Business Success - Starts with a Solid Foundation
"Running a disability business is both rewarding and challenging. The level of success you have starts with you, the person, and your willingness to learn, grow and listen."
When it comes to starting or growing your disability business, it is important to understand both business compliance and the NDIS and how it works, along with understanding your scope of practice with the services that you are providing.
When running a business that offers services to people with an NDIS plan, it is important to know that you must also comply with Australian Consumer Law and, as a business owner, abide by the legislation regarding disability. There are a few of those, as well as the NDIS code of conduct and your business code of conduct. It can sound and feel overwhelming, but I understand this; hence, this article and my business, Break Free Consultancy, are set up to help guide you.
Best Practice for Business in the Disability Sector.
The following is a guide to starting your business in disability; if you are already set up, it can be a guide to check in with what you have set up.
ABN/ACN - having your business number or company number is extremely important
Business insurance - check that the insurance is correct for the services you will provide now and potentially in the future. It is important to do your research and ask questions. Many people need to ask which insurance company others use in groups, sign up and pay, only to find it does not cover their particular services.
Documents, Policies and Procedures - It is important to have these and check that they are suitable for your business. As part of Break Free Consultancy, we have templated them all for you for the different services and provide you with a guide on how to adapt them to suit your business. Many people use companies that provide you with your documents, policies and procedures. Still, they still need to cover everything and include information on adapting or referencing them properly to the Standards.
Know and Understand the National disability standards, the NDIS Practices Standards and the NDIS Pricing guide- all of these are important for your business compliance when working with people with an NDIS plan.
Be accountable - Before working with clients, establish an onboarding process and identify necessary documents, ensuring you understand the importance of each document and meeting the person's needs in alignment with their NDIS goals and plan.
Understand Duty of Care - you have a duty of care to yourself, the business, the person you provide services to and your staff where applicable.
Scope of Practice - stay within your scope of practice to protect everyone. Ensure you are qualified to provide the services you state and that you understand the risks in providing those services.
Risk assessments - it is important to do risk assessments for your business and your clients to ensure the safety of service delivery for all involved.
Document - it is important to document and keep your documentation accurate. The benefit of documentation is that it is a reference point to changes, or if something is out of the "normal" for that person, you are aware of it. You can, as required, notify someone or, where necessary, intervene.
Mandatory training - Certain things are important to keep up to date, such as first aid and CPR, ensuring that you have completed the NDIS online modules and other relevant training for the services that you are providing.
Check the services that can be paid for with NDIS plan funding - not all services are considered reasonable and necessary or covered by NDIS funding as they are considered part of everyone's life and do not connect specifically to a disability.
Understand invoicing - knowing how to invoice for your services before you start is important. A service quote should be included in your service agreement, which both parties should agree to before starting.
Start with one or two services and then expand gradually. Attempting to become NDIS registered for ALL service provision, and you personally have no experience in disability, will only lead to the requirement to hire much qualified staff and be hard to grow the business, given it can be confusing to people looking at your business.
Build positive relationships - When it comes to growing your business, it is important to have your solid foundation in place first, understand your business process and how to run your business and then follow your business and marketing plan. Once this is ready, you can start networking and connecting with other businesses. It's also important to be part of the community as that is where your ideal person is in the community.
Show respect - It is essential to show respect when speaking with people, including other businesses, on social media; remember, every person is different and unique, and everyone has their own strengths.
Understanding tax requirements - when running your business, it is important to understand GST and tax requirements and what you can claim and cannot. A good accountant is a valuable investment.
Marketing your business- When it comes to growing your business, you do require a marketing plan that comes from your business plan, which is implemented by your business documents, policies and procedures. When it comes to having a marketing plan, you can work with a consultant to help you have clarity, who can guide you or build your website so that it clearly represents your business and branding.
You DO NOT FIND clients - you connect with people. Every person who may require your services is a person. It is important to understand that you are not LOOKING for clients; you are attracting them through your website, social media, interactions, and word of mouth.
Your reputation and how you connect with other business and people in the community helps you to grow your business, stay consistent and positive, and be open to infinite possibilities.
Advertising - It is important to invest in some advertising, and it can be as simple as having a listing in Connect and Grow Magazine, other media outlets, radio ads, or listing on a directory such as Shuffles Directory. In these areas, you can also have a link to your website. Presentation and showing that you are approachable and will stay within your scope of practice is also key to long-term success. People find you through word of mouth and when you are seen and can be found.
Each of these is a starting point, and having the most up-to-date information regarding legislation, insurance, NDIS and, where appropriate, Fair work, work cover and Australian Consumer law is essential. You are setting up/running a business, and your responsibility as the business owner is to meet compliance.
Benefits of working with a business coach/consultant
There will always be questions regarding running your business, especially how you do the day-to-day work and grow your business.
A business coach/consultant who understands the industry of Health and Disability, NDIS and how to implement the day-to-day operations to ensure that duty of care is met and that conflict of interest and risks are identified. Then, strategies to ensure they are not an issue, incidents management, invoicing, and implementation of ALL policies and procedures are an excellent investment as they can work WITH you on your business and help you have a solid foundation.
When things are all in place, and you invest in a business coach to support you, you are investing in your business to grow from a solid foundation. From a solid foundation, you are naturally in a great position to focus on service provision without worry.
A good coach will empower you and your staff and assist you in identifying any gaps in your business, then guide you on how to bridge those gaps so your business can be the best it can be.
Be Open to learning.
Regarding working in the disability sector, things are constantly changing in every aspect. Change can be with the services required, the person's condition and need for services, their funding and even the business compliance, so it is essential to be open to learning and staying up to date.
There are newsletters and websites that you can subscribe to that share updated information for NDIS, ATO, Fair work and legislation changes, all value to have access to.
At Break Free Consultancy, we have a range of courses available also through the Break Free Learning Center, over 38 of which you can scroll through to find what we have and what may be of interest to you.
If you would like to learn more, we have some resources you can access, including Connect and Grow Magazine.
You can also listen to the Connect and Grow Podcast Episode: Role of the Support Worker in NDIS
You can also book a FREE call today to learn more.
Remember to Celebrate the wins.
Acknowledging what IS working helps you to manage the challenges.
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(c) 2023 Break Free Consultancy
Disclaimer: The information is intended for general use only and does not replace any professional or legal advice. Always seek advice from the relevant specialists for your individual requirements and needs. The information is correct at the time, date and time of publication and is subject to change.