Meet Amanda Newton from
Tell us about your business
Negotiis was born from the merger of two existing sole practitioner accounting & tax businesses with the goal of creating something different in the small business advisory space. I teamed up with two other accountants and we all set out to create a business that we could use to share our passion and expertise with small business owners and local individuals. With all three owners being locals ourselves, there was no other location than Point Cook to start out – and we have loved being embraced by our community. Our core target audience are people who are wanting to be engaged in their financial affairs and keen to partner a team of accountants and advisors who can work alongside them, educate and inspire them and together we achieve success.
Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became one in the first place?
Like many Mums, I feel into being a business owner because my work situation was not going to be the right fit for our young family. Previous to having children, I was the Community Relations Officer for Tattersall’s and managed the sponsorships portfolio. This meant lots of out of hours and event work that was often city based. My father who is Ron Holman (one of the other owners at Negotiis) had his own small tax practice and so I chose to use my marketing experience to help him grow his business. In doing this, I retrained with a masters degree in accounting and decided to buy in as an equal partner when we started Negotiis. I love being a business owner and in particular enjoy being an employer. Building into people and providing opportunities to see them develop and grow has been incredibly rewarding.
Do you have kiddies if so how many? And what is their favourite activity to do with you.
I have two wonderful children – Hayley is 10 and Callum is 8. Our favourite activities are hiking and camping – any chance to get outdoors and away from the busy parts of life.
What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?
My greatest influence in business was David McLaren. David was a Wyndham Councillor and Mayor for many years and had been a company director for a number of businesses. I was fortunate to meet David in my late-teens and he mentored me in politics and business. Unfortunately David passed away from illness a few years ago, but I still regularly reflect on much of what I learnt from this amazing man.
What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?
I have had 3 that come to mind. My greatest professional accomplishment was to serve the local community as Wyndham Councillor and Deputy Mayor back in 2003-2005. I was the representative for Point Cook at a time when the community was in its infancy. It was a great opportunity to be involved in shaping what was to come (however, much of this never quite worked out as you would have liked!).
Beyond that, I also take great pride in the genuine relationships I have formed with the many clients and colleagues I have worked with through Negotiis.
Negotiis winning our category at the Wyndham Business Awards is a close second and also being runner-up for Business Person of the Year for Wyndham is a close third.
What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our readers?
Being in business is relentless. Even when you’ve reached a pinnacle, you have to work hard to maintain it. Therefore, it’s not a sprint but rather a marathon. Pace yourself; know where you want to go; be open to change along the way. Build relationships with people who have strengths where you have weaknesses.
What has been the most effective marketing initiatives or programs you have used to promote your business?
Networking widely with a variety of different people has been the best way to market ourselves and our business. Networking isn’t about what you get gain, bur rather how you can help others. I think what goes around, comes around. I enjoy looking for ways to connect people together who I believe could benefit each other in some form or another.
What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?
Often it is not personal, but it can feel that way. You can feel vulnerable as a business person putting your product or services out to the market. Your business can’t be the right fit for everyone and sometimes you will loose a customer and it can be easy to beat yourself up. You have to have a great feedback loop so you can build on strengths and learn from mistakes. Have a thick skin and remain focused on what your original goal was and for me this is the drive to deliver something meaningful and valuable that makes a difference to people.
Are there any resources or tools you’d like to share with other small business owners that have helped you run your business?
There are a few great resources that I revisit often. First is Simon Sinek and “Know Your Why”. I had the great opportunity of meeting Simon and he was exceptional. His TED Talk is one that I watch regularly and use it to refocus myself –
The e-Myth is another great book for small business owners to read and challenge yourself on how to build a business, not just buy yourself a job.
Do you have any new projects coming up (or have you just completed a big project ~ reached a milestone, etc.)?
We have a significant milestone this July as we launch a completely new business into the community. Negotiis Property is a property management business that was born about from feedback from clients who wanted more from their property managers who they looked to for managing their investment properties. I have spent the last 12 months researching the industry, completing my full real estate licence and being mentored by industry leaders. We are excited to launch this new venture and excited about creating another service “with a difference” for our community.
What do you do for fun/relaxation?
Most weekends I am found with my husband and kids out in the regional areas walking and camping. The Otways is our favourite and we have discovered some great walking tracks that allow the kids to roam and explore along the journey. Sunday morning Church is also a great place to reset and prepare for the week ahead.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
This is tough as I have seen many different skills from the many entrepreneurs I have had the opportunity to work with. The top three most common traits would be:
Never stop learning.
Surround yourself with great people who share your vision.
Be a good communicator.
What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
Financial stress is probably my greatest fear. I manage this by having a great handle on my personal and business financial position and rigorous planning. It means that I can be more risk-adverse and that’s is something I would like to overcome. I see amazing clients taking risks everyday and having extraordinary outcomes. I want to be this brave myself.
What makes you happy?
My family makes me happy. Plus I love being part of seeing people succeed. Positive feedback from customers is a great feeling.
What sacrifices or changes have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?
It took me a little while to work out how to better balance my time between business and family. I think early on I had to sacrifice a bit of both and that meant quite a bit of stress. I don’t think I’ve solved this, but have got a little better at it I think. I have also had to make some financial sacrifices along the way so as to be able to invest in business growth and development.
Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
Locally, I have a lot of admiration for Vern Fettke who is the owner of Homestead Financial Services. He is a successful business person and also gives back to our local community in a tangible way. Globally, I love Nespresso. Their experiential marketing and communications are next to none.
Where you see yourself and your business in 10 years? 20 years?
It’s possible that I would make a terrible employee now, so I imagine myself remaining in business forever. Negotiis is inherently local and we don’t want to be anything other than this. I expect in 10 – 20 years it would be great to still be employing local people (our industry is under attack from the pressures of overseas outsourcing instead of employing locally – which we are strongly resisting!). I would like to have been part of seeing local businesses also grow and develop so that our community has great local business and employment options. A vibrant local economy that our advisors have been part of creating and continue to support.
What book has inspired you the most? (OR What is your favorite book?)
E-myth has probably been my most inspired read.
How do you measure your success in business?
It’s about the difference I make to others. I hope to inspire and encourage We set out to be different and truly connect using our experience and expertise. I measure my success by the impact this has.
Connect with Amanda
Womens Business Society Team
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