Sue Hills, Caremark, Mid
1) Why did you decide to go into franchising?
I wanted to run my own business and one that had a maximum chance of success. The idea of being part of a community of other franchisees was appealing as I knew I would always have someone to talk to. Having run a couple of businesses prior to Caremark, I knew how lonely it could get!
2) What made you decide on a Caremark franchise in particular?
I liked the idea that Kevin Lewis (CEO) had previously owned a successful home care business. His knowledge and experience was therefore invaluable. Also, my background was in health and social care and therefore the combination of this experience and franchising seemed to offer the perfect match.
3) What has been your greatest achievement since taking on a franchise?
Building the business from a zero turnover to in excess of £1.5m within four years. I also learned that I was very entrepreneurial and I now apply this talent to develop my business – keeping to the system of course! I was also able to offer my long-time manager the opportunity of joining me as a franchisee – I believe we make the perfect couple!
4) Has running your own business met with your expectations?
I would say that it has exceeded my expectations. I earn more than I ever have before and work less hours – what more could I ask for!
5) Did you have a clear idea of the kind of work/life balance you wanted when you started out?
Yes, very much so. I knew that I wanted a business that would not require me to be present at all times and that was not dependent on “time for money” i.e. it did not depend on my own man hours. This was one of the key criteria that influenced my selection.
6) Do you feel you have achieved that and if so, how have you gone about it?
Yes, most definitely. From the very beginning I started to look for staff that showed initiative, passion and most importantly, loyalty. I then delegated responsibilities to staff and stood back to enable them to get on with this. This model has worked extremely well and if I wanted to, I could virtually retire but I would be bored! There are also always more opportunities to investigate and pursue.
7) What do you do to relax away from your business?
My passion is in the field of self-development and empowerment and this has played an integral part in my own business development. I belong to various business and self-development groups which inspire me and I do not see attending these as “work”. I read a lot of personal development books as well as attending seminars and workshops. I have just finished writing a -Book on franchising and am about to write another. I am passionate about the franchising and believe that it will continue to be an attractive proposition for franchisors and franchisees but I also know it needs to be brought into the 21st Century!
I have also walked the Anthony Robbins “firewalk” a couple of years ago which proved that you really can achieve what you put your mind to! I enjoy holidays with my family which I have always managed to take even quite early on in my business, as a strongly believe this is a time to relax and remove oneself from the day to day operations of running a business.
8) Would you do anything differently?
Yes. I would have sought more support around the financial aspects of running a business from the beginning, especially regarding cash flow. The saying “cash is king” is so true! Overall, I am very happy with how I have developed the business to where it is today.