In honor of International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating the incredible women in business who power Caremark franchises across the UK. We’ll be highlighting their inspiring stories and exploring how Caremark fosters an environment for female entrepreneurship.

The landscape of entrepreneurship is changing, with women increasingly leading the charge. While only 18% of SME employers in the UK are women-led, the healthcare sector boasts the highest percentage (44%), according to official data from the Department for Business and Trade. Interestingly, a 2023 British Franchise Association report indicates a 20% rise in female franchisees since 2015, with 37% of new franchisees in the past three years being women.

Now, let’s dive deeper and explore the journeys of two of our remarkable female franchise owners at Caremark. They will share their unique experiences and insights about building successful businesses within our empowering franchise network.

women in business: shon dhillon caremark bromley

Women In Business: Sharon Dhillon

The first story about women in business with Caremark is from Sharon Dhillon. The dedicated franchise owner of Caremark Bromley, shares insights into her enriching journey with Caremark:

My entrepreneurial journey all began with the belief that compassionate care should be accessible to everyone. This vision served as the guiding force behind every decision and action as I embarked on.

It all started with meticulous research and planning, delving into the intricacies of the care industry. Armed with insights, I took the leap to establish the foundation of the home care business. The emphasis being on principles of empathy, professionalism, innovation, quality care and being able to deliver services to niche areas.

Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of starting a care business has been the profound impact we’ve had on the lives of those we serve. From providing companionship to the elderly and empowering individuals (including young children) with disabilities, to facilitating rehabilitation and palliative care services, every interaction has been a testament to the transformative power of compassionate care.

Looking ahead, my entrepreneurial journey in running a business continues to evolve. I am guided by a commitment to excellence, integrity, and the mission to make a positive difference in the lives of others.

Sharan Dhaliwal

Another story about women in business with Caremark: Sharan Dhaliwal, the franchise owner of Caremark Cardiff.

My journey over the last 7 years has not been all plain sailing. There have been many challenges across the way but it’s how you manage and overcome them is the key.

It can be a lonely journey but being part of a franchise means there is always support at hand. I have learnt from the mistakes I have made along the way and am always striving to achieve the best I can.

Building solid and trusting relationships with stake providers; people we support, their family members have over the years earned us the respect as being a provider of choice within our community.

women in business: sharan dhaliwal from caremark cardiff

What inspired you to pursue a career in running a business?

Sharon Dhillon: “The inspiration stems from a profound desire to make a meaningful impact on people’s lives. Witnessing firsthand the challenges individuals face in accessing quality care and support services, ignited a passion within me to create a solution-oriented approach.

I’ve always believed in the power of compassionate care. The transformative effect it can have on individuals and communities alike. I am driven by the opportunity to make a positive difference in people’s lives during their times of need.

The inspiration to pursue a career in running a business stemmed from a blend of personal passion, a desire for autonomy, and a keen interest in problem-solving. Witnessing the impact that innovative ideas and strategic decision-making can have on shaping industries and communities ignited my entrepreneurial spirit. Moreover, the prospect of creating something meaningful, contributing to economic growth, and fostering employment opportunities further fuelled my aspiration to embark on this challenging yet rewarding journey. Ultimately, the belief in the power of entrepreneurship to drive positive change and make a difference in the world continues to be a driving force behind my pursuit of a career in running a business. I like to be challenged and make a difference!

Sharan Dhaliwal: I was at a time in my life that I needed to venture out and start my next chapter in my life for my own growth and development. Having always worked in care; I felt comfortable taking the leap from leaving the NHS and into running my own business within the domiciliary care sector. I believe women in businesses can be very successful. Nothing is impossible, you just need resilience and adaptability as you move forwards each day. Each day in your life is an opportunity; especially when you are building a successful business.

How have you navigated the challenges of running a business?

Sharon Dhillon: One of the primary challenges I’ve encountered is balancing the needs of our customers with the resources available. This involves continually ensuring adequate staffing levels, and managing budgets effectively. Through strategic planning and constant monitoring of our operations, we’ve been able to address these challenges and maintain high standards of care.

Another significant hurdle has been recruiting and retaining skilled care assistants. The demand for qualified professionals in the healthcare industry is high, and competition for talent can be fierce. To overcome this challenge, we’ve implemented comprehensive recruitment strategies, including targeted advertising, competitive compensation packages, and ongoing training opportunities. Additionally, fostering a positive work culture and providing support for our staff members has been instrumental in retaining talented individuals and reducing turnover.

Furthermore, navigating the complex CQC requirements governing the Care industry requires diligence and attention to detail. Staying abreast of changes in regulations, licensing requirements, and compliance standards is essential to ensure that our business operates ethically and within the bounds of the law.

In summary, navigating the challenges of running a business requires a multifaceted approach. It encompasses strategic planning, effective resource management, talent acquisition and retention, adherence to regulatory standards and detailed cash flow management. By remaining adaptable, we’ve been able to overcome these challenges and continue to thrive in a competitive industry.

Sharan Dhaliwal: I have been committed in putting in the long hours of hard work. This has been pivotal in the success of the business. As the years have gone by, I have achieved a better work life balance. I believe in staying honest and humble. At the same time, I remain driven and focussed on the task at hand and persevering against all odds.

Have there been specific hurdles you’ve faced, and how did you overcome them?

Sharon Dhillon: Running a home care business certainly comes with its unique set of challenges, and pricing is indeed a significant issue that we’ve encountered. Maintaining competitive pricing while ensuring high-quality care is delivered can be quite a balancing act.

One of the specific hurdles we faced regarding pricing was finding the sweet spot where we could offer services at rates that were affordable for customers while also covering our operational costs and maintaining a sustainable profit margin. We understood that home care services are often essential and needed by families who may already be under financial strain due to medical expenses and other costs associated with caregiving, and also the constraints of government funding.

To overcome this challenge, we took several strategic steps:

  • We conducted a comprehensive analysis of our operational costs.
  • We researched the local market extensively to understand the pricing strategies of our competitors.
  • We focused on emphasising the value and quality of our services.
  • We continuously looked for ways to streamline our operations and improve efficiency without compromising the quality of care.
  • We offered flexible pricing options, such as customisable care packages and payment plans.

Sharan Dhaliwal: Recruiting the right staff members that fit into our Caremark culture, ethos and fit for the role have been a hurdle at times. I have developed my skills in identifying suitable candidates during the application stage and being able to nurture my workforce and getting the best out of them. Today we have great positive energy across our team.

In your opinion, what are the most rewarding aspects of being a business owner?

Sharon Dhillon: As a business owner, I find several aspects rewarding. Firstly, the autonomy and flexibility to shape the direction of the business according to my vision and values are incredibly fulfilling. Being able to make decisions that directly impact the growth and success of the enterprise is empowering.

Secondly, witnessing the tangible results of hard work and innovation is immensely satisfying. Seeing ideas come to fruition, witnessing the business thrive, and creating value for customers, employees, and stakeholders bring a sense of accomplishment.

Moreover, the opportunity to cultivate a vibrant company culture and build a supportive team is enriching. Fostering a collaborative environment where individuals can grow, develop their skills, and contribute to the company’s mission fosters a sense of fulfilment and community.

Furthermore, the potential for financial rewards and long-term stability is another significant benefit of business ownership. While the journey may be challenging, the ability to reap the rewards of dedication and perseverance can be substantial.

Overall, the autonomy, creativity, impact, potential for growth, and flexibility makes being a business owner an incredibly rewarding.

Sharan Dhaliwal: Being instrumental in making change; innovative and being creative; enabling you to make decisions autonomously. I get a lot of value from our customer feedback. Our customers inspire me; their positive compliments in the excellence of care they receive from us and from the things that matter to them so that we can improve.

What advice would you offer to aspiring women interested in entrepreneurship?

Sharon Dhillon: To other women in business, or who aspire to, she would say:

  • Build a Strong Support Network: Surround yourself with mentors, peers, and advisors who can offer guidance, support, and encouragement along your entrepreneurial journey.
  • Embrace Challenges: Understand that entrepreneurship comes with its fair share of challenges and setbacks. Embrace them as opportunities for growth and learning rather than obstacles.
  • Develop Resilience: Entrepreneurship can be unpredictable and demanding. Cultivate resilience to bounce back from failures and setbacks, and keep pushing forward towards your goals.
  • Network Strategically: Build meaningful relationships within your industry and community. Networking can open doors to new opportunities, partnerships, and potential customers.
  • Prioritise Self-Care: Remember to prioritise your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Establish boundaries, manage stress effectively, and make time for activities that recharge and rejuvenate you.
  • Be Flexible and Adaptive: Stay agile and open to change. The entrepreneurial landscape is constantly evolving, so be willing to pivot your strategies and adapt to new circumstances.
  • Celebrate Your Achievements: Recognise and celebrate your successes, no matter how small. Acknowledge your progress and use it as motivation to keep moving forward.
  • Stay True to Your Values: Let your values guide your decisions and actions as an entrepreneur. Building a business that aligns with your core beliefs will not only bring you fulfilment but also resonate with your customers and stakeholders.

Remember, entrepreneurship is a journey filled with ups and downs, but with passion, determination, and perseverance, you can turn your vision into reality.

Sharan Dhaliwal: Be confident; know your boundaries; be inspired by other successful women in business in the world and never stop learning. Do your research and take the plunge! Follow your dreams and never be afraid.

As one of the most successful women in the Caremark franchise, what emotions does this accomplishment evoke for you?

women in business: sharon dhillon winning caremark award

Sharon Dhillon: Firstly, there’s an overwhelming sense of pride. This is in the hard work, dedication, and determination that have propelled me to this position.

Secondly, there’s a deep sense of gratitude. This is for the support and opportunities provided by Caremark. Also, the trust and confidence that colleagues, customers, and stakeholders have placed in me along the way. At the same time, there’s a humbling recognition of the responsibility that comes with success. It inspires me to continue pushing boundaries, striving for excellence, and being a positive influence within the franchise and the broader community. It also fuels a sense of motivation to mentor and empower other women to pursue their aspirations and break through barriers in their own careers. In essence, this accomplishment is a powerful reminder of the potential for growth, impact, and fulfilment that lies within each of us, regardless of gender. It’s a celebration of progress, resilience, and the limitless possibilities that come with dedication, hard work and passion.

Sharan Dhaliwal: Emotions of overcome happiness; joy and feeling very proud of my team who share this success with me alongside our RSM and Quality Manager. I’m very moved and honoured for the recognition given by Caremark Ltd and my fellow colleagues in our network for our achievements.

women in business: sharan dhaliwal winning caremark award

Our incredible female franchise owners demonstrate that while being a woman in business comes with unique challenges, it also offers immense satisfaction. From leading teams to delivering exceptional care, their journeys showcase the potential for profound meaning and fulfillment that surpasses a typical job.


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