GUEST COLUMN: 5 signs your home care business is franchise-ready

Cheryl White 2

Cheryl White, the founder and CEO of Mercury Franchise School and award-winning provider Apollo Care Franchise, has helped health and social care providers set up successful franchises in more than 30 different areas.

In and exclusive column, she shares five questions that home care business owners should ask themselves before leaping into franchising.

  • Is your micro business 12 months old or more?

You will need to be able to prove that your business model works. In franchise terms, this is called the ‘Pilot Business Model’. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it should suggest promise. For example, the pilot version of Friends showed the TV studios it had the potential to be a huge hit. Similarly, your pilot has characters (you and your happy clients); a plot (what happens day to day); and a concept (why you do what you do). If you are 12 months into your business, YES you can franchise it.

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  • Is your business profitable?

Up-to-date accounts that show what comes in and what goes out are needed so potential franchisees can see that your business is profitable. Ideally, the business should be making at least 10% profit from its turnover to show a good investment for franchisees. If you are working part time, a good accountant will be able to estimate full-time profitability based on your management accounts.

  • Can you be replicated for success?

Every franchise will need to be an EXACT replica of your original business. Ask yourself: Can your business thrive anywhere in the country? Could another person offer your services or products just as well as you do? Do you have a registered brand/trademark owned exclusively by you, so you have the right to allow people to copy it? If you have answered yes to the above, you are replicable.

  • Do you love systems?

How do you: Market to your customers? Deliver your service or product? Issue invoices? Guarantee an amazing customer experience? Structured and easy-to-follow systems – transferable to any branch – are needed to make sure the same things happen each time your customer comes into your business. If your systems are not perfect yet, don’t worry. Franchising is an ideal opportunity to look at your business in a completely new light. Finding things that work and don’t work so well, then improving them, is all part of the process.

  • Are you passionate about your purpose?

You are the main ingredient in making this work. Are you ready to dream big and do whatever it takes to make your small business a successful and national company? Discovering franchising literally changed my life after I was hospitalised with chronic burnout. I went from running on empty – feeling anxious and overwhelmed – to reconnecting with my bigger purpose. The multi-million-pound business I built based on my core values of caregiving now has 12 Apollo Care franchises across the country. You too can get back in touch with the things you value – and give your franchisees a blueprint to do the same.

The benefits of growing your business through franchising

Returns with little risk: A franchisee is an independent contractor with ultimate responsibility for financing their franchise. You can grow the number of your locations without touching your own capital or needing to request financing from banks or investors as your franchisees pay to buy outlets in your business.

Selecting the talent: When you franchise, you remain in control of who is a part of the business and whether their desired location is the right fit for the brand. It’s a great way to source talented people that will be an asset to your business and its values. Also, as franchisees are incentivised to run their business in return for profits, you can expect commitment and hard work from those on board.

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Sarah Clarke

The author Sarah Clarke