March 20, 2024

How to grow your business through new locations

Table of contents

Is 2024 your year to grow? Strategic growth through new locations is a surefire way to both meet the increasing demand on social care services and help shore-up the sustainability of your business.

Lets take a look at just how that could work for you and your team.

Step One: Decide Between Branch Expansion and Franchising

Understanding Branch Expansion vs. Franchising in Domiciliary Care

Expanding your domiciliary care business can be approached in two primary ways: branch expansion and franchising. Each model offers unique advantages and challenges, and choosing the right path depends on your business goals, resources, and operational preferences.

Branch Expansion

Branch expansion means opening new locations under the direct management of your existing business. This model allows you to maintain control over all aspects of operations, ensuring that each branch reflects your brand's standards and values.

Detailed Steps for Branch Expansion:

  1. In-Depth Market Research:
    • Perform demographic studies to understand the age, health status, and care needs of the local population.
    • Assess the competition: Identify existing domiciliary care providers and analyse their services to find gaps your business can fill.
    • Consult with local healthcare providers and community groups to gauge demand and gather insights about specific local needs.
  2. Comprehensive Financial Planning:
    • Calculate costs for property acquisition or leasing, considering location and accessibility for staff and clients.
    • Budget for staffing, including recruitment, training, and salaries for care professionals and administrative staff.
    • Factor in costs for equipment, technology, and any necessary renovations to meet healthcare standards.
    • Plan for operational costs, including utilities, insurance, and marketing.
    • Consult with financial advisors to ensure a sustainable financial model, considering potential revenue streams and break-even points.
  3. Implementation Plan:
    • Develop a timeline for establishing the new branch, from property acquisition to operational launch.
    • Plan for staff recruitment and training programs.
    • Establish supply chains and vendor relationships for necessary equipment and supplies.

Exploring the Franchising Model

Franchising involves granting a license to third parties (franchisees) to operate under your brand name. This model can facilitate rapid expansion with less financial and managerial burden on the franchisor.

Detailed Steps for Franchising:

  1. Developing a Legal Framework:
    • Create a comprehensive franchise agreement that covers aspects like franchise fees, royalties, brand usage, training, and support.
    • Ensure compliance with UK franchising laws and healthcare regulations.
    • Establish quality control measures to maintain service standards across all franchises.
  2. Franchisee Selection Process:
    • Define criteria for selecting franchisees, focusing on their alignment with your brand values, financial stability, and understanding of the domiciliary care market.
    • Organise informational sessions and workshops for potential franchisees to understand the business model and expectations.
    • Develop a support system for franchisees, including training in business operations, care standards, and regulatory compliance.
  3. Franchise Expansion Strategy:
    • Identify target regions for expansion based on market research.
    • Develop marketing strategies to attract potential franchisees.
    • Plan for ongoing support and oversight of franchised locations to ensure brand consistency and quality.

Choosing the Right Model for You and Your Business

To decide whether branch expansion or franchising is right for your business, consider the following:

  • Resource Availability: Branch expansion requires significant upfront investment and managerial oversight, while franchising can be less resource-intensive.
  • Control vs. Autonomy: Branch expansion offers more control over operations, whereas franchising involves trusting others to uphold your brand's standards.
  • Growth Speed: Franchising can enable faster expansion but requires effective franchisee management and support systems.
  • Risk Tolerance: Branch expansion involves more direct risk, while franchising distributes the risk among franchisees.

After evaluating these factors, the decision should align with your long-term business objectives, available resources, and comfort level with different operational models. In both cases, a solid business plan, incorporating a thorough SWOT analysis, is essential to lay the groundwork for successful expansion.

Step Two: Creating a Solid Business Plan

The cornerstone of any successful business expansion, whether it's branch opening or franchising, is a well-crafted business plan. This document should serve as a roadmap for your growth, outlining your vision, strategy, resources, and potential challenges. A comprehensive business plan not only helps in strategic planning but also in attracting investors, partners, or franchisees.

Starting with a New Business Plan

  1. Executive Summary: Begin with an overview of your business, including your mission statement, core services, and basic information about your current operations. This section should also briefly outline your expansion goals.
  2. Business Description: Provide a detailed description of your domiciliary care business, including the history, current state, and future objectives. Highlight the uniqueness of your services and how they meet the needs of the community.
  3. Market Analysis: Research and document the demand for domiciliary care in your target areas. Analyse market trends, demographics, competition, and potential barriers to entry. This section should demonstrate your understanding of the industry and its future direction.
  4. Organisational Structure and Management: Outline your business’s organisational structure. Detail the roles and responsibilities of your management team, and explain how they will contribute to the success of the expansion.
  5. Services Offered: Describe the domiciliary care services you plan to offer in detail. Explain how these services address the needs identified in your market analysis.
  6. Marketing and Sales Strategy: Articulate your approach to marketing your expanded services. This should include both traditional and digital marketing tactics tailored to your target market.
  7. Financial Projections and Needs: Present detailed financial forecasts, including projected income, expenses, and cash flow. Identify the financial requirements for your expansion, such as funding for new locations, equipment, staff, and marketing.

Conducting a SWOT Analysis

A SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis is a crucial part of your business plan. It involves:

  • Strengths: Internal attributes that give your business an advantage over competitors. This could include a strong brand reputation, experienced staff, or unique service offerings.
  • Weaknesses: Internal factors that could hinder your business's performance. This might be limited financial resources, high staff turnover, or lack of presence in the target market.
  • Opportunities: External conditions that your business could exploit to its advantage. Examples include an aging population requiring more domiciliary care or emerging technologies that improve service delivery.
  • Threats: External challenges your business might face, such as regulatory changes, increased competition, or economic downturns.

Drawing Conclusions from Your Business Plan

  • Strategic Direction: Use the insights from your market analysis and SWOT to refine your expansion strategy. Determine whether branch expansion or franchising is more aligned with your strengths and market opportunities.
  • Resource Allocation: Based on your financial projections and SWOT analysis, allocate resources where they’re most needed to mitigate weaknesses and capitalise on opportunities.
  • Risk Management: Identify potential risks and create contingency plans. This could involve diversifying service offerings or securing additional funding sources.
  • Performance Metrics: Establish clear, measurable goals and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to track the success of your expansion.
  • Revision and Adaptation: A business plan is a living document. Regularly review and update it to reflect changes in the market, your business, and the regulatory environment.

Step Three: Assessing and Establishing Your New Location

Feeling ready to go? Then it’s time to start finding that new location.

Selecting the right location is a critical decision in the expansion of your domiciliary care business. A strategic approach to market research can significantly enhance your chances of success.

  1. Community Needs Assessment:
    • Local Demographics: Examine age distribution, health statistics, and socio-economic factors. Areas with an aging population or underserved demographics can present significant opportunities.
    • Engagement with Local Healthcare Bodies: Establish relationships with local hospitals, GP practices, and community health organisations. Their insights into the health needs and gaps in existing care services are invaluable.
    • Community Feedback: Conduct surveys, focus groups, or community meetings to gather direct feedback from potential clients and their families. Understanding their expectations and concerns helps tailor your services.
  2. Competition Analysis:
    • Identify Current Providers: Research existing domiciliary care services in the area. Use online resources, local directories, and healthcare networks.
    • Service Gap Analysis: Look for services that are in demand but currently underserved. This could include specialised care for certain health conditions, or services for specific demographic groups.
    • Benchmarking: Compare your potential services with existing providers in terms of quality, range of services, and pricing. Identify your unique selling points.

Legal and Operational Setup

Understanding the legal and operational landscape of your intended location is as important as market research.

  1. Regulatory Compliance:
    • Local Health and Business Regulations: Engage with local health departments and business regulatory bodies. Understand specific requirements for domiciliary care providers.
    • Zoning and Land Use Laws: Check for any zoning restrictions or land use regulations that could impact your operations.
  2. Site Evaluation:
    • Accessibility and Visibility: Choose locations that are easily accessible to your staff and clients. Visibility can also be important for marketing and brand presence.
    • Facility Requirements: For physical branches, assess the need for office space, equipment storage, and meeting areas for staff and clients.

Physical Branch vs. Remote Team Setup

When expanding, consider the operational model that best suits domiciliary care provision:

  1. Physical Branch:
    • Pros: Direct control over operations, a visible presence in the community, and a centralised location for staff and equipment.
    • Cons: Higher overhead costs for leasing or purchasing property, and maintaining the facility.
  2. Remote Team:
    • Pros: Lower overhead costs, flexibility for staff, and the ability to cover a wider geographical area without the need for multiple physical locations.
    • Cons: Less direct oversight of operations, potential challenges in team communication and coordination.

Which Model Works Best for Domiciliary Care? For domiciliary care, a local physical branch can serve as a central hub for operations, staff training, and storage of equipment. Even though care professionals work remotely, visiting clients in their homes, having a physical base of operations in your new location will go a long way towards starting you off on the right foot.

Choosing the right location and operational model is a nuanced decision that should be based on thorough research and an understanding of your business goals and capabilities. Assess the needs of the community, the competitive landscape, and the regulatory environment. Consider the advantages and limitations of both physical and remote setups. The right choice will align with your strategic objectives, resource availability, and the specific needs of the domiciliary care market you aim to serve.

Step Four: Navigating Regulatory Requirements

When opening a new domiciliary care location, complying with regulatory standards is not just a legal obligation but also a key factor in establishing credibility and trust in your services.

  1. CQC Registration:
    • Understanding the Registration Process: As you know, all new domiciliary care services in the UK must be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC). This involves submitting an application that details how you will meet the essential standards of quality and safety. If you’re opening a new location, especially if you’re franchising, you must let them know as soon as possible of those changes. Do so through your CQC portal.
    • Documentation and Preparation: Prepare comprehensive documentation covering aspects such as staff qualifications, training protocols, safety procedures, and care plans procedures for your new location.
    • Risks of Non-Compliance: Failure to register or meet CQC standards can result in fines, legal action, and closure of your service. Moreover, reputation damage can be substantial, undermining trust with clients and stakeholders.
  2. HMRC Registration:
    • Tax Obligations: Register your new location with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Understand the tax implications, including VAT, payroll taxes for employees, and corporation tax if applicable.
    • Seeking Expert Advice: Consulting with tax advisors is crucial to navigate the complex tax landscape and ensure compliance. You don’t have to do this alone!

Building Relationships with Regulators and Local Councils

  • Early Engagement: Engage with regulatory bodies and local councils at the earliest stage of your expansion. This proactive approach can lead to smoother operations and compliance processes.
  • Benefits of Good Standing:
    • Enhanced Reputation: Being in good standing with regulators and councils enhances your credibility and reputation, crucial for business growth.
    • Council Tender Applications: A good relationship can improve your standing in council tender applications, opening doors to more business opportunities.

Utilising Your Software Provider

A good care management platform can play a critical role in managing not just the the complexities of regulatory adherence, but actually get you to a point where you can open, onboard and get new locations up and running faster than ever before.

  1. Streamlining Compliance:
    • Digital Record-Keeping: Maintain client records, staff qualifications, and care plans digitally, ensuring easy access and updates.
    • Automated Alerts: Set up alerts for regulatory updates, inspection schedules, and compliance deadlines.
  2. Care Management Platforms:
    • Efficient Operations: A care management platform can significantly speed up the process of taking on new locations. With operational protocols, client data, and staff information centralised, the platform reduces the time and effort needed for onboarding new clients and team members.
    • Data-Driven Decision Making: Use the platform’s analytics to make informed decisions about care plans, staffing needs, and resource allocation.
    • Quality Control: Standardise care quality across all locations, ensuring consistency and adherence to regulatory standards.

Step Five: Building Your Team

Building the right team is pivotal for the success of a new location!

Firstly, lets look at the core team members you’ll need to get this new location up and running.

  1. Legal and Operational Team Requirements:
    • Registered Manager: A pivotal role, legally required by the CQC. This individual is responsible for regulatory compliance, overseeing care quality, and managing the day-to-day operations.
    • Care Professionals: Skilled staff who provide direct care to clients. They should be trained and qualified in providing domiciliary care, understanding individual care plans, and responding to emergencies.
    • Administrative Lead: Vital for managing client records, handling appointments, and ensuring smooth operational flow.
  2. Additional Roles for New Locations:
    • Local Marketing and Community Liaison: Someone who understands the local community can be instrumental in marketing your services and building relationships.
    • Training and Development Officer: To ensure ongoing staff training and adherence to care standards.
    • Support Roles: Depending on the size and scope of the location, roles like HR, finance, and IT support might also be necessary in your new location!

So, now that you know who you need, is it worth hiring a whole new team - or can you ask your existing team to cover some of these roles?

Pros and Cons of Using Existing vs. New Team Members

Using Existing Team Members

Pros:

  • Familiarity with Business Practices: They understand the company's culture, procedures, and standards.
  • Quicker Onboarding: Less time needed for training and adjustment.

Cons:

  • Risk of Burnout: Increased responsibilities and the challenge of setting up a new location can lead to stress.
  • Possible Internal Conflict: If promotions are involved, this could lead to tensions within the existing team.

Hiring New Team Members

Pros:

  • Fresh Perspectives: New hires can bring innovative ideas and practices.
  • Local Knowledge: They might have better understanding and connections in the new location's community.

Cons:

  • Longer Onboarding Time: Requires time for training and acclimatisation to company culture.
  • Recruitment Costs: Time and resources needed to find and hire suitable candidates.

It may be best to look at hiring for the new location. If you choose to do that, here are a few tips for recruitment success…

  1. Leveraging Digital Platforms:
    • Use job boards and LinkedIn to reach a wider pool of candidates.
    • Implement an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to efficiently manage applications.
  2. Engaging in Traditional Networking:
    • Attend job fairs, especially those focused on healthcare.
    • Build connections with local healthcare training institutions for a pipeline of freshly trained staff.
  3. Referral Programs:
    • Encourage current employees to refer qualified candidates, possibly with incentives.
  4. Partner with Local Agencies:
    • Work with recruitment agencies specialising in healthcare to find skilled professionals.

Here are some additional things you could consider in order to bring the right people to you…

  1. Professional Development: Offer continuous training and career advancement opportunities.
  2. Compassionate Care Culture: Promote a work environment that values empathy and patient-centric care.
  3. Showcasing Your Brand: Use digital media to highlight employee stories, testimonials, and career opportunities. Engage in community events to showcase your commitment to local care.

Now that you’ve made the hire, here are some quick best practices to help them be as successful as they can…

  1. Clear Communication Lines with Head Office: Establish open and regular communication channels to ensure the new team feels supported and connected.
  2. Onboarding Guides: Develop comprehensive guides detailing business operations, care protocols, and company culture. This ensures consistency and clarity in service delivery.
  3. Regular Company Touchpoints: Organise regular meetings and updates with the broader company. This helps the new team feel part of the larger organisation and stay aligned with overall goals.
  4. Feedback Mechanisms: Implement systems for new staff to provide feedback on their experiences and suggestions for improvement.
  5. Mentorship Programs: Pair new team members with experienced staff from other locations for guidance and support.

By this point, you should feel ready to go - there’s just one more thing. Marketing your new location, and getting those first brilliant clients.

Step Six: Marketing Your New Location

Marketing is a crucial element in the successful launch of a new care location. Effective marketing not only raises awareness of your services but also builds trust and credibility in your brand within the local community. Here’s a quick guide to developing a comprehensive marketing strategy, along with a checklist to ensure a successful launch.

Importance of Effective Marketing

  1. Building Awareness: New locations need to establish their presence in the community. Effective marketing introduces your services to potential clients and referral sources.
  2. Establishing Trust: In the healthcare sector, trust is paramount. Marketing strategies should convey reliability, professionalism, and empathy.
  3. Differentiating Your Services: Highlight what makes your domiciliary care services unique and desirable compared to competitors.
  4. Driving Business Growth: Well-executed marketing directly contributes to client acquisition and business expansion.

Steps to Launch a Successful Marketing Strategy

1. Defining Your Target Audience

  • Understand the demographics, needs, and preferences of your potential clients and their families. Are you serving the same demographic? What appeals to them, or has worked in the past?
  • Identify local healthcare providers and community groups that can act as referral sources for your new locaiton.

2. Creating a Marketing Plan

  • Set clear objectives: What do you want to achieve with your marketing? (e.g. brand awareness, a specific number of new clients)
  • Choose a mix of digital and traditional marketing methods to have the most impact. For example, the family members of your clients may be on Facebook, but older generations themselves may respond better to a flyering campaign or local newspaper ad.
  • Budget planning: Get estimates for all these plans, and allocate your resources effectively across different marketing channels.

3. Developing Key Messages

  • Craft messages that resonate with your target audience - emphasising compassion, expertise, and quality of care. Most importantly, use testimonials from existing clients who love your work. Nothing works better than a real person talking about how much you’ve helped.

4. Leveraging Digital Marketing

  • Website Updates: Ensure your new location’s details are prominently featured on your website.
  • SEO: Implement keyword research to identify terms your target audience is searching for. Optimise website content, meta descriptions, and tags.
  • Content Marketing: Create blog posts, articles, and infographics that provide valuable information and highlight your expertise.
  • Social Media: Regularly post updates, client testimonials, and relevant content on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
  • Email Marketing: Send newsletters and updates to keep your audience engaged and informed.

5. Utilising Traditional Marketing Techniques

  • Local Community Events: Participate in or sponsor local events to increase visibility.
  • Partnerships: Build relationships with local healthcare providers, senior centres, and community groups.
  • Press Releases: Send out press releases to local newspapers and community bulletins about your new location.

6. Measuring and Adjusting Your Strategy

  • Use tools to track the performance of your digital marketing efforts (e.g., Google Analytics).
  • Gather feedback and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Marketing Launch Checklist:

Website and Digital Presence

[ ]  Update website with new location details.

[ ]  Optimise website for SEO (search engine optimisation, or how someone searching on the internet can find you) by including frequently searched for terms, like ‘home care in Bournemouth’ if you’re providing services in Bournemouth for example.

[ ]  Create a dedicated website page for the new location.

Community Engagement and Partnerships

[ ]  Identify local events for participation.

[ ]  Reach out to local healthcare providers and community groups for partnership opportunities.

Promotional Materials

[ ]  Design and produce brochures and flyers.

[ ]  Prepare promotional items for events (e.g., branded merchandise).

Media and Public Relations

[ ]  Draft and distribute a press release.

[ ]  Contact local media outlets for potential coverage.

Feedback Mechanisms

[ ]  Set up systems to collect feedback on your marketing efforts.

[ ]  Plan for regular reviews of marketing performance and ROI.

Remember, marketing is not a one-time effort but a continuous process that requires adaptation and refinement based on feedback and changing market dynamics!

That’s it - this is just a quick guide, but should provide some key insights on how to get started. Whatever your plans are for adding new locations, good luck - you’ve got this!

Want to read more on this? Click the button below to read our article ‘Mistakes to avoid when you add new locations’.

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