When Ben and Angela Crawley began searching for a new business opportunity four years ago, they started by looking at Ben’s background as a business manager. Years earlier, Ben had leveraged his MBA in engineering to launch a successful career in management for a variety of businesses. His wife Angela is a registered nurse who worked at a hospice, so when they decided to find a business that they could own themselves, Ben’s experience seemed most widely applicable.
Their thinking changed a little over two years ago when the couple was taking a flight home after a vacation. Ben says it was an advertisement in Inc. magazine that sparked the revelation that would change the course of their lives.
“I was leafing through the franchise section, thinking the business-in-a-box model might work well for us,” Ben said. “Angela reaches over and puts her finger on an ad for FirstLight Home Care franchise, and I looked at her, and we both realized we had been going about this all wrong.”
Rather than trying to find an opportunity that would make the best use of Ben’s business experience, he and Angela realized they could extend that expertise toward any number of businesses, and it was Angela’s experience as a nurse that offered a unique and potentially lucrative edge.
Though it was an ad for FirstLight Home Care that inspired the couple to look into healthcare franchises, Ben says they looked into a number of other brands before returning to FirstLight.
“We looked at a number of brands in the healthcare space. We wanted to know all of our options,” Ben said. “But nothing stood out like FirstLight, and in the end, that was the brand that hit all the right numbers for us.”
If the numbers hooked the Crawleys, Ben says it was FirstLight’s core philosophy that reeled them in.
“When I spoke to Jeff [Bevis, FirstLight Home Care’s co-founder and CEO], I found that we have identical business philosophies,” Ben said. “Jeff told me that he hires for talent, and the franchise trains all of its owners to do the same when finding caregivers. I’ve been involved in hiring for a number of different companies, and that has always been my exact approach — you look for raw talent; everything else, you can teach.”
The Crawleys began speaking with existing FirstLight owners to get firsthand insight into what might be in store for them as owners, and what they heard was encouraging.
“Everyone we spoke to had really positive things to say,” said Ben. “And we really liked everyone we met. They all seemed like part of a family.”
Ben and Angela purchased their first FirstLight territory in Knoxville, Tennessee a little more than two years ago. Since then, they’ve picked up an additional territory and grown their staff to more than 80 employees, and Ben says they are eyeing a third territory now.
As the Crawleys have grown their business, Ben says that familial attitude he noticed among franchisees has proven an invaluable feature.
“The camaraderie with other owners has been phenomenal,” he said. It’s an even dose of friendship and professional support. We share any day-to-day issues we may be having, and inevitably someone has faced the same issue and has a solution. We all work together, and through that, we’ve developed true friendships.”
Beyond the support they receive from other owners, Ben says their business is also buoyed by comprehensive guidance from the FirstLight corporate team, which provides dedicated development directors and clear operational guidelines to help every owner grow their businesses effectively.
“The operational model is fantastic, and they provide excellent guidance to run it,” Ben said. “We also have business development directors who work with us throughout the year to help us with anything we might need in terms of keeping the business on track and growing to meet our goals.”
Even with all that help, Ben does give some himself and Angela credit for their success with the business, which he says can’t be run without a genuine passion for the work.
“My wife and I are absolutely not afraid of working hard. No one who runs a business should be,” he said. “FirstLight has given us everything we need to make the business work, but it’s up to us to roll up our sleeves and put it into motion. We are eager and motivated to do this work every day because it feels good. We are helping folks through what can be the hardest time of their lives, and to be able to provide real support and relief for them makes it easy for us to sleep at night.”
Looking back on their first two years with FirstLight, Ben says he and Angela found everything they were looking for when they first set out own a business — and more.
“I traveled a lot for my previous careers, and we were looking for something that we could build from home. With FirstLight, not only am I sleeping at home every night, but both Angela and I are fully employing our backgrounds to build a business that we really believe in. We’ve found a lot to love in this business, and we’re excited to continue growing.”
FirstLight Home Care franchise start-up costs range from $99,681-$152,926. to learn more about how you can bring FirstLight to your community visit www.firstlightfranchise.com/