Business story: Par Law, Co-Founder of G&P Healthcare
19th July 2019
Founded in 2013 by qualified nurses Par Law and Gayle Finlayson, G&P Healthcare employs care staff who are trained in house to look after clients with complex health needs in their own homes The business headquarters are in Cramlington, Northumberland, with a second branch in Derby in the East Midlands.
Can you remember your ‘lightbulb’ moment when you first came up with the idea for G&P Healthcare?
Gayle and I met when we worked together at our previous employer and we clicked straight away in terms of our values about care. Over lunch one day Gayle presented me with some paperwork on ‘nurse entrepreneurs’. Three weeks later we had a name, an office and were registered with Companies House.
What motivated you to take the leap and start your own business? Why was the time right then?
There’s always a need for clients to receive care at home and there’s always a need for complex care. As nurses, our focus has always been on quality of care for our clients with a firm belief that health care should be health-led. This had not always been our experience and we knew that, together, we could use our skills to make a difference for all involved in the industry.
Did you found G&P Healthcare on your own or was it as part of a team?
Gayle and I started G&P on our own with a £2,000 loan from Gayle’s parents.
What business support or advice did you access to help turn your business idea into a reality?
We knew about training people and providing care, but we had to learn so much about running a business. Bill, our adviser at TEDCO, provided us with advice on areas including finance, and the support and positivity we received from him was fantastic.
How fast did your company reach a £1m turnover?
Growth happened straight away and has continued year on year. We reached £1m turnover in our fourth year. We quickly became a preferred provider for complex care and won a Northumberland Business Award in our first year of trading. Two years after we started the business we expanded to Derby and we now offer care for adults and children across the North East and the Midlands
Can you share some of the highs and lows you’ve experienced along the way?
One of our first highs was starting to receive referrals from the NHS direct to G&P, and when staff were coming to us through recommendations that was a great feeling. The business award at Northumberland was a fantastic night and made us so proud of what we had achieved. We were able to pay the loan back to Gayle’s family within four months, plus have money in the bank after staff salaries.
In terms of low points, it can be difficult as we are on call 24 hours a day and our phones are never far away. Cash flow is always a concern when running a business and has caused some stressful times, relying on our customers to pay on time as our staff need to be paid. We set out as friends with a shared vision about our business. As in any relationship we disagree and argue because we are both so passionate about what we do and that can be difficult. But we work things out, continue to thrive and remain friends.
What support do entrepreneurs need to turn their business idea into a reality?
In the early days we could easily have gone under if it wasn’t for the support we received from our family. We had regular meetings with Bill to discuss difficulties and a dogged determination to make it work.
Why is the North East a great place to start a business?
For us, the North East was where we had contacts in the sector and we knew we could make a good start here. We also knew the work was out there and we had fantastic support from TEDCO.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs looking to start a business?
You need to know your business and know there’s a marketplace out there for you. Have a clear vision about what is you want to do, along with drive to make it happen, along with a fantastic work ethic because you will be putting the hours in. Gayle and I always have in the back of our mind that we have no right to the work that comes our way, you have to earn it every day, it is not a given.
For us, we are committed to making a difference to care in the community for staff and clients. Yes it’s hard work, but the rewards make it all worthwhile.
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