Q: FranchiseWorks.com: Tell us a little about your brand.
A: Shelly Sun: My husband J.D. and I founded BrightStar Care as a family business in 2002 in order to provide a full continuum of care to patients. This includes adult and elder care, childcare (including newborn care, babysitter and nanny services), in addition to medical staffing services for individuals, families and healthcare facilities. BrightStar Care offers a higher standard of care overseen locally by a Director of Nursing and validated with Joint Commission accreditation.
With over 275 locations nationwide, BrightStar Care helps keep aging loved ones in the comfort and familiarity of their own homes, as well as assisting parents with their childcare needs. In addition, BrightStar Care can provide every service available at a nursing facility in the comfort of a loved one's home and also provides healthcare staffing solutions to businesses on a temporary or permanent placement basis. The company provides personnel to hospitals, nursing homes, doctors' offices, labs and anywhere healthcare staff is needed.
Q: FranchiseWorks.com: What's next for your brand?
A: Shelly Sun: BrightStar Care recently launched international franchise development efforts and announced plans to expand the brand into Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Mexico, China, Japan, and areas of Europe.
Future plans include moving BrightStar Care from a $250 million company to a $3 billion company in the next 10 years. By 2024, BrightStar Care plans to be serving 250,000 families worldwide and be operating in 10 international markets under five brands.
I would also like to mention that BrightStar Care was ranked as the 2014 'Best Franchise in America' by Forbes Magazine and was recently featured in World Franchising Network's fifth annual list of the "50 Top Franchises for Veterans." BrightStar Care was ranked No. 203 on Franchise Times 2014 Top 200 (plus 300) list and received The Joint Commission's Enterprise Champion for Quality award in 2013 and 2014. BrightStar Care is committed to having each of its agencies comply with Joint Commission standards.
Q: FranchiseWorks.com: What do you look for in a good franchisee prospect for your business? Are there certain characteristics or skillsets your top-performing franchisees seem to have?
A: Shelly Sun: We know that our home care franchise business model works, so finding the right franchise owner is very important to us. Our franchise awarding process will help in deciding if BrightStar is the right franchise for you and for us to determine if you are right for BrightStar. No medical or industry experience required. Our franchisees come from varying backgrounds so home care experience is not required. Most of all, we can teach you how to run a senior care franchise business.
The ideal candidate will be self-motivated, out-going, have a proven record of career success, have a high level of business acumen, and most importantly have the ability to manage and lead a team. Our most successful franchisees have three key qualities, including the following: they are positive - they have a glass half-full viewpoint so that any problem that arises is an opportunity to be overcome and to improve; they are coachable - they leverage their peers and our support infrastructure to evolve and improve; and they are accountable for their results and hold their employees accountable to deliver upon the performance metrics of their roles. The most successful franchisees have experience motivating, coaching, leading and holding accountable exempt and non-exempt staff.
Q: FranchiseWorks.com: What is your biggest competitive advantage?
A: Shelly Sun: Through intensive, third-party research, BrightStar Care discovered that as families seek quality in-home care for their aging loved ones, the most important factors they consider include having a compassionate caregiver they can trust, somebody who understands the unique needs of their loved one, and having qualified, skilled medical professionals overseeing the care.
BrightStar Care's mission has always been to provide clients with the highest quality care possible, which is why each BrightStar Care franchise has a Registered Nurse Director of Nursing who oversees the care for each of our clients. Each BrightStar Care RN DON ensures that the right care is being delivered by the right people. Additionally, RN DONs are available as a resource and a care advocate for families who are looking for help.
From a franchisee perspective, our competitive advantages are the highest first through seventh years' AUVs in our industry of all franchisors that disclosed franchisee performance in the FDD. We also offer unparalleled levels of support and proprietary technology that enables franchisees to benchmark their performance to brand standards, to their peers and to the industry.
Q: FranchiseWorks.com: What’s a “day in the life” of one of your franchisees consist of?
A: Shelly Sun: BrightStar Care franchisees are small business owners dedicated to running a thriving business that is both a home care provider of choice and an employer of choice. To do that, they have to be flexible to approach the unexpected with enthusiasm, confidence and compassion. On any given day, BrightStar Care franchisees are meeting with families in their homes to discuss care options; interviewing nurses and caregivers; hosting continuing education events; popping in for a friendly visit with clients; calling families; meeting with administrators of local senior living communities or hospitals; managing employee relations; and more!
Q: FranchiseWorks.com: What are the common day-to-day challenges that your franchisees face? What does your brand do to help them overcome those challenges?
A: Shelly Sun: Common challenges might be filling shifts - possibly due to scheduling conflicts or a client who requires our services on the same day - with the right nurse or caregiver. The business system that BrightStar Care franchisees use includes a database of all nurses and caregivers the franchisee has hired and allows them to search for them by hobbies, interests, licensure, etc. which allows the local office to find not just any caregiver to fill a shift, but a caregiver who will be compatible with the client. Additionally, BrightStar Care franchisees use a system that allows the caregivers to punch in over the phone, so the agency knows that the caregiver has arrived on time. If they don't get that notification, they can move into action quickly to ensure the client is cared for.
Along those lines, another challenge - and frankly it's one that we're happy to have - is finding and hiring the right people to carry out the BrightStar Care commitment to a Higher Standard of Care. We conduct regular seminars, best practice calls, summits and conference breakout sessions around this topic. Our franchisees also use an online applicant tracking system that syncs with our business system to ease the hiring process.
In a rapidly changing industry and regulatory environment, our franchisees - like all small business owners - must make time to work "on" their business. I conduct 4 hours of leadership training with new franchisees and offer two-day strategic planning workshops at least four times per year to help BrightStar franchisees plan their business and employee roadmap over the next five years, three years, one year and to set 90-day objectives.
In addition, with changing regulation in the home care industry and in franchising, I spend a lot of time with the Home Care Association of America and the International Franchise Association, holding BOD seats with both associations, to keep informed and remain actively engaged in fighting for the small business perspective and keeping franchisees informed of the changes and how to implement so franchisees can focus on serving patients, creating jobs and building their business locally.
Q: FranchiseWorks.com: As you look at your brand today, anything you’re particularly proud of in terms of people, service, outreach, etc.?
A: Shelly Sun: First and foremost it's our franchisees' and their teams' tireless commitment to providing a higher standard of care. I ran three BrightStar Care locations for four years before franchising and know what it takes. We are so lucky to have a community of such compassionate professionals who are dedicated to providing great service to families in their communities.
This commitment to quality is no better illustrated than through the fact that four years ago, we committed to making Joint Commission accreditation a brand standard for each franchise. On a local level, this means that each accredited franchise is operating under the highest clinical quality standards. On a national level, it sets us apart and shows current and potential national partners that BrightStar Care is a brand they can trust to deliver great care. I'm proud to say that today more than 95 percent of our franchises are accredited by The Joint Commission, and this has earned us - for the second year in a row - the Enterprise Champion for Quality award from The Joint Commission. That just speaks to the BrightStar Care franchise community's unified commitment to delivering expert, compassionate care.
Q: FranchiseWorks.com: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned personally that has allowed you to excel in your position?
A: Shelly Sun: The single biggest contributor to BrightStar's success has been our commitment to hiring ahead of growth and focusing on having the right people in the right seats to deliver the highest level of support and care to our customers, our franchisees and the communities we serve.
Over the last year, I've made slight adjustments to our organizational structure to help me move into a visionary role for the organization and to empower my Senior Leadership Team to manage the day-to-day business. This has freed me up to work on the "big picture" opportunities and threats for our franchisees, our brand and all our stakeholders.
Q: FranchiseWorks.com: What’s the one thing a prospective franchisee should take away about your business?
A: Shelly Sun: We deliver a higher standard of franchise support to allow our franchisees to deliver a higher standard of care to families in their community. Our model, our franchisees, and members of our Franchise Support Center, are all united around the core commitment to provide A Higher Standard of Care.
Shelly Sun is the CEO and co-founder of BrightStar Care®, a premium healthcare staffing company providing the full continuum of care, from homecare to supplemental staffing for corporate clients such as nursing homes and physicians. In addition to leading the strategy for the BrightStar Care®, BrightStar Senior Living & Memory Care, and BrightStar® Technology Group divisions, Shelly is charting the vision for complementary brands and services to help consumers care for their families and homes. Shelly is a Certified Franchise Executive and participates on the International Franchise Association's (IFA) Board of Directors and will be the Chairwoman of the IFA 2017-2018 (currently elected as Secretary of the IFA).