Following the turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic, James Rimmer went through his very own challenges and was presented with the opportunity to set his sights on something new. Combining his wealth of knowledge with a fresh perspective on the direction of his career, ERA piqued his interest
After almost two decades of dedicating his passion to the NHS, James Rimmer launched his Expense Reduction Analysts (ERA) franchise in April 2021. Following the turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic, James went through his very own challenges and was presented with the opportunity to set his sights on something new. Combining his wealth of knowledge with a fresh perspective on the direction of his career, ERA piqued his interest.
“Nineteen years of my life were spent in the NHS,” said James. “At the end of my career, I was the managing director of a £450m NHS body, leading the complex organisation which bought healthcare for the 300,000 population it served. As part of that, I was responsible for driving cost efficiencies and balancing the books – naturally, this is how I knew I could excel with ERA.”
Fresh out of university with his accounting and finance degree, James secured a position on the NHS graduate training scheme, becoming a qualified accountant and gaining his master’s degree, he set about rising through the ranks. Over the course of his tenure, he led the finances of a £400m NHS organisation as its chief financial officer and also as CFO across 14 NHS organisations with £2.8bn of spend. Making tough decisions about reducing costs was a daily challenge to ensure the most effective use of taxpayer’s money.
The COVID-19 pandemic was a hugely challenging time for the NHS. Whilst it was something that was well-rehearsed, it saw huge obstacles to overcome and leading a healthcare organisation remotely certainly provided some challenges. James’ position faced its own threat, leaving him with time to think about doing something different.
“I wanted the second half of my working career to be slightly different, but still within my comfort zone,” he said. “I’d become very skilled in cost reduction and working with others to achieve savings to help sustain business growth and longevity. I did consider starting my own consultancy, but that idea very quickly disappeared after stumbling upon a franchise website and seeing the variety of opportunities on offer.
“Very quickly, I recognised the benefits of investing in a franchise, helping with the launch, growth and scalability of the business. I consolidated my skillset and thought about which of the franchise brands I would be able to add value to – which one could help me leverage my knowledge and build a successful business in the process? ERA jumped out, I could clearly see the synergy between the franchise and my own skills and expertise.”
ERA are world leaders in cost management and procurement consultancy. Franchise partners are trained to offer strategic advice and practical methods which optimise supplier relationships and deliver improved cash flow. James knew that he had the skills, expertise and enthusiasm to join this impressive team.
“Before I confirmed my decision, I conducted a lot of due diligence to find out every little detail on ERA, speaking with existing franchise partners to aid that process. It didn’t take long for me to realise that it was a no-brainer, signing my contract and enrolling in my training in April. These two weeks opened my eyes to the world of cost management, learning various key business activities and preparing me for the launch of my business,” said James.
ERA’s award-winning programme of training and support has been refined for nearly 30 years and is designed to equip franchise partners with all the knowledge and confidence needed to successfully launch and run their business, whatever their skills or background. New franchise partners undertake a tailored two-week course consisting of classroom and hands-on learning at the ERA Academy after which they receive a package including, a specialist business coach and dedicated lead generation support for six months plus one-to-one field-based business support on an ongoing basis.
“The training was invigorating, to say the least,” he said. “It includes the art of sales training, which was fascinating, teaching me how to be an effective salesperson. I’ve never read so many books to keep the learning going, and this training programme gave me the best platform to hit the ground running when it was complete. I was confident that I was going to make it a success, and I’ve set myself a personal goal to become the best in the field.”
Operating from his home in Hampshire, James followed the framework to approach his initial clients. Through refinement and adaptation, he had the right conversations to help him turn those discussions into paying clients.
“My ability to tailor my services to my clients is a great way of building my business. I can create the perfect solutions for each and everyone, personalising proposals to clients’ needs. I set myself a target of bringing in three clients during my first year, and I’m on track to achieve that. But with the learning and foundations that ERA has supported me to set in place, I’m certain that the years following will accelerate on that trajectory.
“With the support that I receive from the marketing team, I’ve been given the greatest opportunity to take my skills, integrate them with ERA’s systems and grow a successful business. They’re quick to respond to my questions, going above and beyond to help me as a franchise partner. Being part of a franchise brand with a great presence and a prolific name within the consultancy arena makes me feel honoured.
“Starting my franchise has brought a personal sense of wellbeing too which is particularly welcome after the last period of turmoil in the NHS, I’m more in control of my schedule and can decide on what my days consist of. In fact, my friends would say I look less stressed! ERA fits perfectly with my lifestyle – I like walking and watching football games. The flexibility to take this downtime means that I’m fully recharged to focus on my business - and that can only be a good thing. I’m excited for what’s to come!” said James.