Po Wun Wan went from corporate travel to opening her own franchise
Po Wun Wan launched Radfield Home Care Barnet & Finchley in July 2022 and since then she’s gone from strength to strength.
Po is one of the newest franchise partners to join the Radfield family and we took some time to sit down and speak to her about her decision making process before deciding to launch her own franchise. Po left behind a lucrative career in the travel industry, taking a bold step to show her life who’s boss and start her own home care business.
Join us as we delve into her life prior to care and follow it through all the way to the advice she would give to those considering a franchise.
What did you do before launching Radfield Home Care Barnet & Finchley?
“I worked for British Airways at London Heathrow for nearly 10 years. I started off as check in, moved up to team leader at gates, then I did scheduling before working as a reservations agent. That involved a lot of customer service. You’re not exactly going to get a lot of happy customers at the ticket desk because usually it’s to resolve issues, so I never had a problem in dealing with complications or helping people. It was a nice job where you could really help people.
From there I moved to Geneva working for IATA (International Air Transport Association). I looked after employees internally for their travel, so we were the mediator between American Express and IATA employees. We made sure everything ran smoothly and that they got the best customer service from American Express. I also helped to support a lot of the negotiations between major airlines and hotels to get the best rates for IATA. Cost savings was also an important part of my role.
It was a great opportunity to work in a different country enjoying different cultures. It was an international company and they taught me how to value people properly. The CEO at IATA had an open door policy, so whoever had an issue could go to him and that’s exactly what I’m employing now in my new role, my door is always open.
I’ve told people, if they ever have any issues with anything, I don’t care how small or how big it is, they tell me. They have my direct number, so they can send me a text, email, whatever is most convenient for them, so hopefully, in doing this we will always get the best service for everyone and the team is well looked after this way because they know I 100% support them.”
So, why did you decide to open a franchise?
“I knew eventually I would want to set up my own business and then when I had my baby boy Jian, lockdown kicked in and I decided to move back to the UK, so I could be with my family.
I’d saved up while working in Geneva knowing that I wanted to get into the care business at some point, when I was ready. I knew I wanted it to be in the care industry because I have two siblings who have slight autism and learning difficulties.
I understand the Care Professional’s role and how demanding it can be and I felt that some of the carers weren’t supported. This meant that my siblings didn’t always get the best service. It’s quite sad to see but then also they were quite poorly paid, so I couldn’t really blame them. They were working all the hours so they could just pay their own bills and if they’re not looked after by their company, sometimes it’s hard.
I guess what I decided is that I want a team that I can look after, so “real living wage accredited” is one of the first subscriptions I signed up for, even before I had any employees; because I wanted to make sure we had that on our mark and I wanted people to be well looked after because I want to treat everyone like my own family.”
Why did you choose Radfield Home Care?
“I looked at various care companies and I found that I resonated with Radfield’s values more than the others and also the support from Jason, the recruitment manager from day one. I felt like he was trying to put my best interests first and that’s what was important and that’s why I was sold on Radfield.
I felt like I would be supported and if I was being supported for such a big project right from the start then I knew that I’d be well looked after as a franchise partner. I’d never done this before, so it was quite daunting for me. I knew what I wanted to do, but I didn’t know how to put it together. As long as I’ve got the support network (and I know that I do) then I know I’ve chosen the right company.
The values are a big part of it for me and how they treat their Care Professionals is important. They all support the real living wage accreditation, which is what I strongly believe in too, especially with all the fuel increases and costs for living increasing, it’s so important. We’ve increased our mileage rate as well, straight away just to make sure everyone is fairly paid.”
What made you decide to launch your business in Barnet & Finchley?
“Well, I was familiar with Barnet, I know the area well, I know the hospitals, I know the GPs, I have a lot of family and friends in the area, which has resulted in Care Professionals looking to come and work with me already. I can trust them straight away because they are family or friends or through connected persons. For clients too, because I know the area, I know where best to target to get clients, so it’s a familiar territory.”
What makes you happiest about this whole journey?
“The whole journey has been so exciting, I can’t believe we’ve actually got there, we’ve got our first client and we’re still trying to figure things out. We’re still trying to reach out to people but the support network in Radfield, for compliance and IT, Jess and Harry have been great in supporting us to deliver our care for the first client.
“We’ve also reached out to other Radfield offices in the network, the Wycombe office have been really kind and have actually allowed a couple of my Care Professionals to shadow. That’s another thing I like about Radfield, I feel like other franchise partners in the network are really supportive of you because they’ve been through the journey too.
Katy in the Wycombe office has been amazing, she’s given me advice, she’s happily shown me around her office and given me ideas of how we can improve our office. She’s made it clear that we can go back if we need to shadow again, the support from everyone has been amazing. We’re waiting to see if we can sit in on one of her training sessions to see if there’s anything we can learn for our own Care Professionals.
Glyn, the owner of the Camden office has been great too, so there’s quite a few offices who have been really helpful and you need that I think. So it’s not just the Radfield National Office, you have a good group of people around, peers in the network.”
What advice would you give to those considering a franchise?
“I would say do it. It’s really rewarding and really satisfying. It was touching to see the clients and see how vulnerable they are and how much they need us. I can’t stop thinking about our first client. She doesn’t need that much care from us right now, but we’re going to see another client this afternoon. He’s on his own and his neighbour cooks for him. The neighbour told me ‘if we’re away on holiday I don’t know who will cook for him because he can’t go out shopping, so he would just sit at home hungry’ and when you hear things like that you know that there is a real need.
I try to match as best as possible our Care Professionals to the client. So, with this gentleman, he’s Italian and we have a lovely Italian lady who will be working two or three days a week, so for him, someone who will be speaking Italian is perfect. He’ll get home cooked Italian food too, so I try to match the person with the culture or needs of the client.
I also try to see where we can make a difference, so it’s not just clinical and it will mean something to the client and the Care Professional. That way they will feel like they really are the best person for the job and therefore they will deliver outstanding care to the client.
So, it’s already so rewarding to see everybody smile and know that your team knows they have my 100% support, so yes, I’d say just do it and please feel free to contact me if they have any questions about starting up with Radfield.”
Take the test
If Po has inspired you to become your own boss and operate your own business in your local community, then why not take our Franchise Test and see if you’re the right fit for us?
We will be speaking to more franchise partners like Po, uncovering some impressive stats behind the success of the UK’s franchise industry, and sharing more information specifically about operating a home care business.
You can also find out more about Radfield’s franchise opportunity by requesting a franchise brochure or contacting our franchise recruitment team directly on 01743 548 550 or [email protected].