Home Helpers, San Ramon
Home Helpers of San Ramon is a franchise offering non-medical assistance and caring companionship to seniors, new mothers, individuals rehabilitating at home.
Robert Jo came to the Contra Costa SBDC in 2005 for help building his business. Home Helpers was a brand new franchise providing employee training, but Robert felt that it wasn't enough. A previous unsuccessful venture also convinced him the technical assistance would make all the difference with this one.
Robert recognized that he needed a plan to focus his efforts and reduce the risks factors of running a business. As a somewhat introverted person, marketing and sales were a challenge and he sought confirmation that expensive radio ads would be as successful as the franchisor suggested. As Robert grew the business, he needed help managing sales representatives, expanding his territory, reviewing sales contracts and identifying a factor of differentiation.
Senior Business Advisor, Gerald Sullivan, demonstrated to Robert how to place an ad in his neighborhood’s Rossmoor Senior Center's newsletter and encouraged him to join our business planning program taught by Cindy Turner.
After successfully completing the program, Senior Business Advisor Randy Shores assisted Robert to implement his marketing plan, which emphasized flyers and direct mail over radio ads.
Randy also worked with Robert how to further differentiate his services in a price sensitive, increasingly competitive market by emphasizing Home Helpers’ caregivers as great conversationalists with the capacity to talk about art, sports and gardening, among other things. Incorporating this message consistently throughout Home Helper’s marketing communications was essential in making his service stand apart from the competition.
In 2008, Randy guided Robert on how to hire, dismiss and compensate sales representatives and much to his chagrin, discovered he needed to be the lead salesperson. Naturally, Robert embraced this role as his company’s sales grew.
Lead generation was another marketing strategy Robert utilized when he first started his business, paying $5 per lead. Today he happily pays $45 for the same leads because his average sale more than covers that cost.
Most recently, Gerald reviewed a purchase agreement for additional sales territory in San Jose. The decision to expand its reach along with active networking and social media activities, have kept Home Helpers on a high growth trajectory.
Shortly after becoming a client, Home Helper’s sales grew to six figures and Robert hired 12 full-time caregivers in 2007. A combination of proven marketing like business networking, social media, lead generation, local ads, direct mail flyers and a strong sales force helped Robert triple sales by 2008. This year his sales are over a $1 million and he employs 30+ loyal caregivers. While effective marketing was a key success factor, none of this would have happened without the provision of quality services.
As is typical for many small businesses, it took Robert three to five years of hard work to grow his sales and to build a quality brand. Today, Home Helpers is still growing and with assistance from Cindy Turner and SBDCNet.org he is analyzing market research reports and evaluating the potential to open and operate a residential care facility.
"The New Venture Training offered by SBDC gave me the essential knowledge to get my business going. It gave me the confidence and the plan for the success of my business. The coaching and the consultations were very valuable."