Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with Esha Oberoi, Founder and CEO of Afea Care Services.
In 128 words or less, explain your business idea
Afea Care Services are a leading aged and disability care provider, redefining the experiences of our vulnerable communities through loving in-home care.
Working as a carer in my early 20’s, I realised that many people weren’t even aware of the option to remain living in the comfort and familiarity of their own home, with a carer coming to visit a few times during the day. This was a lightbulb moment for me, and I have spent the ten years since working to proving the best, most loving care services to those in need.
At the forefront of healthcare innovation, we have also invested heavily in technology, developing platform ‘Inebura,’ which streamlines care provision and matches clients with carers most suited to their needs.
What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?
One of the main contributors to our continued growth, was having reinvested heavily in our original scheduling system, returning our focus to improving the personalisation capabilities of the technology. We developed it into an end-to-end home care management app, which auto-matches the most suitable carers with clients based on client needs. This gives clients greater choice and control over services. It factors in a range of demographics and psychographics like language, interests, culture, age and location, because being a carer is about more than just turning up and assisting with everyday tasks. Sometimes a carer will be the only point of contact someone has in a day or week, so having a shared interest or culture can make a significant difference.
While strategies are great when things are going fine in a business and when there is growth, I find that at the end of the day, the most compelling strategic advantage comes from sticking to your core business values and offering, remaining focused on doing the things you did to grow in the first instance. Strategy, policies, procedures and systems are all fantastic, but where the rubber hits the road and where the impact is made is through the human connections and client centric human interactions. It is keeping a balance or efficiency and personal connections.
How do you differentiate your business from your competitors?
Our culture and values set us apart from competitors and much of our growth has been organic through word of mouth referrals.
We bring dedicated and responsive support when it is needed most and select only the most compassionate carers who want to join us in serving humanity. By finding carers and a team who align with our core values, we are able to provide the best care and support our vulnerable communities.
Our Vision is to be the most trusted home care provider, our mission is to Empower people and we live and breathe the values of authenticity, responsibility, understanding and purpose.
What's the biggest challenge facing your business?
The biggest challenge is our workforce. We can’t deny that being a carer is a tough role. There are days that are incredibly emotionally and physically draining, yet carers are not paid enough for what they do, and this amongst other reasons has created a huge workforce shortage. Sydney is not a cheap place to live and people aspire to earn more and progress whereas the community services industry have one of the lowest pay grades out of all the industries.
What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?
I think it would have to be my outlook calendar. Staying organised and maximising every minute in the day is imperative for success!
What's the best piece of business advice you've ever received?
Hire slow, fire fast. As you grow and scale, you need a strong team surrounding you. We hire slow and pay our best employees above average wages to boost morale and retain our top talent.
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