Founder and Executive Chairman, Expense Reduction Analysts
For the last 26 years, Fred Marfleet has successfully led Expense Reduction Analysts (ERA) through many different economic environments. Over that period, ERA has prospered and become a leading franchised business, that specialises in cost optimisation and management in the SME market, with a network of over 700 consultants worldwide, operating in 35 countries. Going from strength to strength, the most recent accolades include winning “Best White Collar Franchise” at the 2019 Global Franchise Awards for the second year in a row and the announcement that the ERA Training Academy is expanding to enable for it to accommodate the growing number of franchisees being trained every month from around the world. This investment in state-of-the-art training facilities demonstrates the increasing investment by ERA in its franchisees and staff.
With the business continuing to grow, it’s remarkable to see just how far things have come since its inception. ERA began its journey in 1992; however, Fred Marfleet has been maximising his entrepreneurial talents long before ERA came to be.
Fred has always taken a keen interest in finance and business. From growing up in the UK on a family farm, he has spent many years in Australia both on the West Coast and in Sydney where he still has a home. From his farming roots both in the UK and later in Australia, Fred transitioned into the financial services industry. He successfully gained his business degree and qualified as Certified Practising Accountant (CPA)in Perth Western Australia. Utilising his experience in accounting, Fred quickly decided to use his entrepreneurial skills and move into the finance industry, forming a boutique financial services business.
“I found my accountancy work enjoyable and very rewarding, but I was keen to explore some of the business ideas I’d been considering. It was, of course, a bit of a risk, leaving the security of accountancy, but I was excited about creating a business in the burgeoning financial services field. I loved service businesses, and the interaction with other people still do to this day, which is why I’m still enjoying going into the ERA office every day and being amongst our global activities. There’s a real buzz, not least because we’ve brought on so many new staff members in the last twelve months to try and keep up with the growing demand for our business activities.”
Success and challenges are two elements that Fred has continuously relished throughout his career, and ERA is a fantastic example of those achievements. When moving from his accountancy role in Western Australia, Fred built his own multi-disciplined financial services business with operations in raising finance, venture capital. Money market, mortgages, share broking, and business broking, which led to his first experience with the franchising industry in Australia.
As a born “people person” Fred has capitalised on his client-facing duties by growing a substantial list of professional contacts. Knowing the right people can be a huge advantage when building a business, and throughout his career, Fred has always understood the value a strong professional network can provide. This has proven crucial in the journey of ERA, as it was during this stage that Fred met vital members of the franchising industry, who have provided essential details of the integral benefits of franchising and ultimately enabled him to bring together all his experience. It was at this point ERA became a reality, paving the way for over twenty-five years of continued growth.
The Early Days of ERA
When first launched, ERA was a training focused business. It attracted people wanting to become consultants along with small professional firms wanting to add another service to their portfolio. This proved to be a hugely successful formula, taking off quickly with minimal challenges but it was the opportunity for global scalability that led Fred to take the next step in the ERA journey and move from a training business to a franchise organisation.
Achieving Success with Expense Reduction Analysts
With more than 16 languages being spoken throughout the global support offices, and many more in local offices, ERA has become a truly international corporation. Having increased in size at a tremendous rate over the years, it’s still fascinating to see that the fundamental goals and objectives of the business have remained relatively untouched.
“We are a unique business as we’ve always tried to be international at our core. Our senior management is from multiple countries and no one location dominates our business, which makes us uniquely capable of delivering local knowledge on a global scale. The ERA methodology has been tried and tested over 26 years so we know just how powerful it can be. And the elegance of that methodology is universally applicable around the world. Helsinki, Sydney or Seattle, our formula works the same, the savings are nearly always there so we can always help. At our core, we’ve always focused on our niche – cost optimisation in indirect expenses, and we always strive to be the best in the world at that, which is fundamentally why we’ve stood the test of time. We are a scalpel, not a hammer. We look at problems in different ways to most consulting firms. For example, 30% of our network are engineers so we look for solutions in a more inquisitive way and often come up with solutions which are outside of the box. Put simply, we have a streak of curiosity in our business and that’s how we find solutions other people can’t.”
The Future of Expense Reduction Analysts
With Expense Reduction Analysts continuing to grow, Fred has ambitious plans to secure the future of the business. Naturally, financial goals are important, but the biggest objectives revolve around people.
“ERA is in the human to human business. Expanding our training facilities is just one of many steps we’re taking as we really want to continue building our team and growing their talent. People are absolutely everything in our business. The support staff, our management team, our associates – without them we couldn’t have achieved the level of success we’ve had over the past 25+ years so we want to put them at the centre of everything we do to ensure our success for the next 25 years.”
The company is also in the process of formally creating the ERA Foundation, which is a charitable organisation geared towards supporting a range of fantastic causes. “Given our international standing and global reach, creating a foundation was the logical choice as we want to be able to help local communities all around the world. The ERA Foundation’s role is to raise funds internally and externally for a wide range of great causes. Given my background, one area I’m really excited to support is helping individuals who may not be able to set up their own businesses, so my vision for the foundation is to help not just traditional charitable organisations, but also to help fledgling companies get off the ground and succeed.”
In the meantime, Fred will continue his role as Founder and Executive Chairman, helping Expense Reduction Analysts to achieve its objectives, supporting its people and helping its clients to overcome their challenges by delivering Value Through Insight. Given the extensive experience that Fred has accrued over a long career, not to mention his entrepreneurial prowess, Fred will continue to be involved in a wide array of collaborative organisations that help professionals to grow their own businesses and achieve success. Most recently, Frederick Marfleet has become an ambassador for E2E, a platform where entrepreneurs can find the right advice, support, people and finance to give their enterprise the best chance of success.
ERA continues to help clients through data-driven insight and network experience. A significant library of case studies is available for those considering engaging the services of Expense Reduction Analysts not to mention getting a better understanding of what the organisation does. If you would like to find out more, please contact us today.