Finding the right balance between maintaining a brand identify, whilst making a franchise model flexible enough for franchisees to enhance their offering with a personal touch, is one of the keys to a successful franchise operation.
At Caremark, for instance, it is vitally important that franchisees have a natural synergy with our brand before coming on board, and we have a thorough recruitment process that ensures we all share the same values.
However, there is a certain degree of flexibility and many franchisees have an inspirational personality to match their entrepreneurial spirit.
So, we encourage them to inject a little passion into their business and lend a touch of their own experiences and enthusiasm to make their own mark of excellence within the Caremark brand. In fact, it’s one of the reasons our franchise model is so popular.
We facilitate this by organising twice-yearly regional franchise meetings, where franchisees can exchange ideas, work with and support one another. This allows their personalities to shine through.
This means that franchisees consistently go above and beyond for customers and staff, standing apart as caring individuals and playing an active role in their local communities, whilst staying true to the core values of the wider business.
At Caremark, these include being truly passionate about care, employing a proactive attitude in everything we do, attracting and retaining skilled staff and, above all else, safeguarding the wellbeing, safety and comfort of our vulnerable customers.
Our Three Rivers & Chiltern business is organising a dementia conference aimed at the general public. Featuring a range of experts, this will raise awareness of dementia and its effects, on people living with the condition and those closest to them.
In Bromley, our franchisee places an emphasis on live-in care, where care and support workers live with customers in their homes to provide round-the-clock assistance. A 90-year old customer with Alzheimer’s recently spoke out in the local press to praise her live-in care and support worker, saying she simply “couldn’t live without her”.
Our franchisees’ passion for care doesn’t stop at customers. Many organise fundraising events or dedicate their own personal time to support good causes. In South Birmingham our franchisee has been volunteering at Cerebral Palsy Midlands’ art classes, helping people to paint, sketch and sculpt. He is even talking to a local MP about displaying the arts as part of an upcoming local initiative.
One of the customers of our Merton business was overjoyed when the franchisee helped throw her a birthday party to celebrate turning 104!
Meanwhile, our Mid-Sussex business prides itself on holding open days to educate people who are considering a career in care and recently trialled a new system of delivering care within the county, which was supported by the local authority and proved to be extremely successful.
Being dedicated helps franchisees become the care provider of choice in their local communities. It also helps ensure that their customers receive a first-class service, and their staff are happy and content.
But it is important to remember that Caremark is, ultimately, a business. So, we have a comprehensive central support system in place to encourage personality but also make everyone aware of the values they need to share.
Getting this balance right from the start is crucial because the route to success, both commercially but also in terms of the consistent delivery of high-quality care, lies in our proven methods in the home care business.
We support franchisees to achieve strong CQC ratings and meet our own high standards. It’s essential to build these solid foundations in the first instance, no matter how eager and passionate the franchisee!
Our package includes essential training, as well as ongoing advice and support in relation to issues such as compliance, cost control, business development, staffing and marketing - everything franchisees need to be successful in the care sector.
Franchisees are also assigned an experienced and knowledgeable regional development manager (RDM), who will be their first point of contact.
Regional Development Managers visit franchisees each month to provide guidance and support where it is needed most and are available on the phone at any time. They also facilitate smooth communications between our franchisees and head office, ensuring the delivery of high quality, personalised support.
Last year a ‘culture campaign’ was also launched to inspire and motivate franchisees, bringing the network together and linking hearts and minds through the desire to ‘live’ the brand values of compassion, professionalism and integrity.
This is an integral part of our training and induction programme for new franchisees, as well as care and support workers. New recruits are welcomed into the Caremark family and made to feel valued, from the beginning, as they join others who are working towards creating the mark of excellent care.
The campaign, depicted through a range of colourful and engaging literature, aims to make staff feel proud of the job they do and appreciated for the efforts they put in each day. This is one of the ways we inspire franchisees to go the extra mile and lend their personal touch to our brand, as well as deliver a first-class care service to their customers.David Glover, Managing Director, Caremark