Stephen Day, Chief Executive of Entrusted Group, has had a varied career working for over 16 years at a number of large PLCs and owning and running a number of businesses in addition to building a successful consultancy. Stephen talks to us about the challenges in setting up a business, the future of health and social care and gives his tips for young consultants.
What initially attracted you to the industry?
I wanted to move away from working with PLCs and make maximum use of my skills every day. I worked in a consultancy role with the NHS in Sheffield and I loved every minute, especially being able to deliver financial turnaround to a number of Primary Care Trusts in deficit.
Have you come across any barriers in setting up your businesses?
One of the greatest barriers has been getting yourself known. You have to get your name out there and get yourself to a point where people value both you as an individual, and your brand. Ultimately you want them to recognise you as an organisation they can do business with.
Why do you feel some small businesses fail?
One key reason is that people aren’t always realistic about the timescales involved. I think a lot of people underestimate how long it takes to create an organisation, to build a brand and establish your reputation. People expect setting up a business to only take a few months when it actually takes a lot longer and in that time money can run out while you still need to be investing.
Another reason would be not spending enough time making sure the products are right. You need to have the right product set to offer individuals what they need, rather than what they think they want.
You’ve been very involved with the Department of Health and the NHS, do you think patients will see a difference in the replacement of Primary Care Trusts with Clinical Commissioning Groups?
Without a doubt. Cutting out levels of bureaucracy and management within Primary Care Trusts, setting up Clinical Commissioning Groups and putting patients at the heart of everything has got to be good news. I believe that the reforms have got the balance right. The NHS will have much more clinical input in terms of directions of patients and patient pathways, rather than leaving these decisions to management and administration.
Will the Government’s new reforms manage to join up Health and Social Care?
I believe so, though in my opinion there is still a lot of work to be done. The creation of CCGs allows local authorities and other local services to work together cost-effectively. Giving patients a seamless pathway has got be a positive outcome.
What does 2013 hold for you?
Some very exciting times really, it will be an interesting period over the next couple of years and I have a few plans up my sleeve. Entrusted Group wants to keep growing and continue to expand our client base, which I am feeling very positive about. I think there will be a lot of opportunities for us to work with the public sector and also to help SMEs. As well as aiming for organic growth we’re looking at possible acquisitions and we have several possible joint ventures in the works. And we’re also going to be doing a lot of recruiting this year – at the moment we’re particularly looking to expand our Business Development team.
You’ve had a varied career, what would you say has been the highlight?
The biggest highlight has been setting up Entrusted Group and within that having a number of complementary businesses (maintenance, public service care and hotel and leisure) as well as the consultancy. I’m always excited by the next opportunity for the group, and it’s a pleasure to work with so many talented people from different industries and sectors.
Finally, what would your advice be for someone just starting out in the consulting industry?
Firstly, be very clear about your objectives and what you want to achieve and secondly, never forget that client satisfaction comes first, last and always. For me, honesty is vital in building long term relationships, which are the bedrock of a good business; you of course have to achieve the best possible outcome for your client, but you also have to go beyond that and build a reputation for reliable and trustworthy. If do you that your phone will always be ringing.