James Surrey EastExtra Help is delighted to welcome their latest franchise, James Shanker, to their team. James will be running the Surrey East franchise. 

James Shanker enjoyed a lucrative career in the Telecoms industry, working for high-profile companies such as Siemens, Nortel, NEC and Huawei in project management, consultancy and sales and product marketing roles. However, he always longed to run his own business and in 2010, he attempted to launch a new venture, providing mindfulness-based, stress management coaching to corporate employees. Unfortunately, James encountered problems in persuading clients to commit to long-term contracts. Also, the prolonged recession at the time resulted in huge cutbacks in training budgets and, as a result, the business did not succeed.

James’ wife returned to full-time work and James became a house-husband for a while, taking on voluntary roles for charitable organisations such as Young Enterprise, which involved advising young people on starting their own businesses. He then decided that the time was right to consider running his own business again but, understanding the risks involved in starting a new venture, decided to consider franchising instead.

“With a completely new start up, it takes a lot longer to take a product or service from concept to market and it made sense to utilise a tried-and-tested model instead,” he says.

James attended The Franchise Show in London with a completely open mind and came across Extra Help. He spoke to an existing franchisee who was helping out on the stand and was impressed by her enthusiasm for her business.

“I just felt that Extra Help was the right one for me,” says James. “With all my charity work I consider myself to be a caring person and have a passion for helping people, so it seemed to be the ideal opportunity.”

James advises that anyone considering investing in a franchise should ensure they speak to existing franchisees to get their views on the business.

“I’m so glad I took the time to speak to them,” he says. “I was really impressed with their passion for Extra Help and could see that the business model clearly works for them, so I knew it could work for me too,” he says.

Having completed his training, James officially launched his business at the beginning of June. He is currently focused on recruiting home-helpers and pro-actively promoting the business, with the help of the Extra Help Head Office team. He is very impressed with the advice he has received so far.

“They are open and supportive and they delivered an excellent training course,” he says. “They have taken the time to answer all my questions thoroughly and I already feel like I’m part of a larger team that I” be able to work effectively with.”

James will primarily focus on delivering Extra Help services for the elderly as he feels that, with the current issues surrounding care homes and government budgetary cutbacks, a gap in the market exists for the delivery of client-focused, home-help services that help elderly people to remain independent and stay in their own homes. Although there is significant competition in his area, James believes that there is definitely room for a more affordable service such as Extra Help. His biggest challenge at the moment is building the right team of honest and reliable home-helpers and ensuring he completes a thorough vetting process.

“If your business is focused on delivering high levels of customer service, it’s very important to find the right team,” he says. “This business relies on referrals so, if you approach it with the right attitude and are determined to deliver a good, consistent service, the business has a much greater chance of success.” 

Click here to find out more about Extra Help.