WPA Healthcare Practice Partner Profile - Simon Marks
I previously worked for HSBC Bank Plc for 27 years, starting as a trainee and finishing as a Commercial Manager, a position I held for 10 years.
The WPA Healthcare Practice was recommended by Michael Dow (an existing Healthcare Partner) who was aware of the redundancies made by HSBC in Northern Ireland. I liked the 'hands on' approach that WPA offered with regular meetings, a strong support structure, opportunity to attend regional meetings prior to final commitment, opportunity to visit Head Office, and Mentor support. I also liked the ethos of WPA with their not-for-profit status and non-claims rated premiums, which appealed following the credit crash and personal issues with banks morality.
Without being fully aware of it, HSBC had provided a very strong foundation in all aspects of being professional in business. I had a strong foundation in sales from generating sales enquiries, identifying routes to market, managing the sales process, customer expectations, and closing sales. I also had gained experience of managing customers, through good and difficult times. In previous sales roles and as a Commercial Manager I had a large degree of autonomy to manage my day, plan my diary and daily activity which has been hugely valuable in running my own franchise.
The main benefit in running my franchise is that I am able to manage my own time and operate my business largely on my own terms. Also the knowledge that the franchise model with the WPA Healthcare Practice is a proven model with a high level of support from Head Office when required.
My initial business plan was to achieve year on year growth of minimum 10% and to take my franchise to a level that would be attractive for future sale. Focus is still on achieving year on year growth and obtaining a diverse customer base while looking at options to increase my growth potential through Introducers, Account Manager, etc.
To consider if they have the focus and discipline to work by largely by themselves and possibly/ probably from home. While this can be hugely appealing it requires discipline and must be understood. Experience in all aspects of business is important from sales, customer support, administration, product knowledge, and diary management as you will be responsible for all aspects. It is also important to understand the implications of setting up and running your own business whether from a legal point of view in setting up a company, accounting responsibilities, or HMRC responsibilities. This is an area that was more involved than I anticipated, especially coming from an employed status where everything was done for me. My advice is to get a trusted team of advisors to guide you.
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Mark Tomlinson joined WPA in September 2010 as a franchisee in the South West.
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Seven years ago Phil Arnold became his own boss as a WPA Healthcare Partner.
Lynda Buntin was recently named as WPA Healthcare Partner of the Year and talks about her business in Northampton and Peterborough.
"The WPA opportunity attracted me. I had no medical or sales background but I knew I was good with people and felt I could provide advice."
Uckfield man and WPA partner, Dan Wade says that looking after his customers has been the key to his success.
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When Robert Westhorp set off for The British Franchise Exhibition in Manchester five years ago, he had no idea that he would meet a former supplier and eventually join the company.
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Attending the open day at Head Office was extremely useful and helped reassure me that I was perusing a good opportunity. It allowed me to learn more about WPA, meet a number of staff and experience the culture and transparency of the organisation. It certainly played a crucial role in my decision making process about becoming a Healthcare Partner.Catherine Bennett – Healthcare Partner since December 2014
The Healthcare Practice is unique… I’ve never worked with a company that look after you so well. Joining them was the best decision I have made in my life, hand on heart.Bob Grace, Board Chairman
Attending an Open Day and seeing the slick and technologically advanced operation behind the scene convinced me I was making the right choice. By the time I left the Open Day, I had made up my mind that WPA was a company which lived the business values that matched my own.David Rollock – Healthcare Partner since September 2014
Build a solid and sustainable long-term business
Award winning customer service
A not for profit organisation that really cares about customers