James De Ruiter, Co-owner, Norwest

James De RuiterAlmost two decades of experience has given James De Ruiter a solid grounding in the finance industry. He has a unique understanding of vehicles, motoring and business management, and provides personalised customer service that’s second to none.

The co-owner of stratton Norwest started his career in finance working with Capital Corp before moving on to United Financial Services.

In 2007, James decided he wanted to be his own boss so he joined stratton with business partner and co-owner, Matt Seale. It was this dynamic partnership that contributed to the success of the Norwest franchise.

“stratton is a powerful brand and I knew from the start that it was going places, so I wanted my own piece of the stratton pie. The company has an excellent reputation in the market. When consumers know and trust the brand, it’s less challenging to sell the product,” he said.

James said each day at stratton Norwest is different and there is no such thing as a typical working day, but looking after his customers is always his top priority.

“I receive a number of new email enquiries and business leads overnight - so the first thing I do when I get in the office is pick up the phone and respond to my clients.”

“The phone calls and email enquiries don’t stop throughout the day, so I’m always liaising with my customers. As soon as it hits five o’clock, it starts to slow down and that gives me a bit of time to catch up on admin work,” he said.

The reliable support systems in place by stratton’s head office, means James can spend most of his time building his customer-base and ensuring all his clients are well looked after.

“If I ever have an I.T or admin issue, I can always contact someone at stratton at any time of day. When you’re running a business, they’re the small but important things you don’t want to spend too much time worrying about.”

The determined franchise co-owner said he’s hungry for success and constantly seeks new opportunities for business development and growth.

“My goal is to grow the franchise and get more brokers on board. This helps increase the volume and makes the brand more powerful. The more loans we settle, the stronger we become as a business,” he said.

James said he’s always worked exceptionally hard to get applications in, and it’s this type of work ethic he encourages his team to adopt.

“It’s so easy to sit in an office and wait for leads to be handed to you, but I believe that if you want to grow the franchise, you need to work hard. I always look for new leads and prospects,” he said.

The power of customer retention and word-of-mouth support has helped James shape his business to what it is today.

“That’s the stratton culture. It’s not about one-hit wonders. It’s all about looking after your clients and providing them with a service they’ll remember, so that they’ll keep coming back and be your customer for life.”

The father-of-three from Sydney said operating his own franchise allows him to strike a healthy work-life balance.

“It’s great being my own boss, because it means I can call the shots on a career I absolutely love, and it also means I don’t miss out on important family events like dance practice and concerts for my daughters.”

His advice for people who are looking to buy a franchise is simple – believe and trust in the brand and work hard to grow the business.

“Make sure you understand the brand and agree with the culture of the business before you sign the dotted line. Finally, stick with it! Admittedly, it’s hard at first but as time goes on, you’ll reap the benefits of looking after your clients,” he said.