From convenience store worker to business owner: Tiffany Meachim, Walfinch Mansfield, explains how one meeting with Walfinch truly changed her life
“Sometimes one meeting can completely change your life,” says Tiffany Meachim, the Managing Director of Walfinch Mansfield, a growing franchised care business.
“When I was working in a convenience store, aged 18, I never imagined that within 20 years I’d be a business owner delivering valuable services to my community and employing 35 people,” she says.
“I had done reasonably well in my GCSEs but I was by no means an A* student, and I left school keen to get into work.
“I learnt a lot about customer service in my retail job, but I’d also been supporting a family member who had had a stroke. I found that rewarding, so I decided to apply for a health care assistant job in the NHS.”
However while Tiff found the NHS job rewarding she wanted more of a challenge. “You turned up, did your 12 hour shift and went home, says Tiff. “There was little variation and there was not much chance of making financial progress.”
Into the care sector
With customer service and healthcare experience, Tiff got a job with a live-in care provider, and over six years worked her way up to become a local area advisor.
“I would meet potential clients, assess each one’s needs, write their care plan, and then match them with one of our carers,” she says Tiff.
“As I worked my way up the ladder, my hunger for progress grew. I was working remotely, based at home, and making my own decisions,” says Tiff. “There was a lot of responsibility, but I liked the independence it gave me.”
However, there was no way for her to move up to the next level without relocating. Starting her own business began to sound like the next step – and as Tiff’s dad had founded his own laundry business, she knew it need not be out of reach.
Then Tiff met Amrit Dhaliwal, the founder and chief executive of home care franchise, Walfinch. Tiff had a streaming cold at the time, but her confidence led her to ask him how the franchise could help her achieve her ambition to start a home care business of her own.
Amrit recognised her enthusiasm and ambition, and urged her to consider becoming a Walfinch franchisee.
“It took my partner Ian and I 18 months to decide to invest in the franchise,” says Tiff. “We had to think carefully because we had a mortgage to pay and our first child, Harry, was less than one year old. It also took some time to get the finance organised.
“Starting a business is always a bit of risk, but I could see Amrit was a young and ambitious businessman willing to invest in me and our local community, so I was inspired by that.”
Transformation and education
Tiff started Walfinch Mansfield during the pandemic in 2021, when she was 33. It now employs a team of 35 carers, and she is taking on more staff to meet the growing demand.
She credits the franchise, and her dad, for her business education. “I absorbed a lot of skills from seeing my dad running his laundry business, but my formal business education came as part of the Walfinch franchise package, which taught me the skills I needed to run a successful business myself,” says Tiff.
“I knew the care sector well, but the Walfinch franchise gave me the support, training and coaching that was vital in turning my experience into a successful business.”
Tiff started out by working up to 50 hours a week, building and running her home care team and providing the care herself when necessary, as well as running the business with help from co-director Ian.
This determination paid off when The Care Quality Commission (CQC) rated Walfinch Mansfield ‘good’ in its first inspection, after just one year. Tiff says: “We are now working towards achieving the CQC’s outstanding status, while looking to expand our service offering to include live-in care.”
Combining business with a family
Practical help from the Walfinch franchisee support office and her home care team also allowed Tiff to take time off from the business after the birth of her second son. “That would have been far more difficult if I had been running a stand-alone business rather than being part of a franchise network,” she says.
“As an 18-year-old in a convenience store I never imagined I would be where I am now, combining a happy family with a growing home care business. I’m living proof that if you have ambition, a willingness to work hard, and the courage to start your own business, a franchise can literally change your life.”