Legal, Management

Adapt or perish

StartupSmart /

Entity Solutions was founded in Victoria in 1999 by Matthew Franceschini, Pedro Fric,  Jonathan Knowles and Carlos Ruiz.

 

It has since established itself as a pioneer in the professional engagement services sector, providing comprehensive contractor management, migration, payroll, business and back-office services.

 

However, Entity Solutions was marred by a few mishaps in its start-up phase. Entity Solutions chief executive Matthew Franceschini elaborates on what the company learnt during its early stages.

 

“In mid 2000, we faced the prospect of closing down after losing around 40% of our client base,” he says.

 

The company came under threat from one of its competitors; which was offering to provide similar services to a group of its contractor clients.

 

“These services included offering some tax breaks to clients which we did not believe were entirely appropriate but which meant that the clients would be better off each pay,” Franceschini says.

 

“We were asked by the clients to match this deal. We declined on the basis of good governance and legal compliance.”

 

“We have to stay true to our brand essence, which is ethical engagement and superior service. We subsequently lost the clients and, very nearly, the business.”

 

Then, in 2007, the company was dealt another blow when it was forced to restructure its business model.

 

“We compete for the attention of businesses who struggle with the regulatory requirements and compliance burdens that organisations experience when engaging the services of contract-based professionals,” Franceschini says.

 

“In October 2007, legislative changes within the immigration landscape forced a complete change to the engagement model of all organisations employing overseas professionals, effectively ending the ability of organisations to use third party contracts to facilitate sponsorship agreements.”

 

As a result of the changes, the company lost 20% of its business overnight. The challenge then was to redefine the company’s service offering to recapture a market that was crucial to its ongoing success.

 

“It took six months to formulate a service offering and delivery model structured around complying with the legislative changes, and 12 months more to recover from the financial impact of losing business, clients, staff and momentum,” Franceschini says.

 

Of the lessons learnt, ‘adapt or perish’ proved to be the most valuable for Entity Solutions’ future growth.

 

“Every business should adapt, change and evolve very quickly in today’s competitive, unpredictable and volatile market,” Franceschini says

 

“But the core values and essence of one’s business should be maintained and adhered to. We can change and be flexible with many things but we cannot change our core value and the essence of our business.”

 

“The biggest lesson we have learnt therefore is that our fundamentals are very strong and that with enough determination, no obstacle is insurmountable.”

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