Meet the MD: Richard Collins
PUBLISHED: 17:35 31 October 2015 | UPDATED: 10:33 01 November 2015
Tell us a bit about you
I grew up in Hempstead and went to school in Rainham. I worked and lived in London for 10 years then, having a young family, we moved and settled in Tonbridge
Tell us about your business
After many years with BUPA, I decided to set up Medischeme Health Ltd. My first office was a space under the stairs, which my kids loved to tease me about with Harry Potter comparisons.
Based in Tonbridge, Medischeme Health offers independent impartial advice on individual and SME insurance schemes with more than 2,5000 local, national and international customers.
tell us about your latest investment
I have always admired the Old Fire Station in Tonbridge since we moved here, it’s right opposite our offices. Built in 1901, it remained in active service up to 1985. I bought it at auction in a sealed bid and I still remember the phone call from the estate agent confirming my winning bid – I’d beaten around 40 others. Those people in the M4 service station looked really bemused as I punched the air in delight.
any Plans for expansion?
I will be taking over the top two floors of the fire station with Medischeme as we continue to grow, with currently 15 staff. The new office has great space for expansion as a company, the ground floor will host a variety of pop-up restaurants, bars, an art space and many other exciting opportunities for Tonbridge (Ed’s note: these range from a Savile Row tailor to Fuggles Beer Café and a guest chef session with former MasterChef contestant, Adam Handling).
Best business advice?
Ensure you know your products. Believe in yourself. Honesty.
what is Your most prized possession?
A Fire Station, to date.
Do you use social media in your business?
With Medischeme we have generally used traditional methods of advertising and not invested a great deal of time with social media, but I have been shocked by the immediate impact that social media has brought to the Fire Station events.
Our twitter site @FirestationTN gained more than 1,000 followers in its first three weeks and on Facebook Old Fire Station is moving rapidly in the same direction. I shall be investing a lot more time online with Medischeme in the future.
Hobbies and interests?
My seven-year-old son Dexter and I are season ticket holders at Gillingham FC and we also like to take in a few Tonbridge Juddians Rugby matches.
Where do you entertain locally?
Any local business lunches tend to be held at The Ivy House in Tonbridge, another great independent in the town. In recent weeks I have had to meet with many chefs and people in the food and drink sector to discuss options for our pop-up events. This obviously requires several visits – for research purposes only, mind!
What did you have for breakfast today?
Three Shredded Wheat and GOOD coffee. w