When I first met with ActionCOACH Gareth Shackleton, we were just coming out the other side of the recession. Our turnover was down but we’d managed to remain profitable throughout by careful management and a fantastic team of electricians who were prepared to work flexibly to respond to peaks and troughs.
However, two things had become clear to me. We couldn’t continue to rely on work coming in regularly and needed a way to smooth out the troughs. This meant marketing; something we hadn’t done in any meaningful way before. I also needed to start to put things in place so the business could work even if I wasn’t there for an extended period. It’s human nature to put worst case scenarios to the back of your mind, but you never know when you might be hit by a bus or health scare.
During my first meeting with Gareth, it became quite clear that ActionCOACH have a complete business building system that could help me learn about marketing my business. But the most interesting aspect were the dozens of time saving and systemisation strategies that promised to make the business less reliant on me.
So I signed up to ActionCLUB – an 8 module business building group coaching program. After completing the program I can say that I learned a lot and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. ActionCOACH really makes you think and want to get on. I realised we had stood still for a while and now I have a new motivation to develop my business. I’m also much more determined with suppliers to make sure I get great service. In the past I would probably have let them off the hook and found a way to work around an issue created by a supplier. I like problem solving, so I didn’t see it as a massive issue, but it undoubtedly cost me a lot of time, which I won’t tolerate any more.
As a result of the marketing modules I have developed a clearer understanding of my target markets and specific offers that will appeal. We have also created a brand new USP, which is really helping to promote our domestic electrical work. We now have a marketing plan to specifically bring in new work when we can see troughs in the forward workload – something we’ve never had before. I’ve also hired a copywriter to put some marketing together because I’m now confident that I will be able to recognise good work when I see it.
As a business owner working alone I could have spent years trying to identify all of the things that I needed to do to systematise my business. ActionCOACH helped me to clearly identify all of the areas of my business that could be made more efficient. The effect has been remarkable. With many of the efficiencies I’ve made, I estimate that I can spend less than 20 hours a week working in my business. The rest I have free for business development activities. And I’m going to have to find some new hobbies or interests.
A big business goal for me now is to develop a complete Operations Manual for all aspects of the business, one process at a time. It’s a long term goal, but I’ve already started and I now write down everything I’m doing to go into the manual.
I would thoroughly recommend ActionCLUB to anyone who runs their own business. I’ve been in business for over 20 years and thought I knew a lot. But I still learned enough from ActionCOACH to get a huge return on my investment in the group coaching program.