We welcome a new contributor to our ranks, Brenda Becker, an aging-services consultant. Brenda’s consultancy connects seniors with the resources they need.
My husband loves to run. It all started, as it frequently does, when the numbers on the scale were a bit higher than he wanted to see. He decided to lose a few pounds, so ten years ago he hit the road and has not stopped since. At first there were short jaunts around the neighborhood, followed by organized running events in Baltimore, and then “destination” runs in New York City, Phoenix, Orlando, etc. Along the way, he learned a lot about how to support his passion. He, along with all seasoned runners, know that a foundation of proper training, healthy eating, and appropriate footwear can ward off injuries so they can enjoy their sport to the fullest.
While starting a new business is rarely seen as a sport, there are many parallels. To go the distance, one must understand the basics, build a solid foundation, work through the pain, set goals, and follow a passion. I didn’t think about my husband’s running obsession when I first created Top-Drawer Resources in early 2011, but now I can see that we are on similar journeys.
In developing this consulting practice, my primary goal is to connect seniors with the best resources in Baltimore. One of my end goals is to take the business to “destinations” outside of Baltimore. I would love to grow this business so that we can be of assistance to families in many other metropolitan areas. Of course, before I get too far ahead of myself, I need to work on the foundation, learn all I can about running a business, and fully respond to the needs of my clients.
Building a new business is exciting, all-consuming, nerve-wracking, and very satisfying. Over the past few months, I’ve worked diligently on the fundamentals. I’ve run through several business models, almost been scared away by insurance agents and attorneys who point out every conceivable risk to pursuing this endeavor, and talked with countless people in the field of aging services to learn about steps to take – and which to avoid. I’ve watched my investment shrink, as I wait for my income to grow. And I’ve stopped to take a breath many times along the way. During these “stops,” I evaluated where I was, where I was heading, and whether or not I was still on the right path.
I believe I am heading in the right direction. As people have heard about my practice, they’ve given me so much positive feedback about what a valuable service I am providing. I started this business because I discovered a gap between the abundance of information available for seniors and a personalized way of helping people find the vendors that provide the best services. Currently there are dozens, sometimes hundreds of providers advertising their offerings for seniors, and we expect that number to grow as we prepare for the largest generation of elders in U.S. history. The projected growth rate in Maryland alone is astounding. According to the Census Bureau, the number of people age 65+ will increase by 72% between 2010 and 2030. These numbers will entice both well-meaning and unscrupulous vendors to the field of aging services. Many service providers have been in the field for years and have chosen their work out of a deep sense of commitment to elders and passion for the service they provide. These are the vendors I look for and will recommend to my clients.
What I bring to the table is a talent for research and evaluation, along with inside knowledge of aging services in Baltimore. I can save clients time and anxiety when they need to find service providers for themselves or a loved one. I have a passion for helping people find their way through the maze of aging services. And just like a runner, I am blending my passion with my abilities.
The runners who pursue their interest beyond the occasional jog through the neighborhood are the ones who have discovered a sport they love. They work at it, build their cores, and share their interest with others. Building Top-Drawer Resources has been very much like the journey a runner takes, and just like a runner, I intend to keep at it until I get to the finish line – one step at a time.