The SYNERGY HomeCare franchise helps provide the senior population with the independence and respect they deserve throughout their Golden Years.
We recently spoke with Ruth Busalacchi, owner of SYNERGY Homecare of Milwaukee, Wis., to learn more about her experience with the franchise. Busalacchi talks about intial challenges she faced, what a typical day looks like for her and where she sees her franchise headed in the next five years.
How long have you owned a franchise?
More than five years.
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What were you doing before becoming a franchise owner?
Social Service and Residential Director, licensed AFH and CBRFs (Group Homes).
Why did you choose your franchise?
The SYNERGY Homecare business model stood out for two essential reasons. One, they provided an operational outline that focused on quality care. For example, our expectation is to answer our phones live 24/7 and “walk in” new caregivers to new assignments. Those philosophies show the focus on the delivery of service. Secondly, I recognized that the staff at the Franchise Support Center works to stay ahead of the curve and identify trends and technology in our industry. I don’t have the time or finances to hire my own research and development team; SYNERGY Homecare as a Franchisor does that for me.
What were some of the challenges you faced when starting your franchise?
When you first begin open a franchise, you have to understand that you will likely perform ALL aspects of the business. It’s wise to develop an expansion model that identifies when you can add or revise your administrative model, and when you can start defining what roles and responsibilities you will keep on as the owner.
Where did you research or get advice about starting a franchise?
I did my initial research on the Internet.
What does a typical day look like for you?
After five years, and a successful business (awarded Best in Home Care, one out of two in the entire State of WI!), the roles I still perform are the Home Assessments, Quality Visits whenever there is a change in condition or a Critical Care issue, some of the Accounts Receivable roles, and some of the Marketing and/or Presentations to our larger referral sources. I am in the office daily to receive updates and reports. I go into the office on an occasional Saturday to “catch up” and to work “on my business, not in my business.”
What is your secret to success?
Being genuine to what we do. In homecare, being a good person “truly” is good business. (Not all industries can say the same).
What would you do differently if you had to do it all over?
Where do you see your business in five years?
I see my business having even more solid, established referral sources, with an even stronger name recognition to the general public.
What is one trend that really excites you?
Hospital re-admission strategies. Homecare is the key to keeping patients from returning to rehabilitation and/or hospitals.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
Do you (or did you ever) have a mentor?
I look to all leaders in every industry as my mentors — from sports to business to spiritual leaders.
What advice do you have for others looking to own a franchise?
Be prepared to dive in head first, and be sure you have very supportive people on your side. There will be times during the start of your business when you will have to leave events, spend more time than usual, etc. on the business. You will need support from those who love you.
Would you recommend others be franchisees? Why?
If you have a good emotional intelligence, and if you believe you have a mindset for business, it can be exciting and rewarding to own your own business, and still utilize an outside source (franchisor) for research and development.
Any final thoughts?
Despite all of the hardships and disappointments that can go along with the operations end of the business, we provide care to people who are in a difficult stage of life. The care that we provide is immeasurable to the families and the client. It’s likely that our service will be remembered by the family fondly when they think back on the last chapter of their loved one’s life. Before I started my business, my father needed homecare and my mother needed extra support as a family caregiver. When I think back on the caregivers we hired, I think of them as blessings to my parents and my family. That’s powerful, and the reason I was inspired to help other families to receive the same support.
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