What does it take to win a My Business Award? We speak with Rick Fitzpatrick, principal of the 2015 small business of the year, accounting and business advisory firm Fitzpatrick Group.
My Business: Why did you start your own business?
Rick Fitzpatrick: Like many small business operators, I started my original business through a desire to be self-employed and create my own future.
MB: How has your business evolved since its inception?
RF: The business grew organically for many years through client referrals and connecting with referral partners such as solicitors, mortgage brokers and financial planners.
The biggest change to the business came in 2010 when two of my employees, Bryn robinson and Ken Bond, became partners in the business.
At this point, we created a vision for the business and implemented a strategic plan to achieve our vision. We stopped considering the business as an accounting practice, instead viewing it as a proper business and put structures in place to accelerate its growth.
MB: What are some of the challenges you’ve faced and how have you overcome them?
RF: Without a doubt, creating a great team has been the biggest challenge. You can only grow the business quickly if you have the right team members.
To succeed in this area, we first identified, with the team, the core values of the business. From this, we were able to create a ‘culture statement’ for the business, which they all bought into.
We have these displayed throughout the office as a reminder to everyone.
The second challenge in our business is ensuring constant productivity. We are always espousing the importance of planning your day/week.
As the famous quote says: “Failing to plan is planning to fail”.
MB: What’s the best business decision you’ve ever made?
RF: There were two decisions which changed the path of Fitzpatrick Group.
The first was my decision to become an Action coach. The training I undertook, together with the mentoring I received, was invaluable. Applying their business principles not only took our business to another level, but also made all of us better business advisors.
The second was the appointment of my business partner, Bryn Robinson, as general manager of the business. Her expertise in terms of technical innovation, team management and implementing improved systems and processes has created the foundation for our continued growth into the future.
MB: What has it meant for you to be recognised as a My Business Award winner in 2015?
RF: To have our business and our accomplishments recognised at this national level, amongst other very high calibre businesses, was initially completely overwhelming.
We do what we do because it is our passion. The success of our client’s businesses measures directly the strength of our business.
It was very satisfying to take a step back and see what we have accomplished, but it also motivated our strong team to carry on building towards the future goals of the business.
MB: Share with us some of your bigger successes.
RF: As accountants, it is sometimes challenging to quantify the value you bring to business clients.
Our biggest success comes through transitioning our once standard accounting firm into a team providing complete business solutions. Our clients see us as their first port of call for anything relating to business, and we see our clients businesses as an extension of ours.
Our successes for our clients in assisting them closely in growing their businesses and developing sustainable financial futures would have to be the most satisfying for our team.
MB: Do you have a business motto?
RF: Strive to be the Best
MB: Who is your role model in business?
RF: (Business coach and author) Brad Sugars