This month I spoke to Lara Lumtin of TJL Business Advisors & Accountants. Let’s find out more about TJL and Lara’s marketing mind.
What’s your role at TJL Business Advisors & Accountants?
Marketing Manager at TJL, managing the day to day marketing activities of the organisation and long term marketing strategy for the company. So, it’s my job to ensure we build our brand image and communicate with our target market to tell them how we can help them.
This is something you did for many years prior to TJL, I believe?
I started in advertising at George Patterson Bates, Sydney, in 1996. I instantly knew this was the career path I was looking for. I studied part- time and completed an Advanced Diploma in Marketing Management, and worked on brands such as Optus Retail, Angus & Coote and Katies. In 1998, I became an Account Manager/Director at Fame Advertising and worked on clients such as Holden Retail, Oz Design Furniture and Artline pens and markers. In 2004, I left to be a full-time mum, then returned in 2008 when Tony started TJL Business Advisors & Accountants.
Like many of us, family is a huge driver in our business; what was it that drove Tony and yourself to move the family from “The Shire” to our beautiful shores?
This is such a beautiful area; we thought it would be a great place to raise our young family. If we remained in Sydney, our kids certainly wouldn’t have the opportunities and experiences they have now.
Being a new local business, how did you get the TJL brand out there so effectively?
It was really important to get our name out there. We were in FOCUS every month for two years! It’s important to know that you don’t build a brand from placing an ad once or twice. Consistency and repetition build brand recognition, awareness and service offerings. We have a defined target market and use the media accordingly.
We also gained a lot of recognition from partnering with a well known charity in the community, holding our annual charity golf day and raising an incredible amount of funds for the Ronald McDonald Family Retreat, Forster. This is a charity we’re very passionate about, having young kids ourselves.
Once our name and logo was out there, we were then consistent in providing the public with more information, namely our service offerings, especially as we offer such unique services/products/experience as we are a multifaceted business. We are now focusing on what differentiates us from our competition, which is our staff, our services offered and our experience.
Are there things you see in the way some advertise their business that make you cringe? Or to put it more diplomatically, what are some key fundamentals for strong marketing?
Yes, trying to put so much information in an ad. Less is more! A clean, easy to read ad certainly gets the message across. They say sex sells, but a lot of the time people miss the mark, and it becomes cringe worthy!
But in regard to the fundamentals of strong marketing, as stated above – consistency!
Accounting would not be an industry easy to market, like my own. How do you make a product or service appealing to your target market?
You need to have compelling offers and also offer something different. You need to get into the minds of what your target is wanting from their Accountant and Business Advisor. We have a unique and powerful “Power of One” strategy that can increase cashflow and profits for a business.
Thankfully, TJL make it easy by offering different services and having an edge over their competition. From our effective “Power of One” strategy, which increases cashflow and profit for a business, to our wealth creation/debt reduction strategies with TJL Financial Management, having that difference and offering those diverse services really sets us apart from our competition!
Our mission statement, displayed on all our communication, is: “Working together to build a better financial future for our clients”. This says we are passionate about doing what we can to make sure our clients reach their financial and lifestyle goals and objectives, effectively and efficiently.
TJL recently went through an exciting merger and basically doubled in size overnight. How has this new entity been received by the clients of both practices?
Overall, our clients from both businesses are very happy. We have a diverse range of clients, for whom we have been able to offer more services that strategically suit their financial needs and goals. We have a great team that has transitioned well with our clients’ needs and expectations.
Tony and yourself had some clear plans in moving the business here, with family at the heart of it. What about for the business though; where do you see it in five years from now?
In five years’ time, we hope to continue meeting our clients’ needs and help them grow their personal wealth and businesses. At TJL, repeat business and referrals from clients continue to account for a large percentage of our sales. That said, moving forward I see the growth in smart phones and internet searches and realise we need to be constantly updating our website, social media sites, and email lists.
We are working on continuing to grow the business and preparing for the dynamic industry changes planned for accounting. We will remain dedicated to seeking new, innovative ways to meet our clients’ needs, while increasing our services and efficiencies with our ongoing training programmes. As the economy continues to improve, we may look into other markets.
What is the best part about being in business in the Manning-Great Lakes?
Tony and I love operating a business here. The people are lovely, and there is a real sense of community. We get a real kick out of helping local businesses succeed, individuals build their wealth and helping families pay off their mortgage sooner, without changing their lifestyle.