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Interview with Simon Marks, WPA: "I am able to manage my own time and operate on my own terms."

Franchisee: Simon Marks

Franchise: WPA Healthcare Practice

What did you do before joining the WPA Healthcare Practice?

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 c10 years.

What made you look into franchising and why choose the Healthcare Practice?

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.  

How did your previous experiences help launching/running your franchise?

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.

What do you like most about running a 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.

What are your future plans for your business?

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.

What advice would you give to someone from an employed background looking at franchising?

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.

Interested and want to know more about WPA Healthcare Practice ?

The WPA Healthcare Practice profile outlines all aspects of their franchise opportunity and allows you to contact them for further information or to ask a question.

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