How Franchising Helped This Founder Scale His Business Former NFL player Tafa Jefferson launched a business to provide care to senior citizens. But he couldn't do it on his own.

By Stephanie Schomer

entrepreneur daily

This story appears in the July 2019 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Courtesy of Amada Senior Care

Tafa Jefferson's mother spent years working in healthcare, and she encouraged him to do the same. But Jefferson had different plans: He joined the NFL in 1996 as a Chicago Bear -- then a career-ending injury set him back a year later. So he finally took his mother's advice, becoming a certified nursing assistant, and in 1997, he launched Nurse Registry, an agency that worked with independent contractors. But years later, when he identified an increasing and overwhelming need for nonmedical care for seniors, he once again changed his plans. In 2006, he shuttered his registry business and started Amada Senior Care with business partner Chad Fotheringham a year later. After a successful start, the pair decided to franchise -- ­and the San Clemente, Calif.–based business boomed. Today, Amada Senior Care has more than 130 franchised locations across the country, continuously attracting the attention of potential franchisees, the medical industry, and clients, all of whom craved a reliable brand name in the space.

Related: Use These 3 Strategies to Build a Thriving Franchise Organization

Now that you franchise, how do you consider entering new markets?

We do a lot of due diligence in each market we enter. We look at the demographics, the household income, the healthcare infrastructure. And we make sure all our franchisees maintain full-time offices -- this is not a home-based business. We have a sales team, a scheduling team, and clinicians to ensure that the customer service experience is top-notch.

What do you look for in your franchisees?

Our strategy is simple: We need a sales force. People who have demonstrated a successful career in sales companies do extremely well in our system, because so much of the role of the franchisee is interacting with physicians, case managers, and social workers, who will refer their clients and patients to us. We have that person in mind to run and manage our offices, and then we build the operational talent and staff around that individual.

Related: What Franchises Should Look For In a Marketing Firm

This is such a personal and emotional business. How do you train people to work with families who are going through a stressful time?

Usually our franchisees are dealing with a son or daughter, someone in the sandwich generation who's juggling kids and a career and healthcare issues related to their parents. We teach our franchise partners how to provide a total solution for care -- placement services if affordable senior housing is needed, in-home placement, and technology that can help families keep tabs on mom and dad.

What's the biggest challenge your franchisees are facing?

We can't hire fast enough. With the amount of care required as more seniors are aging in place, we just don't have the workforce we need. So we're looking at changing our messaging and doing a better job of recruiting staff and reaching the workforce via technology. Seventy-two percent of our existing staff have experience in retail and fast food, so we want to attract that niche and position ourselves as a great employer that offers staff positions and is ready to help them take on a job and career path that is challenging but rewarding.

Stephanie Schomer

Entrepreneur Staff

Deputy Editor

Stephanie Schomer is Entrepreneur magazine's deputy editor. She previously worked at Entertainment WeeklyArchitectural Digest and Fast Company. Follow her on Twitter @stephschomer.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Related Topics

Money & Finance

How to Know If Your Business Is Profitable This Very Second

It's important to periodically take stock of your business status, but don't wait until the end of the quarter or Tax Day to know. Too many decisions you need to make depend on your profitability. Here are things you should be doing regularly so that when you need to know where you stand, you know.

Social Media

With This LinkedIn Algorithm Change, Your Best Posts Could Reach New Readers for Years

It's one of many new features rolling out on the platform in 2024.


Save Big on Airfare with a Dollar Flight Club Subscription for Less Than $60

This discounted Dollar Flight Club subscription can turn dream trips into reality.


The CEO of Catholic Prayer and Meditation App Hallow Says Founders Need to Be Part of Something Bigger Than Themselves

On this episode of "The CEO Series," learn about the soulful journey of Hallow's CEO and founder Alex Jones.


Your Boss is Watching You. Here's Why Monitoring Workers is a Two-Edged Sword

Companies increasingly use technology to track and monitor their workers, but this doesn't always improve performance or morale. Employers can — and should — monitor their workers so everyone can benefit from the process.

Science & Technology

AI May Not Take Your Job, But Someone Using AI Likely Will — Here's Why.

Artificial intelligence is becoming ubiquitous across marketing and public relations agencies. These tools can increase productivity, but there are risks to consider.