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Hear from State Star 2020 Lisha Garcia’s Clients | Always Best Care

Patrick and Wendy O’Kane came to the University of Texas at San Antonio Small Business Development Center (UTSA SBDC) upon referral from another client. After a long and successful career in the oil and gas industry, Patrick wanted to start a business that could include the whole family. With hours of diligent research done, they selected the Always Best Care (ABC) franchise, which is a non-medical home health provider.

One of the O’Kane’s starting goals was to be the only ABC franchise in the San Antonio area. They were able to successfully leverage the SBDC Net, a SBDC specialty center, for research into selecting a territory that would allow for future growth. The UTSA SBDC and Senior Business Advisor Lisha Garcia assisted the O’Kanes in analyzing the assigned zip codes, locating office space and determining the value proposition that would distinguish them in a very competitive market. The O’Kanes were well-capitalized and that enabled them to take advantage of the market research, to complete due diligence and to open in a relatively short amount of time.

Early on in their opening process, Patrick participated in the Building Business Excellence (BBE) program, as they needed to hire several new employees rather quickly. The company chose their value proposition to be Values Based Leadership (VBL). Although the industry has a reputation for high turnover, they were convinced that using a VBL model would go a long way to distinguish themselves from the competition and allow them to hire and retain good employees.

Wendy followed Patrick the next year into the BBE Program, after she completed her Certified Nursing Assistant training. They now send all their top leadership through the program as well. They worked diligently with the franchisor and in a very short period, were outpacing other franchisees that began at the same time. The UTSA SBDC was instrumental in connecting them to the Texas Workforce Commission and getting them into a program to hire workers, allowing the TWC to cover the cost of salaries for the initial 6 weeks that they were in training. Soon, they added a second territory and now have most of San Antonio as their market. They successfully set up a referral system and good relationships with referral partners in hospitals, assisted living centers, rehabilitation hospitals and senior living facilities.

The UTSA SBDC and Lisha continue working with the O’Kanes on hiring practices, financial management, and marketing strategies. They have utilized the UTSA SBDC training resources for QuickBooks, Marketing and Human Resources. Both Patrick and Wendy are graduates of the Profit Mastery Program. They learned how to match time-intensive clients to caregivers in a cost-effective way and created an excellent reputation in the marketplace by keeping referrals, family and clients informed.

During the COVID 19 pandemic, they were considered an essential business and did not have to temporarily close down. Their diligent protocols for safety resulted in none of their clients nor caregivers testing positive to date for the virus. With the assistance of the UTSA SBDC and Lisha, they received a sizable Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) advance & EIDL loan and an SBA Payback Protection Program forgivable loan for payroll assistance. They now have a total of 63 employees, of which 57 are caregivers.

The UTSA SBDC continues to work with the O’Kanes on hiring practices during the pandemic, on refining their chart of accounts and using their financials as a management tool. The O’Kanes meet with Lisha regularly and are currently working on a strategic growth model by tracking expenses and assuring cash flow as the company grows. They are expecting significant leaps in revenues and profitability for 2020-2021.

Patrick and Wendy O’Kane state, “Lisha helped us from the beginning. She has helped us through the entire process. From buying and financing the company to operations of the company including Human Resources, Billing, Payroll, Marketing, Website and Communication, Lisha has been there.  During this COVID crisis, Lisha has also helped us through the process of applying and receiving our PPP and EIDL loans with the SBA. If she doesn’t know the answer to our business issues, she has a resource that does. We have routine, monthly business advising sessions with Lisha to review our finances. We would not still be in business today without Lisha’s guidance.”