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Ashfords Building Business Value Seminar – September 19 Recap.

Following on from the success of the previous seminar in May which covered the eight key drivers of business value, last session built on these learnings to provide strategies to overcome the most common roadblocks to thriving in today’s dynamic business landscape. The three presentations from the expert guest speakers covered how to recruit the perfect talent, the intricate task of scaling up marketing efforts to attract your ideal customers, and establishing a robust finance function that helps you get the most from your numbers. 

Our first expert panellist was Brenda Garrard-Forster, an experienced HR leader and the General Manager of HRAnywhere. Brenda’s background in senior and executive roles within global enterprises is invaluable, and with the talent war ever-present across the majority of industries, she was able to give attendees an edge by shedding light on what candidates are looking for in a job hunt. The trends appearing across Australian employment show a desire for flexible working arrangements to enhance work-life balance. Brenda also encouraged attendees look inward within their own business to assess their process on attracting and retaining talent. This came alongside thought-provoking questions for the audience - such as are you offering competitive salaries, and if not, are there other non-monetary benefits you could offer to bolster the positions you’re hiring for? And critically, are you providing a high-quality experience for candidates that establishes you as a great company to join? 

Next up we heard from AB Smith, Managing Director of Roadmap, a communications agency specialising in strategy, branding and bid services. AB discussed how marketing is the essential factor to scale your business and increase your margins. With over 15 years as a communications strategist, AB was perfectly placed to explain how narratives and strategic stories can be used to create integrated marketing campaigns that really resonate. He pulled back the curtain on the strategies that Roadmap uses for their own clients, to explain how they can be adopted into your own business. The key takeaways included the need to focus on authentic engagement with your audience by aligning your values to create long-lasting connections that pay-off. It was a timely reminder of the importance of your customer value proposition and the feedback loop from execution back to the design of your business and marketing strategy. 

And finally, Ashfords’ own Marc Di Genova rounded out the morning of insights by offering his knowledge on finance and deep diving into how to make your numbers work for you. As a Business Advisor of over 20 years, Marc has assisted many clients in improving their financial wellbeing and leveraging the numbers to make better business decisions. He covered the importance of setting financial goals, the difference between bottom-up and top-down approaches to budgeting, the need to diversify revenue streams and risk management, to name a few. Marc shared the story of leading the client through the large business valuation improvement that would come from just a 1% increase in gross margin, ultimately leading to an exit at the price the owners were hoping for. 

To finish the session, the floor was opened up for the audience to ask questions of the expert panel. The audience was particularly interested to know how artificial intelligence could be applied to assist with these business functions. After some valuable conversations, attendees headed off into the day with many valuable tips and insights from the morning. 

It was fantastic to be able to provide this platform for business leaders to come together from different industries all across the South-East, and great to see them dedicating a morning to learning and developing new skills to propel their businesses forward. 

Looking to gain financial freedom? Follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook, and keep an eye on the Ashfords website for more events. 


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What’s this new tax:

On 20 March 2024, the Victorian State Government introduced the Commercial and Industrial Property Tax Reform Bill 2024 ( The Bill is expected to become law and to take effect from 1 July 2024.

The Victorian Government, as announced in the 2023-24 Budget,  is progressively abolishing stamp duty on commercial and industrial property and replacing it with an annual tax.

The annual tax, to be known as the Commercial and Industrial Property Tax (CIPT), will be set at 1% of the property’s unimproved land value.

The tax will replace land transfer duty (stamp duty) that is currently payable on the improved value of the land when you purchase or acquire a commercial or industrial property in Victoria.

The new tax system will start to apply to commercial and industrial property if the property is transacted on or after 1 July 2024.


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