Focused on Others: Multi-Unit Operator Embraces a Duty to Care
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Focused on Others: Multi-Unit Operator Embraces a Duty to Care

Focused on Others: Multi-Unit Operator Embraces a Duty to Care

Bryant Greene is driven to take care of those in need. He operates 15 Always Best Care Senior Services territories in Philadelphia and Delaware. With nearly 1,000 employees, he is the company's largest and top revenue-producing franchisee.

He also brings his compassion to bear at Uncle Beez Rescue Farm, a 13-acre nonprofit rescue farm he runs in south New Jersey where he cares for unwanted and discarded horses, donkeys, and other animals.

"I've always felt like I could connect better with the underdog," Greene says.

A native Philadelphian, he serves on the Pennsylvania Home Care Association board and uses his platform to advocate for vulnerable seniors who rely on home care to stay safe and independent in their communities. He also supports a variety of causes, including Alzheimer's outreach, children's groups, and grassroots community efforts.

Greene fell into franchising after meeting a franchise broker at a career fair. It was 2009, and he had spent more than a year pounding the pavement to find his next career move after losing his finance job at Comcast.

At the time, talk of opening up his own business during the Great Recession sounded crazy to Greene, but something made him stop and listen. When presented with four turnkey concepts, senior care appealed to him. Greene's early decision to become Medicaid-certified rather than rely on just private pay catapulted his success.

"Here I am almost 14 years later, and I'm still doing it," Greene says. "It's been really interesting, exciting, and stressful at times, but it's been a ride. It's definitely been a ride."

Named Franchisee of the Year twice by his Roseville, California, senior care services brand, Greene was also recognized as a 2023 Franchisee of the Year by the International Franchise Association.

He has been the longtime host of "Did You Know," a public affairs radio and regional television program in Philadelphia. Each year, he supports the fine arts, schools, and community organizations.

"What inspires me is that, as a black, minority business owner, I've been able to build a multicultural and intergenerational kind of a vibe," Greene says. "But what motivates me is the fact that I make decisions that guide people's livelihoods. A lot of people look to me for guidance and direction on personal and professional levels, and that motivates me."

Greene says the key to his success has been his ability to listen to people. He uses Survey Monkey to get a "pulse check" and gather ideas from his team.

"I recognize I don't have all the best ideas. And I think that's my superpower, to recognize that I have to understand how people perceive me and how they perceive this job," he says.

As a leader, Greene says it's important to share his mistakes, so his employees don't feel they have to hide theirs. "I always tell people that if I find out that you have a situation that you didn't bring to me, it will be a different conversation versus you bringing it to me and us working on it together," he says. "That's a trust, especially if you're in leadership."

Name: Bryant Greene
Title: Owner
Company: Always Best Care Philly and Delaware
No. of units: 15 Always Best Care Senior Services
Age: 54
Family: 1 daughter
Years in franchising: 13.5
Years in current position: 13.5

PERSONAL

First job: My very first job was apprenticing for my grandfather. I worked as a painter and general contractor.

Formative influences/events: A Jeffrey Osborne concert (where After 7 opened) with Mom. We sat up front and went backstage afterward to meet him. We've been going to concerts together since I was a little kid, so that's kind of our center in a lot of ways. These days, we vibe on old-school music and sometimes plays and shows. I'm a big showman too and have been in a couple of productions myself. Other formative events are the times spent talking with my grandparents in the kitchen.

Key accomplishments: Our team is made up of people from many cultural backgrounds and spans multiple generations. I'm proud of that diversity.

Biggest current challenge: Challenges with staying fully staffed continue to be at the forefront of business as the labor shortage wears on. Next big goal: Open a retail cannabis dispensary. I've been approved for a license. It's going to a 4,000-square-foot retail cannabis spot called Uncle Beez Greeneries. The tagline is going to be: "The grass is always greener at Uncle Beez."

First turning point in your career: I completed my MBA at Philadelphia University in 1996. I had already studied accounting and finance during my undergrad years, but adding a master's in business management and international business was a great personal accomplishment.

Best business decision: Hands down, the best business decision I ever made was to open a senior care business with Always Best Care.

Hardest lesson learned: Many people are very trusting by nature, but business will often teach us the hard way that not everyone can be trusted, even some family.

Work week: Seven days a week.

Exercise/workout: The best exercise I get is working on my rescue farm. In fact, I just came in from feeding several of the animals and checking on my new draft horses. There's always something to do on a farm.

Best advice you ever got: Every success or failure is an experience.

What's your passion in business? Inclusion and being able to motivate and mentor people.

How do you balance life and work? Ah, the elusive work-life balance. You have to stay vigilant about that, or work can have a way of taking over. I like to spend time on my farm.

Guilty pleasure: Popping hot air popcorn.

Favorite book: Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin.

Favorite movie: "The Wiz."

What do most people not know about you? Although I'm very active with many community organizations and host my own TV and radio shows, I consider myself a loner.

Pet peeve: Liars.

What did you want to be when you grew up? A great father.

Last vacation: Colorado Springs.

Person you'd most like to have lunch with: My daughter.

MANAGEMENT

Business philosophy: Teamwork makes the dream work.

Management method or style: I believe strongly in leading by example.

Greatest challenge: While having the opportunity to lead an intergenerational workforce is one of my favorite things about my business, it can be very challenging to communicate in a way that each generation will gravitate toward and respond to.

How do others describe you? I'm a caring person who has the opportunity to mentor many people in my business and personal life. Others would describe me as a coach and a giver of time, advice, and compassion.

Have you ever been in a mentor-mentee relationship? What did you learn? Yes, these relationships are so important. I've been in several and am always reminded to listen to others and spend more time observing than talking. When I am not sure if the message is going to come across to all generations, I do a pulse check using Survey Monkey and ask intentional and pointed questions about a topic to get a read on what my team wants.

One thing you're looking to do better: Focus on work-life balance.

How you give your team room to innovate and experiment: By making folks included in the discussion and feeling comfortable to share their ideas voluntarily. If it's too quiet, I start calling on people to engage and ask the direct questions. Most people who have worked for me will give honest feedback because they know it's a safe place.

How close are you to operations? I'm not heavily involved with the operations team. Instead, I challenge senior leadership to keep their fingers on the pulse of what is happening in the business and the industry.

What are the two most important things you rely on from your franchisor? Respect and autonomy.

What you need from vendors: My vendors will tell you that I prefer business category exclusivity.

Have you changed your marketing strategy in response to the economy? How? Yes, I've become more focused on community outreach and getting involved with more local groups for visibility and recruitment. We support all kinds of community events, such as reentry programs, Toys for Tots, turkey drives, homeless shelters, and the Walk to End Alzheimer's to name a few.

How is social media affecting your business? Social media is a positive asset for the business. We use these platforms to share our community events and let our followers know that we care about the communities they live in. It has the additional effect of getting more people involved with those organizations as well.

How do you hire and fire? Candidates meet with the hiring manager and HR. I am the last interview. I engage in behavioral and integrity questions.

How do you train and retain? We do a new hire orientation, and all employees go through it. Retention is an ongoing goal. Our leadership team does its best to engage, communicate, and where appropriate, incentivize with PTO, small electronics raffles, and concert, sports, and event tickets.

How do you deal with problem employees? Consistent communication and performance management.

Fastest way into your doghouse: Disorganization, apathy to position, lukewarm enthusiasm.

BOTTOM LINE

Annual revenue: $27 million.

2024 goals: $31 million.

Growth meter: How do you measure your growth? I measure business growth against key performance indicators. Some of the most important ones for me are the number of "start of cares," re-certs, terminations, missed visits, and why.

Vision meter: Where do you want to be in five years? 10 years? Semi-retired and spending more time on my farm.

Do you have brands in different segments? Why/why not? Not yet, but I'm looking at opening a retail cannabis dispensary.

How is the economy in your region(s) affecting you, your employees, your customers? People are cautious consumers.

Are you experiencing economic growth in your market? Yes, but more growth in one market over another. In some instances, the Medicaid reimbursement is better, which allows us to pay the direct care workers more.

How do changes in the economy affect the way you do business? Budget preparation and spending.

How do you forecast for your business? Based on historical data and current market trends.

What are the best sources for capital expansion? In my experience, I've found that grants and government programs are good sources for capital, particularly working opportunity tax credits and on-the-job training grants.

Experience with private equity, local banks, national banks, other institutions? Why/why not? Yes, great credit.

What are you doing to take care of your employees? Paid incentives, event tickets, acknowledgment.

How are you handling rising employee costs (payroll, minimum wage, healthcare, etc.)? By keeping a razor-sharp focus on expenses.

What laws and regulations are affecting your business, and how are you dealing with them? EVV compliance. A leadership task force.

How do you reward/recognize top-performing employees? Money, acknowledgment, promotions.

What kind of exit strategy do you have in place? Pending.

Published: February 24th, 2024

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