Being your own boss runs in the Deary family. Ken’s father and family members were self-employed so it is no surprise that he should follow that path as well.
In 1993 he faced a tough decision. He had spent 15 years as a senior manager with Royal Insurance. It was a great job, well paid and he travelled the world representing the company. However, the desire to become his own boss was niggling at the back of his mind.
He looked around for a business opportunity that could provide a good income and maintain his lifestyle. To be able to do this he realized that it had to be a business with which he could hit the ground running. McDonalds had just started franchising in the North of England and Ken liked what they stood for in terms of quality and service, not to mention being partial to the odd burger himself! He decided to apply for a franchise and after a rigorous selection process lasting just short of a year Ken opened his first store in December 1994. McDonalds even helped him finance part of the franchise from future profits as he was judged to be an exceptional candidate. It appears their judgment was well placed as Ken went on to open another three outlets and won the prestigious “Golden Arches” award which goes to the top 30 franchisees in the world. Along the way he also picked up a Franchisee of the Year award from the British Franchise Association.
Despite all this success, Ken still felt there was something missing from his career. He said: “I had a fantastic time with McDonalds. I learnt so much from working with what is probably the No.1 brand in franchising. However, I wanted to work in a field in which I could give something back to the community. This led me to buy a care home. I then began to think about how I could put both my care and franchise experience to good use. I was very impressed with a US home care company called Right at Home who were very professional, really cared about their franchisees and gave great quality care to their customers. After several meetings with their CEO I decided to buy the master licence for the UK. We started to recruit franchisees in March 2011 following a successful pilot. Our first franchise partner in Epsom Surrey joined us in September 2011. He now has a business turning over £1m and he is a great ambassador for the company. Since then we have developed a growing network of over 20 offices however I would stress our aim is not to be the biggest home care franchise out there but rather the most supportive and best at what we do.”
He added: “Care at home is a really nice business to be involved with. Our franchise partners recruit managers and staff who have a real empathy with the care sector and the needs of our customers. Growth in this market is exponential with the demographic trends of the aging population. It is also one area which cannot be replaced by technology as it will always need the human touch.”