Extra Help is delighted to welcome Heather Allan to its network of franchisees. Heather is now running Extra Help in the Monmouthshire and Herefordshire District areas …
Heather is a highly experienced lady who spent fourteen years working within mental health publishing. Prior to that, Heather was a Speech and Language Therapist, working specifically with adults in her community who suffered from strokes or neurological disorders.
“Much of Heather’s time was spent visiting people in their homes, which was her favourite aspect of the job!”
When Heather went into publishing, she greatly missed the community aspect of her job as a therapist. She relished the challenge of running her own business and felt it was time to move on.
Although she hadn’t initially considered franchising, she decided to look for a part-time job as a stop-gap, possibly as a home-helper or carer, and came across Extra Help online.
“I was quite open-minded at that point” says Heather, “but when I found Extra Help and saw that it was a franchise opportunity, it seemed to tick all the boxes. It appeared to be the perfect way to combine my business experience with my passion for working with, and directly helping, people within my local community.“
Heather immediately decided to invest in a franchise and says that the process was extremely quick and painless. “I got some advice from friends who are business experts; I then engaged a solicitor to check the Master Agreement and also spoke to other Extra Help franchisees” she says, “It only took one month from start to finish!“
Heather then attended an introductory training course, which she says was ‘incredibly useful and reassuring’, especially as it was organised just for her, so it gave her the opportunity to ask questions that were specific to her local area, which is somewhat rural and scattered.
“The training was just the grounding, it gave me all the basic information I needed, but you really have to get started to know what your questions are” she says, “it’s only after you start that the value of the franchise package really kicks in, as the Extra Help team, including my fellow franchisees, are always available to support me.“
Heather is particularly grateful for the advice she receives from Claire Robinson, Extra Help’s Managing Director, as she had run her own, successful Extra Help franchise and can, therefore, offer Heather the benefit of her expertise. She also recently attended a franchisee training day, where she had the opportunity to meet the other Extra Help franchisees face-to-face.
Now that Heather is up and running, she has already received a great response to her recent leaflet drop and local press advert, predominantly from the elderly.
“The service is so well geared up to the elderly, being a one-stop-shop” she says, “especially as they don’t need to talk to lots of different companies to provide them with the various services they need.“
Heather has also been busy networking with local services, specifically at her local community centre and has joined a women’s networking group to promote her services.
“She has already recruited a small team of home helpers who were really easy to find!”
She says that the best thing about being involved in the home-help and domestic services industry is that it has given her the opportunity to work with the heart of the community again. For her, this is a huge benefit, as it was exactly what she was looking for.
Heather’s most important piece of advice for potential franchisees is to be aware that it takes time to build a franchise and ensure they have the finance available to support them while they are growing their businesses. She says that it is hard work and a slow and steady start, but it’s better to be that way, so you don’t take on too much too quickly and end up letting people down while you’re still finding your feet.
Heather’s six-month plan is to increase her networking activities in her local area, particularly with local hospitals and Social Services, to start building a client group for referrals.
“She also aims to get involved in community events!”
“The flexibility of this work gives you the time to do that as your time is your own, which is absolute bliss!” she says. “Working from home, running my own business, has literally changed my life and, so far, I’m loving it!“
Until next time …If you’d like to know more about Heather and how she can offer you a little extra help in and around Monmouthshire and Hereford then do call her on 01600 488800 or click here to send us an email enquiry and we’ll forward it onto her.
PS: Why not visit www.extra-help.co.uk and find out more?