Business Franchise owner Lou Cobban shares her story – The Pathfinder
Lou is the franchisee that got us started. Her career at Guardian Angel Carers has taken her from carer, through leading recruitment at HQ, to business franchise owner of our highly-successful Spelthorne home care branch. Now, three years on she’s turning a profit, and investigating new territories.
A Franchise Good Enough For Family
When she moved to Spelthorne to be near her grandparents, her research for carers highlighted that there just wasn’t a care agency that felt right. “I realised that I wouldn’t have any other company other than Guardian Angel Carers look after them, and if they weren’t here, I either had to take my grandparents to Chichester, or get Guardian Angel Carers to come here.”
Getting Into The Olympian Franchise Spirit
She needn’t have worried because the dynamic founder of Guardian Angel Carers, and two-times Olympian, Christina Bassadone, had already thought ahead. So, when Lou came to ask about how they could make something work, the plans and possibilities for a new business franchise were prepared.
Christina’s energy, first-hand experience combined with her astute business acumen were a big draw. Lou comments, ” I’d looked into how other business franchises work and although the processes appeared similar, what they didn’t have was Christina, or a business built on her values.”
Making More Of Your Business Franchise
It’s typical of how Guardian Angel Carers goes about its business. Energetic and positive at heart the company believes that enough is never good enough. Lou points out, “there’s always more we can do and ways for us to do better.’ As a franchisee, she knows she can depend upon these standards to support the success of her business.
Covid-19 really highlighted that benefit to her. Guardian Angel Carers HQ has people who know what to do. She could trust their brainpower and resources to react quickly, plan carefully and properly understand what needed to be done for every business franchise branch. PPE came quickly, systems established and additional regulations met, “I knew they would help me to take care of my clients, my CareAngels and me in the safest way. I just didn’t need to worry”.
Own A Business Franchise And Make A Difference
Owning a franchise is a very supportive way to own a business. Guardian Angel Carers views its franchisees part of its ‘family’. And, you don’t need to be from a care background to join.
Just this month the newest franchisee to sign was a commercial aviation pilot. It is a business that allows talented people to run a business and make a positive impact on peoples lives. To give back, which is gratifying both personally and professionally.
“Owning a Guardian Angel Carers franchise has changed my life. It’s not as though I’ve got to be work Lou and home Lou – they don’t differ. I’m driven by the same values, with the same goals of positivity, to make a difference and succeed.”
Start Your Business Franchise With Confidence
Guardian Angel Carers HQ branch is a fully-operational home care branch. Tried and tested its model helps franchisees to start with confidence. In a decade it has grown from a team of three to 200-strong. An exampler of excellence, with its CQC Outstanding, award-winning training programme, and forward-looking use of enabling care technology, they allow franchisees to offer best practice and services for clients.
Franchisees know that they trust them because they are daily encountering, and have the knowledge to understand, what they too experience.
“There’s always someone in HQ who has the answer because they’ve done this too. It’s invaluable to a franchisee to have that sort of support.”
Whether from business or care backgrounds, franchisees are encouraged in their strengths and supported to learn and grow their skills where needed. For Lou, with a care background, she uses her monthly meetings with Christina, to go through figures and forecasts, client numbers and operational aspects because that is her area of learning.
“Christina and the HQ Franchise Team will always talk about ‘we’ – ‘we’ are going to do this, ‘we’ will achieve this, ‘we’ will do that. It really makes me feel like we’re a team.”.
For those with business backgrounds, the team is more likely to support CQC, Compliance, Safeguarding and care questions. Whatever, the franchisee needs, Guardian Angel Carers will support them to get the skills they need to succeed.
Early Graft For Long Term Franchise Success
When you become the owner of a Guardian Angel Carers franchise, you can expect it to take four months to get accreditation and set up. Lou encourages others to use the time to do their homework and take advantage of the one-to-one support from Christina and the team.
During this period, new franchisees will take part in franchise and care training, alongside finding the right location and premises for your branch, doing due diligence on finance, compliance, business and recruitment planning. “You shouldn’t rush” says Lou, ‘this is where you set the foundations that can help your business excel.”
First Years Franchise Milestones
Lou acknowledges that there will be ups and downs as you go through the weeks, the excitement of your CQC registration, getting the keys to your new branch, and hiring your first member of staff. But it can feel that you’re “putting a lot in while the pot goes down”.
Christina and the team, stay connected, coaching, guiding and encouraging francisees to stay focussed, and realistic. They’ve been there too, and know that with patience, the corner will be turned.
“It’s nervewracking, but then you get your first client, and another, and another. It’s so exciting. The fire gets going, and you feel great. You see money coming in. I was so proud. I was the owner of my own successful income-generating business, doing work that made a difference.”
Taking The Leap To Fund Your Business Franchise
Raising funds to make your initial investment in your franchise is a big commitment. “I could have bought a car, or put a deposit on a house,” she says, “but for me, being a mother, I saw it as a long term investment for my daughter and me, to ensure a secure life for us both. Now I have two children, my daughter, and my business.”
Franchisees can usually expect to see a return on their investment with a Guardian Angel Carers Franchise by year three. Lou was able to raise funds privately through a business-minded silent partner.
Franchise managers at banks are generally receptive to loans for Care Franchises with up to 50% of the start-up investment and the potential to review. It’s a growing industry, and home care franchises are typically exceeding sales expectations and their targets. Of course, each individual circumstance is different, and anyone considering an investment in owning a business franchise will need to contact their bank directly for expert advice.
Franchise for Future
As Lou nears the end of her third year, she is confident in her business and care skills. She now plans to re-invest her profits and expand into neighbouring territories to provide home care to more people. Care doesn’t stop, and demand is only growing. “There’s always a time when you need a person. I don’t think there are many other businesses where you can lose that personal touch. And, I want to be there to do that.“
With encouragement and guidance from Christina and the Guardian Angel Carers team she feels she has all the ingredients she needs to make her business franchise flourish, and grow.
“I’m proud of myself. Where I’ve come, what I’ve achieved, the highs and lows. As a business owner, you sometimes have to act alone, but you should never feel lonely. Guardian Angel Carers never makes you feel lonely.’
Do You Like The Sound Of Becoming A Guardian Angel Care Business Franchise Owner?
For Lou, it’s a journey that has required commitment, focus and energy but also taken her on a path that has opened exciting opportunities. If you’ve been inspired, we’d love to hear from you too.
Find out how you can become a Guardian Angel Carers Franchise owner, and talk to Christina, Lou or the franchise team here.