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From Coffee Shop Owner to Home Care Franchising Innovator

Amrit Dhaliwal

Walfinch

Powered By:

hsbcinnovationbanking logo

From Coffee Shop Owner to Home Care Franchising Innovator

Amrit Dhaliwal

|

Walfinch

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Amrit Dhaliwal Walfinch
Full transcript here

About Amrit Dhaliwal

Episode 144: Amardeep Parmar from The BAE HQ  welcomes Amrit Dhaliwal, CEO of Walfinch.

Amrit Dhaliwal, CEO and founder of Walfinch, shares his entrepreneurial journey from running various small businesses to disrupting the home care franchise industry.

Amrit Dhaliwal


Walfinch

Show Notes

00:00: Intro 

01:39 - Early business interests and family influence.

03:23 - University experience and starting small ventures.

04:32 - Initial entrepreneurial efforts in selling martial arts gear.

05:21 - Investment failures during university, including property in Budapest.

06:12 - Shift to headhunting and then buying an Italian restaurant.

07:18 - Restaurant challenges and business operation lessons.

10:37 - Transitioning the restaurant to fine dining.

11:57 - Importance of knowledgeable support.

14:22 - Learning leadership and cash flow management.

17:22 - Moving from restaurant business to home care franchising.

19:53 - Balancing the restaurant and home care business.

20:43 - Realising the need for innovation in home care franchising.

23:13 - Wolfinch's unique features and advantages.

26:32 - Importance of technology and remote management.

28:41 - Advice for aspiring franchisors and unit-level economics.

32:26 - Funding the franchise through private means.

34:04 - Celebrating the first franchisee and growth milestones.

35:43 - Future goals for Wolfinch, including expansion.

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Amrit Dhaliwal Full Transcript

Amrit Dhaliwal: 0:00What could I do next? And she was like have you thought about domiciliary care? Like every self-respecting 26-year-old Asian dude, my next question was what the hell is that? And it was then that I realized that this is the problem. I need to really sort of do something with the franchising side of things, because both home care and home care franchising felt very archaic and for somebody that was not from the industry and all I needed was someone to just wind me up and say go in that direction. But it just wasn't there. And so I thought well, this is the real problem, this is the thing that I can scale. I can impact way more people by franchising my business.

Amardeep Parmar: 0:41

Today on the podcast we have Amrit Dhaliwal, who's the CEO and founder of Walfinch. They're disrupting the home care franchise industry. Amrit grew up in Southall and had many different ideas. When he was a kid they were doing different small businesses and this continued with him throughout university. He ended up buying a small Italian coffee shop randomly and then grew that and then grew an Italian restaurant and did so many different things. But he ended up going into the home care industry and realised there was so much that could be changed and that led him to create Walfinch, which has now grown to over 30 franchisees, where it's continuing to scale and to try and make things better, especially for the franchisees who own those businesses, so they can be profitable and continue to grow. I hope you enjoy this episode. I'm Amar from the BAE HQ and this podcast is powered by HSBC Innovation Banking. Great to have you on today, Amrit. I know you've got a really interesting story and you've done so many different things, but where did it all start from? What did you want to do when you were a kid?

Amrit Dhaliwal: 1:39

Interestingly, I've always been very interested in business, even as a young child. I remember my parents used to have shops which won't be a surprise to a lot of the Asians out there and I was involved in that and, you know, did all of that kind of support work that you do and went to the market stalls and all of that jazz. But I remember I was like eight years old selling Ryan Giggs posters in the playground and you know it just always got me thinking, you know, this is kind of the thing that I'm interested in and good at, and I didn't want a real job ever. So, yeah, I mean, I'd probably say that it's always been the thing that I was keen on.

Amardeep Parmar: 2:22

And growing up as well in that kind of environment. You did go to university right as well, so what was behind you going to university rather than just trying to go straight into doing your own thing?

Amrit Dhaliwal: 2:31

I suppose it was a bit of fear, you know, which is normal, I suppose, and also I just think, as a again growing up, the way that I imagine most Asians have grown up. You're sort of thinking, well, there's been something that's just been plugged away, You're going to do your A-levels, you're going to go to university, then you're going to go and get a professional job, and so on, and so part of it was having a backup plan. Part of it was the fear of, well, okay, well, when and if I do the thing that I'm saying and I've always said I'm going to go and do what if I can't? And part of it was a bit of family expectation as well. Right, but actually for me I was really interested in going to university. I enjoyed the economics and the history, but I was really interested in going to university because it was just a whole new chapter, a bit of freedom, lots of fun, which I had plenty of.

Amardeep Parmar: 3:22

Where did you go to?

Amrit Dhaliwal: 3:23

I went to Keele and so one of my best friends, Sandeep Gupta. He went to Birmingham University and so we were sort of tag-teaming the whole of the Midlands for about three years.

Amrit Dhaliwal: 3:35

So that was good fun and not allowed back up north but hey-ho. So that was really great. But I think actually what it did teach me was independence and being that much further away from home and family and so on. Actually it really was the first time I kind of grew up at scale basicall. Amardeep Parmar: And while you're at university, obviously you're having lots of fun.

Amardeep Parmar: 3:58

When will you start something about like what actual business am I going to do?

Amrit Dhaliwal: 4:01

So my friend Sandeep, who I told you about me and him were always kind of cooking up plans and saying, well, okay, so what could we do? And we were both into martial arts and so in our first year of A-Levels we started a little business I'm going to use some inverted commas here and it was all about selling martial arts equipment and so on, and so we were able to get some things in. We had like samurai swords and other random stuff and whatever.

Amrit Dhaliwal: 4:32

Legally, of course, it was all legal at the time, right they changed the law actually on that, and so what was really interesting was that we sort of started figuring out well, are you all kind of by a persona who wants this, and what's the markup on it, and so on, and this. You know, internet was relatively primitive at the time and so you know he was a bit of a whiz doing that. I was quite happy to go and rock up and, you know, speak to people, and so we sort of tag-teamed this, but actually, you know, made quite a substantial sort of bit of turnover there and I then in my first year of university, started to funnel that into getting into trading and day trading at university and playing around with that we got into.

Amrit Dhaliwal: 5:21

There was a relationship we had with somebody who had wholesale perfumes of all the most random things and so yeah, we'll spend three thousand pounds on on on this and then we'll sell it for 12 and and so on. And obviously you know that didn't really happen that way. In my second year of university I I flew out to Budapest and I thought, right, okay, if I just get all of the overdraft facilities together that I'm allowed to get as a student, and student loans and et cetera, et cetera, I could buy a property in Budapest and start flipping it, because the property market was apparently quite hot there. And little did I know that it was sort of it was peaking off. And so I did this trip, met these brokers. Sort of it was, it was peaking off. And um, so I did this trip, met these brokers. I was about to put an offer down on something, and then the market just crashed, which was really good timing, yeah and um and so.

Amrit Dhaliwal: 6:12

so I'm then going into my third year thinking, uh-oh, you know, I better actually start studying here. I might actually need this, right? And. And so I started thinking about various different things, saying, okay, well, what would that look like? And so on, left university and everyone around me is getting jobs, and so on. So I sort of panic bought, went into headhunting, did that for about eight months and I thought, no, thank you, I just cannot work for somebody else. I mean, I worked pretty hard because it's just the way I've been raised and, you know, had the big most call times in the whole whole company, but I just, you know, it just didn't make me tick, I wasn't interested. So I was able to get some funding together and got involved in a restaurant in Richmond which I had absolutely zero idea about. So I thought, well, this will be a good idea. Good idea, I've seen the good fellas.

Amardeep Parmar: 7:04

How hard could it be?

Amrit Dhaliwal: 7:05

So it was an Italian place and we had some fun and it was brutally hard work, but yeah, that kind of got me started on my entrepreneurial journey in the most real sense of it.

Amardeep Parmar: 7:18

I think it's really interesting. When I look at your profile, I can understand okay, you had this business. That was an Italian coffee shop. You're like, oh, did he have a really big passion for Italian coffee? What was behind that? So it's really interesting to hear that story about it's. Also, I love the honesty, right, because sometimes people in hindsight are like, oh yeah, I've always wanted to have an Italian coffee shop and it's like to try and get the story across.

Amardeep Parmar: 7:38

Right, and part of it was coming across is that all the experimentation, yeah, and you're doing different things, and then you learn what you're enjoying, what you're not enjoying, and then that took you down the path. You make loads of mistakes, but you also learn so much from that. It's so true, I think.

Amrit Dhaliwal: 7:50

I think, as an entrepreneur, you have to be really intuitive and think, well, what am I good at and also, what am I really bad at? And and what I knew was, uh, you know, I remember sitting there and I'm in cannon street in this massive office block, and I'm I'm sort of sitting there and I'm in Cannon Street in this massive office block, and I'm sort of sitting there and I'm thinking, you know, obviously, well, I should be working. I'm sure a lot of people can relate to this.

Amardeep Parmar: 8:13

I've got, you know, businesses for sale over there and I was like what the hell could I do?

Amrit Dhaliwal: 8:20

You know, I have no skills, I have no experience and I have very little money. And I was like, so great, so what can I do? And I thought, okay, so I've got a bit of bants and I don't mind talking to people, I'll buy a bar and.

Amrit Dhaliwal: 8:36

I'll do that. I didn't drink, I was a teetotaler until I was like 28. You can blame my wife for my 29th birthday and I thought okay. So I started looking at bars and then I saw this deli in Richmond. I thought, okay, it's not a huge departure. So I went to see it and it was a really great little place and it was pouring down with rain the day I went to see it and I sort of rock up to this old Italian gentleman called Angelo.

Amardeep Parmar: 9:07

Weirdly the business was also called Angelo's. The shocker isn't it?

Amrit Dhaliwal: 9:10

And so I rock up to this guy and he's like what do you want? And I was like I want to buy the thing. He's looking at me, I'm like some spotty 22-year-old.

Amardeep Parmar: 9:18

He's like go away.

Amrit Dhaliwal: 9:21

And so we started having this conversation and it was my first sort of. I'm looking at this place and I thought, okay, I saw it, as it has lots of potential, it could be a really beautiful Italian restaurant. It was perfectly profitable and fine as it was, but for him. And what I didn't realize at the time was when you're buying a small business, there's a lot of goodwill that just walks out the door with the previous owner if they are day-to-day involved, and I think the statistic is something like 20% of the revenue just walks out with them and then you screw up another 20% of the revenue because you're trying to learn and you didn't have quite as many meatballs in someone's takeaway as someone else did All of that kind of jazz.

Amrit Dhaliwal: 10:01

And so you know quite quickly you're sort of left with an uh-oh moment or you sort of get in and say, right, okay, I'm going to now hold on to this and change it. And I went through a whole rebrand and remarketed the business and made that more of a kind of fine dining Italian restaurant. So it was really very much a journey that I went on there and I got involved in it in the first place, thinking well, this is the kind of the baseline of what I probably could do and something that would be profitable enough for me to live off, basically, and springboard off.

Amardeep Parmar: 10:37

So how did you learn some of that stuff? Because at this today, like there's a million things on the Internet, you can Google this and Google that and Google this, but when you're doing that, it was a bit on, yeah, where there maybe wasn't the same resources available. How are you, like, what made you think about like okay, I'm going to pivot this to a fine dining from the deli like where did that idea come from?

Amrit Dhaliwal: 10:52

I mean, honestly, it was really when you're in the moment, so many decisions are made from the fear that you live in, basically thinking, right, okay, I can see, you know, initially I got in and revenue was going up, and then the winter months came in and so on, and I thought, okay, I didn't really understand that this was such a seasonal business. And then it started tipping off, um, and then you know, staff leave and and you know, and all of that kind of stuff, and and you and and enough people get to know that it's changed hands and and all of that. And then the next new thing comes on, two doors down and so on. And so I thought, well, how do I, how do I maximize this place? Right, you know it's, I bought it and it was a lunch business, but actually there's, there's not much footfall here and um, so so how do I?

Amrit Dhaliwal: 11:40

How do I fix that? And I thought, well, okay, it needs to be an evening business. So what does that look like? And then you just kind of take away and think, right, actually, this I think will work. And then you really get behind an idea and convince yourself that, hey, this is it?

Amrit Dhaliwal: 11:57

And it was really interesting because what I was I think I've always been relatively good at is surrounding myself with good people, better people than me, people that understand whatever the principal business is, and so there were various old Italian dudes.

Amrit Dhaliwal: 12:15

They were dudes that were involved either kind of in the business or a bit of a consigliere sort of role and so saying, well, okay, I think that chef is okay and no, actually he needs to go, and you know this, this passes, you know overcooked, and all of that kind of jazz. So so it was really interesting having a few people like that around me and with the support of that, you know, and and then sort of getting into looking around at what was around and you know what seemed to be a good business, which seemed to be restaurants, and then getting into saying, well, okay, right, what does that look like? Practically, I then got an interior decorator, because you know I'm from Southall. Right, you know, the sofas have plastic wrapped around them and so on.

Amrit Dhaliwal: 13:00

I'm like no why do I need an interior decorator?

Amardeep Parmar: 13:04

I love going to a restaurant and they'm like no, why do I know about interior decorating. I'd love to go into a restaurant and they're safe as that. It could be retro 70s in Southall, you know, I think you'd just come up with a business idea right there, right.

Amrit Dhaliwal: 13:15

And so I, you know, and it was really, it was really quite fun. You know, I'm given these wallpaper samples. I'm like I don't know which one do you think? Yeah, that's what I think. So so you sort of, you know, came up with this concept and the theme and you know that whole kind of vibe and it was, it was great fun.

Amrit Dhaliwal: 13:33

And what I realized was that you know I'm never going back, you know I'm never going into employment, or certainly I never want to, and and so you then just grapple away and think, okay, well, what? Okay, well, what's the next thing? And what's doing well, what's doing well enough? The thing I found really hard were two things I found really hard were one was leadership in general and just learning that, especially when you're 30 years younger than your staff, and so there's various issues that come with that. And the other thing was cash flow and understanding money in numbers. You know I had to do loads of work around that and sometimes you know it was quite brutal, because you think, well, okay, you're trying to pull money out to live, you're trying to invest money back in and you're trying to, you know, maintain supplies and so on. So you really learn cash flow in a very real way.

Amardeep Parmar: 14:22

Yeah, and as you mentioned there, did you have any imposter syndrome at that point? Or did you feel like who the hell am I? Or were you just really enjoying it? What was your mentality like, I guess?

Amrit Dhaliwal: 14:38

It's a very good question. If I'm really honest, I got imposter syndrome right this second, actually, simon Mills, who came on board with me as a mentor, but he deals with a lot of our franchise development at Wolf Inches. One of the first coaching sessions I I did with him, he, he sort of said, look, you know, it's not an imposter syndrome, it's an imposter moment, and I thought that was quite interesting. So so you do have these moments. I mean, at that time it was probably more of a syndrome than a moment. So, uh, and and now I sort of walk in some rooms. I'm like what the hell am I doing here? You know, no one's going to take me seriously and you go through that, you know. You know, at the time it was really understanding myself and thinking, well, okay, I speak differently to everybody here. You know, you have to learn so much, but actually learning how to speak is probably the hardest part.

Amrit Dhaliwal: 15:34

I used to drop my T's and D's and you know, yeah, you know, and and actually, yeah, you know, throw a few whiskeys my way and you'll you'll hear it right, so so so there's there's, there's all of that part and and understanding the culture, understanding everything.

Amrit Dhaliwal: 15:51

Actually, you know, and and I was always a good mimic, and so I I learned from watching other people. I learned how to swim by watching other people swim, and and so, you know, I learned how to operate in these sort of environments because actually, quite fortunately, my first business was in richmond and it's very affluent, and so I had access to these really sort of pristine people that dressed a certain way, looked a certain way, ate a certain way, you know, use knives and forks properly, and you know all of that and and so so you sort of understand how to to do that in a very kind of practical way. So so the answer is absolutely I have. Um, I think I think anyone that says that they don't have those sort of moments is probably lying, because I think we all do, and actually, interestingly, I think, even really well educated, very well healed people have those, have those times as well, and that's okay. You know, actually that's part of the thing that keeps us driving right.

Amardeep Parmar: 16:52

I always think that's interesting to share as well, because there are going to be a lot of people listening who are from the kind of areas we grew up in, who didn't say their T's and even now, obviously, considering what I do, if you heard me speak half my life ago, you'd never think I would have a podcast one day or be speaking like I am today. So I think it's just really important for people to see that that can change and you can grow in that way too. Absolutely, and with that restaurant business.

Amrit Dhaliwal: 17:22

Obviously, you then continue to grow it and you did very well. What was that tipping point for you to then be like, okay, what's the next challenge? So so I I actually had another business in the same area. I went to bath for a weekend, went to the pump rooms, which were very lovely, but I'm sitting in this beautiful building and I'm given a 30 pound afternoon tea with a cup of tea, scones and a couple of sandwiches.

Amrit Dhaliwal: 17:41

I'm thinking I know the margin on this, I can do this. So I went back to Richmond. There was this old fashion boutique that closed down and I revamped it, made it into a tea room, built that up, sold it, won some business awards and all that. But then I'm back in the restaurant and just slogging away and it was like 90-hour weeks basically.

Amrit Dhaliwal: 18:02

And I met my now wife, my then girlfriend, who's a dentist, very nine to five and she used to work four days a week and we'd meet on a Monday afternoon because I was basically working the rest of the time and in my head I'm my head, I'm thinking well, actually I really like to get more serious here and propose to her and all of that. But actually you know my income's like this, my time is gone. How do I do that? And so we we're having this cup of coffee, um, in in Amersham in this old, um, really lovely uh cafe, which I don't know if it's all their seasons, and it's a place that we used to hang out. And I was saying to her what could I do next? And she was like, have you thought about domiciliary care? Like every self-respecting 26 year old asian dude. My next question was what the hell is?

Amrit Dhaliwal: 18:52

that so I was gonna ask the same question. Yeah, and she was like look, I think you'd be really good at home care. You've kind of got this sort of skill set, you're kind of empathetic enough and all of that. So next thing I know I'm basically speaking to all the different franchises all around the country, bought a franchise and so I'm living in buckinghamshire, I'm driving an hour to oxfordshireshire where my home care business was. I'm doing a nine to five there, driving three hours to Richmond, working there until midnight, driving an hour back home to Buckinghamshire and then speaking to my girlfriend for an hour and a half on the phone, kind of keeping those plates, and then waking up early trying to hit the gym, I think for about two years I probably slept for about four hours a night on average, and then weekends I was fully at the restaurant, because that was a time that we actually made some money, right so, and I was like my god, this is brutal. But I ended up then selling the restaurant, uh, and and then moving full-time into the home care business as that started to grow.

Amrit Dhaliwal: 19:53

But what I realized this is probably 2012 in September that I signed my franchise agreement, got my registration in November, started trading January or February of 13. And it was then that I realized that this is the problem I need to really solve. The problem that I need to fix is not really the home care issue, which there are various issues in, and actually, yeah, you know, there's lots of positive transformation that can happen there and disruption that can happen there. You know, simply moving online and going paperless is a huge piece of work and actually that's really quite important in the industry. But what I realized was actually it's probably bigger than that it's probably that I need to do something with the franchising side of things.

Amrit Dhaliwal: 20:43

Because, you know, both home care and home care franchising felt very archaic and for somebody that was not from the industry and all I needed was someone to just wind me up and say go in that direction. But it just wasn't there because historically it'd been government contracts and it'd been. You know, you're from a care background carer, registered manager, whatever it is here you go, go do the work. And so I thought, well, this is the real problem, this is the thing that I can scale. I can impact way more people by franchising my business. So I got loads of external support, built my business, so I got loads of external support, bought my business up to about a million pounds in revenue in a few years and then sold it and then started my own franchising business and that's been loads of fun very painful as well, as any startup is, and you sort of get really personal with it, especially when you've been on the other side as well. So you kind of want excellent support and that's really important to me. So that's kind of the journey really.

Amardeep Parmar: 21:45

We hope you're enjoying the episode so far. We just want to give a quick shout out to our headline partners, HSBC Innovation Banking. One of the biggest challenges for so many startups is finding the right bank to support them, because you might start off and try to use a traditional bank, but they don't understand what you're doing. You're just talking to an AI assistant or you're talking to somebody who doesn't really understand what it is you've been trying to do. HSBC have got the team they've built out over years to make sure they understand what you're doing. They've got the deep sector expertise and they can help connect you with the right people to make your dreams come true. So, if you want to learn more, check out hsbc innovation banking. com. Yeah, because it's really interesting to see.

Amardeep Parmar: 22:24

What I love about your story is that there are all these different points which are so like almost sliding door moves right, like if your girlfriend at the time hadn't said, oh, check out this. Yeah, would you. You didn't have a massive passion for it, but what you have is that ability to. Okay, I'm going to learn about this. I'm going to go and do that and go from there as well, because, well, I know there's a lot where people who are interested in becoming entrepreneurs of starting a business but they just don't really know what they want to do about that, like what ideas they take on, and sometimes there's a case of just run with something, learn and from that you might find another business. So you took over as a franchisee, first to learn about it and then like, actually, from that I now know this and tell us about Wolf Inches. Right? So what makes Wolf Inches a different brand to? Like? What was your competitive advantage? Like what makes it something which you're doing separately to how people were doing it before?

Amrit Dhaliwal: 23:13

I think there's quite a lot there, and one of the key things is that it is owned totally by myself, being someone of an immigrant background that really understands that grit and resilience and really sticks in there, not some American private equity firm and so on. So I think that's one really big kind of differentiator. The other thing is that you know I've been a former franchisee in the home care space, so I really understand the plight of a franchisee and you know I've walked in their shoes and so everything that we do at Wolfinch is very much about that. It's about the franchisee. We do at Wolfinch is very much about that. It's about the franchisee. So we're totally paperless with quite sort of technology.

Amrit Dhaliwal: 24:08

The technological advances within our business are, you know, we've got a big advantage on that to a lot of our competitors and the reason for that is because we're the new kids right. Because we're the new kids right. So we're looking at things with all of the kind of tech stack that you've got available today and saying, well, in 20 years' time, yeah, we don't know what it's going to be like, but we do know it's not going to be filing cabinets and all of that jazz, right, and so what we don't have is this big piece of work to do to kind of make everyone go on to some form of technology. We're already there, right, we're starting like that. So COVID, for example, wasn't such a disaster from a management perspective for us because, you know, I'd already sort of decided that we were going to be very, you know, using video calls and Zoom and so on as an additional flavor, because the way you do franchise support historically is you drive down five hours and come and see Amadip from you, deeb, and say, great, how's it going Now? It might be useful to you. The first 45 minutes might be super useful to you, because this is the thing that you need to know. I've just driven down five hours, so I'm going to spend the whole freaking day here and we're going to look at this and we're going to look at that and we're going to really go to town here. It's no use to you, right? You might need that from me in three months' time because actually you've got something else that's happened, but today you needed 45 minutes from me for this. I need to know about this gross profit piece over here. Can you just tell me? What am I missing here? And so what I'd realized as having been a franchisee where you think I've supplied too many hobnobs and cups of tea is actually what you need as a business owner is you need me to be light touch with it, you need me to be in out stealth, right? So sometimes it's going to be a phone call, that's going to be a Zoom call and so on. We've got, because of the kind of technology suite that we've got, we're able to tap into anything with a franchisee. So you're sitting in, you know wherever um at home we're sitting, uh, you know wherever we are in oxford shore, whatever it is and and we're able to then just say, right, okay, let's look at the same thing. You know, go into your, your, your rostering, go into your, your, your accounting stuff, whatever. We're there in very sort of live way, and so then you're sort of there and saying, right, okay, what we can do with that is have a meaningful discussion and start making change. So we've got this whole kind of suite that means that you get to profitability faster. We keep you focused on that.

Amrit Dhaliwal: 26:32

I spent some time with Greg Nathan, who is a franchising expert, in in the States recently when I went out there for a franchise exhibition and it was actually the International Franchise Association's annual convention. So I've been going out for a few years and you learn loads. I met Greg this year for the you know properly, met him anyway and we spent an hour filming for a podcast. Actually, and really fundamentally, he was like look, what does the franchisee really care about In the end? Yeah, and in the end it's about their back pocket. And so you know how many franchisors are sitting there every single week or month and looking at everyone's profitability and saying, oh, I'm making your profitabilities up, oh, I'm making your profitabilities down a bit. There, let's, how do we help you keep going on that? Right, because that's the thing that matters.

Amrit Dhaliwal: 27:27

If we can look at that, then you're going to provide a better service. You're going to focus on your retention of staff. You're going to provide a better service. You're going to focus on your retention of staff. You're going to follow the system more. You're going to look at the tech stack and think, oh, actually I can maximize over here.

Amrit Dhaliwal: 27:40

So really, I think there's to answer your question in a snapshot. It's we are technology enabled and thinking about the next 20 years rather than the last 20 years. So focus on developing a private business and a GP driven model. We are entrepreneur centric. So really, putting the franchisee at the heart of the conversation and looking at their profitability and saying that's it. How do we get those guys moving? And that's because I've been those guys right and so I'm like, well, okay, if I've got some new mission in life but it doesn't really impact their profitability, is that right and is that fair and so on. And it's kind of getting into that there's no higher power in terms of some private equity firm or whatever it is. It means that we can make decisions that are relevant and useful for today.

Amardeep Parmar: 28:41

Let's say, some people listening right now have got a kind of business. They've done it well, but they don't really know much about franchising. They're not sure about what that actually do to start some club where you've started what advice can you give them? So they've already run a business of some kind? I want to expand out. What should they be thinking? Oh, what kind of mistakes did you make in the early days that maybe they should avoid as well?

Amrit Dhaliwal: 29:02

I think there's a couple of things here. Number one is ask yourself the question of you know, do I want to be a franchisor? Because when you're a franchisor, you're not running the principal business franchisor because when you're a franchisor, you're not running the principal business. So, cam gill, my sister, runs my principal businesses and I'm not involved in the day-to-day operations. She's sort of mdsos and so on. I I can't do what I do without her doing that, and so so I've got to think about, um, the franchisees, that is it. So I'm a franchisor, truly, not really a care provider anymore. You know, I've kind of and it's kind of making that distinction and saying, okay, can we do that?

Amardeep Parmar: 29:41

Was that hard for?

Amrit Dhaliwal: 29:41

you Tremendously Because actually what you really want to do is just dip your toe in everywhere. But I think you know I'm involved in the care business from a much higher strategic level and not on that day-to-day, and I quite enjoy running a care business, quite frankly.

Amrit Dhaliwal: 29:57

You know it's quite fun, right, and so it's really, you know, but being honest and sort of allowing yourself to leave the building for that bit and then saying, right, okay, I'm going to learn how to be a franchisor. So, first of all, I think you need two separate teams one that deals with the principal business and one that deals with the franchising business. Second of all, I think that you need to make sure that your unit level economics work. And so does it work, and is it profitable because you're running it and therefore have no other staff costs? Or is it profitable because it's profitable and is it therefore repeatable and scalable? And if that's the case, then I think, then go on that learning journey with franchising.

Amrit Dhaliwal: 30:42

I'd recommend picking up a book called Profitable Partnerships by Greg Nathan Great, and that'll take you on a whole journey. I think his business is called Franchise Relationships Institute and so you can do various training pieces there and it's brilliant, it's great, and there's some really interesting people out there, you know, and through the British Franchise Association and so on, there's loads of stuff out there that you know you've got advantages to kind of pick up. I mean, pit Wilkins, as a CEO, has really kind of started changing the game there. And so you've got access to great suppliers and you know legal teams and so on and seminars and so on that you can just go to and learn. They've got a QFP, which is a Qualified Franchise Professionals qualification to kind of say well, what is this? And the other big thing I would say is get a quality franchise coach who mentors you on how to do it basically, and so you know, I think it's kind of putting your infrastructure there and making making sure you you're um funded well enough.

Amrit Dhaliwal: 31:55

Probably say in the uk, uh, you probably need at least half a million pounds if you want to do it properly. Uh, I would say, um, and possibly more frankly, depending on what your business is and and what mistakes you make, early doors, that might. That might, uh, you know, almost double, but I'd say, you know, at half a million pounds you're sort of in a sensible space and looking at burn rates and so on, um, I hope that answers your question yeah, looking at the last bit there about the funding, how were you able to get the initial funding?

Amardeep Parmar: 32:26

is that from your previous businesses or did you have to go out and try to convince people? No, no.

Amrit Dhaliwal: 32:30

I mean I'm really keen to again. I don't. You know, I'm not interested in giving away equity and all that jazz. So the way I funded it was really privately, frankly. And so both from selling my previous care business to running a very profitable care business and putting some cash away, and then, as you kind of go on, I mean we've probably spent north of 700 grand sort of setting up and that is, you kind of go through incarnations and say, right, okay, well, this is working. No, actually we really want to do that.

Amrit Dhaliwal: 33:07

And I'm quite impatient and I'm thinking, well, I want to hire, so I've got this really phenomenal management team, but really we probably shouldn't have those guys for the next five years. Actually, right, you know, looking at the size and so on, but I'm like, well, so what? For five years I have to give my franchisees kind of crappy support, you know, and and people that don't really quite get it, and really I'm the only one that can have a meaningful conversation. No, thank you, right. So I'd rather say let's invest heavily in that now and then take it from there, you know, and so actually we're able to do that through the funding, through running a profitable business that can then inject it. But then what you find is, if you do all of that, it means that you have a healthier business as a franchisor. Your franchisees get to profitability faster and build their businesses bigger.

Amardeep Parmar: 33:55

so actually there's a lot of wine making those decisions so you've obviously scaled quite significantly in short amount of time as well. Could you share with the audience, like, what are some of your biggest wins so far?

Amrit Dhaliwal: 34:04

I think taking our first franchisee on was a pretty damn big win. I remember when I sold my my dom care business and I said to my wife look, I want to sell this. We're doing super well and going away really regularly and just buggering off for six weeks at a time. I'm going to sell this now and go back to zero and start a franchising business.

Amrit Dhaliwal: 34:26

And she's looking at me like okay, I'm very supportive of my wife, but she's like so who's going to buy the first one? I was like that's a really good question. I was like we're both going to find out at the same time, right. So selling one was just an epic moment for me and I think then you kind of go through these trigger points and you kind of go from one 10 or 15 is kind of that next trigger point Thinking gosh, you know, one is someone believes 10 or 15 is. It works basically. And I suppose you know kind of.

Amrit Dhaliwal: 34:59

The other pivotal moment for me was probably about 18 months ago when I reject my whole team and I got in proper franchise professionals that were able to support and that just changed my day-to-day life completely, because actually I've got people that are, you know, better than me in the bits that they're doing, saying, okay, what about this, what about that, should we drive that? And you know, running projects and so on. I mean it's a real business at that point, right. And so that was really quite a moment for me thinking, well, actually this is great, this is what I wish I had received as a franchisee.

Amardeep Parmar: 35:39

And then looking forward to now. What's the dream? Where are you heading to?

Amrit Dhaliwal: 35:43

Gosh. I mean, that's a big question that you're asking there. So I'd say, over the next 10 years, what we'd like to do is have over 200 locations in the UK, turning over 200 to 300 millionising here, and then a new team that goes and works on the international piece and so on so it doesn't disrupt anything else, and making sure it's properly funded, and so on. So I'm really interested in all of that, interested in in all that. But I think in the uk it's very much about becoming one of the key players within our space, making sure that we've got super profitable franchisees that are happy and, you know, high-fiving us and and and creating that growth and scale both for them and for us and just before we get to a quick five questions.

Amardeep Parmar: 36:46

So I know that you have a really great relationship with your franchisees and could you share, like, how you've been able to build a relationship with some of them and what you do to maintain such a good relationship?

Amrit Dhaliwal: 36:55

it's. It's hard work, you know, and you go through sort of ebbs and flows of that, as with any relationship, because as a franchisor you have to make a decision that is, uh, that's going to impact a whole network, not just one person, so maybe it's good for one or not good for one, but great for everyone else, and so on. So you have to kind of have those really difficult discussions, but. But the big thing is communication and and getting out there, you know, not sitting in the ivory tower. You know I hit the road regularly speaking to franchisees.

Amrit Dhaliwal: 37:24

Every week I meet, um, you know, I I sort of KPI myself on how many face-to-face meetings I'm going to do with franchisees. You know I've probably met, you know, almost half of the network this year so far, you know, at just events and getting into, going to their offices and so on, and so I'm very proud of that. And it's constantly learning about how to build that best relationship, really getting to know them, get under the hood, what motivates them? Andiel um, I think it's daniel pink. Yeah, daniel pink wrote a book called drive and it's all about motivation what motivates people and how, what kind of gets people ticking right, and I think that's a. It's a great read.

Amardeep Parmar: 38:04

It's very interesting so I'm gonna have to ask you this now what gets you ticking?

Amrit Dhaliwal: 38:07

you know I'm I'm uh that classic arms, wave your entrepreneur. Growth is something I'm really interested in. And figuring out the mechanics of stuff and figuring out well, okay, if I do this and that happens, and that really kind of just makes my eyes open. And so I love movement, I'm quite wired as a person, I just love running forwards, and so I enjoy growth. And it's really you get to a point where in any business where you're kind of earning enough and the rest of it has got really nothing to do with the earnings, and it's more about the mission. And that mission for growth, that mission for change, and so, you know, kind of getting closer to that journey and dream is the thing that gets me ticking.

Amardeep Parmar: 38:52

So it's been so great to have you on today.

Amrit Dhaliwal: 38:54

Thank you, and it's been great to be on.

Amardeep Parmar: 38:55

So it's time for the quickfire questions, okay, so the first one is who are three British Asians that you think are doing incredible work and you'd love to shout them out?

Amrit Dhaliwal: 39:04

Great question. Okay, that's a tricky one, probably in my space as well. Actually. You've got Muhammad Damji, who's recently become a board member at the Home Care Association, care provider. You've got Saleem Anwar, who's a quite cool guy at Businesses for Sale and I was telling him that I've actually bought and sold most of my businesses ever on that platform. You've got Farrah Rose, who's a great franchise consultant and she really paved the way for people like myself to say you know, she's from an Iranian background and sort of came and just, you know, she's really created a space for her and for us actually. So I'm very grateful to that. And I'd also like to give a shout out to Rishi Dott, who's a great care provider and has kind of mentored and coached me in my early years. So that's been pretty cool.

Amardeep Parmar: 40:00

Awesome, then if people want to learn more about you and more about Walfinch, where should they go to?

Amrit Dhaliwal: 40:05

So both me and Walfinch are pretty public. You know you can go to our site walfinch. com or walfinchfranchising. com. I'm on LinkedIn and Instagram. So LinkedIn I'm Amrit Dhaliwal QFP, and you know, because there's quite a lot of Amrit Dhaliwals and then on Instagram I think I'm Amrit Walfinch. So you know, we'd love to have a chat with anyone really. And actually sometimes just to you know help people along their journey and sort of pass the ball back, basically.

Amardeep Parmar:

Is there anything that people can help you on the other side though?

Amrit Dhaliwal: 40:38

Tremendously. You know I'm always interested in learning and coaching, and you know I've currently been going on a bit of a journey around digital marketing and so on and and looking at that and well, you know what works, what doesn't work, and kind of really getting into the testing side of that. So, you know, there's always interesting pieces around that, also around business in general. You know, I think you always want to walk into a room and sort of scout it out, and if you're the most intelligent person, in that room leave, right, you know.

Amrit Dhaliwal: 41:14

So for me it's always a journey of learning and I'm very interested in that.

Amardeep Parmar: 41:18

So thank you so much for coming on today. Have you got any final words?

Amrit Dhaliwal: 41:22

I just want to say thank you for inviting me and also thank you for doing this, because it's just such important work. And you know, growing up in a place like Southland Hounslow, you know, I was very fortunate that I had quite progressive parents who were interested in business and so on, and my dad, you know, gave me this book called the Power of the Subconscious Mind when I was like 11 years old. Pretty heavy read, that's kind of intense, but actually it sort of changed my life and and he was really interested in reading and self help stuff and and I was really lucky with that and and I kind of look around and I've done various talks at schools and so on and and I kind of realized that that's not that normal and and there's this glass ceiling that everyone a has but b a lot of people know about and I think you know, create your own ceiling and if you think that you can be the next prime minister, do it. I mean Rishi Sunak did and that was one of the happiest days of my life, I've got to say Not because of his politics, but because a Punjabi guy is in 10 Downing Street and I said to my daughter, my four-year-old um, you know, I feel, I feel like I'm going to well up and I was like this is, this is monumental. This means that you can do anything right.

Amrit Dhaliwal: 42:38

I mean, she's like, yeah, I know, but but you know, it's, it's that. And I just think there's no limitation, apart from limitation that you put on yourself. You, you might not be um the same as other people less educated than them, you speak differently, you look differently, it doesn't matter, just keep going. You know tunnel vision. This is what I want to do. This is the goal. This is where I want to be. Write it down, set it out, keep driving.

Amardeep Parmar: 43:06

Thank you for watching. Don't forget to subscribe. See you next time.

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