United by a dream to “do aged care differently”, nurses Julie Arnould and Carole Bain launched their business, Perth Care + Companion Company, in 2019.

Fast forward just three years and Perth Care + Companion Company (PCCC) now employs more than 100 healthcare workers, with around 90 per cent of them women. The business was recognised as a state finalist in the 2022 Telstra Best of Business Awards.

Here are some of the key lessons Julie has shared from the fast-paced PCCC business journey so far.

Be prepared to expand your skillset

Both Julie and Carole had a wealth of experience in healthcare and corporate management but neither women had run their own business before launching PCCC.

“Even though we were experienced senior managers, managing your own business is very different,” says Julie. “You are jack-of-all-trades and need to have a clear understanding of your business purpose and business plan.”

Turn to the SBDC for business expertise

“We strongly recommend that anyone thinking of starting a business, or having recently started their own business, attend some SBDC workshops,” says Julie.

“We attended all the workshops and the tools and resources on the SBDC website really helped keep us on track. The networking available through the SBDC Facebook group “I’m a Small Business Owner in Western Australia” linked us with our web designer, graphic designer and our accountant.”

Set a solid foundation for growth

While flexibility is vital for the success of a business, Julie and her business partner Carole found that having the right systems in place from the start helped to set them up for success.

“Attending the SBDC workshops before committing to starting the business was crucial in our ability to set up robust systems and processes to create a solid foundation to build our business from.”

“Throughout our first 12 months, we regularly referred to the material provided and used the advisory services. The support was enormously valuable and really allowed us to proceed with confidence with our business.”

Listen to what your clients need

Julie and Carole have found that being responsive to client requests has been a key driver in growing their business over a short time.

“We believe our success in building our business quickly is down to our responsiveness and positive communication with potential and new clients. By being agile, we have been able to make decisions quickly and always strive to find a solution to the client’s problem.”

Adapt as you need to

Like many businesses, the PCCC team found that the global pandemic forced major changes within their business model. To navigate these challenges, Julie and Carole explored new ways of offering their services.

“The initial lockdown hit PCCC hard as we lost 70 per cent of our revenue overnight. During this phase, we offered our services as consultants to the aged care industry and were successful in obtaining a few projects to help keep out business afloat. Strong communication with our employees allowed us to retain all our staff during this time.”

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Small business stories
08 March 2022