Entrepreneurs looking to start a business have the potential to realize their dreams more quickly by making the most of the existing resources of an established franchise business. Buying an existing franchise can help prospective business owners find opportunities with established staff and clientele. The Home Instead Senior Care network, while tapping into information from the Small Business Administration, announces eight ways to help individuals target existing businesses and maximize the benefits of established ventures.
Ray Corkran’s purchase of an existing senior care business last year certainly wasn’t a rash decision.
After all, the successful franchisee had owned a number of fast-food franchises for more than 20 years. “Franchising is nothing new to me,’’ said Corkran, who had been looking into a completely different type of franchise opportunity – caring for seniors in their homes.
While Corkran leaned on his business experience, he also took several steps to ensure that he was arriving at a wise choice and making the most of his new opportunity. That approach included doing his homework and banking on the resources of an existing business. “I had some money that I was looking to invest, and I started checking out businesses that were at an infant stage but would grow during the next 10 years. I also saw that senior care would benefit a lot of people in a special way,” Corkran said.
During his investigation, he found that the Home Instead Senior Care network was highly regarded, not only by its clients but by its own franchise owners. It topped the list of more than 300 franchise systems with the highest franchisee satisfaction for 2012 in an annual exhaustive national study conducted by Franchise Business Review.
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Because of the challenges that he knew he would face, the 60-year-old Houston-area resident purposely set narrow parameters for his new business. “I was not interested in starting from scratch and working 60 hours a week to get something up and going, and I also was not interested in relocating to get into a different franchise endeavor,’’ said Corkran, whose family includes 12- and 15-year-old boys.
His probe of the senior care field included phone calls, internet research and industry publications. “I found out that Home Instead Senior Care was listed as one of the top-ranked business opportunities by Entrepreneur Magazine.
Corkran found that his goals lined up with the Home Instead Senior Care organization’s franchise availability during a trip to the network’s international headquarters in Omaha, Neb.
“The organization had a franchise available in the Houston area that was six years old with the staff already in place,” he said. “The previous owners had lived in another state, and I think they did well. But I saw the potential because I could be around all the time. I think what I bring to the table – based on experience – is the ability to handle challenges.”
He said he also was pleased with the amount of information and business support that the Home Instead Senior Care network provided.
Tim Connelly, North America Franchise Development Director for Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care network, said franchisees such as Corkran make excellent business owners because they can adapt their experience and skills to many situations. “Whether starting a new franchise or buying an existing one, a strong franchise concept and a proven model for success can go a long way toward helping many succeed. In addition, a passion for the industry is a must."
Money is not the bottom line for Corkran. “I think it’s a very rewarding business, and we feel very good about ourselves. It’s important to me at this stage of my career to do something like this,” he said. “I think back to my mother, who was not taken care of properly because Dad was not getting her enough nutritious food – she was a diabetic. But it was not his fault because he
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just couldn’t. By the time I got involved, she had a staph infection and eventually died. You think, ‘Wow, how could things have gotten away from us?’ They lived just five miles from us, but now it’s easy to see how things could have happened so quickly without regular support. We don’t want that to happen to others if we can help it.”
Tips for Potential Business Owners
Home Instead Senior Care and the Small Business Administration Share these Tips for Potential Business Owners Who Are Considering Existing Franchise Opportunities
Do your homework. There’s no substitute for thorough research. Take the time to investigate the franchise opportunity, get on the internet, read everything about it and then talk to others. Will it be worth the effort to start a new franchise? Or will it be better to try to purchase an existing franchise? Is relocating an option?
Scout the success stories. Find out which franchise systems have been the biggest successes in the eyes of the franchisees. For instance, if a potential business owner is considering the senior home care field, the Home Instead Senior Care network would be worth investigating on the basis of recent research conducted by the Franchise Business Review. The national franchise market research firm recently surveyed more than 22,000 franchisees representing more than 300 franchise brands and honored Home Instead Senior Care as No. 1 in highest franchisee satisfaction for 2012.
Look to an established brand. An established brand that already has a good reputation can make a big difference in marketing. Half the battle is getting consumers to recognize a franchise brand and have a positive feeling about it.
Consider the ultimate rewards. Franchisees ought to ask themselves if they will feel good about what they’re going to do and the responsibilities that they are taking on. Is it a personally rewarding business where there’s a chance for stability and longevity? Will the consumers develop an emotional tie to the business? Are their needs consistently being met?
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Use existing assets. Look at how the existing staff members manage the operations and evaluate how their talents fit together. Give the existing staff a chance to build on its successes and try to determine if there is untapped potential to achieve more.
Define responsibilities. Be exact in expectations of the staff and other employees, and set goals for everyone. Shoot for consistency and attention to detail. Stay ahead of the game in the search for new employees by having a good system for recruiting potential employees, and make sure the franchise doesn’t get overextended in the quest for more business.
Show appreciation … quickly. Reward the entire staff when a new client comes aboard or a goal is met. Bonuses, lunches, high-fives, use everything. Make everyone feel like a part of the team. If the franchise turns in its best month on record, make a big deal of it. Praise and rewards are big incentives.
Don’t be afraid of innovation. A new franchise owner should be ready to show that he or she is eager to handle challenges. Encourage the staff to think outside the box. Analyze a policy or past history to see if an established strategy works in each situation and think about changing it or making exceptions if it doesn’t.