Griswold Home Care's CEO Michael Slupecki
1851 Franchise: Tell us about your background.
Michael Slupecki: I’ve been with Griswold since February 2020. I started my career, however, with KPMG, which is a worldwide financial advisory. Then I joined a rapidly growing private staffing company that had been a KPMG client. It was a sales-driven organization and very entrepreneurial. In 2004, I started working at another homecare franchising company as the controller. Over the next 13 years, I rose within the company to hold both the CFO and CEO titles.
1851: You started with Griswold at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. What did you learn from that experience?
Slupecki: I learned that the ability to pivot is critical. Suddenly, all the things I had planned to do during my first 100 days on the job changed. My job became very tactical, and we were digging into all the new regulations. A lot of our time was spent taking ownership of that information because we wanted to make sure that all of our franchisees were updated and felt educated, but could still focus on their businesses.
1851: Tell us a little bit about the leadership team.
Slupecki: The leadership team is full of incredibly smart people who bring an immense set of skills to the table. In an effort to increase the support we provide our franchisees, I created some new positions. Our vice president of company offices oversees all the company-owned locations and has 30 years of home health care experience for that role. Our director of sales and operations came to use with a franchise background, which is invaluable. Before coming to Griswold, he owned a franchise with a different company and was very successful. He knows exactly what it takes to be successful as a franchisee because he’s done it himself. I also brought in one person to be solely responsible for and focused on marketing, something we’ve lacked up to this point. So we added three senior people, which shows our commitment to the future growth of this organization.
1851: What makes Griswold a good franchise opportunity for an investor?
Slupecki: Without a doubt it is the support we offer to our franchisees. There are probably 70 other brands in this space, some bigger and some smaller, but I feel like we're the perfect size. We have enough history and enough existing franchises that we don’t have to grow for the sake of growing. I don’t want to sell franchises; I want to develop territories. We’re selective about who we partner with. If someone comes into our system and isn’t successful, it can be devastating for them financially. So we’re interested in bringing the right people, but also supporting them every step of the way.
1851: Who is the ideal franchise candidate?
Slupecki: We’re a people-focused company, so the first thing someone needs is strong leadership skills and that’s because A-list players don’t work for B-list bosses. If a franchisee isn’t an A player, they’re not going to attract A players. Caregivers won’t work for poor coordinators and coordinators will not work for poor franchisees. I always ask myself this question when I meet with a prospective franchisee: “Would I work for this person?” If the answer is no, then they probably do not have the ability to attract and retain the right people to be successful. I also ask, “Would I trust this person with my mom? Is this person just driven by money?” Yes, you’re building a successful business, but money cannot be someone’s primary driver in this industry. A lot of the dividends don't come in the form of financial rewards — they come in the form of thank you notes from families that are so desperate for your help.
1851: What are you excited about for the future of Griswold?
Slupecki: I don't even know where to begin; I am so excited about so many things. The pandemic showed us what we’re capable of as a company, so our future looks bright. The care we provide to our communities is something we’re proud of, so I’m excited to bring that same level of care to new markets this year. I’m also very excited to dive into projects that will benefit our existing franchisees as well as future candidates. For example, a big initiative this year is using our corporate locations as testing grounds to pilot different strategies to see which ones can move the needle for recruitment and retention. We are currently testing new application strategies that have dramatically increased our conversion rates from applicant to caregiver and now are sharing those with the franchises.
1851: What are your growth goals for 2021 and beyond?
Slupecki: Our goal for this year is 15 new franchises. We’re focused on quality over quantity and we’ve already had some great additions to our system this year so far. We also want to ramp up the growth in the company-owned locations by 15%.