Issue No. 49 - October/November 2009
Glory box a healthy idea
As a nurse in the mid 1970s, Virginia Bullock’s new business idea of hospital-quality care at home started to evolve.
While the culture of the day was that hospitals were for the sick and it was in hospitals that patients recovered, Virginia suspected there was a better way.
To prepare for her opportunity, Virginia developed a ‘Vision Glory Box’ where she stored items collected to give her vision life. However, she didn’t plan to be pushed into the home support services business as a newly single mother with three small children.
“My youngest child was two years old when I separated so I decided to complete my Diploma of Nursing,” explains Virginia, MD of Home Support Services and Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2009.
“I started to investigate how my vision could be funded after I completed my studies, at which point my youngest child was five. In an innovative move, I gained support from some private health insurance companies who could see the value, and savings, in my idea.”
Certainly Virginia’s nursing background was not the ideal starting point for a new business owner, a fact uncovered when she was required to write a submission, develop a business plan and undertake feasibility studies. While she had technical knowledge, she didn’t understand business. Focussing on what she knew to be an important evolution of the system of health care, Virginia sought advice and persevered with her vision.
“A pilot program ran in 1989 and, based on that success, my business doors opened in 1990,” she says.
“This was the first-ever business based on Hospital Avoidance, a term I coined but which is now in use throughout the industry. However, 20 years ago there had to be a dramatic change in thinking for such a business to succeed.”
Virginia says influential people in the hospital system were very opposed to her radical idea. She faced active opposition. Her solution was to engage champio...