A client referred us to a friend who was new to business. The friend was working so hard that an ambulance had to be called to a job site because he had chest pains. He needed major help.
We set up a meeting and had a long conversation. The owner had been in business for just over a year and was smashing it. His previous experience in the same industry had served him well. He had managed large teams, knew his product line, had strong relationships with customers and industry professionals, and knew the importance of financial reporting. All of this had held him in good stead.
However, what our client quickly learned was that working for someone else is completely different to working for yourself. With someone else, it’s not your money on the line. You’re only responsible for the time and effort you put in at work. When you work for yourself, everything is your responsibility. The buck stops with you.
Even though our client’s business was performing exceptionally well, he was working himself into the ground. His health was failing. He had no time for family. He didn’t know where, when or how to get help.
When he met us, he found the support he required.
We asked why he went into business. Everyone has their own reasons and they’re important to understand. In this case, the owner had increased the revenue of the business he was working for and was promised a share. After he increased the revenue, the business owner wanted more money than agreed and decided not to sell shares. Our client quit and opened his own business.
Step 1—analysing the business framework
This first session was with our client and his wife who managed the business finances. We agreed to analyse the business framework, to understand what was happening and how. We presented our findings and a suite of recommendations.
The wife was shocked at just how much her husband was dealing with on a daily basis and felt she needed to more to help. Her husband knew he had to changes how he worked. It was important for him to take his kids to school on certain days, so we locked that in his calendar. He agreed to start at a more reasonable hour, not at 6am.
Step 2—assessing the team and their skills
We assessed the skills of all team members. A major recommendation was to recruit an additional administrator. Instead of an expensive recruitment process, we recommended the owner reach out to his networks. Within two weeks he had someone on board. It was instant relief.
Step 3—operationalising plans
This business had been strategic enough to engage HR and WH&S experts who had completed an assessment and developed templates and tools.
However, our client didn’t fully understand the terminology or what all this meant. They were unclear on legislation, how to implement policies and procedures and how to implement tools. They didn’t have hours to spend understanding these issues.
We mapped out a plan and, over the following month, worked through all policies and procedures, to build their knowledge and guide on implementation. It gave the client peace of mind.
We next reviewed our client’s marketing strategy, which mainly comprised Facebook, print, radio and tv advertising, and local community sponsorship.
We worked through monitoring and evaluation requirements, so our client knew where his business was coming from, important for analysing the success of his marketing initiatives. It was a valuable ‘reality check’.
Step 5—planning for the future
With small businesses, a 12-month strategic plan is generally all they can cope with, so we worked to develop a vision (the future statement), mission (purpose), company values and key objectives. This painted the big picture.
We then developed an easy-to-understand strategic plan, focusing on what is important now, accountabilities and how to keep on track.
Step 6—monitoring stress
Once we had stabilised the business, we kept on top of the client’s stress levels through monthly coaching sessions. We talk through issues, concerns, thoughts and stay focused on what the business needs to do for success. It’s a tremendous help.
What we’ve achieved so far:
- increased revenue by 50% in 12 months
- surpassed revenue goal by 10% in current financial year
- implemented HR & WHS policies and procedures
- increased social media presence, having determined that 80% of new clients come to the business from that marketing platform.
- continued to increase brand awareness through radio, tv, print and community sponsorship.
We’re now working on a full suite of reports from 1 July 2019. It will be great to see how these stats change (for the better) in the next 12 months.