Home Care Marketing Articles

(VIDEO) Home Care Marketing: Business Growth through Community Commitment with Jim Prussak

Have you ever wondered how a deep-rooted commitment to community can spur home care business growth? Jim Prussak, the enterprising spirit behind Applause Home Care, joins us to dissect his unconventional technique of nurturing community ties that transcend mere transactions.
Home Care Marketing: Business Growth through Community Commitment with Jim Prussak

Introduction and Summary

Have you ever wondered how a deep-rooted commitment to community can  business growth? Jim Prussak, the enterprising spirit behind Applause Home Care, joins us to dissect his unconventional technique of nurturing community ties that transcend mere transactions. 

As we peel back the layers of Jim’s philosophy, we uncover the symbiotic relationship between genuine service and brand development. His deliberate separation of sales from marketing and public relations has not only shaped the success trajectory of his business but also solidified his standing as a servant-leader within Bergen County. Hear the intricacies of how Jim’s active roles in the VFW, Rotary, and Little League sow seeds that nurture both his company’s reputation and his personal mission to serve.

Venturing beyond the surface of traditional business strategies, this episode is a rare glimpse into the heart of trust-building through personal connections, particularly in the digital arena. The conversation with Jim Prusak is an intimate one, where we share experiences on leveraging social media to foster genuine relationships rather than pushing aggressive sales narratives. 

It’s a candid look at the essence of being the face of your business, embracing the community through actions rather than just words, and the operational magic that frees up time to prioritize these connections. Through the lens of Applause Home Care, we explore how passion and authenticity elevate the personal touch in home health care, creating an authentic narrative that resonates with communities and clients alike. Join us for a heartfelt dialogue that inspires a different kind of entrepreneurial spirit, one that champions passion, service, and genuine care.

Full Transcript

Valerie VanBooven:

The following is an interview with Jim Prussak. He is the owner of Applause Home Care and he serves Bergen County, New Jersey. The reason I interviewed him is because I think that as home care agency owners, salespeople and marketing persons, we all need some perspective from successful business owners on how they approach the in-person networking and sales. Jim has a very unique perspective and I think one that we can all learn something from. He does not rely solely on internet marketing to make his business grow, although that’s been a big part of it, and I’m proud to say that we did create his website and we do manage his social media and his newsletters and lots of other things. But Jim is constantly out in his community, and if you want to see evidence of that, all you have to do is look at his LinkedIn account where he posts every day, almost the interactions he has with folks in his community.

He’s not just, and he is the owner, by the way, and he is the one out in his community, and he’s not just hitting up skilled nursing facilities and independent living facilities, although he may be doing that. He is involved with his VFW, his Rotary, his local little league. He is actually making community connections. Applause. Home Care has been in business for five years. They are a successful business, and Jim has been able to set it up so that his office staff is trusted. He doesn’t have to be in the office all day to take care of operations. He can be out in his community making those important connections and giving back to his community. So in this interview, I want you to keep an open mind and learn something from the amazing Jim Prussak.


Valerie: The networking that you do every week is a big part of that success, would you say?


Jim:Well, the way I think about it is I separate sales from marketing and public relations. So what I focus on is the marketing, public relations, and then the sales is what you guys are training people to do with the visits, celebrating events for the month and making those recurring visits. That’s not like my forte. My skillset is more community outreach. So I mean, it’s the reason why I got into this business too.

Jim:So it’s like a passion of mine to interact with the public and senior population. So we try to find avenues and places where we can go to present stuff that we think is interesting content and then interact with the public. So it’s organic, it’s authentic, it is not salesy at all. So if we do that well, so the sales part is a work in progress for us right now. So what we’ve been focused on is really operations, public relations and marketing, and we are getting business from that and we’re growing very methodically that way.

Jim:So when we’re humming along on a sales side, what we’re doing on a public relations and marketing should feed into the sales. So they have a strong foundation and a reputation to use as a tool to do their sales.


Valerie: So is there someone besides you that or will eventually go and make visits and say, Jim, our business and name recognition’s already there, and they’ll be the one to


Jim:More that eventually won’t be me. So I do a little of that, but that’s not really my skillset and that’s not something I want to do.


Valerie:  Right? That’s not mine either.


Jim:So my skillset is going to street fairs, going to senior centers, going to places where I can bring content that I think people will find interesting, and then just interacting just very naturally with people and then making connections that way or not. So it’s more of planting seeds, planting seeds, planting seeds, and then the harvesting is coming. But we’re not looking to do gangbusters based on this. This is more investing time in the community to establish who we are and then getting to that sales part, which we’re going to do more of later this year.

Valerie:  That’s great. And how long have you guys been in business total? I can’t remember.

Five years.

Valerie:  Five years. And would you say that you started this from the beginning, this PR connecting with the community?

Jim:Yeah, I mean, we do a lot of volunteer work. So we’re involved with very mission-based things that we find consistent with the reason why I started this company. So whether it’s the Rotary or Alzheimer’s Association are very things that are mission-based, some related to elder care, some not, but it’s still very mission-based in giving back to the community. And that’s the reputation that we are really getting and establishing is they’re the company that does good for the community.


Jim:So it’s kind of like we’re trying to be part of the fabric of that, and then the cells will eventually, they’ll funnel into the sales because I felt that if we just went gangbusters on the sales side without having that, we’re going to be just like everybody else. So in Bergen County where we are, there’s about 300 agencies, and that’s the total that people have been saying.


Jim:So it is fairly easy to get a home care license and then you have to get accredited to in New Jersey, which it is a hurdle. So there’s so many people chasing the sales part without having I think the right heart in the business. So we’re trying to, that will come and we’re building the foundation blocks. So when we’re really doing the sales, it’s a lot fuller we’re coming to the table with already. This is not just another home care company.

Valerie:  Right. Well, and I would say that from, of course, I’m the digital part of this whole world, but of marketing. But when I tell clients a lot that, and they don’t believe me, but your name, your brand, your name is going to be Googled way more in your favor of course, obviously whoever it is is obviously looking for you, whether it’s a caregiver or it’s a family member or senior, but your brand name and your face, the face of the company are going to be sought after way more than home care in Bergen County. If they know, or even if a social worker hands ’em a list and you’re on that list, they’re going to zoom in on the recognition of that name that they have seen over and over again in their community. So to me, the whole PR and community involvement is amazing that you’re doing and that is leading to the branding of your business. I mean, how can they not know who Jim is?


Jim:Yeah, that’s what I was getting to because there’s events we can go to and there’s CEUs and things like that, and you look around, there’s 10 other home care companies, and I’m doing the Irish goodbye looking for the door without saying goodbye to people because I’m very uncomfortable in that. So this is a way to slowly meet people and then get out there like, oh yeah, you guys just do that belly dancing event two weeks ago. Yeah, we did that.


Jim:And then the nice thing also is the content that we’re bringing is we’re developing relationships with entertainers and things like that, and they know people, and it is very genuine in that sense of we’re getting to know a lot of different players, not in the traditional home care social worker, discharge planner type of thing, but we’re knowing all the surrounding parts of that and just solely just narrowing it.


Jim:And then now we’ll have a full relationship that goes almost like 360 type of thing where we have one hospice company that recommends us because not only have we worked with them with clients, but also they see us out in a community. So that’s just a byproduct of it, but it’s not like we’re growing leaps and bounds because we’re getting 10 referrals a month based on this.

Jim:No, it’s more onesies and twos, these types of things, but those people also know people. So if we do a really good job and deliver on the promise that, okay, we’re doing great community stuff, we have very good operations and customer service, and then when we get clients we’re delivering on all that and it’s very consistent, then those clients refer us to other people too.

Jim:So it’s a slower growth. It’s a very slow burn. You have to have a lot of patience and the heart for it. So I don’t think the traditional way to grow, but it seems to be working for us. And then we’re going to add on to the layer that most people have been doing on the sales side, and then it’s really going to be fun.


Valerie:  Everybody’s a warm lead. Everybody’s a warm referral source. If they’ve already seen you out in the community several times and they’ve already shook your hand and whoever’s representing you out there in the sales world already has their foot in the door, I think that’s an excellent methodology. Instead of going straight in and just saying, Hey, so that’s awesome. I see all your posts on LinkedIn. And would you say that, I mean, I would guess for you, I guess it’s you that posts them that LinkedIn is probably one of your best online networking kind of platforms because you’re obviously posting all the time there.


Jim: Yeah, so LinkedIn, so it’s interesting because LinkedIn is for professionals and the discharge planners, nurses, social workers, all those people are on LinkedIn. The downside, the line you have to, we try to walk is there’s a lot of content on LinkedIn and a lot of it is the selfies with the hashtags of you name it, and I’m not going to, I have certain feelings about that. So it’s very kind, salesy to me like, all right, hashtag heroes and not

Jim:So here are the cookies and let’s take a selfie. I think there’s room for that, but you don’t want to get lost into that thing. So what we’re trying to do is have a path that I used to do volunteer work before starting this company, so this is really genuine for me. I like it. I try to have that come across in what we’re posting, particularly on LinkedIn. And we use Facebook a little bit too, so it’s a different audience in LinkedIn and Facebook. So the more people see things, the better it’s for us because this exposure of who we are as a company.

Jim:And then there’s certain groups on LinkedIn and really Facebook too where there’s community groups and you can just post what you just posted and share it on that. And sometimes we get likes on that too. So it’s all very much kind of connected in that sense of every audience is a good audience in that sense. And if we’re providing interesting stuff that people haven’t seen before and I like doing it and it’s consistent with what we’re doing, it is a win and it is fun at the same time.

Valerie:  Yeah. Well, yeah, we tell all of my whole speech for 16 years has been come out from behind your website, show who you are if you’re in this business and this is a helping and caring business, yes, there’s money involved and it’s a business, you have to make money to stay in business, but come out from behind your website and show your face. If this is the person who represents the organization that’s going to care for my mother, I know how to get ahold of him, or at least I know where he is. So that makes me feel better because obviously somebody who’s come out from behind their website and does the volunteer work and does the community events and supports our community locally, they’re not afraid they must be doing something right and they must have great care because they’re not afraid to show their face everywhere.

Valerie: So that’s to me, another one of those trust and authority things that when you are posting that amazing stuff all the time and people love to see pictures of other people in their community. So if you want to know what I mean, we post blog posts that are educational and all that, it all comes together. But if you send out a newsletter that has a picture of your support of the local VFW or whatever it is you’re doing that week or that month, those things are way better and get more clicks and more interaction and more engagement than an educational post on how to help somebody with dementia sleep better. I mean, it’s local to you. These people are local to you. They know the places that you are, where you go. They know. They know those things, they know where that is and that we’re somebody in that organization. So it is that socialization and that human connection. I think that makes a lot bigger difference in social media than just the educational content and posts that are just branded. So anyway, I just


Jim: Agree with that and I find, and the line is, the funny thing is by default I have to be the face of what we’re doing, but I don’t like my picture taken. I don’t, but I have to do it. And what I try to do is whoever we’re partnering with to provide content, make it about them and make it about not only them, but obviously the audience that we’re trying to serve. It is very much pushing it out. The more you think about other people, the more you can focus on yourself. And the nice thing about me going out and doing it, it also shows I have a team in the office. I’m not tied to this. So we are a business, so I can be on the community. And by the way, if you call while I’m out, you’re going to get somebody else who’s really going to be able to help you when you call the office. So I can still do this. So I’m not wearing all these hats now anymore. So I can go out and do that, but yet have the trust of a very good office team to process whatever needs to be done by me going out there and being in a very relaxed way shows that I have all the other stuff covered.

Valerie: Well, that’s another good point for those who owners, you’re the owner going out there and doing this, and if you hadn’t set it up this way operationally, and I’m sure that took a little time, but now that you do have a trusted good staff in the office, you have the opportunity to go out and serve your community better. So that’s another win for someone who’s got it together on the operation side and is able to step away and say, I’ve got people to take care of that. They’re good people. I can trust them. I can go out here and volunteer today, or I can go make a difference for somebody else.

Jim: So there’s two things that just triggered in my mind. So it is the owner doing it and to what you said about five, 10 minutes ago, they see, okay, it doesn’t matter if it’s applause, home care, which is our name, or if it’s Visiting Angels or whatever, bigger franchise type of thing, they know the local person and that’s why we’re not with the franchise. And there’s room for franchises and there’s people that are better fit for franchises than doing it independently. But if you’re a seasoned company or you’re trying to get seasoned, it doesn’t matter what the name of your company is, so to speak, it matters of who the face is. And the more they get relaxed and comfortable, like you’re here to stay. And if you’re the owner, you’ve got the most skin in the game. And if you’re doing that, everything else should fall in line.

Valerie: That’s true. Because you’re not going to be replaced if you suddenly decide you’re not going to go to another home care agency tomorrow. You are here to stay. This is everything. This is how you pay your bills, this is how you feed the kids or how you support your family. So yeah, that’s good. The consistency of the same face for a very long time is definitely good. You’re not going anywhere,

Jim: And that’s what people see, and that’s why I thought it was important to do that part before the sales part, because if they know what the culture and the tone from the top type of thing is, everything else should follow and everything else should be consistent with that tone.

Valerie: That’s awesome. Well, thank you for talking to me and giving us some insight into your wisdom and what you’re doing. I know that a lot of the folks that go through sales training and the owners, because we have a lot of owners that go through it too, this is going to be definitely something that they can hang their hat on and say, that’s a great idea. I should maybe do a little of this and a little of that and not just focus on just sales all the time.


Jim: Yeah. People need to see your passion. And we’re not making hamburgers. This is a personal hands-on business,

Valerie: Very


Jim: Personal. If they know that you’re invested in it, and really this is a side hustle for you and you’re in it for the long time, people take more notice.


Well, thank you. That’s awesome. I appreciate you doing this. We need some wisdom from folks that are out there in the, there’s another person, you’ll probably see another person not in your area that I’m going to interview too. He’s exactly does exactly the same. You guys have probably never met. You’re both on the East coast, but same philosophy all the way around, and it’s just so refreshing to see this. And I’m sure there are others, but when I see the two of you post, I think they got it together, man.


Well, you have to have the passion for it. I’m also a certified home health aide too, so this is a calling for me. And I love interfacing with the elder community. And that is not a PR thing. That is not, it’s just a genuine thing. And I think the more I can get out there and deliver that message, the more it is beneficial for a plus home care. Because now they see, okay, this isn’t somebody chasing the silver tsunami of the elder community and the baby boomers aging. This is somebody who’s passionate about what he does and he’s not just ticking the box. He’s trying to be interesting out there and really interacting with people. And we had a belly dancing event and 30 people showed up and it was fantastic. It keeps us sharp too, of like, what’s the next, we have a historian, the New Jersey historian, and talk about George Washington’s history in our county, in our state, and that’s a little different in the content you typically see on LinkedIn. So you have to make it interesting. You have to keep it fresh, and you don’t want to follow what everybody else is doing. You want to find something that’s meaningful to you, and if it’s meaningful to you, come across as very genuine to other people.


Just great ideas all the way around. Thank you for taking a little time to do this.


Valerie VanBooven RN BSN

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