Hi ladies and welcome to today’s ‘Her Business Story’ – your weekly dose of female entrepreneur inspiration!
Today we meet Janis Anderson, the female entrepreneur behind Caremark Aylesbury and Wycombe.
Janis, tell us more about Caremark Aylesbury and Wycombe
Caremark Aylesbury and Wycombe is a home care provider that delivers personalised care to our clients. Our specialist team of home care workers support adults and children who need assistance to stay independent, and to continue living in their own homes.
Our clients have difficulties such as mobility limitations, mental health problems, or may be living with dementia, MS, Motor Neurone or other long-term conditions. We work with our clients and their families to keep them safe and comfortable at home.
What did you want to be when you were little?
It was a long time ago, but I think I wanted to be Robin Hood!
What made you decide to become a female entrepreneur?
I spent many years working in high profile, professional roles within various Venture Capital organisations. These roles saw me spending a lot of time away from home and away from my daughter, who was very young at the time. I decided to make a career change which meant I could be my own boss, within reason, and set my schedule around my daughter.
I’d done my research into franchising and I recognised the successes of the franchise model, specifically within the health care sector.
How long did it take for you to put your idea into action? What prompted you to act?
I was adamant that it was time to put my business skills to use in my own company. I underwent my franchisee training in June of 2009. Once I had completed the training, I had to apply for CQC registration and by October of the same year I was pretty much ready to launch.
What has been your scariest moment as an entrepreneur?
The first winter after launching, we had six feet of snow in the Aylesbury area and no one could get to work. My Care Manager and I were the only ones with four-by-fours, so we worked together to drive our carers around to our clients. That was a big hurdle to overcome as we’d only been established for a couple of months. That was certainly an experience!
What has been your proudest moment?
I’ve won a few industry awards including the bfa (British Franchise Association) award for both Franchisee of the Year and Female Franchisee of the Year, in 2013. I recently won the internal Caremark award for Franchisee of the Year. Being recognised within a network of other successful franchisees is always going to be a proud moment.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned from founding your own company (franchise)?
The biggest lesson I’ve learnt is most definitely understanding the care sector at a higher level. I had financed care homes back when I was working in venture capital organisations, but I never fully understood the logistics and the issues facing the care sector. It never fails to amaze me how much carers and people in positions of authority/business ownership in the care sector can give back to those who need support.
What does success mean to you?
Maintaining and growing the brand, in terms of quality rather than volume. Building a quality image that isn’t necessarily measured by cashflow or volume, but in terms of quality of care and a good reputation in the sector.
Has a mistake ever led you to success?
We all make mistakes. If you get a complaint from a client, listen and learn from it. Change the way you do things or change the way you listen.
Which people inspire you?
My father, I learnt a lot from him. I learnt how to be stubborn and how to believe in yourself. He worked in public administration in Africa. I was actually born in West Africa, living in Tanzania and Kenya before coming to the UK aged 13 to board at a school in Devon.
What one thing do you wish someone had told you when you first started out?
You have to believe in the good in people and constantly push for better standards from those around you.
What’s the best piece of business advice someone has ever given you?
From my venture capital days; watch the cash flow.