Operating a business in the NDIS has, to date, been met with many challenges – staying up to date with price guide changes, undergoing compliance audits for registration, adopting new practices during COVID-19, not to mention the usual challenges of operating a business such as attracting clients, managing staff, establishing relationships with referral partners and suppliers and so on.
How do you meet the added demands of a Service Provider whilst running a viable business?
Here are my tips:
- Surround yourself with a support team – business consultants, peers, industry bodies
It’s very easy to get caught up in the day to day running of your business and forget to stop and reflect on the business performance. Having a team of people around who to check-in with helps you remove the “rose coloured glasses” about your business.
Your peers and business consultants have experiences and knowledge that you can learn from and apply in your business. If nothing else, having the opportunity to share your struggles, talk over ideas and celebrate your wins, helps you gain clarity about your business and helps you identify the key aspects to focus on.
- Establish a cash buffer to help you tough times. eg when the Portal may be down, or you incur unexpected expenses to continue to operate (eg PPE during COVID)
Although many Service Provider businesses have been fortunate enough not to be adversely affected by the lockdowns, there are many businesses who have been forced to close and then wait long periods of time to receive financial assistance from the government.
If this impacted on you, how long could you continue to operate and pay your wages and bills from cash reserves?
Building a cash reserve not only creates peace of mind for unexpected cash flow interruptions it also means you have the ability to act quickly when business opportunities arise.
- Look at other sources of revenue so that you are not solely reliant on the NDIS
Since inception we have experienced a range of changes, recommendations and uncertainty about the current format of the NDIS. Having your business solely reliant on the existence of the NDIS creates a risk for the longevity of your business.
Diversifying your income streams to sources other than NDIS income helps alleviate this risk.
- Are the services you are currently providing in demand by another customer base?
- Do you have a specific level of expertise in an area such that you can offer training, or develop a course for other providers in your sector?
- Have you developed resources, worksheets or other materials that you could sell?
- Do you have meeting rooms that you can hire out when not in use?
- Review your processes and consider if there are more efficient ways you could be carrying out tasks
I have been working with a client who is attempting to monitor the services delivered to participants, their billings and claims, the billable hours of their practitioners, and service bookings.
We have identified that they have a number of software subscriptions each with their own functionality. When looking to generate a report to provide an overview of the metrics of the business, it involves a lengthy process of pulling multiple reports from various systems.
Our recommendation is to seek a single software which can combine the components of the business to streamline the processes and reduce human error in double handling.
What has been your biggest struggle in running your business? Do you find it more difficult keeping on top of the day-to-day activities or managing the NDIS compliance matters?
Share your tips for maintaining a successful business below.