business and it won’t succeed if you treat it like manufacturing. You need to build trust because you are in people’s lives in a big way.

Our clients and employees also know that, when needed, Roger and I will roll up our sleeves and pitch in. If a caregiver has a crisis in the middle of the night, or a client has a sudden need to see a doctor, we will be right there. “Work on the business, not in the business” is good advice, but there is something to be said for leading by example.

Q 7.    How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?

Ans:    In home care I’ve found that every marketing approach works sometimes, but none can be relied on to continually bring business.  We have to be willing to change our approach. In general, people find us by referral rather than by responding to advertising.

We try to be present in the community by attending health fairs and other events. This fall we will be presenting a free workshop series for family caregivers of dementia patients.

Q 8.    Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?

Ans:    This was an enterprise funded by my “nest egg,” not by investors or loans. Thankfully, no great outlay was needed for product or equipment. I learned to do all the administrative functions myself until I could afford to hire help. I added new staff only as the service hours grew to support it.

Q 9.    What is the best way to achieve long-term success?

Ans:    Do a good job and do it consistently.  Sounds flip, but there’s no substitute. We are also seeing a lot of changes in our field in terms of competition and heavy regulation. You have to be able to adapt and live with a certain amount of uncertainty.

Q 10.    Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?

Ans:    In the coming years I hope to see ComForCare even more widely recognized as a community resource for families and as a partner to local health care providers in helping people maintain health and well-being. I hope we will make progress in helping doctors and hospitals see how our service complements the work they do and can help achieve the goal of reducing unnecessary hospitalizations.

Q 11.    Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?

Ans:    Costco because of their reputation for being a good employer. Balancing the need to keep prices low for families with the value of compensating our workers as well as we want and they deserve is a constant challenge.

Q 12.    How important have good employees been to your success?

Ans:    Absolutely essential. This is a service business and it lives or dies based on our ability to find good employees and to train them to be even better.

Q 13.    What motivates you?

Ans:    I find my motivation in creating and collaborating with a team of people who do their work well. I know I’ve succeeded when clients and families tell us what a difference we’ve made in their lives—that we’ve helped someone recover from a health crisis or made it possible for them to stay in the home they love till the end of life. Last week, for example, the son of a client who had just passed away thanked us for giving his father the gift of dignity even when he was severely debilitated. That means a lot.

Q 14.    What are your ideals?

Ans:    Community, respect, compassion

Q 15.    How do you define success?

Ans:    Being able to pay the bills and feel proud of how you’ve done it.
But I often share with our caregivers this quote attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson: “To know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

Q 16.    What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

Ans:    Providing jobs for so many great people gives me a lot of pleasure. Many of our home health aides bring their children into the office or show photos of their kids going off to college. I love that in some small way we’ve been able to contribute to their success and investment in the American dream. When I was struggling to grow the business, I kept their success in mind as well as my own and worked harder.

Q 17.    What kind of culture exists in your organization? How did you establish this tone and why did you institute this particular type of culture?

Ans:    So many aspects of life are stressful. When people call our office, whether it is a potential client or an employee, I want them to feel welcomed and listened to so they can relax a little. The company exists to make life easier for people.

Problems and mistakes are inevitable, but I encourage everyone to view these as opportunities to learn and see how we can do better in the future. I’m not afraid to admit when I’ve been wrong, and I really appreciate a similar frankness and willingness to learn from all our employees and colleagues. I have little patience for finger pointing and blaming. Teamwork is key.

Company Detail :

Company : ComForCare Somerset
Contact    : Nancy Lorince
Address   : 92. E Main Street, Suite 305
City         : Somerville
State        : NJ
Zip          : ‘08876
Phone     : 908-927-0500
Fax         : 908-927-0600
Email      : somersetnj@comforcare.com
Office Hours : Monday To Sunday : 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM