Sharon Horan, the president of FIT for Work (FFW), started the company in 1994 and now has 4 permanent locations across Newfoundland. In addition there is a 5th strategic alliance which allows for island-wide coverage. "Having started with one office and 3 employees then growing steadily to multiple locations, with 40 professionals, made it easier to ensure quality service and consistent delivery among staff and locations. It also allowed FFW to continue to offer industry leading services. Growing too fast could have been a detriment to the success of the company" says Horan.
"While working in the public health care system, I was managing third party programs for insurance companies and realized these services could be provided in a more cost-effective manner and with better outcomes through the private sector," said Sharon. "When revenues climbed we knew our company had grown to become a significant player in the occupational medical field".
While the insurance industry accounts for 60% of her revenue, changes in the labour market have created opportunities for her company to deliver services to employers as well; thereby diversifying her customer base.
Employers need help identifying if a candidate is "safe and suitable" for a particular job, says Horan. Hiring the right person for the right job is critical for companies. As a result, FFW expanded its services to include employment medicals, EKGs, drug and alcohol testing, and audiograms.
Using every opportunity to promote that we are a Newfoundland and Labrador and female-owned business has been one strategy for growth. Focusing on capacity, competitiveness and capability has been the other key element that ensures we maintain our market share.
To secure FFW's future, Sharon doesn't rely on any one customer or service. "Having a range of services to offer to a long list of customers means we can weather lean times in certain sectors and ramp up for busy times in others. Diversification in service offerings and in customers has been the recipe for having a successful company over the long term," she says.
In recent years FFW has secured multi-year contracts in the municipal sector, the insurance industry and is currently about to launch an entire host of services to promote and restore mental health issues in the workplace.
Sharon attends as many NLOWE and other business industry events as possible. NLOWE's network of entrepreneurs and her own network of business owners has been a source of inspiration for her. She credits NLOWE for providing coaching and mentoring, which she feels is important to all entrepreneurs and encourages all business owners to have a mentor or peer advisory group.
FIT for Work
FIT For Work is a leader in the injury prevention and injury management industry. The diverse multi-disciplinary group of medical and rehabilitative specialists provide assessments that ensure clients are safe and suitable to perform work. Island wide coverage is provided through 4 offices and 40 talented professionals.
This success story is provided by the Newfoundland & Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs (NLOWE) – helping women in business start, grow and advance.