Martin Wright

 

Enterprise success stories

Martin Wright

What did you study at the University of Exeter ?

Geography 1977 

What is your business all about?

The provision of general insurance broking and healthcare services to corporate clients and insurance advisory services to high net worth individuals. I have recently sold this business and currently in the process of purchasing another business.

What is your business’s unique selling point (USP)? What is your main form of advertising? Who are your main competitors?

The USP of the business was the innovative approach to insurance solutions and a high level of personal service through a regional network, plus the use of technology to deliver service to specific customer groups. Minimal advertising other than use of search engine optimisation techniques and use of qualified databases. Main competitors are other insurance brokers, banking groups and online aggregator groups.     

Where did your idea come from? What is the start-up story behind your business?

Not a start up as such it was a management buy out of the business I was working in and then subsequently took the business in a new direction. 

If you started your business whilst at University, juggling your academic studies with your new business as well as still having a social life must have been a challenge. How did you accommodate the three and what did an average day, if you had one, looked like for you?

Did not start the business at university.

What things helped you learn how to run a new business? Has there been anything or anyone in particular that has helped you along the way?

Working in other blue chip businesses before running my own business enabled to obtain the skillsets to run my own business as well as providing me with an opportunity to buy a business.

What support have you received from the University? Were there any particular curricular or extra-curricular activities that were instrumental in your and your business development?

The intellectual training and the networking with fellow alumni.

What do you think has been your key to success so far?

Tenacity, clear business goals, networking and creating a great management team.

Have you made any mistakes along the way? Is so, what have you learnt from these? And further, if you could go back in time, are there any things that you would change or would do differently?

Not everything you invest in is successful and I have had some disappointments. The important element is to take calculated risks so that if they are unsuccessful then the downside is containable and does not jeopardise the whole venture.

What can we look forward to in terms of your business? Have you got any future plans for it?

I have sold my current business but I am looking to invest in a new venture which will build on my experience in insurance but with a focus on a developing sector.

How about yourself? Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years?

My horizon tends to be 3-5 years. In 5 years time I expect to have built another successful broking business in a new sector. 

What advice do you have for University of Exeter students who are looking to start their own business?

I would suggest getting some work experience before you start your own business to reduce the number of mistakes you make and obtain a better understanding of what are the important factors in running a business (cashflow not profit, working with good people etc).