Aussie executive franchisee (1)

Aussie executive swaps corporate role for franchisee future

Sarah Stowe

Jordan Ross had always intended to become a mortgage broker. The challenge was finding the right brand to align with. That all changed when the former rugby league pro turned corporate banker discovered Aussie.

Jordan [pictured above right] had extensive corporate banking and building society experience in the UK when he moved to Australia in 2010.

He then held senior positions in banking and was head of retail banking at Great Southern bank and regional manager of agribusiness at CommBank. But when a job working in a strategic operations role at Aussie shortly after their merge with Lendi came up, he saw it as an opportunity to broaden his experience.

“I did that for about 18 months. The big benefit was that I had a look at the roadmap for Aussie and could see some of the technical advances available for brokers. Lendi built an excellent system for brokers to be more efficient,” he says.

Aussie business model a convincing proposition

Now Aussie has adapted this system for its retail network to help boost business and drive scale.

The more Jordan saw of the Aussie franchise model, the better he liked it.

“Time in corporate helped me understand the day-to-day, what the brokers enjoyed and their key frustrations. I sat on forums to understand their challenges and help find ways to alleviate them. I had spent a bit of time as a broker between my corporate career and Aussie. So I knew what I was up for.”

The strength of the franchise proposition convinced this high-flying executive to relinquish his senior management career and transition into becoming his own boss.

“I thought about the options and decided, if I am serious where else would I do this and get a better result?”

Going into partnership

A chance meeting with local Aussie Shellharbour, NSW, franchisee Chris Crooks [pictured above left] led to the pair building a strong rapport. At the time Chris was looking to move on; instead, he saw the opportunity to bring Jordan into the 17-year-old business.

Partnering with a well-established franchisee was the perfect transition for Jordan to shift from corporate life into franchising.

“I have had fantastic support from Aussie to help me transition into my franchise. There has been lots of help along the way from all the team. When I’ve needed support it’s been there.”

Even for an Aussie executive turned franchisee like Jordan the move from employee to business boss requires a mind shift.

“We pay three salaries here, the rent is up to us, so I have the stress of being a business owner. The business needs to perform financially and when I was in corporate, thinking about this made me nervous.

“Now, day to day, I don’t think about it. I’m focused on the daily financial mechanics of getting more customers, quicker loans, better outcomes, and better deals with banks,” says Jordan.

A focus on operational efficiency

The key is constant attention to operations, he says, to find the optimal model.

“I meet with Chris every Friday to discuss the week’s business and any changes we need to make to our operations,” Jordan says. “We ask ourselves, what we hadn’t planned for, how do we improve? How do we become more efficient?”

This is also a time to plan responses to macro issues such as changes to fixed rates or finding fresh ways to influence through social media.

“We do a lot of social, from TikTok to Instagram and Facebook. I leverage my personal following to take the message to a wider audience. I try to keep it entertaining, and make people laugh; then when something relevant to home lending pops up they will take the time to look. Now and again I sneak something in!” says Jordan.

Leveraging good relationships

The business has reaped the benefits of his strong community connections through school, kids sports, his local gym and previous business experience.

“I have worked in banks and credit unions in the area and built good relationships. These customers find you, and I try to be as visible as possible.

“Aussie is sophisticated in generating new leads for brokers, not all aggregators do this. We don’t depend on this to find new business but it is helpful,” Jordan says.

Jordan’s current goal is to scale the business by adding brokers to write more loans.

Strategic growth plans

In addition to the shared ownership of the Shellharbour business Jordan and Chris set plans to open a second office in nearby Albion Park. It took just 10 months to scale the business to achieve that.

Now the business is poised to take advantage of significant growth in six suburbs it is caretaking in the absence of another franchisee.

“There are thousands of blocks to be sold in the area and home loans are about to ramp up. We need to make sure we own those suburbs and territory, then can take advantage of the growth,” he says.

Having already scaled the business once, this Aussie executive turned franchisee knows what is required to grow the business. He is comfortable with running lean operations until the level of enquiries increases.

There is a medium-term plan with a five-year horizon to significantly scale the Aussie franchise to accommodate the expected demand.