Special Feature


Simon’s death; there was never a plan, it just happened. Simon had always seen great business potential in Hannah and drew her into the business as soon as he was diagnosed. He had less time than he wanted to ‘show her the ropes’, and, just before he died, he said he realised how Hannah had not only been the right choice to run the business but that she was even better at it than he was. We have very different skillsets. Hannah

DEBBIE BINNER AND HANNAH DRURY Mother-and-daughter team Debbie and Hannah own a homecare fra nchise in Sutton. Hannah scooped both Young Fra nchisee of the Year and Fra nchisee of the Year at the 2017 bfa HSBC Fra nchise Awards

What interested you in franchising and why Caremark? Debbie Binner: Hannah’s stepfather and my late husband, Simon Binner, was looking to do something worthwhile after taking early retirement from the IT industry. He had been interested in franchising for many years and had been especially impressed by the success rates of franchises compared to standalone startups. Our younger daughter Chloe was then diagnosed with cancer, aged 15; she sadly died three years later. We’d experienced such brilliant care for Chloe in our community; Simon was drawn to an opportunity to give something back. Unbelievably, just two years after starting the franchise, Simon was diagnosed with motor neurone disease, and died six months later in October 2015. We had known about the strong, compassionate reputation of Caremark for many years. Its family, caring, person-centered ethos always appealed to us, and still does.

Why did you decide to go into business with a family member? We fell into working together after

is very analytical, tough and driven while I’m creative and skilled in looking at the big picture, as well as having a strong background in public relations and journalism. Our combined skills are powerful together.

"We know that when we need help, the other person will be there 100 per cent"

How do you divide the work? Hannah is the operational driver and now has the greater daily responsibility in the business. She is young, fresh and brings a millennial’s perspective, as well as being bold and unfazed by new challenges. Being hugely energetic, she spins numerous plates while getting the job done. Hannah has a fi rm but fair attitude, which has won her the respect and support of our team of people, most of whom are double her age. I’d say I bring a calm, harmonious experience to the table and a fl air for creativity and pushing the boundaries. We have a weekly management meeting, chaired by myself, to ensure we both have sight of all issues in the company. With complicated negotiations, such as dealing with large contracts, we work respectfully together to fi nd solutions. There is somehow a natural harmony and mutual respect. It helps that we’re both calm individuals with a passion for building a respectful ethos and culture within our own family and the wider organisation. The people who excel in

our team are those who share this ethos; we see the company as an extension of our family.

What are the benefi ts of working with family? This is simple – trust and commitment to a single goal. We know that everything either of us does is in the best interests of our clients, our staff, our company and our family. This enables us to have a single clear vision of what success looks like. We know that when we need help, the other person will be there 100 per cent. There’s no hidden agenda, we work in a democratic fashion to deliver the best service possible. Our ethos of treating all our family members with kindness, respect and fairness radiates through the company.

Would you recommend franchising with family in this sector? This very much depends on personalities; there must be a clear structure of who is responsible for what. There must also be clear agreement of when work can be discussed with a switch-off point at the end of the day. The danger is that work leaks into every part of family life, and this can be damaging. However, with clear lines of responsibility and strict structures around work and play, a family-run business can be best of all. You get to spend lots of time with the people you love most in the world and there are huge benefi ts from the trust involved in family relationships.

Describe a typical day... Hannah juggles her work with her two young children and, as a young mum, is incredibly busy. We all work together with the children’s father, as well as Hannah’s father, to share childcare responsibilities. Hannah will go into the offi ce every day

and work closely with the care manager on day-to-day business. I also run a media training company as well as a property fi rm, so will catch up for a daily call and come into the offi ce either when needed or for weekly meetings.


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