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Adapt, accommodate, and grow.
By Adrienne Sweet-Patel
Owner of Canopy Home Care in Burlingame, California
I knew that I’d be successful if I could serve each of my clients as if they were my own grandparents.
I started Canopy Home Care in 2009 because I wanted to contribute directly to keeping families healthy and happy. I’ve always worked in health care and had the desire to be an entrepreneur. That’s something I got from my parents. My mom launched a successful catering business that she ran for more than 25 years and my dad started a cranberry farm on our family ranch in Oregon. Watching both of them was a huge inspiration to me. Another was my deep love and respect for my grandparents, whom I absolutely adored. So when I was ready to embark on my own business venture, opening a home care agency just made sense.
Even though I didn’t have any home care experience prior to founding Canopy, I knew that I’d be successful if I could serve each of my clients as if they were my own grandparents. I wanted to help them feel secure, respected, and loved. And take care of some of their biggest worries.
Since Canopy opened in 2009 there have been some challenges. Along the way I’ve adopted some tried-and-true strategies that help me stay balanced.
My top three challenges
First, running a business where I was essentially on-call around the clock was probably the biggest challenge. I was providing sensitive services to my clients and taking care of their immediate needs, while also caring for my own growing family. My business was pretty young when my son was born—I have a five year old son and three year old daughter—so we have all grown up together!
In the early years of my business, it would completely stress me out, and the stress would spill over into other areas of my life.
Second, navigating the caregiver shortage and finding great providers for our clients is an ever-present challenge. I took the same approach with recruiting caregivers as I did with clients: get to know each of them—their goals and strengths—in great detail. This in turn fostered trust and loyalty among my employees, and enabled me to match them with clients who were a great fit for them.
Finally, keeping up with changing regulations that are a rapidly evolving in the home care industry. That’s an ongoing challenge.
My strategies for success
Stay focused. One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is to maintain focus on what’s best for our clients. When things get stressful, overwhelming, or decisions seem confusing, I try to take a step back and determine what will be the most beneficial decision in the long term for the seniors whose care is entrusted to us.
Expect constant change. For me, overcoming challenges took a mental shift. I had to not only accept, but expect, constant change. It was important to realize that things aren’t always (or often!) going to go as planned. I care deeply about Canopy Home Care, our clients, and our caregivers, so it’s hard not to be affected when things don’t go as planned. In the early years of my business, it would completely stress me out, and the stress would spill over into other areas of my life.
Be adaptable. I learned that all I can do is my best. Every time I adapt and accommodate is an opportunity to learn, grow, and come out stronger on the other side. I had to remind myself that being adaptable is further honing my skill set and differentiating our business from the competition.
Care about your clients. I try to develop a close, trusting relationship with each of my clients. I think they understand that I do my best to care for them and their loved ones, and appreciate our open and honest approach.
Cultivate mental toughness and perseverance. A major lesson after owning a business for almost 9 years is the importance of mental toughness and perseverance. Things will go wrong, and there will be days you feel like giving up, but situations always seem more manageable after some perspective and time with my family.
Find supportive peers. I’ve learned the importance of seeking out and leaning on other women business owners. I am a member of a couple networking and support groups, and it’s always so inspiring to be around like-minded women. I am constantly humbled by their generosity in helping other women grow and promote their businesses.
Seek like-minded partners. Earlier this year Canopy become a member of the Honor Care Network and it has been a great decision. Having help with back-end operations has really lifted a burden. I now have partners to handle staffing, scheduling, and keeping up with industry regulations, the parts of the job that felt the most stressful. It’s been a huge relief personally. I’m now able to focus on what I love and where I can add the most value in my business: developing innovative ways to provide superior care to our clients, and growing my business. We’re providing the highly personalized, boutique-style care management I always strive to give our clients.
More stories from our Partners
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