A small business that made a big difference

If you don’t know me, my name is Brett Burden, I’m a business coach working in Melbourne and I wanted to share some of my client stories with you through this blog. This blog is about a small business which was a marketing company, and its owner, James, who wanted to grow his business and knew he needed some help to do it.

Even though they had the marketing and promotion side of the business running smoothly growing their business involved being all over other areas like P&L statements, margins, staff turnover, building maintenance, equipment hire, recruitment, succession planning….there’s a lot to think about. Plus, it’s hard to grow when it’s only you at the head of the helm and there’s not a great big network of other people to call up for advice. It’s just you, your team, and maybe a few other business owners that you know of, or have bumped into.

I was really excited to work with him as well, for two reasons. One. He was determined to get his business moving. Two. He was stuck in a rut with only a few tricks up his sleeve. Not that I’m tooting my own horn here – I’ve helped loads of people like James – that’s what I do best.

In my travels I have found many people who find it hard to be asked “have you done this” and “how did you go with that”. When I’m coaching I’m working with the boss and it’s hard for them to be asked questions they are used to asking. It wasn’t like that with James. He wanted me to ask him about his progress, keep him on track and discuss different ideas. I became like an external arm to his business.  James’s approach made it easier for us to really get things moving quickly too, because he treated me more like a partner rather than a person he caught up with regularly.

To tell you the truth it wasn’t all smooth sailing, he did have his reservations at first but he was willing to go through the process and jump in anyway. James kept an open mind. I do believe the reason why he got the results he was after was because he was open-minded.

What did we do together?

What didn’t we do. To begin with, James is termed a “Creative” in his industry. Always coming up with ideas. The other side to James is that he is quite detailed, logical and methodical. A rare combination for creative people. I find in his industry people are either one (creative) or the other (logical). To have both traits meant James could easily run a business and at the same time come up with good ideas for his clients.

What we did together was sort out the vision he had for his business. He had a-million-and-one ideas floating around inside his head but he didn’t have time or enough money to do them all. So we tackled the do-able ideas as well as look at his entire business operation.

We defined what was important in his business, what was profitable, what didn’t work, what needed to change. Sounds reasonable enough but have you ever gone through all your project timesheets for a month? Labourious stuff. But it has to be done. We worked out where the leaks where (and put a plug in them!). The main thing to remember with James was that we kept a clear eye on what we were trying to achieve. Growth.

Want to know how well his business did?

Ok, before I tell you, I want to say that James sent me a letter. I get them from time to time. James didn’t need to write me one, I already knew he was going great guns. We were still working together, and looked at everything. And I mean everything. Staff, processes, measurement criteria, business strategies, timing. In his letter, he wrote that, over the short period of time we had together – that was 9 months – his business had achieved 200% growth!!

There you have it. He got the results he was after. I wasn’t that surprised at the growth percentage because he put in a lot of hard graft. What I can say that I felt, when I read his letter, I was wrapped!

When we met up again, when we reflected on the whole process he just told me that “the results speak for themselves”.

They certainly did.