One-stop shop approach key to business success

Published in Issue 1 - 2017

Kris Simmons

Kris Simmons

Southern Cross University Business alumnus Kris Simmons has a passion for seeing people succeed in business.

At 32, he is the managing director of Simmons Livingstone & Associates, established on the Gold Coast with his business partner in 2013.

Mr Simmons runs two businesses – an accounting practice and a financial planning practice – under the one umbrella on Hope Island. His company has grown into a reputable standalone practice, while also creating a significant web of referrals throughout the Gold Coast.

He was recently also named in Business News Australia’s 40 Under 40 Top Young Entrepreneurs on the Gold Coast.

“I’ve been in business almost four years now. We started with four people and now have 17. We have diversified our service offering from originally starting out with Accounting and Taxation to now include value added services like business development and advice, structuring advice, financial planning and risk insurance,” he said.

“There was a hole in the market, especially in our post-GFC world where clients are now more conscious of where their money is getting spent and how to increase profitability within their business. We saw the need to provide a one-stop shop scenario where we can assist them in multiple areas, whether getting their tax done, assistance with buying and selling a business or advising on creating efficiencies within their business to become more profitable.

“We started taking on that trusted advisors role which came through developing good contacts over the years. We have a great referral network of commercial / residential brokers, insurance brokers, all kinds of solicitors and property specialists.

“I think we have become more proactive than many other practices out there, and we are the first point of call.”

In 2016 Kris Simmons won the Gold Coast Young Entrepreneur of the Year for Professional Services award.

His business recently moved into a new office on Hope Island with every aspect of his two businesses under the same roof.

“It was becoming difficult to manage different teams over different geographical areas, it was creating communication issues and other inefficiencies with our business,” he said.

Before establishing Simmons Livingstone & Associates, Mr Simmons honed his accounting skills for 15 years in various fields of business advice and compliance.

He began working at WHK Rutherfords while still studying his full-time Bachelor of Business majoring in accounting at Southern Cross University’s Lismore campus and online, graduating in 2005. He then worked at a smaller boutique practice and says he ‘hit a glass ceiling’.

“The main reason I wanted to move into my own practice was to actually have the leading hand and be the face when assisting my clients to grow. The satisfaction is priceless when achieving a goal that we all set out to achieve. Its incredibly rewarding when you can motivate a client to achieve a predetermined goal,” he said.

“The model my two partners and I have built is we are the only ones who have contact with clients for appointments and reviews, this is because we want to keep that personal connection as the face of the business.”

Mr Simmons said Southern Cross University gave him the tools he needed to start a business, while also giving him plenty of fond memories.

“Southern Cross is a fantastic University. My Business degree has given me knowledge in many different areas I needed to be aware of in setting up a business. It gave me a lot of technical and managerial knowledge,” he said.

“My degree has not only helped give me the tools I need to run a business, but also how to advise clients on how to run their businesses.”

“I made a lot of friends at University too, plenty of people who moved from across the country to study in Lismore, and a lot of international students as well, many of whom are still my friends to this day.”

Mr Simmons says his passion is helping people who have an entrepreneurial spirit.

“We have so many great clients who know exactly what they want,” he said.

“The ones I really enjoy talking to are people around 25 or 50 years old who are business-oriented with an entrepreneurial mind. They already know a lot about their business and the industry they’re in so our meetings are a lot more constructive.”

Mr Simmons’ advice to any of his clients who want to start a business or a new venture, is to always have a plan.

“Before taking any drastic moves you need to research your idea or business you want to establish or buy, be realistic in your estimates and budgets and make sure you get opinions from either peers or potential consumers. At a minimum you need to complete a detailed business plan, and marketing plan before you can flick the switch to get on with it,” he said.

“You need to make sure the business is feasible through budgets and forecasts, know who your competitors are and how you are going to stand out from the crowd, and understand what your requirements are operating a business.”

“I worked with my business partner for a number of years before we decided we would be better together and went into business. When being in a partnership you have to be on the same page which comes back down to a tight business plan, otherwise there will be issues down the track.”

Mr Simmons said he is continuing to expand his businesses and has other projects in the pipeline he is working to get off the ground in 2017/18.

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  1. Elizabeth Tau says:

    This article really caught my attention. I believe I am a entrepreneurial minded person. I tried doing so many things over the years that have failed but that does not stop me, it just challenges me to do it better in the next time. Mr Simmons’ story is very motivating. It is true that, you should always have a plan for whatever, you wish to start. And by reading this, I know my failure started because I did not have a plan. I only started something because I got excited about it and thought it would work but I was wrong.

    I studied Bachelor in Business accounting (on-line) & graduated at the SCU, Lismore last December (10/12/2016), I am currently working but my passion for running my own business does not stop there. I dream of managing my own business everyday, even when I am at work.

    Thank you Mr Simmons for your story. Its very motivates!