Guest Post by Patricia Maisano (learn more about Patricia at the end of this post)
Ever heard that the best opportunities present themselves when one stops looking? Well, it’s true. I can tell you that from experience.
I had started a business doing disability case management for corporate entities and insurance companies, and though the business was doing well, I knew that I could offer my clients something more but didn’t know exactly what to do or how to accomplish it. I had been contemplating this for a while but it all came together one day when I grabbed a ringing phone my receptionist couldn’t get to. The woman on the other end was looking for some help for her mother and as she told me her story, I realized that with some changes to our existing program, we could really help her out. I continued thinking about this woman’s situation after I got off the phone, and as I asked around the office, I learned that we’d fielded dozens of other calls requesting the same kind of assistance.
That’s when I began reshaping my company to address the many frustrations inherent in integrated health management for the disabled and elderly and to help families manage short-term health crises and long-term care issues, while ensuring that their loved ones’ wishes and needs weighed most heavily in important decisions. It was because of that phone call that IKOR® – a care management company that serves the needs of the elderly and disabled of all ages – was born. Unlike other businesses in this field, IKOR® does not directly provide care services, but instead, a wide range of management services including advocacy, guardianship, care planning, financial management and even routine bill payment.
As a nurse and case manager with over 30 years of experience, I have often seen the elderly voice overlooked in their wishes as to their care and life at a time in their life when they need support the most and found through my research that the need for care would only increase from there. Individuals are living longer with each decade and there is a new focus on aging in place and maintaining quality of life but at the same, families are becoming more scattered and financial burdens are greater. Making appropriate life decisions can be a very complex and confusing process and I wanted IKOR® to become a voice for the elderly and disabled. As I grow my business today, I’m looking for others that share this mentality including doctors, nurses, financial specialists, elder law attorneys and experienced business executives – all of whom will display the same passion to help the elderly and disabled as I do.
I would be lying if I said that getting to where I am today has been easy; it has been anything but, actually, but I’m here because I didn’t give up on my dream. If you’re a woman looking to start a business – franchised or otherwise – here are a few helpful guidelines to follow.
- You Know Much More Than You Think: You’re a smart woman. Period. Realize this early on and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I had people tell me that IKOR® was a half-baked idea that would never work but I persevered and proved them wrong.
- Be Confident: Businesses don’t make it for a variety of reasons – the economy, the market, the competition – but remain confident in your mission. If one way doesn’t work, take another route. If you continue seeking out different avenues, you’ll eventually find the one that will take you where you want to go.
- Listen to Others but Decide for Yourself: When other business owners offer advice, listen but don’t follow it unless it relates to you and your situation. Networking and sharing past successes and mistakes are something that all successful entrepreneurs have done, but if you make your own decisions, you’ll know the outcomes – good or bad – are of your own design.
About the Author
Patricia Maisano is CEO/Founder/President of IKOR®, a care management company that works with the elderly and disabled. To meet the ever-increasing demand for its services, IKOR is targeting initial franchise growth in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Virginia, with growth expanding nationwide in the next several years. The initial six-state target region has 66 potential franchise territories. About five franchises are expected to be sold in 2009, with 100 franchises expected to be in operation by the end of 2012. For more information about Patricia Maisano and IKOR, you can call 610-444-1454 or visit www.ikorusa.com.