Alleviating loneliness and connecting the elderly to carers quickly in their area is now possible
Lots of us live further away from our elderly parents and are not able to ‘pop in’ as often. Looking to fill that gap and prvent loneliness and worry on eithr side, Verity Batchelor has filled the gap with her platform: Good Life Sorted.
What is your USP?
We have used tech to create a unique platform that connects elderly, vulnerable people with Helpers in their area. We vet and train those Helpers, who then provide company and support to the customer. It’s not medical care or personal care, it’s helping with household tasks like shopping and light chores – providing companionship and support.
What is the main problem you solve for your customers?
We alleviate loneliness, helping older or vulnerable people stay in their own homes longer.
What made you start your business – did you want to rock the status quo, was it a challenge or a gap in the marketplace that you could fill?
My co-founder Constantine’s grandmother was able to live independently, in her own home in a small Greek village, well into her late 90’s – thanks to neighbours popping in on a daily basis. We recognised that this is not always the case for people in the UK and that there was a genuine need to provide support that was not personal care but more about mental health: simply chatting, providing support, taking someone out for a walk, helping with things around the house.
What are Good Life Sorted’s brand values?
Empowerment, Reassurance, Respect, A bespoke approach, Positive energy.
Do your values define your decision-making process?
Yes, absolutely. At every stage of the business, we come back to these values to ensure that the people we hire, the training we provide, the tech we develop, delivers on them.
Is team culture integral to Good Life Sorted?
Yes, especially as our ‘team’ is dotted all over the place: we operate in several regions and the Helpers, once set up with their own profiles on the site, are self-employed – they set up their own hours and pay. They do still need support and to embody the Good Life Sorted values and standards.
If team culture is integral to your business, what do you do to go the extra mile to show your team you appreciate them?
It’s mostly that support – both online and in person. The Helpers have chosen to do this role because they want to make a positive difference in their community, as well as earning an income and working with flexibility. However they still need support, so we provide a very thorough onboarding process, regular training opportunities and face to face get togethers so that they can provide support to one another. This is an emotive business, the Helpers are naturally caring people (that’s why they do it), and they do get close to their customers.
In terms of your messaging, do you think you talk directly to your consumers in a clear fashion?
Yes. This is vital – we are a tech business but our customers are not always tech-savvy, so we keep the platform simple, easy to use and focused, being clear on our offering without being patronising. The Helpers all use an app which again is very clear and has been designed as simple to use – mostly because we don’t want this to take up too much time, it’s all about efficiency and enabling the Helpers to spend more time with their customers.
What’s your take on inflation and interest rates – are you going to pass that on to your customers or let your margins take a hit and reward customer loyalty in these tougher times?
The Helpers set their own hourly rates, so they are in charge of their income. Many of them have maintained the same rates, but some have increased them a little to cover rising travel costs.
How often do you assess the data you pull in and address your KPIs and why?
All the time – we’re a data driven business. The data is assessed weekly and if needed, our tactics are adapted to maximise every opportunity.
Is tech playing a much larger part in your day-to-day running of your company?
It’s always been the largest part of it! Constantine and I met at Amazon, we both come from tech backgrounds and our goal has always been to use tech to solve a human problem.
What is your attitude to your competitors?
We don’t really have any direct competitors as we’re inventing a new category. Our model is quite unique in that we are not providing medical or personal care, but instead companionship and support provided by local Helpers. Of course, anyone else working in the care industry is given our full respect. It’s an emotive and important area.
Do you have any advice for anyone starting out in business?
Don’t be afraid. Not everyone will love your idea, but if you feel it’s a good one, go for it and don’t be put off by the people who cannot see your vision. Go for it!
It can be a lonely and pressured place to be as the lead decision maker of the business. What do you do to relax, recharge and hone your focus?
I’m not the lead decision maker, I share that pleasure with my co-founder Constantine – I’d recommend that approach to anyone, as if you find the right person to set up with, it is a joy: you bring together your different skills, outlooks and provide each other with support from the get-go. But of course, I still need to recharge and refocus! I spend time with my family, I love travel and I’ve just started Yoga which I love.
Do you believe in the 12 week work method or do you make much longer planning strategies?
We use strategies of varying length – cycles vary according to what you are planning. We have a long-term plan, a three-year vision, then monthly and weekly planners. As a nimble digital business, we need to flex a lot. Individuals in the team are responsible for their own planning and we encourage that autonomy.
What is your company’s eco strategy?
We don’t come into the office unless needed for meetings and the tech has been created to connect our Helpers to customers near them, in order to reduce travel as much as possible. The very nature of our business is all about being local.
What three things do you hope to have in place within the next 12 months?
We want to grow into other regions – we are mostly in the Southeast at the moment, so we want to expand rapidly across the UK as there is a real need for our provision and we are being approached by families and social workers all the time. We’re going to invest in new tech, develop the platform further and use the data even more effectively. Finally, we’d like to raise awareness of our customers’ needs more. Loneliness is a huge issue in our country and our elderly deserve a bit better. There are more than 2 million people in England over the age of 75 living alone, according to Age UK – and having someone local who can be relied upon is vital.
Secrets of Success: Verity Batchelder, co-founder, Good Life Sorted