Today we are introducing you to David and Mark, the small business owners of 360 Support, providing support services to NDIS and exceptional needs clients.
David and Mark have worked together as support workers for over 27 years and decided it was time for them to step out on their own and run their own business. They were expecting it to take up to a year of long hours to build their client base and grow their business, but with the support of Ruth, their Many Rivers business coach, David and Mark are months ahead of schedule.
“We would not be in the position we would be in without Many Rivers. Each stage we’ve got to, we have turned to Ruth when we’ve need guidance on the next steps.”
Read about their business journey so far.
Meet Mark and David
We are support workers. We support NDIS clients and clients with exceptional needs which are funded by the Department of Health Services (DHS).
The support differs between clients. We completely case manage the exceptional needs of clients with life skills, money management, health, and accommodation.
When we work with NDIS providers, we don’t have to do case management. We networked with different care agencies who have support coordinators that do the case managing and then they approach us with a service agreement that outlines how many days and hours a particular client requires and how many hours of support they have been allocated. Then we invoice them back for the services that we do.
We have been up and running for three months now. We used to do this in our previous role for the local Council. We decided it was time that we went independent and do it on our own terms. We didn’t agree with the direction that our previous employer was heading. We had been there 27 years, so we went our way. We don’t hold any grudges, but we knew it was time to explore a new venture. The two of us had worked together for a long period of time so we knew each other and trusted each other. We thought, ‘why not, let’s give it a crack!’
Working with Many Rivers
Finding Many Rivers was a fluke! My wife works at a hotel and there was a Many Rivers business coach who would come to the hotel often when he was in town to meet with small business owners. He told her all about what Many Rivers do, and she kept his business card for me. We kept it for over a year because we had been thinking of going out on our own for some time. We weren’t brave enough to take that step. We had everything at our disposal at our previous work and it was a bit daunting doing it on our own. We’d worked in another program together for 17 years before that as well and we were senior workers. We knew how to do the work, but we were wondering how we manage and run it as a business. After our initial meeting with Ruth, we explained our experience and our idea, and she convinced us that we would be able to do this.
Especially at the start, we knew how to do the work, but it was the business side that we were uncertain about. Our business coach, Ruth does not tell us what to do. She gives us options and tells us the pros and cons. It has been great guidance and she allows us to make decisions. Ruth has also pointed us in the right direction of other businesspeople who could help us develop even more.
She offers a lot of reassurance every time we start doubting ourselves. Ruth is very positive and uplifting. We can’t say enough about her, we wouldn’t be up and running at this stage without Many Rivers.
We want to thank Many Rivers for the opportunity and to Ruth for her work and input into our business. It has allowed us to grow steadily in the right direction. When we first talked about going into business, we were floundering a bit until our first meeting with her. Of course, we come away from the meetings with Ruth with more questions, but we have even more answers.
We are looking at getting a casual staff member onboard. Ruth helped us set all of this up. She helped us get the contracts organised. We would not be in the position we would be in without Many Rivers. Each stage we’ve got to, we turned to Ruth when we need guidance on the next steps.
Taking the risk, leaving a company we had stayed with for 27 years and then going out on our own. That risk is still there. It’s a big risk walking away from 27 years of safety. We worked with Ruth closely right from the start to make sure we were organised. For example, we organised all our insurances, planned to get a vehicle, planned our cashflow and met an accountant. We set up our office and made sure we had all the equipment we needed and then set up processes.
We are at the next stage now where we are growing steadily, and we have a lot of community stakeholders who are helping us. Now we must decide how big we want to go. That is our next meeting topic with Ruth. We don’t want to get too big too quick, because then you can’t deliver what you promised.
Building up our client base as quickly as we have has been the biggest success. We are two months ahead of schedule towards getting a pay packet. We were allowing us 12 months of 7 days a week to get ourselves up and running and hoping to have 6 – 7 contracts by Christmas but we are already well above that now in just over three months.
Its’ probably the time we are putting in. We are putting in more hours than we used to, and we are not paid for it yet. We work 10 -12 hours a day, all the extra effort that you must put in to get your business started. It will pay off in the long run. Now I have something to do when my wife watches Home and Away every night – I can go to the office and do some more work!
We’re struggling to do everything in our personal time that we used to do. We notice it but it doesn’t feel like it because we’re not doing any shift work. I find that sleeping better without this shift work. That is thanks to Many Rivers again because the stress is not there. It would be a lot harder without Ruth’s help and guidance.
We are driving to be a long-standing sustainable business that vulnerable or disadvantaged persons trust in our service to deliver the assistance they require to live a happier life the way they wish.
Thank you Mark and David for sharing your business journey. We look forward to working with you as your business journey continues.
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