Support from the Smartline family the clincher

Ruth WilliamsWith 21 years’ lending experience and six months in her new business, Ruth Williams made the lifestyle leap that has benefitted her career as well as her family’s needs.

During the Global Financial Crisis, and facing a long period with limited new professional challenges or opportunities for advancement, Ruth made her first step towards business ownership with a phone call to Smartline’s South Australian State Manager, Richard Bradshaw. The clincher, around four years later, was having the opportunity to attend a Personal Development (PD) Day so she could speak with other franchisees.

Based in South Australia’s Lower South East, Ruth has generated business leads through local real estate agents, friends and a school sponsorship, which have all seen her write more than $2 million in lending with an average loan size of $200,000 within six months.

“In the beginning being in my own business was a bit overwhelming because every financial institution does things differently, but I knew I could phone Richard, other franchisees and loan writers, who were always keen to help me,” Ruth says.

Ruth has found working for herself “a big eye-opener”, and acknowledges the need to be disciplined and patient, but cites being part of a professional organisation that offers so much marketing and IT support, a major benefit.

“The biggest challenge is maintaining consistent contact with existing and potential referrers – it’s very easy to stay in your office and concentrate on admin, but it’s imperative to get out there and build relationships,” she says.

“My 5-year goal is to put my business in a position whereby I can open a shop front on the main street of Mount Gambier and employ staff.” .

Ruth’s tips for getting started in your business:

Be prepared to try new things.

If you’re not getting the results you want, do something different.

People buy relationships not products.

Work hard to build strong relationships with your clients and referrers – make them feel special.