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Simplicity has made great strides since its creation in 2017. Last year it was named New Brokerage of the Year at the AMAs and has since gone on to launch Marketplace finance (MKP); a fulfilment platform that allows referrers to transact commercial deals.
MPA spoke with managing director Jean-Pierre Gortan about the company’s journey so far and the reasons behind its success.
The birth of Simplicity
After running the commercial division of a privately-owned business for about seven years, Gortan and his business partner Matthew Johnson decided to step out and start up their own firm.
The two wanted to focus on commercial finance, including property development, investment, mezzanine and working capital.
“We both have several years of broking experience and 10 plus years of commercial banking under our belts, so without really knowing whether it would be successful we set down the path,” Gortan says.
In no time at all, the business was thriving based on the pair’s extensive networks and well-established credibility within the industry.
“Beyond our experience, the business mantra amongst the team is to always endeavour to be the best in everything we do,” he says.
“This philosophy can be seen in the daily processes we have implemented, focusing primarily on lending solutions that are driven by quality, personalised advice and exceptional customer service.”
From spreadsheets to automation
Gortan says the business is very systems orientated. After starting out using spreadsheets, they quickly moved to a Salesforce based workflow program and have since refined this to include automated task generation, integrated forms for proposals and email.
“We have several processes in place to ensure our customer service is above standard as we believe client engagement is one of the key factors in being a successful broker,” he explains.
Within its CRM, the company has set up automated reminders for milestones such as birthdays, facility expiry dates and annual reviews.
“A member of our team will receive these reminders and check in with the customer where necessary and this helps to ensure that both past and present customers are kept front of mind,” he says.
“We really think this one of the key successful habits we have implemented together with ensuring we review all our deals almost daily, to see what the next steps are and how we can move them forward.
“The board of directors also meets twice weekly to cover blue sky opportunities and also other general business, such as business performance.
“It’s important to be strategic when trying to grow a sizeable business – but having started from scratch it was easier to influence our processes, we didn’t need to unlearn bad habits.”
The launch of Marketplace Finance
About eight months ago Simplicity launched MKP, a tool that is now bringing in more than half of the company’s leads.
“MKP is a fulfilment platform for referrers to transact commercial deals. It has proven a great success with over 100 active referrers having signed up in the first 6 months,” Gortan says.
“We have created a digital platform that enables any accredited referrer to write complex commercial deals thanks to a combined offering of a training and referral network together with our experience in commercial finance.
“The Marketplace Finance offering was born out of a good idea to address industry demand for greater business diversification and to help steer new sources of customer delivery and revenues towards the traditional finance broking and referring sector.”
It has also had the benefit of reducing Simplicity’s reliance on Gortan’s network for new leads, thus creating a more saleable proposition if they ever decided to go this way.
A changing strategy
Gortan says the business pivots quite a lot depending on market factors and has always sought to innovate and thrive in challenging times.
“Whilst the industry is experiencing a lot of legislative pressures, we have always had this at the forefront of our business,” he says.
“It’s always important, despite where you sit in the playing field, to support the growth of the industry and find new ways to make it better for the overall community.”
He says the original strategy of the business was to focus on commercial finance and write some home loans.
“Now we are very adamant that we don’t write any home loans unless they are part of a dual application,” he says.
Instead, Simplicity refers these finance enquiries out to partners who are better suited to write the loans on their behalf.
“We feel it’s a better experience for all involved, but most importantly, for the clients.”
To those starting a new brokerage, Gortan offers the following advice.
“Make sure that you have your networks well established – you need to have multiple channels and never be solely reliant on one source of revenue or deals,” he says.
“Partner with other brokers who have experience and can help guide and mentor you.”
He says in commercial finance, unless you have a lot of experience, it is better to start small and work your way up.
“Always look for opportunity but don’t bite off more than you can chew.”
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