Before becoming business partners, James Kingi and Ben Blue were both independent contractors installing fire sprinkler systems. With 30 years of experience between them and with independent strengths complimenting each other, they realised the benefit of joining forces. The aim: to build a sustainable business which would increase personal wealth and provide a good lifestyle for themselves and their families.
Twelve months after establishing the business, they were offered the opportunity to buy and sell the materials needed for the installation of Fire Sprinkler Systems, giving their business an advantage over their competitors in the industry.
James says the current focus for the partners is to maximise their profit margins and establish simple control measures that allow the business to run efficiently. The construction boom gave opportunity for fast growth; it also affected the control of the business. Maintaining control is paramount. The business is now reaping the rewards of the time and effort James and Ben have put into this area of their business.
Over the next twelve months, James expects that the business could hit the "tipping point", in that they will have the appropriate teams together who know their jobs, combined with a growing clientele, achieved mainly through word of mouth. However, they currently face cashflow and optimising margin challenges.
"Robson's has worked with us to establish the means of managing our cash flow in precise detail. They have also taken the time to understand and dissect our business to offer advice on cost saving, establishing and maintaining control measures through the use of current applications and cloud based programs," says James.
By simplifying the inner workings of the business this has allowed James and Ben's team to draw definitive lines for roles and responsibilities, giving employees a clear picture of their personal tasks and the team goals - "As directors, it gives us clarity on work flow, project times and isolates the breaks in the link for easy damage control."
Direct Fire Supplies have had a number of successes over the last 12 months, increasing their margin by 12% and maintaining productivity with a smaller team.
James and Ben like to show their support for the community by participating in selected events - "We are involved with Lifeline at Gosford and have previously sponsored the Annual Brass Bloke Awards. We also like to be involved in a few Beyond Blue projects."
James describes their experience with Robson Partners - "countless times my business partner and I have walked out high fiving with a new energy. The 80/20 rule is always thrown around our office and constantly being enforced. Spend your time doing the 20% of work that is the most important. The constant barrage of questions, problems and information you can get in any business can leave you flustered or overwhelmed. We have the confidence in our accountant, we know he has our back and can get done what is needed while we can concentrate on what we know.
I could go on and on but in summary, with the help of Troy and his team, we have managed to get the business to a point where we have minimal stress. We are in control. Any obstacle can be identified and avoided. The absence of stress in our lives, has had a profound effect on personal outlook and motivation, not to mention our home lives, as you could imagine.
We have a great relationship with our accountant, they are professional, punctual and as mentioned, have our backs!"
Moving forward, the team's long term business goals are to be consistent, build the clientele they can handle, and establish flexibility to move with economical shifts. Personal goals include establishing a retirement plan, enjoying time with their families and improving their golf game!