Unlike most entrepreneurs, John Graham never dreamed of owning a small business. After serving in the U.S. Army, Graham worked in the hotel business for six years and in the pharmaceutical industry for 17 years. Graham never really thought about owning his own business until his view of the pharmaceutical industry changed.
“I went from having an entrepreneurial ability to run my sales district and take responsibility for growing sales,” Graham said, “to becoming a middle manager with no control. My role became less strategic and more tactical, and frankly I became bored…I had to seriously consider whether I was willing to leave a great paying job and try something new…so I decided to look seriously at taking the plunge.”
Graham experienced firsthand the challenges of finding quality homecare when his mother became ill. His desire for change, combined with his personal experience in homecare and medical sales led him to use his personal savings to open a BrightStar Healthcare franchise in 2008. BrightStar is a medical and non-medical in-home care company that targets patients willing to pay for in-home medical services not covered by commercial insurance or Medicare.
In 2009, Graham met with Joe Primm of the Alabama Small Business Development Center (ASBDC) in Birmingham in order to seek out financial assistance to cover part of his business growth. In 2010 Graham received approval for a $200,000 SBA guaranteed loan from a Chicago bank, where the franchise headquarters are located. In his first year of business, Graham billed $1.1 million and will do nearly $3 million this year. He also now has 170 employees and has ranked in the top ten locations nationally.