We spoke to Paul Adolphi, the Managing Director for the Medimart franchises. Paul discusses his role in Medimart, how the company is growing alongside advancements in technology and the aged care and disability sector. Paul also delves into what a franchisee can expect as they begin their journey with the company and much more!
Eden Exchange: Hello Paul, thank you for taking the time to talk with us today. First off, can you tell us about your professional background and experience in the sector?
Paul Adolphi: I have worked in the medical and healthcare sector most of my working life. After completing university, I started my early career in sales and marketing for two of the biggest healthcare companies in the world, in Astra Zenica and later Merck Sharpe and Dohme. After 15 years of senior management experience, I decided to start my own business in the health and fitness industry as a franchisee with EFM Health Clubs. That experience gave me the confidence to run my own business and be my own boss. After 10 years I sold my health clubs, travelled the world and eventually came back to corporate life as State Manager for Patterson healthcare. It wasn’t long before I came to realise that I’m really not cut out to work for corporate life.
Paul Adolphi: I can recall with clarity, the day I decided to start Medimart. I was very relaxed, sitting by the pool, enjoying a glass of wine. I had just turned 53 years old – I was comfortable financially, happily married, I had a great job, I was successful… but my day to day work life was boring and my life lacked purpose.
I had this idea about Medimart. I kept asking friends and family, anyone who would listen – one question: If you needed to purchase a disability walker, a wheelchair or daily living aids, where would you go to buy them? The answer was universal, it was either “we have no idea” or “purchase online”. Would you really buy your elderly mum or dad a wheelchair online? There was no obvious answer to that question.
The answer was Medimart – A ONE STOP SHOP where you could purchase all the leading medical, mobility and disability products and receive trusted service and advice from allied health clinicians under one roof.
Did I mention the government is spending $44 billion every year on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and the My Aged Care program is supporting nearly one million Australians to remain independent and live at home longer? Every single person with a disability needs the products and services Medimart provides, which is paid for by the Commonwealth Government.
We opened our first site in July 2017, around the same time as the launch of NDIS. This past financial year Medimart Elizabeth Vale generated $1.1m with on-track revenue growth this financial year to approximately $1.8m. Our other three Medimart locations are tracking similarly.
My vision is still ‘To build a great Australian healthcare company that serves the needs of people living with disability by providing products and equipment they can trust and offering expertise and advice they understand.’
Eden Exchange: What does Medimart do? What makes you unique in the market and why is it a good time to be servicing the NDIS/health industry?
Paul Adolphi: Medimart sells and rents medical and disability products to the public, NDIS clients, hospitals, aged care and disability providers. We also provide on-site clinical services in hearing, sleep apnoea and podiatry. We provide products people need and advice from experts they trust. There is no other business model in Australia or perhaps the world, that provides this mix of products and service offerings.
Medimart is a unique franchise opportunity. When you become a Medimart franchisee, you become a NDIS service provider, tapping into a $44 billion market, a contractor to the Australian Government Hearing Service Program, a recognised medicare site and an equipment provider to the DVA (Department of Veterans Affairs).You also have access to the biggest brands in Aged Care and Disability Equipment.
Medimart is a unique franchise opportunity. I believe with a great work ethic, positive mind-set and good people skills anyone can become a successful Medimart franchise and taps into the booming ageing and disability market.
Eden Exchange: You currently have franchises available in South Australia and Victoria, do you have any plans to expand into other states and are there any goals and milestones you are facing for future expansion?
Paul Adolphi: Medimart has big plans. Our goal is to create a network of franchisees across Australian and New Zealand. However, you WILL NOT find a Medimart on every street corner. We have very clearly defined franchise territories that are based on clear data parameters including population density, age demographics, socio-economic status, NDIS spend, and incidence of chronic diseases.
Eden Exchange: Talk us through the business model behind Medimart, how does it work and how does it set itself apart from others in the market?
Paul Adolphi: At a macro level, we aim to establish Medimart as the biggest retail brand in disability and aged care products and equipment. In the same way, people think of Officeworks when they think of stationary; people think about aged care medical and disability products and equipment, they think of Medimart. We promote our brand via all media channels, including TV, digital, print, and social media.
At a store level our goal is to create customers for life by creating “care networks” for our customer. We work hard on establishing close working relationships with occupational therapy groups and allied health practitioners by connecting our customers to local healthcare providers, such as physiotherapists and occupational therapists to treatment and assistive technology assessment. Health practitioners in-turn often refer patients to Medimart to fulfil product and equipment needs.
Eden Exchange: Are there any other businesses like Medimart in the market today?
Paul Adolphi: As far as I am aware there is no other business in the world like Medimart. We are the only business that provides both medical, mobility and disability retail products and allied health clinical services.
Eden Exchange: What has been the main success so far and what are your plans for the future? Where do you foresee the greatest development of your business?
Paul Adolphi: Our main success has been our ability to establish multiple healthcare categories in one brand proposition. It has taken an enormous amount of work to gain separate accreditation in not one but four government agencies: NDIS, Medicare, DVA and Hearing Services.
We have also established fantastic supplier relationships with some of the world’s biggest disability equipment brands: Invacare, Shoprider, Performance Health and Homecare.
AI technology and the “Internet Of Things” (IOT) is already with us. We are on the cusp of a technological revolution, which over the next 10 years will transform all of our lives – particularly people living with a disability. Medimart has already started to invest in cutting edge technology, exclusive to our retail network, to help people live independently at home. Medimart will embrace the best in technology to develop our own capability and be at the forefront of bringing advancements into the disability sector.
In line with technology advancements, societal attitudes will change regarding ageing and disability. We will learn to value the wisdom and experience that comes with growing. I might be biased, but I think most people aged over 50 run rings around younger people when it comes to experience, leadership, wisdom and even energy levels! As a society we will learn to understand and celebrate our super abilities and discard this outdated notion of disability.
Eden Exchange: Do Medimart franchisees need to have specific training before they enquire? Or do you provide a full training package in the beginning?
Paul Adolphi: None of the current franchisees came to us with any experience in the aged care, disability market. However, what we all have in common is a positive outlook on life, confidence in their ability, a strong work ethic, resilience, and great people skills. If you want to add hearing or other allied health services to your franchise, you will have to employ qualified people.
Medimart will provide franchisees with the training they need to be successful. As with all franchises, we have a comprehensive online operations manual. We also have experience and qualified staff with operational and equipment expertise to provide ongoing training and guidance. While we have a comprehensive online operations manual for reference, we believe adults learn best on the job. Every new franchisee has the option of employing an experienced Medimart employee.
To be an entrepreneur, you also have to accept that starting your own business is a risk. If you’re the sort of person that needs guarantees in life, or can’t sleep at night unless your money is safe in a safety deposit box, you shouldn’t even consider going into a business, even a great business like Medimart. At some point, you have to contemplate this one question: “What if I suck at this and I lose everything?”
At 53 I sold my house and my investment properties and invested in Medimart. Not only did invest my own money, I found my business partners who invested millions into Medimart because they understand and believe in our business model and mission. Did I risk everything? Hell no! Not my marriage, my family, my health or the things that really matter to me. The biggest risk was that I was staying in a job that paid well, but it was boring me to death and I was living a life according to other people’s expectations.
Eden Exchange: What are the next steps in the development for your company and what are your goals as director?
Paul Adolphi: Our aim is to become a household name in the medical, aged care and disability retail product and equipment market. I work every day to make that goal a reality, but I can’t do it on my own. I am looking for people with energy, positivity and a passion for helping people and that share my vision to build a great Australian company.
Eden Exchange: Can you tell us a bit more about some key achievements and challenges the company has encountered so far?
Paul Adolphi: In a relatively short space of time, we have brought together a unique product and service offering to the market, bringing the best in products and equipment with qualified on-site healthcare specialists. It is certainly the first of its type in Australia and perhaps the world. Our showroom clinics are profitable and growing and we have navigated the uncertainty around the NDIS to make it work for our customers and drive important revenue into the stores. This has been a massive achievement and has brought some challenges with it. However, we have proven to ourselves and others that we are up for the challenge.
Eden Exchange: What’s the best thing about your job? What drives you to do what you do?
Paul Adolphi: I receive feedback from customers almost every week telling me about the kindness, generosity and capability of the staff who work at Medimart. We are a business with a BIG heart. We make a small and sometimes big difference to people’s lives everyday. We are not perfect, but I know we do our best. It is the best thing about my job and it is what drives me every day. My view is that if we love our customers and always do our best, then we will get what we deserve.
Eden Exchange: Finally, is there anything you wish to say to anyone interested in pursuing further information about Medimart?
Paul Adolphi: The NDIS is the biggest social reform in Australian history since the introduction of Medicare. The aged care and disability market is booming. If there was ever a time to start a business, selling products and services to older Australians and people living with a disability – THE TIME IS NOW!
Click on the button below to enquire, we have fantastic franchise locations ready to go!
Eden Exchange: Thank you Paul, it’s been a pleasure.
About the business
The Medimart Group is positioned to be the leading healthcare brand destination for people living with injury, illness or disability across Australia. They aim to make life better for people with acute or chronic conditions and age-related health issues, including mobility, hearing and sleep problems. Through retail and online stores they provide medical, mobility and disability products and on-site clinical services including audiology, sleep therapy and podiatry. They believe in a better quality of life for people who need a little help.
They support the NDIS and healthcare professionals like GPs, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and local area health experts by providing their patients with guidance on the best product for their needs.