For most of us, it’s hard enough to hold down a job and a Netflix habit. For Jacqui Clarke, her days brim with an impressive amount of activity: she’s the co-owner of a busy, 1870-acre cattle stud, a mother to five sons (including two step-sons), and a full-time partner in the corporate world to boot. Exposed to the world of family businesses early on, Jacqui’s from a long line of private business owners – three generations of them, to be exact – and she spent a good chunk of her childhood learning the value of understanding the client.
“From a very young age, I helped book jobs for my family by answering the business phone at home – even in the ’80s we had a dedicated business line at home,” Jacqui explains. “I got to know the customers and worked out very quickly how to look after them – and I loved it!”
That instinct is what drives her long-standing interest in her Monday-to-Friday gig (is there such a thing?): her role as Sydney Market Leader at Deloitte Private – a specialist Deloitte business focusing on private companies and the wealthy families and individuals that own them. As one of the leaders for Deloitte Private’s Family Enterprise Consulting arm, Jacqui is the trusted advisor and confidante to wealthy families and individuals about how they can protect and growth their wealth. She does this by tapping into the firm’s vast knowledge network and developing and tailoring specific strategies and approaches for her clients.
The rapport Jacqui’s built with her clients is so strong, that she’s learnt a little from them too.
“At Deloitte Private, I’ve been surrounded by entrepreneurs all my career and I have often admired their do-or-die attitude,” she muses. “I love the confidence that surrounds entrepreneurs. I have seen many take bold, calculated risks, and succeed. This has been a significant influence in my career and life.”
Which more than explains why three years ago, she and her husband decided to take on their cattle venture themselves – Koolewong Angus. Now, from her unique position as both an advisor to private businesses and the owner of a successful business herself, she knows more than ever exactly what’s needed.
“Many entrepreneurs feel like they need to be a jack of all trades,” Jacqui explains. “But that shouldn’t be the case. You need to think about what you enjoy doing and what your core competencies and capabilities are, then look at which areas of your business can be delivered more efficiently and effectively by others that have the right expertise.”
“As my husband and I work full-time, we knew we couldn’t run Koolewong Angus on our own. So we set out to find a full-time farm manager on the property.”
As someone with a foot in both the entrepreneurial and corporate arena, Jacqui’s more clued in than most when it comes to how important real, lasting connections, through to knowledge about everything from pay roll, taxation enquiries and time-saving tech, can be to your business, especially when you’re time (and budget) poor.
“Very often, I see the downside of people who have not had the right support from day one,” Jacqui insists. “For example, ensuring you are 100 per cent across your cash flow is critical. You should also think about which business functions will provide you with potential cost savings by outsourcing them.”
“This is where the development of Private Connect was really important to us,” Jacqui explains.
Private Connect is Deloitte Private’s cloud-based accounting service platform designed to maximise efficiency and improve workflow. “By doing so, it frees up time for business owners to focus on big-picture ideas, rather than just the daily, mundane tasks. This, in turn, gives them a real competitive advantage.”
Because, as Jacqui knows, running a business is like building a family – and both have a parallel level of importance for any budding entrepreneur.
“There are certainly some similarities between owning a business and family values,” she explains. “You want to nurture your employees and help them develop and grow. You also want to give them a sense of belonging as part of your business ‘family’. In turn, you hope there is a good level of trust, passion and loyalty.”
Think about it: to build either a family or a business, you need more than just you.