“If you ask any successful businessperson, they will always (say they) have had a great mentor at some point along the road.” – Richard Branson
I took control of the family business, Jane Lewis, from my Mother in 1994. At that stage the business had been successfully supplying temporary nursing and care staff to Care Homes, NHS establishments and Private Hospitals for 7 years.
My team and I grew the business significantly over the next 5 years and by 2000, we had more than doubled turnover and opened 2 new offices in Manchester and Liverpool.
We moved the business into a couple of different sectors, namely Occupational Health and Homecare.
The business continued to supply temporary nursing and care staff to private organisations and NHS establishments. However, it was around about this time that my daughter joined the business and started to look at the provision of complex care.
We grew this side of the business whilst continuing to supply temporary staff. We currently provide around 8,500 hours of care or care staff per week, from offices in Cardiff, St Asaph, Shrewsbury, Crewe, Manchester and the head office in Chester.
The staffing crisis in the NHS led us to consider recruiting from other countries. In 2014 we started recruiting staff from Spain. To date we have placed around 800 nurses in NHS Hospitals in locations throughout the UK.
The market in Spain ceased to exist after the Brexit vote in 2016, Spanish staff were understandably nervous about committing a future to a country who are outside of the EU. However the crisis in the NHS continued, so we took the decision to look outside of the EU for potential recruits.
We now run regular recruit campaigns for our customers in India, Singapore and the Philippines.
Succession planning is a key decision for any business, and one that is often best made early. With this in mind I decided to take a step back from the business in 2015 – although I’m still a Director, I no longer play an active, operational role.
Jane Lewis is in very safe hands though, my daughter Becky is, if anything, even more ambitious than me. She’s taking the Jane Lewis story forward with a style and panache of her own and I’m very happy to be on the sidelines, helping and advising when required.