Life is like a card game …

A friend and past client of mine is Mark O’Hare – a shrewd and highly skilled business adviser based in Brisbane, Australia with Grant Thornton. This is Mark’s response to the question:

What has been the most unusual client experience you have ever had and what did you do about it?

My view of life is that it is like a card game: many hands are dealt to you, over an extended period (my career being 30 years to date) and a few of those hands are bound to be special.

The most special hand I have received was in the form of a casual referral of a business, owned by a husband and wife team, by a regional banker. At first I did not recognise this event as the dealing of an exceptional hand: they had outgrown their existing provider and all I had to do was make the call to tee up a meeting. I promptly made the call, had the meeting and – in less than one hour – had formed the bond that would be the foundation of an extraordinary relationship. The meeting was with the wife in the partnership, who I was advised was a very tough operator, so it was crucial that I impress her. I am fortunate to have been reared by a mother who is of a similar nature, so we hit it off from the first minute. The engagement of both my division’s services, and those of three other divisions of the firm, was sealed on a handshake – a firm one, I might add!

The remarkable success that followed over the next 12 months could not have been anticipated nor planned. During that time, we rendered fees of around $1 million. These fees were all paid within seven days of being issued, sometimes sooner.

The client’s business, it should be mentioned, had commenced some 10 years earlier with a modest turnover ($3 million) and had grown to its current turnover of $200 million per annum and $50 million in net assets. This growth was all under the stewardship of a husband and wife team, residing in a remote area, with no formal business qualifi cations. To achieve this, there was determination and integrity in spades!

The best part of this story is the fact that the net cost to the client for our services over this fi rst year was nil. This was due to our successful submission to the ATO to have $600K of interest on overdue tax waived and $400K of GST repaid, on the basis that it was never properly claimed by their former provider.

As a result of this event, I have learned not to be quick to judge circumstances on face value and to build all relationships on both deep commitment and trust. Then, sometimes, magic happens!

Nice on Mark  🙂

Until next time,

James E

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