Paul and Emma Rashleigh were looking for a valuation on their 53 acre luxury retreat and spa in Mount Helena, when they called in Insight’s business transition expert Stewart Blizard.
Within two weeks, they’d replaced their accountant of six years with Insight and the relationship has flourished since, to the extent Paul says it feels just like another division of one of his companies.
“Stewart came out and I realised pretty quickly he did more than just valuations,” Paul explains.
“My mind spins a million miles an hour with ideas and I can give them a call anytime for advice and bounce ideas off them. Stewart responds with honesty and clarity, and that’s what I need.”
Insight’s support for Amaroo stretches from tax advice, to business strategies, and managing the company’s payroll.
The services also include business projections and Paul recalls that when the forecast from Insight arrived in his in-tray, he laughed. He called them up describing it as ‘Harry Potter’ predictions because he would have to be a wizard to achieve such optimistic turnover from just eight chalets.
Today, Paul admits Insight may well indeed be the wizards of Potter proportions; Amaroo is on its way to achieving those ambitious predictions with earnings for this financial year already exceeding those of the entire past financial year.
This is despite the catastrophe of COVID-19 that hit just as the operation opened its luxurious new restaurant and bar.
“Anyone will tell you that business is tough,” Paul says.
“But when you throw in COVID-19 it’s like you’re climbing a mountain and you’ve just about reached the top and someone throws in another 200 metres.
“It was tough to close the bar and restaurant when it had just opened. We employ all local people and to watch the staff walk out and close that gate hurt.
“COVID was just hell. It really shook our foundations across every business. I’ve never worked so hard as I have in the last few months trying to keep the business running and keeping people employed.”
However, Emma explains Paul thrives on a challenge and as COVID-19 hit and the restaurant closed, they built a massive wood fired pizza oven, selling more than a hundred pizzas the first two nights.
It was a challenge too for the couple in the first place, building a luxury tourist operation, in an area not known as a tourism destination.
It started as a small, wooden house with a dirt driveway that they fondly refer to as their ‘love shack’. They had sold a much more glamorous home when they moved to the property that was only ever intended as a short-term home.
“There was no infrastructure in place at all to support a business like this, so we started from scratch, in everything, from building to marketing, everything,” Paul says.
Three years into operation, the Amaroo Retreat and Spa is an award-winning business. It sits serenely in state forest less than an hour’s drive from Perth’s CBD. It has a generous menu of spa treatments, superb chalets, a pool, a bar, and a restaurant set in beautiful gardens.
The Rashleigh’s have another business, ABS Solutions, a commercial building and maintenance company that Paul started as a plumber at Perth airport 26 years ago.
Recently the couple built their new home near Amaroo that is giving rise to a new business venture, Rashleigh Signature Homes.
Stewart says Emma and Paul are a very entrepreneurial team and will always achieve great things in business. He says Insight plays a big role in consolidating their interests and ensuring they maintain focus.
“Staying focussed is important and we meet often to talk about business goals, develop strategies and to make sure they are staying on track,” he says.
“It’s important to have someone like us to talk to and work things through.”
Insight Advisory Group is a multi-service financial advisory firm with clients across multiple industries including hospitality, manufacturing, and tech.