Company name: Pathology Group and Associated Companies
Founders: Louie Evans and Zack Feather
Age: 28 and 32
Staff Numbers: 20
Date started: October 2006
Tell us what your business does:
We are a house of brands and are the only specialist doctor’s recruitment company in the medical market. We specifically target and recruit rare doctors that the NHS and private hospitals find hard to recruit through traditional adverts.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
Both Zack and I had worked in medical recruitment for several years. We had seen that the market was plagued with a high street recruitment mentality, there were lots of job fillers and companies who over promised but hadn’t delivered.
How did you know there was a market for it?
Obviously healthcare is a huge area and one that uses temporary doctors daily in every hospital throughout the country. We realised there was a better way to staff these hospitals and with our knowledge and expertise of the sector we could make a real difference to the quality of doctors being provided. We have a major USP which has been incredibly well received by the NHS. We operate individual companies for separate verticals of the doctors’ market, we train our recruiters to be experts in the areas, regularly sending them to industry conferences and training events to stay abreast of the latest developments within their own fields.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Yes, I do not get on very well with rules and had always tried to do things my way. I guess it was inevitable that we would branch out on our own. Once I met Zack I had the perfect business partner. Having more free time appealed most about being my own boss, I couldn’t have been more wrong and do not know where the last three years have vanished!
How did you raise the money?
We were thoroughly prepared and produced a five year business plan which we still use and adapt today. We had been doing market research from our previous post in an ongoing capacity for three years. We raised money through personal loans, we kept start-up costs to a minimum and got on with winning new business.
What challenges have you faced how have you overcome them?
The first few months were very difficult as the NHS are a giant and can tend to be very stuck in their ways. This makes it difficult for a new supplier to be considered and we had to continually push the benefits of our service. Since then we have become a preferred supplier to the whole of the NHS which is a massive achievement. We have found the transition between having a sales team and having a well oiled company quite hard to juggle at times, especially at the speed at which the company has grown.
How have you promoted your business?
We have a very careful and calculated strategy and this includes all of our promotional activities. Owing to the niche nature of our business we target very specific national and international conferences to exhibit at which hits our target audiences. We maintain an advertising presence in the relevant national journals and we have collaborations with international bodies who provide us with candidates. However referrals are always our strongest point of promotion.
What about staff?
We have 20 staff now. They are mixture of front and back office staff. As you can imagine, dealing with doctors there are a lot of compliance requirements. We have enjoyed building and nurturing a successful team.
What has your growth been like?
I think we have grown fairly quickly. Our turnover has grown from £1.1m in our first year to £14.5m in our third year. We are a very profitable company and are well ahead of our original business plan.
What’s the impact on your home life been like?
It’s like anything, if you want to be the best and succeed you have to work hard. I tend to work to a scenario of 85/15. I work hard 85% of the time and have fun for the other 15%.
What was your first big breakthrough?
We made our first placement a month into starting the business but our main achievement came when, after only seven months of trading, we were recognised as a preferred supplier to the NHS.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
My biggest piece of advice would be to stick to what you know. If you look at most success stories, entrepreneurs tend to be people who have plied their trade in a specific market and have believed that they can do it better.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
Our aim is to make Pathology Group and Associated Companies the leading provider of medical staff to the NHS, private healthcare sector and international health organisations. There is much work to be done.