Advice for creating a mission-driven business from Golden Care Owner Porsha Vogt.
For Porsha Vogt, founder and owner of Golden Care, a senior in-home care agency, starting a business was personal. She was motivated to start a senior care business because of experiences in her own family, and that personal care and attention became part of the mission and the practice of her company.
Golden Care takes its responsibility to provide quality in-home elder care seriously. Commitment to quality care begins with the company’s mission and extends through the hiring process, employee training, and employee work in the field.
Porsha shares some of the unique challenges and the unique benefits of building a mission-focused business like Golden Care. She offers her advice for entrepreneurs launching small businesses, including how to build a corporate culture; what key elements to have in place before launch; and what it takes to provide round-the-clock service to clients with a wide range of needs and concerns.
When Porsha talks about business growth, and the fears common to most entrepreneurs, she could be talking about a business in any sector. The perseverance and determination that she reminds all entrepreneurs to apply to their businesses is just as important in the health field as it is in technology or education or finance. What Porsha is zeroing in on is the reality that starting a business, and keeping it running successfully, is a constant challenge that requires flexibility, openness to feedback and the willingness to take risks, respond to setbacks and evolve.
What inspired you to work in the senior care field?
My Aunt Alice had MS. She passed away fifteen years ago. She would fall all the time and definitely needed assistance within her own home. Our family had no idea senior in-home care agencies existed back then but I honestly think she would still be with us today if she had a caregiver.
My Aunt Alice gave me the passion to want to help others and give back to the community. I’ve always gotten along with seniors. I love to listen to their stories and advice. They have been through so much and are very wise.
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs who are building a business around their passion?
The business world is very humbling. Just when you think you have made it, you’ll get knocked down. That is when you push harder and never give up!”
I would say never settle and never give up. Always persevere and keep your chin up. Try and go above and beyond in everything you do. The business world is very humbling. Just when you think you have made it, you’ll get knocked down. That is when you push harder and never give up!
Don’t be afraid to hire people!
With a mission-driven business like yours, is the hiring process different from or more challenging than the hiring process in a more conventional business?
Our hiring process is definitely more difficult. I would say of every twenty caregivers we interview we hire one. We do an initial phone interview [and] if they pass that then we invite them into the office for an in-person interview. In the interview we have them take a thorough exam testing their caregiving knowledge. If they pass the exam and the interview we call their references and then do criminal background checks. If they pass all of the above criteria we hire them on to be part of the Golden Care team.
Your employees are mostly out in the field working directly with clients. How do you create a corporate culture when you are not all in the same place at the same time?
This can be very challenging. We visit our caregivers out in the field all the time. Once a month we reward our top three caregivers with gift certificates.
We have quarterly training where we have all our caregivers come into the office to make sure they are up to speed on the latest caregiving techniques. It’s a nice time, we provide lunch for everyone and there is a lot of bonding going on. We are very hands on and are always there for our caregivers if they need anything. We celebrate our caregivers’ birthdays and at least twice a year we host a company event, like a barbeque, or a group trip to the movies.
We realize that our employees are on the front line and many suggestions come from them. These suggestions are incorporated into our business and they benefit the Golden Care team and the company as a whole.
For entrepreneurs starting a new business, what three things must they have in place before launch?
They need a business plan [or] vision of where they see their business in five years.
Money is always a plus! You cannot do much without money.
They must have drive or passion. They have to have that entrepreneurial spirit that drives you day in and out.
How is your business different from others like it?
We are available 24/7. You will always speak with a live person. We go above and beyond in everything we do. We surround ourselves with tons of resources. We try to be a one stop shop [and] if we cannot help you then we refer you to someone who can. We are not just another agency, we treat all of our caregivers and clients like family.
[At Golden Care,] we would never put a caregiver in a client’s home that we wouldn’t feel comfortable taking care of our own family members. We listen to our clients and our employees and we are constantly seeking feedback both from clients and from our caregivers. We cater to the client, whatever their needs or wants, we will not only meet but exceed their demands.
Looking back, what one piece of advice do you wish someone had given you before launching Golden Care?
It takes three times more money and time than you think!
As the owner of a small business, do you ever feel like, “this is it, we are exactly where we need to be” or are you always looking to grow and change?
I don’t think I will ever say that. That’s not my personality. I’m always looking for ways to improve Golden Care and be innovative. And I am constantly looking for feedback and always looking to grow and change.
We want to be the best agency out there and to be the best I think you constantly need to be listening to feedback and changing things accordingly.