When we started this business, I never imagined my priorities would change to what they are now.
My business partner and I started off doing all the tasks, from admitting to cleaning, together. (Talk about inefficient!)
Fast forward to now, where we have a team of people that help us with a lot of the tasks.
Getting to this place took a lot of trial and error, and I'm in no way insinuating that we've made it... but we definitely made some progress!
What I want to pass on, is what I wish I would I have known when I started; you need to plan to "replace" yourself in the business, so you can free up time to do what only you can do.
If you don't plan for this, you'll probably burn out, or you will never have the time to work on your business instead of in your business.
"In your small business, you need to plan to replace yourself, so you free up time to work on what only you can do."
I found that it was important to carve out time to strategize (and learn) how to make our business better.
Having no business background, I had to learn how to, well, run a business.
I had to learn how to create a system for hiring and training people; which eventually proved to be one of the best leverages of my time.
I learned that if I prioritize creating a system for onboarding and properly training the team, I wouldn't be wasting as much time "putting out fires."
In order to do this, I had to work closely with my business partner and plan out who does what, so I could focus my time and energy. We split up the tasks based on what we are good at and what we like to do (as much as we could).
As for the team, part of their training included training on our culture. I knew that if I could inspire them to buy into my vision for Arden Park Assisted Living, then we could build a very good small Assisted Living.
(Side note: culture training is ongoing.)
What I wanted to create was a safe place for seniors that felt like home, staffed with awesome and caring people.
You know when you go to a fast food restaurant and they forget you give you your fries, and when you bring it to their attention, the manager brings you fries, and an ice cream for each one of your kids? ...and give you a coupon for a free burger?
Or.. the when you go to get your tire changed, and the attendant tells you you'll need to get a loaner car, and they personally help you unload all your groceries from your car to the loaner car, in the rain?
Yeah, that kind of person.. that just leaves you inspired, and feeling energized.
I wanted to create an Assisted Living with those kinds of people. Imagine that.
So naturally the next question is, how do you turn employees into passionate caregivers that uphold the values even when you're not on the grounds?
I got good at reading people. Getting to know what they want. When I learned what they wanted, and I saw how I could help them reach their goals, I invested in them and served them, and in turn, they helped me reach my goals, even when I wasn't around.
If there is one thing I know, it's that, giving people something meaningful to do, where you can track progress, and celebrate wins, you are more likely to create a team that has thriving individuals. Thriving individuals make up a thriving team.
"Thriving individuals make up a thriving team."
So, while my first days were spent creating labels for our facility's clean linen closet, I learned that the most important thing for a small business owner to do is to build up the team.
A team of caregivers that are excited about their work creates the kind of culture necessary to provide seniors with a home whose mission is to provide excellent care in a safe environment.