Mark Ireland of Advanced Family & Sports Podiatry
A Farmer’s son from Ongerup who now runs a successful podiatry practice in Albany, how did he get there?
Paul Meaton met with Mark Ireland from Advanced Family & Sports Podiatry over lunch to ask him about his journey.
Podiatry is not exactly a common occupation, what made you choose the profession?
Growing up on a farm I worked out early on that I didn’t want to be a farmer. I found sheep to be frustrating and crop farming to me was just driving round and round in a circle until you got to the middle of the paddock.
So instead I went through Uni and completed a science degree. The problem was once I completed it I didn’t know what to do with it. One day I read a newspaper article in “The West” about podiatry and how farmers were often in need of podiatric treatments and then it clicked.
What inspired you to start your own practice?
After completing my degree in Perth I moved to Newcastle and worked for one of the largest podiatry practices in the region for two years. It was a third generation family business with 30,000 patients. This really showed me what could be achieved and the importance of having good facilities, professional staff and a great relationship with your patients. I have now tried to mirror that practice in many ways.
You’ve been in business for a while now, how were the early days and what did you learn along the way?
I opened the doors to the business on 1 July 2006. I had one computer that I took home each night and in that first month I had just 1 patient! – Thankfully with the help of my father Colin, who supported my ambition fully, I was able to persevere to the point where we are now.
I also believe in hiring someone with the right personality for the job rather than just the skills, as you can always provide training for the skills that are lacking.
What services do Advanced Family and Sports Podiatry provide?
We specialise in treating and managing lower limb health, basically from the hip down. This often includes sporting injuries and podiatric treatment for people of all ages, from children through to the elderly. We also provide general podiatric treatments such as nail and foot care for people who might not be able to maintain their feet themselves due to age or other injuries.
What do you find are the benefits and challenges of having a business in the Great Southern?
For me the main limitation of running my business is that the professional development opportunities can be quite limiting. I like to stay up to date with the current procedures and will often travel to Perth or interstate for these opportunities. Having said that, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, the lifestyle here is fantastic and it’s less stressful living here and a great place for the family.
What do you in your spare time?
I love hanging out with my wife and two kids and enjoy distance running. I’ve started mountain biking, although a couple of friends talked me into trying the mountain bike track on Mt Clarence and this ended with me in the bush and a broken rib!
If you had your time again, what would you do different?
Many things! I would have employed a practice manager and started processing statistics much earlier. You think you will save money by doing it all yourself but I think it slowed me down in the long run. You are better off focusing on your skills and do the job that you’re good at and hire the right people to do the meaningful things you don’t know as much about in your business.
Advanced Family & Sports Podiatry
37-39 Pioneer Road
Albany WA 6330
Phone 9841 3633