Hear from our VP Global Franchise Development, Arif, on what standing out from the competition means.

Home care is a competitive space. Each market  Nurse Next Door operates in will have, perhaps, hundreds of competitors offering to care for seniors in their own homes. And while the demographic opportunity in our industry attracts a lot of potential entrepreneurs, the ‘competitiveness’ often has those same folks retreating and looking for something easier. But here’s what I’ve learned about operating in a competitive industry for the last ten years: the degree to which the competition affects your success is a direct result of your ability, or inability, to clearly and uniquely differentiate your business.

So what does that mean? The term ‘differentiator’ is used liberally in the home care space. Here are a few differentiators that I’ve found:

  • “We are on the cutting edge of technology”
  • “We focus on professionalism”
  • “Unmatched franchise support”

While these are certainly all well intentioned, and in some cases perhaps even true (maybe that competitor is the most professional), but are they clear and are they unique? Or, could any old competitor say the same thing and get away with it? I would argue that your differentiators need to be clear and unique. They need to almost be tangible for them to actually have an impact.

We’ve spent years improving our business and differentiating Nurse Next Door. I credit Ken Sim and John DeHart, Nurse Next Door’s founders, for infusing this into the original model and it’s what we’ve been amplifying ever since. Here is how we’ve differentiated Nurse Next Door as a home care franchisor:

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  1. We have a centralized model

Nurse Next Door is the only home care franchise system to employ a centralized model for scheduling and intakes. While virtually every other competitor decentralizes these functions (meaning that the franchisee is responsible for them) we, quite clearly, do not. We take that function on, and charge a fee for that service. That fee is 7% of gross sales. Some will balk at that and some quickly realize the savings, economies of scale and tremendous benefit an individual owner receives. Either way, we’re fine. Differentiation and benefits come with an investment and I, in fact, think it’s a wise one.

This centralized model allows our Franchise Partners to grow and scale the business. While they are still involved in the scheduling process, they have the infrastructure to manage a rapidly growing 24/7 business without having to burn out.

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  1. We’ve built a consumer brand that celebrates aging

Home care is filled with stale, clinical images of smiling seniors. Clinical blues and whites that belong in an institutional setting. Nurse Next Door has painstakingly created a bright, vibrant, consumer brand – one that is designed to celebrate aging and resonate with our target market. It’s fun and it’s engaging. It’s about showing seniors in a way in which they see themselves — proud, independent and young at heart?  

Some think our pink cars are over-the-top. Others think our radio ads are offensive. You know what — great! We’re about being bold and getting noticed, and that’s exactly why we’ve been so successful. We love our brand and anyone who joins us must also. The reality is that our bright, vibrant brand directly supports our business. It helps us quickly standout and gets our phone ringing — something we will never apologize for.

  1. We believe in “Happier Aging”

Home care, for us, is not about simply coping with chronic ailments. It’s not about just keeping up with the activities of daily living. It’s about helping our clients live (and love) life. Our brand, our systems and our philosophy of care is all about delivering on this concept of Happier Aging.

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Anyone can say they have the best caregivers, or have the biggest hearts. Although those are important, we focus on our philosophy of care and how it is materially different. How we’ve baked this philosophy into our systems, our training and our care model. It’s an approach that has allowed us to stand out as a premium brand – something I’ll come back to in a future post.

These differentiators are not meant to appeal to everyone — in fact they have been designed not to. They have been designed to attract the right Franchise Partner for our model and repel the wrong ones.

I know a lot of my followers and connections on LinkedIn are fellow franchisors and franchisees — have you clearly differentiated your model? I’d love to hear how in the comments below.

For those of you considering a franchise, challenge your potential franchisor to articulate their differentiators and ask yourself are they actually any different?

    Connect with Arif on LinkedIn