Getting to know you: Paul Parkinson

Paul Parkinson

What do you currently do?

I’m the MD of Synergy Automotive which is now in its 10th year and was established to provide our UK client base, both business users and private individuals, with a 21st century vehicle leasing experience. Clients span sole traders to PLCs – we supply all makes and models of cars and LCVs and offer significant fleet discounts, supported by highly tax efficient finance products.

As Benefit in Kind (BIK) tax rises, many of our company car drivers are looking for tax efficient alternatives, and this forms part of the specialist advice and service we provide.

Customers are at the heart of everything we do and our business is built on providing our clients with a great experience. We also benefit from a large number of recommendations and referrals. We’re proud to say we are a Feefo Gold Trusted Merchant with over 600 customers this year rating our service 100%.

Who do you admire?

Anyone who has succeeded by working hard, spotting a good idea and seeing how far they can take it – and, most importantly retaining their integrity and honestly while doing so. I’m impressed by Tony Robbins who coaches ordinary people to achieve the extraordinary.

Looking back, are there things you would have done differently?

I would have taken a gap year and travelled to Australia or America.  . I would also have tried harder at school – and I wish I had started Synergy Automotive 20 years earlier.

What defines your way of doing business?

Being fair, even-handed and honest – I’m straight with people and expect the same from them. Total honesty with clients, especially when things occasionally go wrong, is vital – and is a key reason for our high approval ratings. We differentiate in terms of service and there is little more impressive in the customer experience than complete transparency and an elegant recovery.

What advice would you give someone starting out?

That you can be/do/have what you want if you are completely committed. Don’t be afraid to get it wrong, as everybody, absolutely everybody, makes mistakes and some of them will be big ones. The first five years are the toughest and it’s vital that you write a business plan, keep it as a reference for your aims and objectives, and revise it as the company evolves. Keep across your figures and, dependent upon the size of the business, ensure you have weekly/monthly targets that are manageable. Work to the ‘bite size chunks’ theory and avoid trying to do everything in one go and becoming overwhelmed. Above all, stick at it.