I cannot wait to share the growth numbers for the Group with you at the Envest Summit but in summary the growth in top line and bottom line is impressive.
Yes, the market is assisting, but during hard markets it takes quality brokers and agencies to sell their product and their value. I really believe that as the big players get bigger, so must we. But the key to success will be to remain relevant and supported by capacity, financiers and customers. With growth comes revenue which equals cash flow. With cash comes the ability to invest in people and technology.
I have been reading a lot about early technology successes like E-Bay and Alibaba. For those that don’t know, Alibaba is the E-Bay and Amazon of China. It took them 14 years to get to IPO and most of that time to get to profitability. They never stopped growing though they changed their business model several times to keep ensuring relevance and growth; because of that, the funding from VC’s and Private Equity never stopped. An interesting anecdote from the book Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built, is that JP Morgan backed the company in the early days. But things were too slow for them after five years of investment so JP Morgan sold its 33% stake for just over $20m. JP Morgan was delighted, they got a 7x return on their money. However, if they had held on until after the IPO, their stake would be $12.5 billion eight years later. Therein lies another lesson about commitment and patience, something I have to remind myself about every day!
I have talked a lot about people and the fact that we are on a “people acquisition” strategy. When I look at the quality of the individuals we have brought into many of our partner businesses, I am certain this is the right strategy. Businesses remain expensive, so let’s find the best people we can get, incentivise and align them with our growth aspirations and the bi-product is, we future proof our businesses.
With any growing business, especially businesses that are growing as fast as ours, it’s important to put in place, a robust governance, risk and compliance framework. As entrepreneurs, this is not our core skillset or focus area but after the recent Royal Commission and the several substantial frauds recently reported in-market, the Envest Board has taken steps to invest in this area.
There is enormous strength in building a collective brand (Aviso) but the risk is equally great if one partner does the wrong thing. Reputation is everything in business, so the steps we are now taking to improve this area will ensure that we protect our brand and ultimately make each business more valuable. The first step in this process was to appoint Cliff as Chief Risk Officer. During this year, Cliff will help us to design a relevant and useful governance framework which we are all comfortable implementing.
Given this is our first edition, please be patient as we work out relevant newsworthy stories and meaningful messages to share with you and your teams. We would also like your feedback to help improve the Envestor Insider.
We have such a lot going on, we all face a lot of challenges day-to-day but there are so many terrific stories to share along the way – we want this to be the place for that.
Enjoy the read. I would encourage you to find the time to absorb what is in here, if for no other reason other than we have put a lot of effort in!
Talk in a couple of months,