Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many BrightStar Care franchise owners continued to thrive and grow, due in part to Shelly's leadership
In less than two decades, Shelly Sun has built her company BrightStar Care from a local business into a $569m national enterprise using a franchise model built for infinite growth. Through Shelly’s leadership, BrightStar Care has grown to more than 360 locations nationwide and its franchisees employ more than 16,000 caregivers and 5,700 nurses, a majority of whom are women. Due to Shelly’s tremendous hard work, BrightStar Care’s hundreds of thousands of clients can rely on the highest standard of quality care for their loved ones.
Shelly founded BrightStar Care after struggling to find suitable care for her ill grandmother. Shelly and her family worked tirelessly to put together resources for their grandmother to receive home care, but there was a lack of options available in their area. The difficultly of the situation led Shelly to found BrightStar Care to fill the gap in the home health care market. BrightStar Care soon became the connecting resource that allowed seniors and those in need of care the possibility to age and receive treatment from the comfort of their own homes.
Franchise to localise and diversify your service
After undergoing her own personal journey with home health care, Shelly knew how important it was to expand BrightStar Care, so communities everywhere had access to the the benefits of home care. Franchising gave BrightStar Care the opportunity to be local, scalable, and consistent with the quality of care they provided, this type of growth would have been difficult to achieve had BrightStar Care remained a corporate entity.
Today, most BrightStar Care franchise owners do not solely come from a background in health care or even a corporate background. In fact, many are first-time business owners or have experienced the personal journey of finding home care for a loved one and are passionate about making a difference in their community.
A number of BrightStar Care franchisees are also veterans who are passionate about providing veteran resources to those in need. Given Shelly’s passion for helping especially women launch their own businesses, BrightStar Care has a robust list of female franchisees who opened up their own locations as a result of the company’s well-established support and coaching resources.
Commitment to a higher standard of quality care
Another major pillar of Shelly’s business model is BrightStar Care’s commitment to the highest standard of quality care. More than 95 per cent of BrightStar Care locations are Joint Commission accredited – the gold standard within the health care industry.
BrightStar Care is also the only national home care franchise in the nation to receive The Joint Commission’s Enterprise Champion for Quality award for nine consecutive years, since the award’s inception. The brand’s ability to maintain that standard during COVID-19 and beyond is a testament to the commitment and talent of this organization’s leadership and team members.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Shelly committed to safety as the company’s number one priority, which allowed franchise owners the opportunity to grow and thrive despite ongoing challenges. As the delta variant is now on the rise, Shelly has remained true to her commitment to client and staff safety.
Overcoming industry hurdles
Shelly and her team have also witnessed a surge in the need for home care assistance and quickly learned that home health care is both a recession- and pandemic- resistant business model. To keep up with demand, BrightStar Care made further efforts to support its medical professionals, purchasing $2m worth of PPE to secure inventory for franchise owners early in the pandemic. The need for caregivers and nurses to care for clients is always on the rise, and the nationwide labor shortage of 2021 challenged that need. However, Shelly worked swiftly to ensure BrightStar Care locations nationwide were covered.
To assist with recruiting top talent and to retain their amazing fleet of medical professionals BrightStar Care franchisees pay caregivers and home health aides five to 20 per cent above minimum wage in most markets because they believe caregivers perform an essential service and should be rewarded financially.
Paying competitive rates gives each franchisee a competitive advantage when sourcing new talent to join the team. As a continued effort BrightStar Care also strives to make new employees feel supported and connected to the organization.
Direct leadership for company-wide success
The company also makes provision for two-way communication between franchise owners and the corporate team, hosting quarterly town hall meetings, performance groups, an advisory council, annual conferences for both franchisees and frontline leaders, and personalised training for new franchise owners.
The goal is to clear a path to share best practices across the network. BrightStar Care also holds a very strong C-suite team, which allows Shelly to assist with more one-on-one time with franchisees.
Although there are more than 360 BrightStar Care locations across the country, she meets periodically with several owners at a time to learn about challenges and opportunities in their local markets, which allows her to prioritise resources at the national level.
Overall, Shelly’s leadership style is grounded in BrightStar Care’s core values – she knows that when her franchisees succeed, their clients thrive and BrightStar Care can continue to successfully operate offering essential care.
Rising above the competition
With home health care on the rise, BrightStar Care’s offerings remain unmatched by its competition. BrightStar Care operates with five separate revenue streams allowing franchisees uncapped earning potential.
In addition to providing the highest quantity of skilled and non-skilled in-home care for clients, BrightStar Care provides medical staffing, offering personnel to hospitals, nursing homes, doctors’ offices, labs, and anywhere home care staff is needed.
BrightStar Care also holds national contracts with government agencies that rely on its services; in these cases, corporate will tap franchisees to staff these national contracts, allowing for even more earning potential.
These additional services expand BrightStar Care’s offerings as opposed to competitors in the space. In addition to compassionate caregivers, each BrightStar Care agency also employs a registered nurse at every location who oversees every case to develop a truly personalised plan of care for each client, setting a higher standard that many competitors do not offer.
Innovation to remain consistent and create solutions
Shelly recognises that the health care market is constantly changing, with more seniors preferring to age in place, and with those aged 65 or older set to increase to 80 million by 2040, Shelly is focused on keeping BrightStar Care part of the solution to care. Shelly consistently runs towards change and has built BrightStar Care as a nimble company to adapt to the ever-changing health care landscape.
From a home health care standpoint, there is a lack of federal and state policies that enable the home to be a clinical care site for those in need, as BrightStar Care works to change those policies, organisations must update their recruiting policies to keep the workforce at bay to meet demand.
The pandemic intensified some of the biggest issues already facing the health care sector, but at the same time, it showed us how important it is to keep the most vulnerable safe at home. Earlier this year BrightStar Care joined Moving Health Home, a new coalition aimed at changing current federal and state policies that prevent the home from being an accredited clinical care site.
Home health care agencies and care facilities are experiencing challenges with finding caregivers and nurses; as a result, the quality of care could suffer in facilities due to the risk of overcrowding and a higher caregiver to resident ratio. To move in a direction where home health care can be a reality for all, permanent legislation that permits affordable in-home care, as an integral part of patient care, needs passage.
This is why Shelly believes the U.S. health care system is better served having more people stay home. Shelly leans into advocacy and has taken steps to mobilize the industry to ensure home care and assisted living care are part of the definition of health care.
Shelly’s leadership has also been nationally recognised over the years. In 2020 Shelly was named one of the top 25 highest rated CEOs during the COVID crisis by Glassdoor and she was named one of the Top 100 Female Founders by Inc. Magazine. Under Shelly’s leadership, BrightStar Care has also ranked on Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 list for ten consecutive years.
Shelly credits the company’s successful expansion to steadfast market research, its ability to adapt to change, and a commitment to quality client care and safety above all. While BrightStar Care continues to advocate for the future of care to be in the home, keeping costs down for clients and franchisees while maintaining the highest quality standards through their Joint Commission accreditation has been BrightStar Care’s North Star for success.