Jen Krum, Rock Star Franchisee, Qualicare
Jen Krum has changed people's lives for the better. She has saved marriages, given her clients a sense of comfort, and has gone above and beyond her franchisee duties to ensure her community receives the best care possible.
"Jen makes it a priority to provide the highest quality care and find the best caregivers possible. Her commitment to her clients ensures that they have the best support through a healthcare crisis or just need assistance to continue living independently at home." - Jonathan Nedelijkovic, VP of Franchise Success, Qualicare
What advice do you have for someone considering investing in a franchise?
The best advise I could offer someone considering investing in a franchise would be to ensure you have the personal resources such as time and devotion, as well as financial resources to go all in. Be prepared to work long, hard days and face more challenges than you ever imagined possible. It is very important to have a strong support network. This can be family helping on the home front or people you hire to work with you in your business. Having this support is especially crucial during the early stages. You should really be doing something you enjoy and find meaningful when you go all in. If it feels like it’s just a job or means of making money, you are not likely to have the dedication required to be truly successful. It takes determination and dedication to maximize your opportunity within a franchise. If your heart isn’t in it, find something else to do — you owe it to yourself and others!
What are you most proud of when it comes to your journey in franchising?
My team and I have a lot to be proud of. We have positively impacted many lives in our community, from our own lives as owners, to employees and their families, to clients and their network of friends and family. I’m proud that we can give clients and their families a peace of mind. When a family decides to engage Qualicare Big Sky to provide care for their loved ones, they can see that we really will take care of them and see to the details so they can relax and participate in the role that they choose, rather than feeling like they have to take care of everything and everyone. The genuine appreciation that clients share with us feels great.
We took care of a man and woman that both had dementia. Their son was in his 40's, with a young family and struggling to balance all of his responsibilities – he was the couple’s only child that lived locally. The son reached out to us completely overwhelmed. Qualicare got involved, took over everything – 24/7 care, doctors’ appointments, transportation and whatever else was needed as we helped to provide stability and comfort for his mom and dad.
I was with my husband at a restaurant and saw the son there as well. He introduced me to his wife, and although I had never met her before, she embraced me in a genuine, big hug and exclaimed, “THE JEN! YOU’RE THE JEN! You have helped us so much. You saved our marriage!!” That moment really reinforced how much we are helping people in ways that go beyond client’s direct needs for services.
Building a strong, reliable internal team and nurturing them to be successful, but also letting them have enough freedom and independence to thrive. Our director of client services started as a caregiver, then started doing scheduling for caregivers and coordinating services for clients. She caught on quickly and learned other operational aspects, corresponding with clients, HR processes, continually getting more and more experienced and is now key in running the day-to-day activities. I’m fortunate to be in a position where if I went on vacation out of the country for a week or two, I know our business and clients are in good hands - good decisions would be made and any issues would be dealt with similarly to how I would resolve them.
What was your career path before you entered franchising?
I helped take care of my great grandma as a teen and then went on to work as a nurse’s aide, licensed practical nurse and then as a registered nurse. As an RN, I worked in a variety of clinical settings including home care, hospice, dialysis, emergency and trauma, family practice and urgent care.
For the last decade or so, I led other home care companies and brought them success. Now as an owner, my team and I define what success means to us, and then we make it happen. Working in the industry was a good opportunity to identify gaps in home care within our community. Qualicare believes in customizing care to fit the needs of each client and their families. This fit with my ideals and now as Qualicare Big Sky, we can do things differently and provide flexible care solutions to our clients. Although I come from a nursing background, becoming a Qualicare franchise owner doesn’t require that you have healthcare experience – just the desire and ability to give high-quality, custom care to clients.
As a business owner, what has been the biggest challenge you've had to overcome?
The biggest challenges have been around growth. It can be difficult to grow a business like ours, mindfully. It is important to us to do an amazing job for every family we serve. The natural inclination is to take every client. Sometimes we have to turn clients away when we don’t believe it will be a great fit, either for us or them. We really want every person to have the best possible experience.
Knowing when to utilize outside services has been a challenge, too. It is not always easy to figure out where to focus my attention, time, and energy and when to pay someone else to take care of certain things.
Another challenge has been learning to monitor the numbers continually but not obsessively. Running a business comes with stress, but I have also had to learn to differentiate between productive stress and destructive stress.
What do you like most about your franchise organization?
My Qualicare family. We have an amazing group of owners and home office team with such incredible backgrounds and experience. I love knowing I work with such a smart, driven group of people and that we truly are on the same team working to help each other wherever we can.
The franchisor makes bold moves to ensure that the network is strong. They take measures and validate each candidate and only accepts them when they can be confident that the new franchisees will fit into the network, provide high-quality home care and represent Qualicare well in their own communities. This approach allows a variety of people and backgrounds to join us and ensures that we mutually benefit from the relationships with others in our system.