50 fastest-growing start-ups
StartupSmart Awards 2011
28. Fortitude Financial Management
Founders: Brian Jones
Brian Jones is the founder of Fortitude Financial Management, a Victorian-based business providing life insurance solutions across the business, personal and superannuation sectors.
With extensive qualifications in the industry, Jones started his business in 2006 based on his passion for ensuring clients receive quality financial planning advice in line with their needs, goals and objectives.
“Fortitude’s niche is purchasing small life insurance and superannuation client bases from retiring advisers where the client base may not have been adequately serviced for a number of years,” Jones says.
During the first few years, Jones acquired the businesses of Bailey Court Financial Services, Tayfield Financial Services, Lifespan Financial Services and a number of small businesses that now make up Fortitude.
“Our team loads each client into our database and begins servicing them and providing value add-ons,” he says.
According to Jones, gaining access to credit in order to grow the business proved to be impossible for the first 18 months.
“When you start a business, most banks don’t want to look at you. The big banks wouldn’t look at us because we hadn’t been operating for four or five years – we were considered too risky,” he says.
Jones says he eventually approached Macquarie Bank, but it was 18 months before the business saw any money. Despite this, the business took in $747,209 revenue last year.
He says if he had the chance to do anything different, he would’ve reconsidered the ownership structure of the business, and specialised from the start.
“Being in a partnership at the start was the most challenging [aspect] due to the different ideas each party has,” he says.
“As a business owner, you never think you’re doing anything well. We didn’t think we were doing anything well because we weren’t specialising, which meant we couldn’t offer a superior service in one particular area,” he says.
“That would be my advice to other start-ups – specialise 100%.”
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