Beating Brain Cancer to a $670 Million Business: The Amazing Story of Shirin Behzadi

Shirin Behzadi is one of the most successful female entrepreneurs in the franchising industry. She has been the CEO of Home Franchise Concepts for the last three years and in this time the revenue of the business has increased 43% to $670 million. This is an incredible achievement for anyone but it is even more impressive when you consider the hardship she has faced in her life and what it has taken for her to reach this point. She has not had the usual rise to the top that many other CEOs have enjoyed but in some ways this has made her appreciate it even more.

Shirin first came to the United States in 1979 from Iran when she emigrated after the revolution. She came on her own initially but was joined not long after by her mother and her siblings. The family had been fairly well off in Iran but when they came to the USA they had virtually nothing. Shirin knew that she wanted to achieve a much better life for herself and her family but she also knew that this was going to be a lot of hard work.

When she was still a teenager she took a job working as a cashier in a garage in order to pay her way through college. She gained a Bachelor Of Science in Accounting and went to work for Ernst & Young as an auditor. She was at this company for five years before she accepted a job as CFO for The Hammond Company, a bank that deals solely with mortgages. One of the biggest decisions she made in her life was when she decided to leave her job with the bank. It was a good job with a stable income and at the time getting into franchising was considered to be quite a risk. There was no guarantee that this gamble was one that was going to pay off but Shirin felt as if it was something that she was meant to do.

She had created a comfortable life for herself in the US but this was threatened again in 2009 when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She was told that she would need surgery to remove the tumor and of course any type of brain surgery always comes with risks. The surgery itself took twenty hours and when she woke up she had to learn to walk all over again.

Her recovery was difficult but she was determined that not only would she recover, she would continue trying to progress even further with her career. She returned to work just six weeks after her surgery, although she was only on light duties for the first few months after her return. She was barely able to move her neck at all for four months after surgery but she has never been one for just sitting around and she felt that keeping busy would ultimately aid her recovery. She continued to work as CFO for Home Franchise Concepts until 2015 when the company was sold to Trilantic Capital Partners. At this point she took on the role of CEO and she hasn’t looked back since.

Her plan to develop Home Franchise Concepts further is to make it easier for customers to buy from several different arms of the business. She has stated her belief that when people take on a home improvement project they often do one room at a time. The different businesses that all come under the umbrella of Home Franchise Concepts are all suited towards different rooms in the home. Shirin wants to see a closer relationship between these businesses so that it makes perfect sense for a customer to use another business in the group when they move onto a different room in their home.

The role that Shirin has now allows her to put her mark on all decisions that are made in regards to the business. She has been quoted in the past as saying that she feels as if Home Franchise Concepts is part of her DNA and that there is a part of her throughout the company. She certainly feels that her future is with HFC and the rest of the business will surely be looking forward to where she takes them next.



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