We are happy to say we were chosen as the business of the month by the Norwell Chamber of Commerce for the month of February, 2009. We did an interview with the Norwell Mariner, and they published it a couple of weeks ago. Many thanks to the folks at the Norwell Chamber of Commerce and the Mariner, below is the interview and link to the article:
1. Give a brief description of your business.
North River Home Care provides homemaker and home health aide services to elderly clients throughout the South Shore. Our caregivers go to a client’s home and provide assistance with the activities that become harder for us as we age.
Our homemakers do things like drive to a doctor’s appointment, do the grocery shopping, prepare meals, clean the house, do the laundry, remind the client to take their medications or bring them to a social event.
Our home health aides provide the above services and a higher level of hands on assistance with the activities of daily living; things like dressing, bathing and grooming. We provide safety and comfort for our clients and peace of mind for their families.
2. What sets you apart from others?
The high quality of the service we provide. We closely monitor every visit using a phone based tracking system. When an aide arrives at a client’s home, they call an 800 number and caller id registers the aide as having checked in at the client’s home.
If the caregiver doesn’t clock in on time everyone in management receives an alert on their cell phone, and we react immediately. Also, we have an RN on staff to assess new clients and supervise our caregivers. Finally, we have a unique Dementia Training and Support program for our caregivers. In addition to live training sessions, our caregivers can call a Dementia Specialist from the field if they need assistance with a particular client situation. We are the only home care agency that I know of to offer this.
3. How long have you been in business, and how did you get involved in this business?
I started the business about two years ago. Like many families, we had our own experiences with caring for elderly parents and grandparents.
We were the client of a home care agency for more than five years. I could see how the reliability of the caregivers affected all of our lives. I also had previously owned a staffing agency in a different field and knew how to find the right person for the right job. I decided to put my staffing experience to work for seniors. My mother, who had helped care for her parents, was a logical partner, and together we went through the Red Cross Certified Nurse Assistant certification program and then launched the business.
4. What do you want people to know about you and/or your business?
That we truly care about our clients and their families. Everything we do is focused on providing excellent care, to help improve their lives.
Whether it’s our stringent hiring requirements, our innovative training or our outstanding client service – we work hard to ensure that we provide the best care possible. I am constantly putting myself in my clients’ shoes, and want to do everything we can to provide the best experience possible.
5. What are some of the pitfalls one faces when owning one’s own business?
Finding the right balance between work and the rest of my life.
A business demands a lot of time and attention, even when you have wonderful people working with you and supporting you. It can be a challenge to find a way to get all of my work done and spend quality time with my three young children. But nowadays everyone has to do more work in less time – I know that there are a lot of moms out there that are facing this same challenge.
6. What is the best business advice you’ve received during your career?Be honest and dependable and take responsibility for what you do. At the end of the day, no matter how successful your business is, without honesty, dependability and responsibility, nothing else you do matters very much.
7. Do you have a business mentor?
Yes, I have several.
I have been lucky enough to become friends with some smart, talented and successful people who have been generous with their time and willing to share what they have learned.
Their input has had a tremendous impact on some of the decisions I have made and the way we run the business. Having good people around you who can guide you is critical – sometimes you really need to bounce ideas off of someone you trust who has been in your shoes. In addition to these friends, I am also a member of a large national network of home care executives, called The Seniors Choice.
I am in daily contact with the owners of some of the most successful agencies across the country.
8. How has your business been affected by the current economy?
It is hard to say for sure, but it’s likely we would be growing faster if the economy didn’t slow down. We have not lost a single client for financial reasons.
However, I have had families decide to hold off on hiring us in favor of caring for their loved-one themselves because they were laid off. On the other hand, we have had new clients come to us because they need help and cannot sell their home in order to move in to an assisted living facility. I believe that if we offer an excellent service at a competitive price, we will continue to grow regardless of the economy.
Companies fail or succeed in all economic environments. I believe that the single most important factor in the success of a business is the character of the owner.
9. Tell us an inspirational or humorous story about your business?
There are so many inspirational stories in our line of work.
I am lucky to have met some wonderful caregivers, people who are selfless in their dedication to helping others. I have many kind and patient caregivers who work with us, but there are some that really stand out in my mind.
For them it is truly more than a job, it is more like a calling. One aide told me she chose to be a caregiver because it makes her feel close to her mother, who died from Alzheimer’s disease. She says caring for her clients makes her feel like she is caring for her mother again, which brings her great peace.
Another aide had a client who had become ill and was in the hospital. She visited her client on her day off, which is fairly common. What was extraordinary about the visit is that in spite of her own family obligations, our aide felt so close to her client that she chose to visit her on Christmas Day.
10. If you could go back in time, would you change anything?
Yes. I wish I had started North River Home Care earlier in my life. I am so grateful to have found my calling, and am very pleased with how we have grown.
It is a wonderful feeling to be able to help people every day and know that you are making a tangible difference in people’s lives. I love working with my family, in a business that reflects our values. I just should have done it 10 years earlier.
Here’s the link to the article: