In this episode of Elite Broker, he explains why you’re always learning as a mortgage broker and reveals how he’s identifying opportunities in the changing environment to bring in new business to his growing brokerage.
In this episode, find out:
- How Nelson’s career has gone from strength to strength
- How he's targeting new avenues for engaging prospects
- How brokers can identify and improve weak spots in their businesses
James Mitchell: Welcome to Elite Broker. I'm your host James Mitchell, editor of The Adviser, and we're joined once again by regular co-host Annie Kane. How you doing, Annie?
Annie Kane: I'm fine thanks, James. How are you?
James Mitchell: Very good. Thanks. Annie Kane's a deputy editor of The Adviser here, and we've also got a mortgage broker in the studio, Nelson Bedoya. How you doing, Nelson?
Nelson Bedoya: Good morning. Thank you for having me.
James Mitchell: No worries. You've been broking ... I guess you've been around thing right now for almost three years -
Nelson Bedoya: Correct.
James Mitchell: And you're with Loan Market. You're a finalist for a Better Business Award this year, and I believe you won the best new broker in the country for Loan Market, is that correct?
Nelson Bedoya: Correct.
James Mitchell: Awesome.
Annie Kane: That's exciting.
Nelson Bedoya: It is. It was.
James Mitchell: That's some serious accolades, huh?
Nelson Bedoya: Yeah, no, it's been a very good start to my broking career. I've been very fortunate to be recognised both internally within Loan Market and also win some industry accolades very early in piece, so, yeah, it's been a very good start. I can't complain.
Annie Kane: But you're not new to finance, you've got a background in finance, just new-ish to broking?
Nelson Bedoya: New-ish to running my own business, new-ish to, yeah, having my own broking company. But my background pretty much stems from having several different loan processing roles, working for different brokers. I even had a short stint at Bankwest, working as a HLS, so I have had some good exposure to it, and I guess that all culminated in what it is now, at the moment.
James Mitchell: How did you find that transition, from going from the processing side or maybe working in a bank, to actually running your own business as a broker? Was it much of a step up?
Nelson Bedoya: Sure. It is very different, because when you are working for other brokers or if you're working within a bank, pretty much everything else gets taken care of when you're working inside a bank. But as soon as you step out and you become your own boss and you start running your own business, you start wearing different hats, right? It's the office manager, you become the cleaning, you become the book keeping, you become everything. But I guess in terms of talking about the core essence of what it is that we do, I must admit, my first day when I woke up and I was working as my own broker, I did sit there and go "Oh my god, what do I do now?"
But realistically, it's no different to what I would have done previously. You know, you get back on the phone to your relationships, you call people and that's how you get the wheels turning. I think when you are becoming your own broker and you are starting your own business, I think the best guys really have the knowledge of what it is to do the back end process, and the guys who succeed are the ones who have that real understanding of what it is that happens in the background.
So, everything from compiling documentation to submitting loans, to getting it through to approval and doing that post-settlement process, the guys that have actually had experience doing that or took the time to learn that, I think are the guys that succeed in the long run.
Annie Kane: Well, that's it. That's one of the most common things we hear from new to industry brokers. They say that they get started, and they've done all their research and stuff, but it's actually once they start processing the loan they actually realise how many hours actually go in to it and they have to do all this research of the policies. But, I guess having that, from Bankwest experience, you already knew a lot of that, or at least for the Bankwest bank.
Nelson Bedoya: Correct. Well, the other thing is, when you work within a bank, a lot of that compliance stuff is taken care of, as an example. Whereas when you step out and become your own broker, you have to make sure that you're compliant by doing all the correct documentation, preparing everything, getting it all out. So, that adds an extra couple of hours to work from the processing side. I mean, I've had experience working with other different brokers in terms of what it is to process a loan from start to finish. What it is to write loan notes. What it is to do a servicing calculator. So, I guess that all comes together and it really does help, especially when you bring on staff. If you understand the process, it's a lot easier to slot people in and make sure that they continue the process.
Annie Kane: So, you were still having to learn, even though you'd had that experience?
Nelson Bedoya: Oh, you're always learning. I definitely agree that it's an ... Especially now that the industry is changing so much, now more so than ever we're always learning and we have to make sure that we continue to learn. Otherwise, you just get left behind.
James Mitchell: So, tell us a bit about your team at the moment. You've got three staff, I believe, and you're looking to bring another three more on?
Nelson Bedoya: Correct, correct.
James Mitchell: Tell us about the various roles and how they work in terms of that process, that chain.
Nelson Bedoya: Correct, correct. So, in terms of how my team operate at the moment, so, I have a packager. So, someone who specialises in putting together all the supporting documentation, takes care of the compliance, gets all of the bank's privacy forms and all that part of it taken care of in terms of data entry and preparation. So, that will go from preparation through to submission. Then, I have someone who takes care of all the tracking and all the updating, in terms of making sure the clients are aware of what part of the process their loan is up to. So, that will take over from submission right to approval, and then I have a client relations manager, who takes care of the ... From right through to approval and all the way through to post-settlement.
Annie Kane: Okay, so you're much more the sort of out there, getting the clients, winning their business and then the back end stuff gets taken care of?
Nelson Bedoya: Correct. So, I do more of the front end client-facing type operation, and then I have the guys in the back end who can manage all that. All the nitty-gritty stuff. All the day to day stuff, as I would call it.
Annie Kane: And you get to do all the fun stuff.
Nelson Bedoya: Exactly.
James Mitchell: How's that freed up your time to actually bring in the business and, another follow-up question to that, how do you bring in the business? I guess this is the big question on a lot of brokers' minds, how do they do it?
Nelson Bedoya: Yeah, so, when I started, and I guess this can go towards in terms of giving some advice around new brokers who are wanting to come in to the industry. When I started, I think the most important thing for me was picking an avenue that I wanted to target first. I mean, we can try and do things off the fly. I think, at the end of the day, if you try to put your hands in too many different baskets, it can become sort of disordered and it can become different to try and manage.
So, when I started, the biggest thing for me was I wanted to target, word of mouth referrals. I think they're the most simplest, and I think they're the easiest ones to convert. So, if you do well by a client, they'll more than happily refer you. So, my biggest thing was, I wanted to target word of mouth referrals. So, everything that I do is making sure that I service my clients to the best of my ability and making sure that my team delivers the same customer experience, and that's why I've structured the business in that way, to make sure that we continually produce the same level of customer service. So, everyone gets the same treatment.
So, that was all based around word of mouth. Now that I have a decent amount of word of mouth referrals, I've now looked at moving in to different types of other marketing avenues that we can target through brand awareness, whether that be social media, whether that be creating videos or doing different sorts of things.
Annie Kane: And how did you choose which loans to actually write to begin with? Were you doing everything? Because I know at the moment, you run the gamut of ressie and commercial and equipment. Did you start off doing that, or did you add strings to your bow as you went along?
Nelson Bedoya: Well, I've had a lot of trial and error. The structure of my company now is not what it was about a year ago, so, it was different then. I used to run it as having two file drivers, so, two people who would manage clients, they would both run it from start to finish. However, what I found was not everyone is good at every area of that particular process. So, what I did, was I saw that each of my team members had a different ability and so some were really, really good on the phone, some were client relations managers. Really, really good on the phone. So, that's why we structured her into the role of client relations manager, because she spends a lot of time on the phone and she has very good rapport with people. So, that's what she focuses on.My packager is extremely process-driven. So, he's really good at packaging deals. So, that's how we created that role. And then the tracker is someone who is also process driven. So, she's really good at making sure she follows up every single area of what needs to be followed up for that particular client. So, no, I've had a lot of trial and error.
So, yeah, just over time, I've been able to spot where the weaknesses are in the business, and I'm always spotting them. I think that's the great thing about running your own business, you always get to change and evolve and adapt. And especially now, in a changing industry. So, yeah, it's been an interesting journey, but I guess, yeah, that's what I've really been doing over the last couple of months.
Annie Kane: And did you start off with just doing ressie and then moving in to commercial, or did you...
Nelson Bedoya: The main bread and butter, I guess, is ressie. And yes, over time, I have added – now I do a lot of asset finance. Now I'm starting to see a lot more commercial. I also see, now, SMSF through referrals that I've had through financial planners that I've created relationships with. So, yeah, it is always evolving. I think it's very important that we make sure we can become that branch manager of the '80s, where clients can come and we become their trusted advisor. Especially now. I mean, I'm confused with all the changes and I get to see this day in, day out. I can only imagine what the consumer's thinking.
Annie Kane: Yeah.
James Mitchell: We've written pieces about this before, about the opportunity for brokers in a complex market is something which is spoken about a lot, because obviously you've got clients that come to you and they're confused and you can provide an educational service or something like that. Is that what you're finding, as well? Obviously, we've had the lending changes, the regulatory related stuff, now we've got the budget and there's more noise around what the banks might potentially do and that sort of thing. Are you finding that it offers an opportunity for you, as a broker, to have that relationship with a client and actually inform them about what's going on and be a bit of a soundboard?
Nelson Bedoya: Yeah, absolutely. With every change comes opportunity. And I think that's what distinguishes the best brokers, is being able to find the opportunities in a changing market. I think now more so than ever. I mean, if we look at what's been happening and all the changes [inaudible 00:09:21] you can take that on in two different fronts. One would be the effects it has on the consumer. So now, more so than ever, I think we've become very important to our consumers, because as I mentioned before, I mean, there's so many changes. Like, it confuses me. One day, a bank's offering interest only, the next it's not. The next they're lending, the next they're not. Now, more so than ever it's more important for us to have that knowledge and even though clients nowadays are a lot more savvy, a lot more educated in the sense of what they're looking for, they still want someone who can lay it all out for them, and they don't have to go and call five different banks to get the information that they can get from the one person.
Annie Kane: Yeah.
Nelson Bedoya: So, from a consumer perspective, I think our role's now become a lot more important, and I think most brokers will agree, we do do the best thing by our clients. We do give them the correct advice in terms of what their situation or circumstances are. In terms of an industry perspective, I mean, look, it's just, it's only natural that, and this can go for any industry, it's always going to change and it's always going to evolve and it's very important that ... I think it's important that if you're resistant to change, then maybe you shouldn't be in the broking industry anyway. I think the best thing for us is to always make sure that we are creating opportunities out of the change, and now more so than ever.
Annie Kane: And James just touched on earlier, about the fact that you're bringing in three more people or hoping to, so doubling the size of the brokerage. Is that as a sort of result of all the changes going on in the market? Or what has led you to decide to expand so rapidly?
Nelson Bedoya: First of all, this all goes in line with when I started, I obviously created a business plan. I have a vision for where it is that I want to lead this business. Now, for me, it's been about more creating the opportunity to have a more long-term growth and stability. So, as a result of that, I've decided to invest in my business. So, every time I get the opportunity, I always look at how I can invest in the business. So, as my business grows, as opportunities arise, I have the right people in the right areas to continue that. Which means I don't have to come back later on, when we're at capacity or at peak performance per se, and then try and go backwards from there.
Annie Kane: Okay. And so, what would the roles be that you're hoping to bring on?
Nelson Bedoya: Cool. So, my first one was a loan writer, so I've just hired a loan writer now. The next one now is looking at trying to get an office manager, so someone who can take me away from having to do the day to day. I think, as an owner of a business, I don't think you can ever walk away and just let someone else do it, but it's someone else who can just be there and manage that day to day and I only have to get involved when I have to. And then the second one would be looking at now trying to bring on another client relations manager, to make sure we really nail that customer service piece.
James Mitchell: I was having a chat with Russel Kane from Aussie, and he's been one of the top loan writers at Aussie for quite a few years and I was asking him about a few different things, you know, having staff, support staff, but also technology and all that sort of thing. And I said, what's the purpose of it all? And he was talking about the consistently of customer service. He said, if you provide a high-quality customer service, and that's your niche, you've got to do it consistently. It's got to be the same for each customer. Is that something that you find as well? You're looking to provide the same consistency of service, time and again?
Nelson Bedoya: Oh, hundred per cent. You have to. The reason why your clients keep coming back to you or the reason why they refer you to someone or they give you an opportunity to speak to someone is because of the customer service that you provide, the knowledge that you have. If you differ that in any way, to anyone else. If you try to over-service a particular referrer or if you under-service a referral from someone, well, inevitable that's going to pass on to the next potential referral you could've got. So, yeah, hundred per cent. I'm all about making sure that I deliver the same level of consistency, and again, that's why I'm looking to structure myself the way I am, so, as the business grows, as the opportunities arise, we are already structured in a way that we can take care of that.
James Mitchell: I just want to keep on the referral path. Obviously, you've got your referrers in terms of "I'm a client, I come and see ... You do a great job, I'll refer you to my friends and family." And then you've got the more of like a professional referral network, you know what I mean? Where you've got accountants, financial planners, these types of people. Have you been building up that network as well? I mean, how important is that to business in terms of feeding leads and growing and that sort of thing?
Nelson Bedoya: They're probably just as important as your clients' referral sources. However, the way I try to position myself is, I try to steer away from having paid referrals, right? So, I do have certain paid referrals just because that's what they prefer. But for me, it's in terms of servicing that kind of referral partnership, it's more about me becoming an extension of the service that they offer to their clients, right? So it's more around a value add, as opposed to look, just give me someone and I'll pay you for it. So, it's now become a bit more of a value add.
The word of mouth is probably stronger, because obviously there's no better referral than an advocate who's actually used you and they go about telling you, look, what a great experience this was, you should speak to this guy. But it's always important. I'm a big fan of not putting all your eggs in one basket, so if you're just going to rely on word of mouth and if, well, touch wood if that dries up, you need to make sure you have other ways in which you can leverage that.
Annie Kane: And I just want to ask a little bit about, it's quite unusual for me, anyway, in my experience with brokers, to have someone who's relatively new to broking to branch into equipment finance. How did that get started, and what portion of your business is now equipment and asset finance?
Nelson Bedoya: You kind of just feel that way because if I look at the niche in which I target, it's majority Gen X and Gen Y, so a lot of these guys will obviously look at ... For example, I have a lot of builders, right? So, a lot of these guys will consistently buy cars for their work, so whether it be utes or vans or whatever it may be, I kind of just fell in to that because people were asking me. At the very beginning, I must admit, I wasn't a fan of it, but as I saw that I was getting a lot more inquiries, it was, "Hey, another opportunity. So, why don't you do it?"
How do you delve in to that? I ask a lot of questions. I just get on the phone, I call my lender BDMs and I asked the questions, "How do I do this? What do I need to do? Can you walk me through the process?" But yeah, so now it actually, I think it actually accounts for about 15 per cent of the business that I get. 15, 20 per cent of the business that I get.
Annie Kane: Okay. And is that just car and ute, or is it also machinery and some of that?
Nelson Bedoya: The largest chunk it would be vehicles, but yeah, we also do a little bit more equipment. But the largest chunk would definitely be vehicles.
Annie Kane: Okay.
Nelson Bedoya: I'd probably do four or five a month.
Annie Kane: So, if you've got any advice for new brokers looking to break in to asset finance, it's really rely on your BDMs and make sure you talk to them?
Nelson Bedoya: Yeah, correct. Just ask the questions. Don't ever be afraid to ask the questions. You'll be surprised how easy the process actually is and it is a good opportunity. And if you're not doing it, someone else is definitely going to be targeting your client to do it.
Annie Kane: Yeah.
James Mitchell: And I think that this is the important thing. I mean, in your opinion, would you say diversifying in to something like asset finance, let's say primarily vehicle loans, is that a monetary play in terms of getting a new stream of revenue, or is it a client retention play? Ultimately, what would you say?
Nelson Bedoya: More importantly, it's a client retention play. I think more so now than, more so than ever, you'll see that there's always, I think there's a lot of brokers who are entering the industry and a lot of guys want to be able to offer that service. So, again, it goes back to what I said. If you're not doing it, someone else is going to be doing it, or someone else is going to be having that conversation with your client, so, more importantly, it's about that retention piece. Making sure that you're that kind of branch manager of the '80s where they can come to you, they can rely on you for everything that they could possibly want. And again, it is, it also provides another opportunity or another income stream.
James Mitchell: I just want to stay with that, that whole idea of new brokers coming in to the industry. It's obviously, it's very competitive at the moment, you know, for brokers. You've been in the industry a few years. What were your initial perceptions in terms of carving out a niche, and obviously you want to provide high quality service and all that sort of thing. How difficult is it to actually do that and be successful. Do you meet clients who have had previous brokers in the past or they've already visited three brokers and they're sort of shopping around. How difficult is it to actually get clients and retain them and build up a bit of a customer base, I guess?
Nelson Bedoya: I think when you're starting, that's where it comes down to your preparation. So, before you actually go out and become that broker and before you go out and become your own boss on that day one, it's your preparation that leads you up to that. So, what were some of the things that I did? Created a business plan, so I clearly had written goals, targets, objectives, that I wanted to meet when I started day one as a broker. The other thing that I did was I created a list of all the potential family, friends that I could target, from day one. I could approach from day one to help me get through those initial stages.
James Mitchell: So, your existing network?
Nelson Bedoya: Exactly, exactly. So, I think we all have people that we know or people in our friendship networks who have some sort of loan or some sort of debt, which you could potentially look at assisting with. So, for me, it was all about having that opportunity to really knock that all out, making sure I had clear vision of where it is that I wanted to go and who it is that I wanted to approach and then it all just really steamrolled from there. And so, from that, I mean, falling into a Gen X, Gen Y category myself, it naturally just extended that way. Because most of the people that I could approach were from Gen X, Gen Y, and from there they would introduce me to someone else, and from there they would introduce me to someone else.
Annie Kane: It's interesting that you're saying about targeting your friends and family. I think from just in terms of approaching that subject, obviously talking about finance with your mates is sometimes quite a difficult, sensitive subject. How did you go about sort of approaching that? Were you like, suited up and in the office or did you just do it at a barbecue? How did you actually go about that?
Nelson Bedoya: Well, I'm lucky I've got a good relationship with my friends, so I can just talk about whatever I want. But look, it is, it's not, I guess most people won't sit there at a barbecue and really open up their finances and talk to you about-
James Mitchell: "Here's my bank statement."
Nelson Bedoya: Yeah, here's my PNL and tell me what you can do. I think more it was more creating the opportunity to promote myself and what it is that I do, and I think just naturally from giving people the confidence of meeting you on a personal level, from there they actually open up and say "Hey, look, can I talk to you?" Probably not necessarily in a public arena, but they'll come and talk to you afterwards in a more personal sense, and then that's when you start creating the opportunities from there.
Annie Kane: Okay, so it's just sort of about letting them know what you're doing, rather than pushing.
Nelson Bedoya: Correct, yeah, I don't like to pressure. I think, if you come across as being a sales person, most people will get scared away by that.
Annie Kane: Yeah.
Nelson Bedoya: But if you let people know that you're there, that this is what you do and this is what you can potentially do for them, I think naturally, if they trust you, if they like you, they'll actually come and see what you're all about. And then after that, it's up to someone like myself to make sure that I instil the confidence in them to trust me to work with me.
Annie Kane: Yeah. I just want to talk a little bit as well, obviously, we mentioned that you had a background in finance, but you have a degree as well in marketing, is that correct?
Nelson Bedoya: Correct. I actually got a degree in marketing and HR.
Annie Kane: Oh, okay.
Nelson Bedoya: As you can probably see-
James Mitchell: That's why your business is so well-structured.
Nelson Bedoya: Well that's, yeah, finance wasn't my first port of call, as a matter of fact. If I really break it down, my first job was as an assistant accountant at ING. Because at the time, I just wanted to get in to the industry or just get in to some sort of professional work and it just so happened that I became an assistant accountant. From there I realised probably accounting wasn't going to be my thing. But I was at uni, and then a friend of mine said "Look, we've got a processing role coming up in this finance company." Broking company. And he said "Why don't you come down and have a look?" And I did and yeah, the rest is history from there.
Annie Kane: Was that in Intelligent Finance?
Nelson Bedoya: No. So, that was the one prior to going to Intelligent Finance.
Annie Kane: I've looked you up on LinkedIn, so now I know your whole history.
Nelson Bedoya: You know my whole life story, okay. Gotta be careful what I say.
James Mitchell: Is that, Intelligent Finance, is that Justin Doobov's Intelligent Finance?
Nelson Bedoya: Correct, correct.
James Mitchell: Okay. That's interesting, because I've noticed a lot of, just as you've been talking, a lot of parallels to how he operates his business in terms of that referral model, that word of mouth model, and the process.
Nelson Bedoya: He was a great mentor.
James Mitchell: Yeah, he started just with one client, I think I've heard him tell this story before. He started just with the one client, might've been a friend or family or something like that and from there it just grew. Yeah.
Nelson Bedoya: He's a fantastic operator and he was a great mentor.
Annie Kane: I was just going to ask about sort of that mentor thing, and obviously when you start out and new to broking, if you haven't had the relevant sort of years of experience, you need to have a mentor. How did you go about actually choosing one? Did you choose one, or was it just, when you went to like, for example, Intelligent Finance, you used who was there?
Nelson Bedoya: No, once I started the business I didn't actually have a mentor per se. Look, I was fortunate to have worked at Intelligent Finance and what better person to learn from than someone as successful as Justin Doobov? So, that was, yeah, that was a great opportunity for me and I've learned from working at the previous broking firm to working at Intelligent Finance to working at Bankwest, I think it's really good that I get to see all sides of the fence, right? So what it's like to work from the broking side and what it's like to work Inside, from the banking perspective. Because you really get to see what it is that the credit assessors are actually trying to look at, what is it that they're trying to do. So, you kind of make sure that before you blast them for anything, you have an understanding of what it is that they're actually trying to achieve.
James Mitchell: I just want to ask about your choice to join Loan Market. We've had a few new to industry brokers on the show, some have sort of set up their own shop and some have joined part of a branded group, what was the factors that came to the decision to join a franchise group like Loan Market?
Nelson Bedoya: For me, it was more about the support that they could offer. Someone that, having the ability to be able to go to someone when I needed assistance, whether it be I need to get some assistance with a bank or I need to get some assistance with my accreditations. For me, it was more about that. Look, at the end of the day I know that there are other aggregators who have different models in place that might be able to create more income stream or whatever it may be, but look, at the end of the day, if I can write the volume, it doesn't really matter.
And for me, it's more about making sure that I have that real support level and I must say, Loan Market's been unbelievable, throughout my whole journey. So, they've really supported me through that. Offered me anything that I needed in terms of being able to grow my business, especially since I've taken that decision to grow the business as rapidly as I have, they've just been really good in supporting me through all of that. I have a dedicated person or a business development manager from there who spends a lot of time with me, running through the numbers, making sure that I can do it, what's it going to take to get it to that level? So, yeah, for me, it's more about the support. Support and advice as opposed to-
Annie Kane: Moxie. You've got that covered.
Nelson Bedoya: Correct. Yes. As opposed to how much of my commission are you going to let me keep.
James Mitchell: Of course, yeah.
Annie Kane: Right, and in terms of actually the way that you work with your loan market partner, I guess, or whoever it is in Loan Market that you're working with, how often do you touch base with one another? Is it something that you schedule in like a monthly thing or is it just when you need them?
Nelson Bedoya: No, I bug him every week.
Annie Kane: Really?
Nelson Bedoya: I bug him every week. The whole aspect of Loan Market is just about providing that support, so it's whatever you need. If there's anything from creating a marketing template all the way through to trying to grow a business, they do really provide that support. So, I bug my ... He's the associate director, he'll probably kill me if I call him a BDM. He's the associate director and I call him every week, just to touch base with him. "Hey, this is what I'm thinking, this is what I'm doing, what do you think?"
Annie Kane: And in terms of, you were saying you're bringing on three more people in to the company. Did you base that decision, obviously, I'm assuming you ran it by the people at Loan Market just to see what they were thinking about it, but did you base it in "If once, I hit these volumes I'm going to bring in more people." Or was it more like "Once I have this many clients" or "I've written this many loans" What was that?
Nelson Bedoya: It's all volume-based, you have to be able to pay these people.
Annie Kane: Yeah.
Nelson Bedoya: It is definitely all based around the volume. So, now that I'm starting to hit the volumes that I wanted to hit where I am right now, I'm now thinking about five or ten steps ahead of where I want to go next.
James Mitchell: So, what volumes are you hitting at the moment?
Annie Kane: Yeah, that's the next question. Can you tell us that?
Nelson Bedoya: I'd rather not, but yeah.
James Mitchell: Can you tell us a goal, maybe? For volumes. I know, you said you put a business plan together, is there a figure in mind you have, either five years, ten years, whatever, that you have?
Nelson Bedoya: Yep. I would like to be a hundred-million-dollar a month business.
James Mitchell: Okay.
Annie Kane: Okay.
Nelson Bedoya: Yeah, so that's the target. Still a long way to go, but yeah, it's just about taking the steps and I guess, having the courage to take the risk, I guess. Because it's a big risk and bringing people on and foregoing that short-term success or short-term income, I guess you could call it, to get to where you want to go, it's hard and it's risky, but if it hits, it will be all worth it.
James Mitchell: And I guess working with a broker like Justin Doobov, who was writing ... That business writes huge, huge volumes and it's all built on that process. Was that always front of mind when you went out on your own to get the business plan down pat, to sort of work backwards from your goal, was that always the idea?
Nelson Bedoya: A hundred per cent. I think the only way you can do it is if you have that business plan, and more so processes clearly, clearly written out from day one, to get it to a certain level and be at peak performance and then try and put processes in place is an absolute nightmare. And look, I must admit I fell in to both categories. I've now got my processes clearly written out. So, for me, it's all about the attention to detail. But when I hired my first staff member, I didn't actually have ... I had an idea, or I had bullet points of what I thought my process looked like, but it wasn't until I hired that first staff member and then trying to train them, being at peak performance, making sure that I don't burn anyone along the way, that's when I really sat down and said "Hey, if I'm going to do this, it all has to be spot on."
Annie Kane: Fine-tuned. Yeah, okay. And I don't think we mentioned that you're Sydney based. Have you got any sort of ideas of when you were starting out, where you wanted to be? Was it geographical or was it just sort of in your local area?
Nelson Bedoya: Just geographical. So, I was all about being in my local area. Well, obviously, that's where most of my family and friends are situated, so naturally, there's where most of my key clients are actually based.
James Mitchell: And that's sort of ... St George area, like the southern?
Nelson Bedoya: Yeah, St George area. I'm based, I actually live in the eastern suburbs but yeah, St George and eastern suburbs, just through different relationships and sports and stuff that I played, so just naturally I've progressed between the two.
James Mitchell: Fantastic. Well, we're almost out of time and we've covered a lot of ground, especially a lot of stuff, which I think will help the new to industry brokers who are in their first couple of years. But I just wanted to ask you if there was anything we haven't covered, which you think would be great advice to those starting out, whether it's advice around getting a business plan together or some marketing tips? Looking back at your three years running your own shop now, if there was one piece of advice which you think would've helped you, not that you've needed too much ... You're doing pretty well. But if there was one piece of advice which would've made things a bit smoother, what would it be?
Nelson Bedoya: One of the things was probably "Don't be afraid to invest in your own business." That's probably the biggest thing. Now, I kind of have that down pat, but at the beginning, if I had the courage to invest in my business just prior to, when I hit peak performance and then brought someone on, I think the process would've been a lot easier to deal with. So, I've got that experience now in having it and being on both ends of the spectrum. Yeah, I guess, apart from that is make sure you have your business plan. There's nothing better than being able to clearly see where it is that you want to take it, but don't be afraid to partner yourself up with a mentor.
Go to someone who's got industry experience, and don't be afraid to work out or have a look at the processes. Be open. Be open to understand that we probably don't know everything and we always have to learn, so I'm always someone who knows I always have to learn. I always have to keep changing, I always have to keep evolving and as the industry changes, so do I. So, yeah, I think that's probably one of the biggest things that I could offer.
And have your processes clearly written out from day one. Okay? They'll always change over time anyway, so that's always going to be something that will happen, but make sure you have your processes clearly written out. Because as you grow and as you bring people on, you spend more time training them in more valuable areas, as opposed to trying to tell them "This is what my process is."
Annie Kane: Or even trying to remember what your process is.
Nelson Bedoya: Exactly. Exactly.
Annie Kane: Just do it.
James Mitchell: I think that's really good, and you seem to me like a broker who's been confident enough to realise that "I want to be successful in this industry, I'm going to put a plan together and work backwards." I think there's some brokers who are still quite hesitant, you know? They're not sure if they're going to be successful or not. I think confidence is a big thing, as well.
Nelson Bedoya: It's a big thing. And for me, it's more about I want to be here for a long time. I want to make sure that I'm here servicing my clients for a long time, so I guess I'll just ... Yeah. I'm taking the risk, or if you want to call it, I have the confidence to make sure that I invest in creating the infrastructure that I need to do that.
James Mitchell: Good stuff. Well, thanks very much for taking the time to-
Nelson Bedoya: Thank you for having me. Appreciate it.
Annie Kane: Thanks, Nelson.
James Mitchell: We'll have to catch up with you again soon.
Nelson Bedoya: Sure.
James Mitchell: Alright, that's all we've got time for this week. Do join us next time on Elite Broker and of course, for all the latest news, insight and analysis, check out theadviser.com.au. I've been your host James Mitchell, see you next time.