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Know who your key stakeholders are or risk irrelevance

Integrating a new acquisition, as well as streamlining the business he recently bought back, got Harry Brunjes thinking about the value of key stakeholders.
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November marked the end of the six-month transient service agreement between Premier Medical and Capita, which means that all of the key functions, including HR, finance and IT, are now completely within Premier Medical’s control. It’s been an interesting time and all part of the excellent relationships we have with key stakeholders like Capita. As a result, we are looking at joint activities in the future, which shows the potential that can come from cooperative transition.

It has been a key period in which to reengage with stakeholders. We want the business to become more outward facing and an actively “visible” organisation in the medico-legal sector. As a result, the whole Premier Medical management team has been on the road meeting our clients and key stakeholders.

It is so important that businesses and their leaders never forget who their key stakeholders are. It is even more important to form strong working reciprocal ties and create a mutual trust. This enables you to hear first-hand the issues faced by clients and customers, their view of your business and ultimately what you can do to improve your service or product. I always believe you should provide what people need not what you have. This level of engagement is key to keeping clients and customers on board, but also to maintaining the relevance of your service or product. If you don’t have the right product or service, you do not have a part to play in the market.

In the middle of November, new proposals were announced by the government to reform the personal injury market. Currently, a part of our business provides the personal injury market with the reporting in road traffic accident soft tissue claims.

Under the proposals announced by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) are plans to ban offers to settle personal injury claims without medical evidence. Instead, all claims will need a report from a MedCo-accredited medical expert before any compensation is paid out. This should keep us very busy but on the other side of the coin are plans to cap compensation paid out to people who sustain injuries. This will likely impact solicitors and insurers costs, which in turn could impact our business.

We would be happy to speak to the Association of British Insurers, the MoJ and other key stakeholders to ensure our voice is heard in this important discussion and we will also be responding to the consultation. Ultimately, we want to ensure that everyone who contributes to the process at all times remembers the interests of the injured party at the very centre of this change.

My experience in other sectors tells me that we are living in a more regulated society and this is something that the medico-legal world must get accustomed to. One only has to look at the financial services industry where the insurance and banking sectors in particular have been subject to significant change in the past eight years. Agile businesses like Premier Medical will always find opportunities amongst change and the key is to be ready to adapt and plan for the future.

In August, Premier Medical completed the acquisition of medical software company WARP Technologies. We have been meeting staff and management at the Havant HQ and are working cooperatively to develop an outward-facing business plan focused on growth. Our aim is to double WARP’s turnover to £3m within the first year. As such, we have signed two significant new contracts and are currently looking at how WARP could be transferred into sectors outside the medico-legal world. It’s certainly an exciting time as there is plenty of opportunity for Premier Medical.

Outside work, my daughter Emma produced her first play, Dead Funny, at the Vaudeville Theatre in the Strand, which has been a great success. My apologies for being a proud Father, but it was great to see her take to life ‘behind’ the boards in the West End of London!

This article is part of a wider campaign called Founders Diaries, a section of Real Business that brings together 20 inspiring business builders to share their stories. Bringing together companies from a wide variety of sectors and geographies, each columnist produces a diary entry each month. Visit the Founders Diaries section to find out more.

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About Author

Harry Brunjes

Harry Brünjes is chairman of Premier Medical, a company that he developed from his Harley Street practice in 1995, sold to Capita in 2011 and bought back in July 2016. He is also group medical director for Capita UK, holds non-executive directorships with Equity Syndicate Management, Newmans Clinics and Good Care Group.

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