Regardless of the size of your company, your courage, your finesse and your situation will determine how effectively you implement the ideas you garner here. You know your business best; you know where your business needs help and where the opportunities are. You also know how quickly you want to grow. We’re here to make sure that between the information and the contextural situations we provide that you have a number of parameters and perspectives to help you make the appropriate decision at the right time. The future is, indeed, bright for Mompreneurs!
Medicard Finance Inc. – Ann Kaplan
Q: When was your business started?
The business was incorporated in September 1996.
Q: What makes your business unique?
Medicard is a consumer finance company that offers loans nationally for medical procedures. The financing is unsecured and is available for those who may not have the credit available, access to cash, or prefer to make smaller monthly payments than a larger up-front expenditure. Financing is available at over 5,000 medical clinics throughout Canada, or an applicant can simply call or fill out an easy application online. There is no other company in Canada solely focused on providing consumers with loans for medical procedures.
Q: You were able to raise an unparalleled $5 million in financing from the Bank of Montreal. What do you think was the reason behind this achievement?
Timing is everything. We have recognized unprecedented turbulence in the markets over the past few years; I do not believe it would have been possible in this current economic climate. However, I do believe that part of the reason the bank had comfort is because I was prepared. There were very clear expectations and clear questions that the bank had provided – I (together with the Medicard team) delivered answers in a clear, concise manner that gave comfort to The Bank of Montreal. During the due diligence process, which was about six months, we proved that we were organized and capable – this, I believe, lifted any concerns that were weighted against us at the time.
Q: You have been extremely cautious about branding yourself as an entrepreneur and not a mother. Was there a reason for this?
I believe sometimes we need to wear more than one hat. My children would say I am a mother; however, when I am at work, I am a business woman. It is not so much that I would like to be branded as one over the other; however, in business I would like to be thought of for what I have contributed to my field, rather than being able to juggle six children and a career.
Q: You even went so far as to not mention your pregnancies to your board of directors or your staff. Did you feel that you would be judged on the basis that you were trying to balance both?
I felt that my personal life was my personal life. I was about to give birth to my sixth and last child when the board members read in a magazine article that I was pregnant. They called me up to discuss this new found information (‘new found’ to them – I already knew!). I had never discussed my personal life in any aspect prior to that call, nor did I feel that it was important to anyone if it was not affecting my work. I do not know if I felt I would be judged or not; I only felt strongly that it was important to make sure that my board knew that I was focused on business, which they did. I must add, I was not concerned with them knowing – I had only continued to do as I had always done, and that was to get right to business, bulging belly or not!
Q: What have been some of your challenges, successes?
For the past 14 years, the business has not been without many hurdles. The different economic fluctuations have posed the greatest challenge – this has affected the cost of doing business and the ability to raise the capital necessary to service the demand.
The greatest success is having ridden through the economic challenges and raised the capital and debt necessary to service the demand. To date, Medicard has financed $150,000,000 in consumer loans.
Q: What are your business plans for the next five years?
For the next five years we will not just grow the business, we will take a sharp turn in how we do business. Market conditions have forced us to be prudent and redirect how and where we raise debt and capital to finance consumer loans; however, from the consumer’s perspective, we will continue to offer unsecured loans for medical, dental and veterinary procedures. Over the next five years we will continue to treat clients and provide financing in the same positive manner that has directly impacted our reputation for great service.