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Special Feature


How have you found running your franchise so far?


Running my Extra Help franchise is a major part of my life now, but it’s all positive and really exciting. I’m extremely busy, fully involved in every aspect of the business, and so passionate that my friends and family have to put up with me talking about my work all the time – I can’t keep it to myself!


What attracted you to franchising? What transferable skills did you have? In the past I had always been employed in some sort of ‘caring role’. I used to be a support worker looking after disabled, young adults and, more recently, I worked in a school as a teaching assistant. However, when my dad was diagnosed with cancer and needed help, we as a family had to look after him and that’s when I came across this opportunity. I had been thinking about running my own business for a number of years and the timing was right for me, as it would give me more flexibility to be able to look after my dad.


Why did you choose this sector? Why Extra Help?


As I had always worked in caring and support-type roles, I felt that the home-help and domestic services industry was the right one for me. Also, with my own dad being poorly and elderly, I felt I had the right personal experience to be well placed to help vulnerable and elderly people who needed assistance with their day-to-day lives.


Extra Help Natalie Cooper


Extra Help is a national home- help and domestic services franchise network. Natalie Cooper has been running the Extra Help in Stevenage since August 2015.


business at my pace, so I felt totally in control. It’s my own business but I still have the benefit of the ready-made, proven business model and the back up and support of the team at head office whenever I need it.


“It’s my own business but I still have the benefit of the ready- made, proven business model...”


I found Extra Help after extensive, online


research and its ethos immediately struck a chord with me. I could see that it would give me everything I had been looking for; the flexibility to use my existing skills and provide the services I wanted to offer, but I would still be my own boss.


What are the benefits and challenges of running a management franchise? One major benefit was that I was able to start small, get to grips with what I was doing and could gradually grow my


30 | BusinessFranchise.com | June 2016


For me, the main challenge is having enough home-helpers, and the right home-helpers, in the right areas to service the clients I have, as I cover quite a wide territory.


How has life changed since you set up your business?


I love the flexibility of being able to work from home. I work extremely hard and work full-time hours but I still manage to fit it around my personal life and the things I need to do. Sometimes I work into the evening and at weekends but it’s my own business so I know that, by doing that, I’ll reap the rewards. It’s all-encompassing but I did expect that! I know there are other Extra Help franchisees who work part- time, but I want to grow my business to its maximum potential; I’m prepared to put in as many hours as are required to achieve this and am thoroughly enjoying it.


What qualities do you feel are important in order to achieve success as a franchisee? Most importantly, you need to be hard-


working, enthusiastic, positive and passionate about your business! Also, you need to be willing to accept help and advice from the franchisor – I have no qualms in contacting head office if I need anything as they have been running a successful franchise themselves for a long time and have a lot of experience. Specifically with Extra Help, you need to have the ability to build good, working relationships with both your home-helpers and clients. I get on equally well with my home-helpers and clients and that’s the way I want to run my business. I never want to be seen as a dragon!


What are your plans for the business? The cleaning side of my business is thriving, but I don’t have as many elderly clients requiring home assistance so I’ve decided to take the example of another Extra Help franchisee and contact social services to try and promote my business. I have recently been given the opportunity to provide rental property cleans, so this is a target market I need to explore and develop.


Would you recommend a management opportunity like Extra Help to others seeking to run a franchise? Yes and I often do! I really love sharing my passion and take every opportunity to talk to people about my business, especially prospective franchisees. I recently attended a franchise exhibition with Extra Help and thoroughly enjoyed speaking to attendees – hopefully my enthusiasm for my business is contagious!


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