From the May 2008 issue of Startups

As a licensed nursing-home administrator for seven years, Brad Cannon saw firsthand that good senior care was in ever-growing demand. "Every morning, our market just got larger," says Cannon.

Cannon, 36, had always wanted to be an entrepreneur. He was drawn to franchising because he knew he had a strong ability to follow a concise plan and operate a business; he was drawn to Home Instead Senior Care in particular because of its low startup investment. His degree in health-care administration combined with his nursing-home certification and experience made him more than qualified to run the nonmedical senior-care franchise, which provides companionship, personal services and household help to seniors.

Cannon started for less than $50,000, using capital he and his wife made from a seasonal, part-time retail business they ran. About $20,000 went toward the franchise fee, and the rest was spent on the setup and operating costs for a small office. He quit his job in Florida to move back to his home state of Kentucky, where he began operations in 2002. Since then, Cannon's Bowling Green-based business has provided care to more than 1,200 seniors across seven rural counties. He currently employs 210 caregivers and an administrative team of eight. Meanwhile, he benefits from the franchisor's three-part marketing plan, which includes reaching out to educate health-care workers and seeking referrals, in addition to an advertising and PR campaign.

Home Instead Senior Care recently became part of the AARP National Employer Team, which encourages seniors to care for other seniors. "It's people taking care of people, and that's what makes it special," he says.

Cannon admits that it was tough to give up his well-paying job that first year, but with $2.5 million in revenue for 2007 and $3 million projected for 2008, he can't say he has any regrets.