Legend Integrated Care provides home care services and is based in Luton. They are a new business that has grown significantly in their first year by providing high-quality, friendly and personalised care to their clients.
The success of the business is down to the two women who started it, Shanygne and Lee, who carefully researched and planned their way into a market that is guarded by long term players.
These sisters have found new and innovative ways to run their business that have kept pushing them forward even in the early stages of their business. They are now hoping to inspire, mentor and help other black entrepreneurs because, according to them, there is plenty of room at the top!
A fledgeling business in the Pandemic
Lee and Shanygne had only been running their business for a few months before the Pandemic hit the UK. During this time, the need for home care increased and Legend Integrated Care was poised to provide these services. The industry, however, is dominated by well-established brands and so the challenge for this new business was how to market themselves.
While marketing has moved almost exclusively online, the duo decided that their customers were not going to log onto Instagram and so they spent time leafleting in their surrounding community. They were also aware that this industry is based on trust and so they gave the best possible service to their existing clients and relied on the good word of mouth that this would bring.
It was a successful strategy and they were able to build a solid client base in the early months of their business. This did not come without significant hard work, though. The sisters were often working from 5 am to 11 pm as they were taking on much of the home care work themselves.
The importance of great staff
The sisters are adamant that the quality of their staff is a vital component to the success of their venture. It is the staff that the clients will be interacting with every day and so will be the face of the business.
Both of the sisters spent time on the front lines of the business so that they could get to know the ins and outs of the job and this gave them an understanding of what their staff would need to perform at their best. They were also more aware of what they would require from the employees that they hired. This hands-on approach helped them successfully recruit staff even when other home care businesses were experiencing a shortage. Their success in finding staff led them to expand into recruiting staff for other home care businesses- expanding their business by thinking out of the box is part of their success.
The dynamic pair have big ideas and are always planning for the future quoting their mother’s advice that “if people don’t laugh, your dream is not big enough.”
Community, passion and logic
Settling on a home care business came from years of discussion between the two as to what the best business to start would be. While some of their passions lay in the food and retail industries, they discovered that their core values were based on the idea of Community.
Pairing this with careful research on what need there was in the area where they are based, Luton, they settled on the idea of a home care business. Growing up in a culture that emphasised care for the elderly, for family and for the community gave them an advantage to innately know how to provide the best possible service passionately.
These core values are what have kept them going when things have gotten tough. The knowledge that the people for who are providing a service rely on them and need them to keep going.
Beyond their business, these sisters are hoping to make a difference to others in the community who need advice when starting their own business. Lee says, “we want to be those black women that actually take other black women up with us to the top. I want them to have a seat at the table. I don't want to just be the one at the top and looking at my friends and looking at other people in the community- I want to bring others with me.”
Shanygne shares this sentiment, “I don't see anyone that's like us in this industry so I want young black entrepreneurs to see us and feel like they can also start their own business and do what they set their mind to.”
How did you finance your business?
It can take a lot of money to get your business off the ground and Shanygne and Lee were prepared to make sacrifices in order to achieve their goal. They used their combined savings, but they also had to move in with family to avoid paying rent and they cut down everywhere including changing from coffee beans to instant!
Quitting their jobs and putting all their eggs into one basket meant that there was no choice but to succeed and they worked as much as they needed to so that they could make it work.
Starting their business without relying on a loan has meant that they didn’t start the business off in debt. However, they had to radically adjust their lifestyles.
Running a business with family
The sisters say that they have always wanted to run a business together and they have a special bond that works for them in business. According to Lee, however, you have to clearly define the roles of each person in the business.
You also need to leave the family relationship behind when it comes to business decisions. As sisters, however, they find that any disagreements are easily put behind them.
The best thing about running a business
The sisters are both excited about the business and, even though they have sacrificed a lot for it, they don’t have regrets. The things that they love about their business make it all worth it.
Shanygne says, “I love being able to be my own boss and being able to do the things that I like. I also love that I can make an impact on someone's life or the community at large.”
Lee says, “for me, it’s about putting a smile on somebody’s face every day and knowing that I have made somebody happy that day or I have made someone’s life easier.
Advice for others
Lee and Shanygne say that, although it is comfortable getting a pay-check every month, starting your own business has its own rewards. If you do your research and create a solid business plan and are willing to make sacrifices, your business can be a success.