Rahim Charania - President and CEO, LTCSolutions

Rahim Charania is from Vancouver, BC. After high school,  he took a year off to figure out what he wanted to study in university. Rahim worked at Kimray House with people who had acquired brain injuries. Rahim volunteered to chair a support group for families and survivors. On weekends Rahim volunteered with the disabled skiers association teaching kids with disabilities how to ski. Rahim volunteered at a long-term care home and really enjoyed working with the seniors. He was fortunate to spend some time with the nurses at care conference and observed their role in the workplace.

Rahim decided to pursue his nursing degree at BCIT. He was recognized for his presentation, “Healing with Happiness,” which was inspired from the movies Jerry McGuire and Patch Adams. He was published in the Ismaili magazine in 2005 for his ambitious positive work ethic. While studying, Rahim I worked 3 hours every afternoon with a boy who had a brain injury. His role was to integrate him socially and teach him positive behaviours that will allow him to build relationships and make friends.

Rahim graduated nursing school with a BSN and specialty in Geriatrics, he also obtained his 2-year diploma from Malaspina University-College. Rahim was hired at Fraser Health Authority as a case manager.  He was the youngest at the age of 21 to be a case manager. He was offered a Director position at Bayshore Home Health working in the community setting up homecare services to residents returning from the hospital. Again, Rahim was the youngest member to join the Bayshore group as a Director of home care.

Currently, Rahim is a young successful entrepreneur owning and operating his own organization with a great team who manages and operate retirement homes, focus on acquisition of retirement homes, manage retirement homes and provide consulting/coaching services.

Rahim is a few months away from publishing his book Navigating through the Ontario Health Care System,” that will tie into his consulting company, LTCSolutions. LTCSolutions provides consulting, coaching teaching and provides tools to new Directors of Nursing, the general public needing assistance with their loved one requiring care services.

How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?

When I decided to take my nursing degree in 2001, I did it with the outlook of owning and operating my own businesses one day.

I moved to Ontario in 2007. At 26 years of age, I was the Director of Nursing and Administrator for a 60-bed long-term care home. I gained a great deal of experience and moved on to several roles to soak to in the knowledge; from Director of Operation and Director of Quality, Compliance and Performance Improvement.

In 2010, I was approached with an offer to purchase a retirement home that was struggling in a small town near Chatham. The ability to manage my own home would give me the flexibility I wanted to spend more time with my newborn child. Most importantly, I was inspired with the opportunity to keep the home open for the small community and the seniors that required retirement home care. My focus is on boutique style retirement living, where residents receive all the care services, can stay in their community of choice at a lower monthly rate.

After operating and making changes from my knowledge of operating nursing homes, I was offered to sell. Taking this opportunity, I purchased another home and began all over. My knowledge of long-term care was a great asset as the retirement homes act was introduced in 2012. As small operators in rural towns began to close their homes, this presented an opportunity to purchase and revive the homes for these communities. There is a great demand now and in the future, as our population is aging.

My team of professionals re-position the homes to be competitive and viable in the respective market. I am involved in each project, from start to finish with a hands-on approach as I train the staff to operate the home as if my mom or dad were living in it.

How do you make money?

While assessing the market and communities to purchasing homes, retrofitting, and reviving the retirement homes, I was approached by several organizations to speak and provide assistance on various topics related to health care.

I decided to open my own consulting branch, LTCSolutions. LTCSolutions has a consulting side of the business working with homes to develop policies and procedures, train personnel and meet compliance requirements.

The ability to help other organizations and involvement in community and serving the seniors needs has resulted in allowing me to make money.

How long did it take for you to become profitable?

My first home, it took me about 1.5 years. This was my learning curve where I would design a template for my business plan to drive my next home; like a puzzle. Each home has its unique characteristics and each community is different, so no 2 homes are alike.

Existing operating homes that are licensed would take me about 6 to 9 months to assess, make changes and become profitable. A home that is closed down and requires renovations, fire retrofits, marketing, hiring, training, touring, and licensing would take me about 1.5 to 2 years to become profitable.

When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?

I did a great deal of research and devised business plan after business plan. I must have changed and adjusted my business plan a hundred times. To date, I still make changes and tweak it to tailor it to every project.

I learned that I am one person and I cannot do everything. Delegating has been a struggle for me. I am a type A personality and have obsessive-compulsive qualities where I expect my team to perform on the same level as me and will not accept less.

I had to train hands-on and demonstrate each and every task to set expectations. I have never asked my team to perform anything that I have not done. Although this was time-consuming, I had to learn to trust the people who I work with. I had to learn their positive qualities and leverage those qualities to the organization’s benefit.

This has proven to be successful for me and I strongly believe that the ability to trust others has conquered the doubts I initially had. I am a strong believer in success and will not let my organization fail. I am on call as a support 24 hours to this day and will do what it takes to make sure I succeed.

How did you get your first customer?

Marketing has been very successful to me. When I first started, I did a lot of costly marketing. Radio station advertising, newspapers, and jingles.

I found out over the years from surveys and asking customers where they heard of the home that seniors fairs, building relationships with the CCAC’s now known as the LHINs, hospital social workers and word of mouth from current and previous residents and families were critical to obtaining customers.

What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?

I am personally involved with families that require assistance and assist my staff where required. I make sure to personally follow up n concerns as the CEO/President.

This is one quality and marketing strategy that has been successful to me, as I make sure that each and every family is treated with the utmost respect and made to feel important.

What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?

My employees are my greatest assets. Fairness and equality related to equity have played a difficult part in the business. People are different and bring different characteristics and abilities. Performance appraisals play a big role in my organization and determine wage increases and bonuses. I aspire to build and grow each and every employee I have to be the best they can be. I expect that when you are at work that you are 110% at work and dedicated.

I am finding that with our new generation of young employees, there is a sense of entitlement. There are expectations that we are not able to meet. I have hired a few superb candidates that I have had to let go. I struggle with the use of a cellphone during work hours, confidentiality issues and attitude.

What do you think it is that makes you successful?

I continually stress to my team that it is not I that pay their salaries; it is the residents whom we serve that pay their wages. Therefore, customer service is critical as we are guests in their home.

I strongly believe in the Disney approach to leadership. I am a “guest” in their home and my staffs are “on-stage” when they are work. We have to create a successful environment, embody our vision and demonstrate our values each and every day.

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

My most satisfying moment in business has been the opportunity to work with such accomplished individuals and organizations such as the community palliative care teams to provide services in a retirement home to residents who are dying. Families are not able to care for loved ones during this time and hospitals do not have beds to accommodate people who are dying. People are being pushed out into the community. I strive to partner with the community and organizations to be able to provide this service to the families. There is a sense of reward and peace that is so gratifying to be able to support a family through this difficult time. This is my most satisfying moment in business.

What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?

Expansion is on the horizon. I have entered into a few partnerships and opportunities that will allow the organization to grow at a faster rate now that I feel confident and have the financial capability.

I am most excited about working with Friesen Press to publish my book, “Navigating the Ontario Health System.” So many families, people in the health field, real estate agents, caregivers etc., do not understand how to navigate the complexities within our health care system. This book will explain the health system, how to navigate when families require assistance, who to contact, resources that are available, and tools I use to be successful in my business for the healthcare providers.

What business books have inspired you?

I am an avid reader. I recently completed Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future. Be our guest by Disney has been an inspiration. A few others include: Good to Great by Jim Collins, The Tipping Point by Maxwell Gladwell and The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes Posner. I tend to read more leadership self-help books to assess and evaluate my own leadership style and gain insight on how I can continue to get better within my organization.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

I would like to continue to grow my business and maybe one day take it public. Taking it to the next level has always been a goal of mine.  It would be a great learning experience and a tremendous personal accomplishment.

Maybe, I will be hired by another organization to drive their business to success.

“The possibilities are endless and the opportunities are infinite.”

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