Nursing Franchise Owner on Prestige


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The management of change has been a regular part of Robert Sage’s business career ever since he became Prestige Nursing ’s first franchisee back in 1997.

He tried many different careers before investing in the nursing franchise opportunity, having originally began in civil engineering and railway design which he soon found was not challenging enough.

As he had always wanted to work for himself he began importing wine, beer, spirits and tobacco from other European countries, selling dietary products and even property renovation, which succeeded to varying degrees.

Prestige Nursing has succeeded to a significant degree, now boasting a turnover of £5m.

FS Blog: You've ran businesses before - what compelled you to buy a franchise?

Robert Sage: I quickly realised that, whilst I loved working for myself, I needed the help and advice of an organisation with experience and a successful track record that would allow me to put my energies to more effective use. Investing in a franchise was therefore an ideal solution, particularly in the fast growing healthcare sector.

FS Blog: Tell me how the business went in the early days?

Robert: We continued to grow strongly from 2000 onwards, so much so that we became the largest nursing agency in Bristol. However during 2005/6, NHS Hospitals in Bristol, who up until then had been some of our largest clients, reduced their spending on agency staff significantly, meaning we faced the loss of a major portion of our sales almost overnight.

FS Blog: So you've recovered from that, presumably?

Robert: Compared to a few years ago we are actually turning over less hours per week, but we are now far more profitable and far less exposed to any one sector.

FS Blog: So you learnt the benefits of diversification...

Robert: Like many owner-managers I was too busy working in the business to work on it. As a result we sometimes lacked a clear strategic direction as I often became too engrossed in filling shifts for clients to actually sit back and consider the bigger picture.

Jonathan Bruce, managing director of the company, cannot speak highly enough of Robert:

"Robert represents all that is good about both franchising and the care business and we are proud to have him with us. When you consider how much he has achieved when he is still not even 36, then you appreciate why we were delighted to put him forward as a worthy Franchisee of the Year to the BFA recently.”