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Regional business, national success

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From Port Macquarie to the nation – Professional Finance Mortgage Brokers’ Donna Beazley reveals how this regional business garnered national recognition.

Nestled in the Peachtree Walk Arcade in the heart of Port Macquarie, Professional Finance Mortgage Brokers (PFMB) has only five in-house staff – but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in success.

Servicing the local community

In 2009, the small mortgage brokerage beat out its larger counterparts to become a finalist in the Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia’s esteemed Excellence Awards.

“Being regional, it’s great for our clients to see this recognition – we always get good feedback from this,” says Beazley.

But it’s less, she says, about having a medal and more about having a chest to pin it on. She says at the crux of the business’ success is the team’s consistently high standard of customer service, which is evident at every stage of the customer transaction process.

“Trust and honesty is what I sell every time,” says Beazley. “Without trust, you have nothing.”

This, she says, is the key to building lasting relationships.

“I help people achieve one of the most important life changing events – assisting someone moving into their first or second home, or investment property, or even buying a business. I get to share their excitement. That‘s very rewarding.” 

Building regional relationships

Being regionally-located often means servicing a smaller market than a metropolitan business – PFMB has developed a strategy to suit.

“Being regionally-based, I don’t have a ‘niche’ market,” she says.

Smaller markets, however, needn’t equate to less business. Take a page out of PFMB’s book and utilise the support tools available to your business to develop strong client relationships.

“While we move into the i-age – iPhones and iPads – human touch is still so very important,” says Beazley. “Building customer relationships in regional areas is still the foundation for any business to succeed. If I cannot be face-to-face, being available – via email, SMS, fax, Facebook or blogs – allows me to achieve this.”

In a constricted market, building strong ongoing relationships is the best type of advertising.

“My existing clients are my best marketing tool,” says Beazley.

For this reason, regional businesses need to be assured they’re offering their clients the best service possible. The right support is crucial for success – sometimes this requires a change in strategy. This hits home for many regional businesses – to keep up with metropolitan-based competitors, constant revision of support strategies is crucial. Beazley, for instance, changed aggregators to secure better support.

“I made a decision six months ago to change aggregators to Australian Finance Group. I believe it was the best decision for me, as the marketing and support tools they offer help me with my growth. This will have extraordinary results!”  

Regional commitment

Again, commitment and integrity to a strong local presence is key to success in regional areas - particularly during tough economic conditions.

“If I am prepared to put in the hours and work hard, it will pay off if the professionalism and honesty is there to accompany that,” she says.

PFMB’s strong regional presence and professionalism has helped them weather the storm – that and their commitment to continual improvement.

“While smaller broker offices and one-man band businesses are closing the doors, we need to ride this ‘challenging’ wave through the next 12 to 18 months and I believe it will have its rewards.

“I believe to be a leader you need to learn something new every day. Network! Keep up-skilling at all times and be passionate,” she says.

Leadership, says Beazley, is a skill any businessperson can develop.

“It is no different to a professional sports person. If you don’t train hard to get the goal you set for yourself, it isn’t just going to happen. Not in this industry!”

Also, personal development brings more value to the business and, in turn, the customers.

“Invest time and money into training and up-skilling all of the time. Networking with peers and attending personal development days will help you become a standout in this competitive industry and you have people who want to support this via business development managers, but you need to build the relationship,” she says.  

At a glance – six tips for success in regional business

  1. Enter (and win!) awards – this recognition will not only increase your profile, but will reassure your local clients of your professionalism.
  2. Build long-term relationships in the local community – these will ensure repeat business.
  3. Reach out to your customers and let them know you’re available when they need you – think SMS, social networks, online and in person.
  4. Take care of your customers – remember, they’re your best marketing tool!
  5. Regularly assess your support strategies – if they’re not working, look for alternatives.
  6. Leadership is a skill any businessperson can develop – investing time and money into personal development is crucial.

If you’re looking to work on your business rather than being stuck in it, book in for a complimentary business assessment today with Switzer Business Coaching

Important information: This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.

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Published on: Tuesday, November 02, 2010

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