Davina Elliott founded Write Strategy Marketing Group in 2012, starting out as a tendering writing and bid management consultancy. While tendering remains at the core of their service offering today, as the business matured she recognised the value and logic in providing more comprehensive strategy, branding and marketing communications solutions to support their clients in winning work. In 2017, business partner Dashelle Bailey came on board bringing an established track record of designing exciting and engaging brand strategies and developing targeted communications to support brand growth. Write Strategy Marketing Group is all about injecting positivity and spark into businesses’ strategy, development and marketing programs.
We sat down with Davina to learn more about her small business’ history and growth since working with Arabon and how they have helped shape both her personal and business accounting journeys.
What was it like before you were working with Arabon?
In the past I had an accountant who didn’t bother to explain things. I wanted to be fully informed and understand the in-and-outs of my financial and tax situation, but it was as though the firm I was with thought I wasn’t capable of understanding. On the other hand, my business partner Dashelle was coming from a large corporate accounting firm where she felt she received good advice but that the firm didn’t spend the time to understand her business or personal situation. She felt like a small fish in their large ocean of clients.
Why were you looking for a new accountant?
When my financial situation started to get more complex with multiple entities in place and knowing I was about to incur capital gains tax on the sale of an investment, I wanted to make sure I had the best advice available.
Where did you start your search? What made Arabon stand out from other options?
Fortunately, I never had to spend time searching for a new accounting firm. I received a recommendation via a family friend and I jumped at the opportunity. When I met Michelle, I knew I’d made the right decision. She’s a highly intelligent person with a strategic mind. She spoke my language – gave me the advice, options and recommendations that I’d been missing.
Were there any obstacles that almost prevented you from joining Arabon? If so, what were they?
What has made you happiest when working with Arabon?
When starting our new business venture, Write Strategy Marketing Group, Dashelle and I had a multitude of questions around our business start-up. Neither of us had worked in a partnership arrangement before. We had questions about how best to structure the business, the different commercial models available and we weren’t even sure how to pay ourselves! We knew we wanted complete transparency and for our financial tools and reporting to be straightforward in order for us to stay on top of things. This is where Arabon really came to the party. Not only did we get advice on how to set up our business, we got a complete packaged solution – with all the accounting, payroll and reporting software we needed. It was all set up for us, so we really didn’t have to do too much other than get busy with growing our business.
What have you been able to achieve since working with us?
We exceeded our first-year revenue and profit targets. Equipped with insight into our business performance, we made the decision to grow and now have team on board which is really exciting.
What has exceeded your expectations?
The genuine care for our business and well-being. Arabon treats their clients like an extended family or community. Michelle and Rob continue to give us a broad range of advice – sometimes it’s more than we signed up for. But we take it!! On a day-to-day basis we know we can reach out with the tiniest question at any time. Zahid is fabulous – we hassle him with all sorts of painful questions – and he never fails to help us. He is a very tolerant and friendly guy!
What is the main reason you would recommend our services?
Go talk to Arabon if you want a firm who know their stuff and are completely committed to supporting you and your business. So many accounting firms claim they care about more than just your numbers but don’t back that up when you start working with them. Michelle has walked my business journey with me for over 10 years and it’s the longevity of this relationship that is testament to Arabon’s approach and culture.