In October 2020, there were 2.6mn people searching for work in the UK. This is an increase of 1.4mn people since the coronavirus pandemic began in March 2020. The latest figures show the unemployment rate is 4.8%. This is forecast to peak as high as 10% in 2021.
Whilst some sectors (such as supermarkets, delivery drivers and care) have been desperately recruiting new workers throughout the pandemic due to increased demand, this is not the story throughout the rest of the economy. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people are now searching for a new role, with some advertised job roles receiving thousands of applicants each.
For those finding themselves in this unfortunate position, job hunting may be a long process over the coming months.
However, redundancy can also provide the perfect opportunity to reassess your career. An opportunity that you may otherwise not have been presented with. Perhaps the opportunity to get involved in an industry you’ve always been passionate about, or turn a hobby into an income, or even start your very own new business.
Of course, making a big change can often be perceived as a big risk. Something that often deters people from straying from what they already know. However, one thing this pandemic has highlighted to many people is their career or industry is perhaps not as stable as they once thought. Many may even find their previous work environment significantly changes after Covid-19, leaving them unable to find work with their specific skill set or knowledge.
So where does this leave you? You know you have always wanted to do something different or own your own business. But the risk is still daunting. Equally though, the chance of finding work is by no means guaranteed. Over your career you have developed a range of transferable skills – be that financial, marketing, operational or managerial. The more you think about this, the more you realise this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to start afresh. And all of the skills you have honed over the years stand you in brilliant stead to develop something of your own, not someone else’s dream.
But where do you start? What services or products are in demand? Which sectors have flourished during the pandemic?
Well, we have all seen first hand front line workers have been at the epicentre of the pandemic. These are the sectors that are still actively recruiting. Remember? The supermarkets, delivery drivers and care? You’ve experienced first hand the downfall of other sectors, so a resilient sector is a must.
You know you have transferable skills, but you don’t have any experience in any of these sectors though – let alone the know how to start a business in one of them! Again, this does not have to mean game over. You could do a course and brush up your knowledge. Maybe work with a specialist consultant to share their expertise. Or, you could consider a franchise.
Perhaps the most familiar franchise concept in the world is McDonald’s. But franchising is much more than fast food chains. In 2018, franchising contributed £17.2bn to the UK’s economy, employed 710,000 people, and represented over 900 different business models. In the UK, franchising is regulated by the British Franchise Association (BFA). All franchises represented by the BFA are thoroughly inspected prior to approval. They must demonstrate their model is proven to succeed, they offer high levels of support and training to franchise partners, and they are financially secure. Many also have the backing of high street banks – with the likes of HSBC having specialist franchise departments that will lend up to 70% of required investment for the leading brands.
As discussed already, the care sector really demonstrated its resilience during the coronavirus pandemic. This is also one of the sectors well represented by the UK’s franchise industry. Brands such as Radfield Home Care have multiple franchise partners across the country. Some of these franchise partners may have come from a career in care, but the majority do not. They have come from careers in business development, human resources, banking, housing and pretty much any other industry you can think of. They have all used their transferable skills to develop successful home care businesses, whilst leaning on an accredited franchisor to train, support and guide them in areas they are not so familiar with.
One such example is Dave Bellis. In 2016, Dave was facing redundancy after 15 years within the finance department at Shell. With a lifetime of working for other people, he decided his redundancy presented him with the perfect opportunity to start his own business. With a career in finance, Dave’s initial plan was arguably the obvious route – to set up his very own accountancy firm. Whilst researching his new business venture, he decided to investigate franchised accountancy opportunities at the National Franchise Exhibition. Keen to learn how a proven model, reputable brand and full support could help him succeed.
However, whilst at the event, Dave wandered past the Radfield Home Care stand. Dave’s parent’s had been receiving care for a number of years, so the concept of operating a home care business immediately appealed to him. After a conversation with the Radfield franchise team, Dave quickly realised that his dynamic mix of professional finance and business experience, twinned with personal experience of the care sector, were an ideal match. He had almost accidentally stumbled upon a perfect opportunity that would fulfil both his heart and his head, as Dave explains:
“My parents have been receiving care for a number of years, so I have been heavily involved with sourcing home care providers and had a reasonable understanding of how the industry operated. As a family, we have always liked to give back too; my father was a doctor, my mother was a nurse and my brother is a dentist – so healthcare has always run through my family. After meeting Radfield at the show, their family values came through and something just really seemed to fit. As a result, I ended up making my mind up on the motorway back home… Radfield Home Care was the franchise for me.”
Radfield Home Care specialises in providing care and support services to older clients who are still living within the comfort of their own home. The brand has over 35 years experience, starting life as a residential care home in the 80s before transitioning to domiciliary home care services in 2008. Franchisors and siblings, Alex Green and GP Dr Hannah MacKechnie actually grew up within the residential care home as it was owned and operated by their parents. In 2008, they then took over the day-to-day operations and were responsible for the development of the home care business, including multiple company owned locations in the years that followed.
With the reassurance of this wealth of hands-on care experience behind him, Dave is now three years into his business venture. He owns and operates the Radfield Home Care Liverpool North franchise and has developed a team that, on a daily basis, deliver care and support to older people who wish to remain living in the comfort of their own home. During Covid-19, this has been more valuable than ever. Due to strict self-isolation and shielding guidelines, the care professionals Dave’s clients see each day may be their only human interaction. As a result, this has led to significant growth and employment during this time for Dave and other Radfield Home Care franchise partners.
“Being an accountant helps me keep an eye on the figures and keep organised. Whilst I am sure more of a professional healthcare background wouldn’t do any harm, sometimes it is good to have a different viewpoint on things and do things differently in a way which you may not have thought of if you came from the sector”,
“The support structure has most certainly helped me as well. From day one, I had the support and hand-holding to help me grow through my first months of trading, and I have my dedicated Franchise Support Manager who is continuing to support me to grow and overcome challenges that any new business will face – from a healthcare, HR and business management perspective.”
‘Doing things differently’, as Dave puts it, to the rest of the sector is something that he and Radfield firmly agree on. Alongside Radfield’s other franchise partners, Dave’s business is proudly accredited by the Living Wage Foundation. This means he voluntarily pays his staff at least the Real Living Wage, which at the time of writing is almost £0.60 per hour higher than the government recommended minimum wage. This is bucking the trend in a sector that traditionally pays poorly.
As a result of Dave’s redundancy, he has now found himself in a rewarding position – both financially and socially. He has the flexibility of being his own boss and he no longer has a lengthy commute. But he also has the satisfaction of knowing that he is giving back to his local community. Both with fantastic, quality-led care services for older residents in the Liverpool North area (as demonstrated by his outstanding 9.9/10 online client reviews) as well as the creation of sustainable, well-paid jobs for local people.
It’s fair to say, that sounds much better than a typical 9-5 office job.
Franchising is a route that could help you take your life in a new direction, just like Dave. It provides you with the opportunity to be in business for yourself, but not by yourself. You have 100% ownership of your business, and you have the flexibility to make your own decisions – all the while in the knowledge that if you are never sure about anything, you have a team of professionals to help you keep moving forward.
The British Franchise Association is an excellent place to start learning more about franchising. The dos, the don’ts and the questions to ask. If you would like to learn more about Dave’s journey, or if the home care sector sounds appealing to you contact Radfield Home Care’s franchise recruitment manager on 01743 548 550, who will be able to answer any questions you may have.
Get in touch with your local Radfield Home Care office today and find out more about the support we offer and the difference we can make.