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We Go Together: Colleagues of 20 years John and Veronica share their story

By Charmayne Allison

John Evans and Veronica Doxey have been business partners for more than 20 years, building NAI Harcourts Rinnovate Business Brokers, based in Shepparton, from the ground up. In an industry filled with many twists and turns, it's no wonder this dynamic duo has built such a close partnership throughout the years.

John:

I am 49, I live in Shepparton and I am a business broker and adviser. I'm married to Olivia and I have two stepsons, aged 6 and almost 4.

I first met Veronica when I moved to Shepparton from Queensland and joined the staff of the then Goulburn and Border Broadcasters (operators of Sun FM, 3SR FM, Sun FM Mt Buller and FM 105.7 The River in Albury) in April 1999.

I was the chief financial officer for the business and Veronica was a member of the sales team.

We hit it off from the start.

Veronica (or Dox, as we all called her) was a very capable sales representative, and was always the best one at making sure her advertising clients paid their invoices on time. She loved getting the “cash up front” bonus.

I left the radio stations at the end of 2001. Dox stayed on there until about 2008, and by then I was in my own business which was a client of the radio stations, so I used to go to all their client events, and kept in touch with Dox this way.

Then one day after we hadn’t seen each other for a while, we bumped into each other in the street outside the Aussie Hotel.

At the time, I was getting into business brokering and I was looking for someone to join the business with me.

Veronica said she had just resigned from the radio stations and was going to do her real estate course so she could go and sell houses.

I asked if she wanted to sell businesses instead; she said yes, and we started working together shortly afterwards.

After working on behalf of one of the Melbourne business brokering agencies for a while (as their Goulburn Valley reps) we decided to start our own business brokering agency together, which began in January 2009.

We got ourselves established in the GV and then branched out into Albury-Wodonga and the Riverina, then started looking at Melbourne as an opportunity too.

As part of setting up a second office in Melbourne, we joined the NAI Harcourts group as a franchise member and so we’re now part of a national and international network, but still running our own business as a franchisee.

We started the business in the tail end of the GFC so the first year or so was challenging, but then again the first year for most businesses is challenging so we figured we might as well get that out of the way when things were tough anyway.

COVID-19 has proved quite a challenge also, given that the business world virtually shut down for a while. But things are looking up again now, which is great.

Selling businesses is a challenge. For both buyer and seller, it’s a major change of life, not just buying or selling an asset. There can be a lot of twists and turns during the sale process and sometimes people change their minds just when you think everything is on track with the deal.

So you need to be persistent, thorough and hard-working.

We often turn to each other for suggestions and support when presented with a tricky turn of events during a deal negotiation.

I'm proudest of Veronica obtaining her full real estate licence; this is not an easy thing to achieve.

Veronica has always been a very well-rounded person – I think she’s just continued to get better at most things as the years go by.

We are similar in that we are determined, ethical, energetic, and are always focused to get the best result we can for our clients.

As for how we're different — Veronica is great at building personal relationships with people we deal with, taking that softer approach when needed. I am more hard-edged I think, a bit less tolerant sometimes.

Sometimes we argue about what approach to take with a ‘difficult’ client. But we generally thrash out a solution pretty quickly. We like to confront the issue and talk it out.

Veronica is very well respected and knows so many people, both in this region and throughout regional Victoria. It really helps us in our business.

Veronica:

I am 66 — not looking it. I'm a business broker. I live in Euroa and have a bed and breakfast with my partner Bernie O’Dea. I have two children: Andrew, 37, and Jane, 40.

John and I met when we were both working at 3SR FM in 1998.

John and I had a very good professional relationship while employed at the radio station.

He worked very hard, long hours while he was there.

John has always been a very fair person and has acquired a comprehensive range of experience in many business facets which in turn is extremely valuable for our business broking.

We enjoy a lot of laughs and brainstorm very well together when we are discussing the diverse topics which arise in our business.

We complement each other well with our thoughts and our personalities.

A major highlight throughout the years has been observing our business grow substantially, and enjoying each other's company together with our partners on social occasions.

As for the major lows, it is rather disappointing when we almost have a business over the line and the purchasers are not able to secure the finance or one of the parties has a change of heart.

I'm proudest of John getting married and seeing him so happy with his wife, Olivia, and their two children.

We have both gained a few grey hairs throughout the years.

I've also observed John adapt to his role of stepfather to the boys.

John and I are similar in that we are both very passionate about our business and enjoy fine red and white wines.

We're different in that John is very thorough in everything he does. I am more an open personality. I communicate well with people, as does John.

If I could change something about John, it would be to get him to chill out more.

We have very few differences of opinion. We both handle conflict well, which assists with our clients and dealing with any concerns they may have.

John is a very good person and has been extremely good to be in business with.

READ MORE WE GO TOGETHER STORIES

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