Smart50 Awards 2016

7 Positive Lending Solutions

Revenue

$9 million

Growth

480%

Founders

Tom Caesar, 28, and Mark Caesar, 61

Head office

South Australia

Year founded

2009

Employees

38

Industry

Finance and insurance

Website

www.positivelendingsolutions.com.au

962SouthRoad_Positive GroupFather and son duo of Mark and Tom Caesar appeared on SmartCompany’s Smart50 list last year, coming in at number 33. The business has continued its fast growth, and with a revenue increase of over $6 million, Positive Lending Solutions has made the jump to the Smart50 top 10.

The two founded the business in 2009 in a bid to start a sustainable business that could provide for their family in the long term. As both had experience in the finance industry, “the choice was clear”.

The business initially focused on mortgage broking, but the Caesars recognised a gap in the market surrounding asset financing, and decided to expand to fill the niche. From here, the company became Positive Lending Solutions, with three divisions dealing in asset financing, mortgage broking, and financial planning.

However, starting the business in “the middle of the GFC on the back of a credit card definitely had disaster written all over it”, and the founders struggled early on with financing the business.

“In the first few years we just stuck it out, paying ourselves next to nothing and focusing on investing in the company. We never raised capital or took out a bank loan,” the Caesars say.

“One thing we learned is that success comes with a lot of failures. It was the fact that we’ve learnt from all these failures that made us better business people.”

The past financial year was the company’s best yet, with not only a substantial uptick in revenue, but an increase in employees. Positive Lending Solutions hired 25 people in the last 12 months, bringing its total employee count up to 38.

But like many young companies, the Caesars say finding workers with enough experience, especially ones willing to move from a secure job to a start-up company, is challenging.

“This was especially apparent in the early days, we didn’t have the reputation and proven revenue that would make brokers want to join us. This naturally created our first major challenge: make our company a broking firm that exceptional people would aspire to work at,” the two founders say.

This was overcome by creating a “watertight” training plan for new brokers, allowing the company to confidently train inexperienced new staff for the demanding roles.

“In this digital age, we can build anything; it’s more about having the courage to do it and the confidence that it’s going to work,” they say.

“Our best ideas come from a problem that we have, and evolve as we strive to find a solution to make processes smoother and remove points of friction.”

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