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DOCTORS' COLUMN

Let's Talk About: BUSINESS

Written by Dr D'Souza

07—APR—2021 16:05 GMT
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Shane is an academic foundation doctor and medical school interviewer who currently works at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital. He graduated from the University of Oxford and University of Liverpool with distinctions in Pharmacology and Medicine. As well as a full-time doctor, Shane co-founded MediTutor, a tuition and education consultancy firm based in Liverpool – he has assisted hundreds of students in getting into their dream university.

Love and time: Meeting the magnate, Lord Sugar

I

t was just over two years ago, in the bustling Chamber of the Oxford Union where I was sat across from one of the world’s biggest business magnates – Lord Alan Sugar.

“Love what you do and do what you love,

otherwise you will become unhappy and self-defeating.”

This quote from Lord Sugar stuck with me.

 

Stuck with me as I monotonously pipetted countless plasma samples in the laboratories of Oxford.

 

Stuck with me today as I silently pushed a computer around for a three-hour ward round with no acknowledgement from my consultant (the most senior doctor in that specialty).

 

Acting as a small cog in the wheel is how I felt whilst working in the lab and working as a doctor, I felt and continue to feel a sense of unfulfillment. When Lord Sugar spoke at Oxford, his love and passion for business was extraordinary. His emphasis on mental health, loving yourself and working for yourself are three things that I fondly remember. If you asked me before starting medical school, I would have laughed at the idea of not being a doctor. However, with time and a variety of lifetime experiences; the idea of working for yourself and not going back to work for somebody else is something that weighs heavily on my mind. It’s important to remember that job satisfaction means so much in life; if work or education just doesn’t make you love yourself, then why not try something new.

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Lord Sugar is a highly successful British magnate who is also known for his role on the TV show, The Apprentice.
Image from BBC One - The Apprentice - Lord Sugar

Work-life balance: “60-hour work weeks?

Surely running a business is impossible”

My passion for business started from an early age. Whilst working as a full-time doctor in the National Health Service is tiring, running a business is something I look forward too – it offers a different dynamic whether that is checking spreadsheets, website designing, interacting with clients or supporting my ever-growing task force of tutors. A lot of people worry that business is time consuming – yes and no. A key to a successful business is having a detailed fool-proof business plan setting out targets, goals, aims and commitments. I soon realised that having a business partner could be invaluable – a person to bounce ideas off or for those moments in life when you have to stay late at hospital or attend to personal manners, someone to handover to.   

Widening access: “You must be the change you want to see in the world”

Whilst the majority of my business is for profit, one of the core pillars of my company is on giving back to the community. When I was younger, I attended a non-selective inner city comprehensive state in London where the opportunities to attend courses and have university coaching was limited. I saw first-hand the disadvantages of being in a school where only one or two students went on to study medicine, dentistry or veterinary. As a business owner, I encourage all of my tutors to take on a free client for every paid client that they teach. Charity is an important element for any business, the satisfaction from helping these clients is second to none.

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'Off to change the world, BRB' meme.
Image from the Internet

Keep it simple: “Tax returns, corporate tax, business expenses”

A common misconception in starting a business is that it’s difficult with lots of legalities.

 

Nonsense.

 

Four steps.

 

1. Business plan

2. Register with the government (Companies House in the UK)

3. Set up a company bank account

4. Start trading

 

Whilst this may be a bit too basic, starting up a company is as simple or as complicated as you make it out to be. The principle here is that you need to keep things simple and take things one step at a time. Jeff Bezos didn’t build Amazon overnight, nor did he start out with a fancy website, company email addresses, paid advertising etc. You get the gist. For the new entrepreneur, start simple, keep your expenses limited and set yourself finance and target orientated goals.

 

And to address the big T, (TAX). Sadly, this is a legality but something that can be simply calculated using Excel spreadsheets whilst your company grows. T needs to be paid within nine months of the end of every tax year. If T still scares you, there are plenty of videos on YouTube and articles on google that can aid you. Companies such as QuickBooks also completely automate the process for those who are still worried.