How Rostrons Met Flibl
Elizabeth Claxton, director at Norwich accountancy firm Rostrons, knows all about the benefits of good business relationships. Finding like-minded companies to work with can be tricky, and it can take some time to understand exactly what clients are looking for from a relationship. But when kindred spirits do find each other, as Rostrons and consultancy startup Flibl did, it’s advantageous for all involved.
Discovering the perfect partners
When Rostrons met Flibl last year, innovation and communications consultancy Flibl was only a few months old, but already beginning to make its mark on the world. With a fast-growing global client base including household names such as Google, Emirates and Philips, the only thing that felt out of place to directors Lauren Razavi and Jesse Onslow Norton was their current accountants.
“It’s important to us that the companies we work with share our values,” Razavi explains. Flibl hold innovation, creativity and collaboration close to heart, and as such wanted to work with an accountancy firm that held similar values. They also wanted to be able to have useful conversations with their accountants, rather than just being told what paperwork to fill in. Razavi took her search for the perfect accountants to Norfolk Network.
“In our experience, those who choose to join Norfolk Network are progressive, innovative and future-facing, so it was a natural place for us to look,” says Razavi. It was while browsing the directory section of the Norfolk Network website that Razavi discovered Rostrons, a female-led chartered accountancy firm that seemed to share all the same values as her consultancy.
“It's important to us that the companies we work with share our values”
Lauren Razavi, Flibl
A natural fit from the start
“Innovative, creative, collaborative, outward-looking and forward-thinking,” Claxton says, counting the shared values on her fingers. “Lauren saw me for a free consultation and really impressed me. She has a clear head, drive and can articulate plans concisely. The business proposition was credible, scalable and there was a clearly defined marketplace in a very interesting field.”
Norfolk Network had facilitated a great match for both partners. With Flibl, Rostrons saw the possibility of a long-term relationship with a startup that very much encompassed the old Norwich slogan of ‘Do Different’. With Rostrons, Flibl could learn about the reasoning behind their accountant’s recommendations and understand the impact it would have on the business. It was clear to Razavi that Rostrons was no ordinary accountancy firm.
“It’s still rare to find companies with all-female leadership teams in the finance sector, so Rostrons really stood out,” Razavi explains. “They were also looking to the future of their industry, and were focused on adding value for clients in more ways than just crunching the numbers.”
With much more depth than any other prospects, Razavi knew Rostrons was the accountancy firm Flibl needed. From the free consultation, Claxton saw great promise in Razavi and Flibl too, and offered them the chance to become members of Rostrons Entrepreneurs’ Academy. Through the Academy, Rostrons would provide Flibl with a package of complimentary services for a two year period to help guide the startup to financial success.
“Through mentoring and strategic support, we’ll be asking and helping to answer some challenging questions for Flibl,” says Claxton. “For example, forecasting cashflow and profitability, and also providing a helpful steer on what good bookkeeping and real-time financial information should look like.”
She adds: “It’s a pleasure and a privilege to be able to do it. The strong bonds created mean that we have two talented entrepreneurs as our clients for a very long time after the Academy.”
“We take time to learn about our members' work, expertise, track record and work ethos”
Lucy Marks, Norfolk Network
Bringing like-minded people together
It’s not everyday that a partnership this fitting is formed, but this is exactly what Norfolk Network strives to replicate for other businesses across the county. The network aims to connect local companies of all kinds, and helps busy business owners forge meaningful professional relationships in a fun and accessible way.
“We take time to learn about our members’ work, expertise, track record and work ethos,” explains Lucy Marks, managing director at Norfolk Network. “The events we hold are a great opportunity to meet like-minded people. We build a diverse audience of 50+ for each one and create a relaxed networking environment where we can facilitate introductions.”
The life of an entrepreneur is a hectic one, and discovering like-minded companies that can add value to your business is a big challenge. But Norfolk Network’s curated events programme brings together some of the county’s brightest minds to find things in common and mutually-beneficial opportunities. As Flibl found out, the relationships started via Norfolk Network can offer important support for your venture – whether you’re at the beginning of your business journey or already have years of experience
“During our first year in business, having a supportive community behind us really made all the difference to how quickly we were able to grow, and helped us keep a positive attitude whenever things were difficult,” Razavi explains. “We’ve made so many great connections and friends through Norfolk Network.”
Find out more about joining Norfolk Network on the membership page, and meet Flibl co-founders Lauren Razavi and Jesse Onslow Norton at their Norfolk Network event “How to prepare your business for the millennial generation” on November 3rd.