Jeff Bevis is co-founder and CEO of FirstLight Home Care. Jeff has more than 30 years of experience in franchising and a successful track record of accelerating growth in a variety of franchise concepts. He’s been designated a Certified Franchise Executive (CFE), meeting rigorous requirements from the franchising industry. However, with 15 years of experience specific to home care, FirstLight isn’t just a business for Jeff. He has personally served as a caregiver for family members four times in his life and he is passionate about improving quality of life for clients. That is central to the culture of care that FirstLight Home Care promises.
How did the concept for FirstLight Home Care come about?
We wanted to create a brand that resonated with life, vibrancy, and living life to its fullest versus more somber, life-ending brand names that seemed to be more widespread across the home care industry ten years ago. In order to set ourselves apart from all other companies, we created a brand logo and name that brings a new day, a new dawn to home care, in addition to the highest level of care and service quality.
How was the first year in business?
Our first year in business was meteoric, resulting in twelve new offices awarded, and we immediately established major differentiation in every market through our service quality, seven-touch client approach, and added focus on our caregiver recruiting, hiring, training, and retention. This also was in 2010, and many were asking why or how we ever thought this was a good time to create a whole new business in home care with the country coming out of the Great Recession.
What was your marketing strategy?
From day one, our marketing strategy has been different from others in our industry. Initially, we had a greater focus on the adult child as the true emerging decision maker, while the rest of our industry was still focused on the senior client themselves, thinking they were making the service decision. We were also the first home care company to provide a complete web-based system (in 2010) with added access for the adult child to see caregiver notes, caregiving schedules, and updates on their loved one via our ClientFirst web portal.
How fast did the company grow during the first few years?
During the first three years, we more than doubled in size, total revenues, clients being served, caregivers employed, and number of offices.
How do you define success?
Success means serving others and being able to impact more lives each day – whether it is in job creation or directly helping families manage the responsibilities of caring for aging parents and other family members. We simply want to be the very best in our industry as the true service leader and employer of choice. Those are the milestones and benchmarks that define our success.
What is the key to success?
Creating, supporting, and continually-reinforcing our core fundamentals and our culture of care to set us apart in every market, every day. And staying firm in our vision to be the true service leader in our industry with the client satisfaction survey data and caregiver retention data to back it all up.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
Always look for new, added talent. Your growth and success are only limited by your culture and belief in each other.
What are some quotes that you live by?
“There is no I in team.”
“People won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
What are some of your favorite books?
The Road Ahead by Bill Gates, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership and Winning with People by John Maxwell, Good To Great by Jim Collins, and The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt.
Tell me about one of the toughest days you’ve had as an entrepreneur.
Working with my son as a fellow co-founder to build out our infrastructure for FirstLight Home Care and fielding more and more doubters – from industry insiders to other companies – warning me the industry was already “saturated.” I wondered if this was worth it. Are we wrong and are all of these other home care experts right? It gave me a major threat to our thinking, our approach, and our vision, and I questioned if we were not making a major mistake to create, essentially bet the ranch on making FirstLight a true, new major force in home care.
When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
The drive to be the best, and recalling how the belief in myself and our team has enabled us to overcome past adversity time and time again. Most importantly, my personal experience as a family caregiver four different times in my life and seeing firsthand how much of a need there is across the U.S. for true, quality service leadership in our industry.
What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?
Never give up on your dream. Don’t let anyone else outwork you. Stay in touch with others with whom you’ve worked throughout your career to make future re-connections with those who share in the same purpose, vision, and mission as you. There is ALWAYS room for quality service in any industry, and do not let anyone tell you differently or persuade you otherwise!
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This interview was conducted for research purposes by author Jason Navallo for his upcoming book, Underdog.
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