08
Nov

Interview with our Franchisor Dr Hannah MacKechnie

Hannah MacKechnie Read 595 times

Interview with  Dr Hannah MacKechnie

 

Hannah is a qualified GP who had the unique upbringing of being raised in a residential home for elderly people! This gave her and her brother Alex with whom she started the business, the insight and ability to create a home care company focused on providing exceptional care to elderly people.

Hannah and Alex started the business with only £3000 and worked from a office in the garage and have grown it to a network of four branches which have provided care to many thousands of people.

 

Dr Hannah MacKechnie profile picture

Tell us about how/when the business was started and the motivation behind establishing the company. 

Our parents established 'Radfield Residential Home' when I was 6 years old in which my brother and I grew up living alongside the elderly residents.

I studied medicine at Birmingham university and subsequently trained to become a GP and during my community work I realised what a shortage of high quality elderly care there was available for people wishing to remain at home.

Alex had undertaken financial roles for the charitable sector and so in 2008 we decided to bring our skillsets together, along with the experiences from our upbringing, and Radfield Home Care was born!

When and why did you decide to go down the franchise route?

Since 2008 we have grown Radfield Home Care from a single small office to four company owned branches. In 2016 we decided to embark on the franchise route to expand our business further as we wanted to be able to offer other people a really solid, ethical business opportunity that can expand the high quality care services to many other elderly people across the country.

We have learned an incredible amount in the past 8 years and all of that knowledge we can give to our franchisees to help them avoid many of the pitfalls that we have encountered along the way. This will enable them to grow their businesses quickly and effectively.

What have been the company’s biggest achievements/successes to date so far?

We are a caring business at heart that is built on creating fulfilling relationships with people. Some of the biggest achievements for me have been around identifying ability in others and allowing them to flourish within our business. All of our Registered Managers in the business joined our company as carers and we have been able to nurture their skills and passion and create real opportunities for them.

Our first franchisee Dawn has worked for our company for many years and it is a true testament to our supportive way of working and belief in the business model that she decided to purchase her own franchise.

What challenges have you had to overcome?

There have been plenty of challenges along the way! The care sector has changed and developed dramatically over the last few decades since I have been involved with it and the amount of regulatory and legislative change that we have had to deal with along the way and update into our processes and policies was very challenging when we were a smaller company. This is of course one of the main benefits of joining a franchise in that all of those elements are taken care of for you.

What marketing/promotional tools do you use to grow your franchise?

Our branding and marketing are all targeted into the private elderly care marketplace as this has always been our main source of clients and having clear messaging and visually appealing branding really helps.

We develop links into our local communities which drives recommendations from others and word of mouth referrals which is the absolute ideal way to find a new client.

There are many other areas that we support our franchisees to focus on to build awareness of their services which will integrate them as a trusted, dependable source of advice and support in their local community.

What differentiates Radfield Home Care from the competition?

Being so successful in the private care arena means that our franchisees are able to manage their business costs and not be affected by local authority budgetary cuts. This also allows them to really value and reward their care staff well which is so important. The care sector as a whole has recruitment and retention challenges, however the methods that we have used in our business and will share with our franchisees have proved extremely successful - driving an improvement in staff retention from 30% in 2013 up to 89% in 2016.

As well as having strong ethical core values and pushing them through every aspect of the business, we are also a family business which retains its family values and advocates for all of our people whether clients, staff or franchisees.

With my background as a medical professional and GP this brings a certain credibility and reassurance to clients and their families purchasing care from Radfield Home Care and this will also benefit our franchisees.

In your opinion, what makes a successful Radfield Home Care franchisee?

A ambitious person with a desire to create something for themselves but who values the supportive structure that we can provide.

What changes have you seen in your industry over recent years?  And how have you adapted to them?

There have been too many changes to count in the care sector, however our core business model hasn't changed. We have always provided high quality privately funded care to elderly people who wish to remain living at home and we have always had a profitable business year in and year out since we started with our £3000 back in 2008!

What does the future hold for Radfield Home Care?

The next year will see us bringing on our early franchisees to join us and start their businesses. We are looking for early franchisee partners who are highly motivated and grasp the enhanced opportunity of joining a network early on. Once we have established our early partners and made sure they are on their road to success then we will be starting on the journey of building a larger franchisee network.

What advice would you give to someone considering franchising their business?

Really spend time thinking about what is special about your business and why other people should buy into it.

If you had to do it all again, what would you do differently?

Although we have taken some time to get to the point of franchising our business, I wouldn't change this at all. We purposefully bided our time until we were completely ready before launching our franchise model so that we could be sure that we had ironed out any issues and had perfected the support structure and training elements.  We want our early franchisees to have the best possible starts to their businesses so biding our time to get everything right first time around was very important to us.