23/04/2008 - 22:00

Core beliefs drive business direction

23/04/2008 - 22:00

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When Dave Urquhart set out in 2004 to buy a mortgage and finance broking franchise, his values and beliefs were set in stone.

When Dave Urquhart set out in 2004 to buy a mortgage and finance broking franchise, his values and beliefs were set in stone.

The problem was, although it was a buyer’s market and he and partner Sandy Mazzucchelli knew what type of business they wanted to acquire, they didn’t know which franchise would best suit their needs.

Collectively, the pair had 33 years’ experience at BankWest. For three of those, Mr Urquhart was state manager, broker channel, and for 18 years Mrs Mazzucchelli worked in management at the bank’s head office.

Deciding to combine skills and expertise, they formulated a two-year and five-year plan and set out strict criteria that a prospective company would have to satisfy to be selected.

“My wife went and visited 12 different companies, bearing in mind that, back four or five years ago, to get someone with experience, every company was jumping up and down saying ‘come on board, come on board’,” Mr Urquhart, now director of  The Mortgage Gallery in Joondalup, told WA Business News.

“She had the choice of 10 or so different companies, but got disillusioned after visiting the first six. All they talked about was how much money you could make.”

Mr Urquhart said that, after reviewing countless spreadsheets from businesses boasting the bottom line, Mrs Mazzucchelli became disheartened by the whole selection process.

“She wasn’t too interested in the money side of it, she was interested in finding ways to add value to the client,” he said.

Setting out four strict criteria a franchisor would have to satisfy, the pair began a process of elimination, “comparing apples with apples” with the likes of ANZ, Wizard Home Loans and Mortgage Choice.

The criteria involved financial, history, systems, and internal culture considerations.

“Obviously you’ve got to make money from the franchise at one stage,” Mr Urquhart said, adding that companies needed a promising financial outlook to make the shortlist.

“Where the company was from and where it was going was important. It was easy with [The Mortgage Gallery founder] John Bignell from when I was at BankWest; he was all about bringing up a solid company that was going to be around, going to be sustainable for a long time.”

As far as systems were concerned, Mr Urquhart said software was important, and companies had to have the tools to keep up-to-date with what was happening in the market.”

“Ongoing support and help from head office, as well as a strong internal culture and team work were vital,” he said of the final pre-requisite, internal culture.

While deciding which franchise to buy was difficult, Mr Urquhart said his tenure at BankWest gave him the necessary tools to make an informed decision.

“That role was really a great ground to determine which company to go for,” he said.

“When it came down to the final two choices Mr Urquhart’s knowledge of each company’s structure and services from working at BankWest, helped.

Mr Bignell was among the first to introduce the concept of mortgage broking to assist Australian home buyers in finding the right loan.

His mantra that if a business looked after its clients, the clients would look after the business, went to the core of Mr Urquhart’s and Mrs Mazzucchelli’s beliefs.

Established in 1992, The Mortgage Gallery strives to provide franchisees with the business systems, training and support needed to exceed customers’ expectations and to assist them in achieving individual business success, according to Mr Urquhart.

He said being persistent, obtaining a wealth of information, and not wavering on core beliefs were instrumental in making the right decision.

Now, he and Mrs Mazzucchelli have a second franchise, based in Wangara.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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