When Bryant Greene was laid off from his job as a Comcast business manager at the start of the Great Recession, he knew it would be tough, but, still young in his late 30s, he had a lot of confidence that his resume, including an MBA, would help him land on his feet. Six months later, he was discouraged by his lack of success in the job market.
As the recession raged on in July 2009, he headed off to a “diversity job fair/pink slip party,” where he noticed Comcast had the largest booth and a long line of would-be employees. Then he turned around to hear the question: “Have you ever thought of owning your own business?”
“Who would start a business in the middle of a recession,” replied Greene, of Philadelphia.
But Greene hit it off with the franchise coach, who introduced Greene to four different franchises, two in senior care — an industry to which he felt a personal connection as a result of his close relationships with all of his grandparents, including two great grandmas.
What Greene went through over the next 12 months shows how a great set of skills, perseverance and hard-headedness, plus old-fashioned grit paired with the right business can turn a hopeless situation into a big win. Proof positive: In five short years, Greene went from “Have I made a mistake?” to “2015 Franchisee of the Year.”
As Greene recounts, he liked the idea of a business that helped senior citizens gain the services they needed to help them stay in their homes.
After a thorough investigation, Greene chose the Always Best Care franchise, which specializes in placing non-medical health care workers in homes and is currently in the process of adding skilled home health care.
But Greene was short on funds. After a 15-minute phone call with the CEO “turned magical” and stretched into 90 minutes, Greene said, the company found a creative way for him to get started with a lower upfront investment.
At about the same time, Greene got a job offer from a media company at a level “a couple of steps below where he was laid off.” Nervous about being without an income, he took it, figuring he could start building his franchise business with the help of a close friend, Tony Belardino, and paternal Aunt Valerie Crumble (who both worked for free in the beginning).
As a single man with a teenage daughter whom he wanted to help put through college, he was motivated to work hard. And because he lived alone, working 24-7 wasn’t a problem, he said.
He started his job in March 2010, bought the franchise in May 2010 and opened up for business on July 15, 2010.
To say things moved slowly with Always Best Care would be an understatement. By the end of December 2010, he had only two clients.
Much of his time at his day job Greene spent “cutting heads,” and when he was done, he found himself laid off, as well, in January 2011.
Things grew worse as he started having difficult conversations with the executives at Always Best Care, who wrote him a Performance Improvement Plan or PIP, to help him get on track.
Talk about demoralizing, but instead of bailing out, Greene recalled, “I poured myself into Always Best Care.”
To help drum up sales, Greene thought of getting involved with the Medicaid Waiver program that helps senior citizens get home care services to avoid moving to a more costly nursing home. Even though it offered a comparatively low reimbursement rate, Greene figured he could make up for the loss with greater volume.
At the start, he got the toughest cases, he said, but they took every one, and, before long, Greene started turning things around.
By 2013, Greene moved full-time into the CEO role of his business, and now the company operates five offices with an administrative team of more than 50 people and more than 1,000 clients.
But Greene has not abandoned the qualities that helped him succeed. All hiring is driven by a culture of caring so that every senior citizen gets the best care possible.
“If they’re not the kind of person who you would send to your grandmother’s home, we don’t hire them,” he said.
Now with 13 territories in and around Philadelphia and in Wilmington, Del., Greene does a regular feature on the radio and is actively giving back by supporting local organizations.
Living proof of the old cliche, “quitters never win,” Greene exemplifies the value of choosing the right new business, allowing him to leverage his skills to achieve success.
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Contact Dan Citrenbaum to help you create the career you’ve always wanted. As a franchise coach, Dan brings years of experience helping people select and buy a franchise or existing business. You can reach Dan at email@example.com or at (484) 278-4589.
© Dan Citrenbaum 2015