How to make money in an architecture or design practice

business vehcile change make more money architecture design

A great business-vehicle with a great driver and lots of fuel in the tank allows you to create more great work.

In the past 15 years as a Business-Life Coach I’ve worked with many architects and designers of all types. Design practices and studios are a special kind of business with special challenges around making money and growing. I’m not entirely sure why that is, but I think it has something to do with the design side of things.

Architects have a profession and a set of skills and their business is often built around that set of skills. In that, they are no different than plumbers, mechanics, bookkeepers and lawyers. Their businesses also rest on a set of specific skills and both sell their expertise to their clients. But architects (and designers) often have a passion for their profession that goes deeper. For many architects, architecture is a calling for them. Architects and designers often want to leave their mark on the world with their work. They live for their art as it were and the commercial demands of business can sometimes feel like they are at odds with their art. Making money as an architect is often considered suspect.


Vincent and Pablo

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Of course, we all know the examples of artists who died in poverty and obscurity only to achieve fame and fortune after their death (Vincent van Gogh for example). But equally there are many examples of  artists who created great art, left a mark and were commercially successful in their lifetime (Think of the greats of the Italian renaissance or Pablo Picasso in more recent times). Great art doesn’t have to be created in poverty, and nor does great architecture and design.

I like to remind my clients that making money is never the point of business, whether the business is a plumbing business or an architect practice. A business must make money, and generate good cash flow, otherwise it’s a hobby. But the reason it must make money is so that it can achieve it’s Mission… So that it can make good on it’s Purpose in this world.

No future

I recently worked with a client who is an architect. He employs 4 staff who are all architects or interior designers. The business has only just scraped by for a few years now. The practice creates great work and my client is excited about the potential for making his mark on the world of architecture in the future. But he has only just been making ends meet for the past few years. As a consequence he pays himself very little, less than his staff even, and worse, he may well lose some of the staff he loves so dearly in the future, because there is not enough opportunity in the practice for them to develop and grow professionally. My client feels caught in a dilemma. Focusing on making money and growing the business, he believes, means the work will suffer, and he can’t allow that to happen. Hence the needs of the business come second.

I told my client to think of business as a vehicle. The point of a vehicle is to take us from A to B. But the vehicle can only perform that function, if it’s in good state of repair, if it’s filled up with fuel and if the driver knows how to operate the vehicle safely.

Fuel in the tank

Business is just like that. The point of my client’s business-vehicle is to allow him to deliver great architecture for his clients and to make his mark on the world of architecture in general. In order for his vehicle to be able to do so effectively, it needs to be healthy, in a good state of repair, he needs to be a good driver and it needs fuel in the tank.  Money is the fuel of business and my client needs to learn what it takes to be a good driver, a good business owner in other words.

The demands of business do not have to be in conflict with what you’re passionate about at all. It is perfectly possible to create great architecture, and beautiful design, while making making great profits and building a healthy growing sustainable business at the same time. As a matter of fact, a healthy profitable business allows you to create great art, if you let it… I promise you.

Read more:

Would you like to download my 12 Question Cheat-sheet to help you find your next Coach? Click here.

BQ Guidance support coaching external advice mentoring

How can I find the right support, advice

and guidance in my business?

12 questions to find the right support guidance advice coach business

No entrepreneur has ever done it all alone. You need help, but what type of help do you need?

No human being has ever achieved anything of note on his or her own. In business and in life humans need other people, for support, guidance and belonging. We are wired that way. A mentor of mine used to say: “Right now there’s a monkey in Africa somewhere, dying because he’s been kicked out of his tribe”. We can not function in isolation. That doesn’t mean we don’t sometimes like being on our own, and some people need more alone time than others, but we all need support.

Powerful 12 Questions Guide and videos

But hiring a coach, a mentor or adviser is a big step. There’s a lot riding on getting it right. Hence I have created the 12 Questions Guide and Cheat Sheet for finding and hiring the right coach for you. You can download the Guide by filling in the forms on this page or you can go straight to the special 12 Questions page on my website and besides the Guide, there is also a second much more comprehensive video to help you through the whole process of finding, inteviewing and selecting the perfect coach for you and your business.

Free Discovery Process

You can also Click here to go straight to my Five Steps to Discovery Process to find the support you need to discover and build your own Beautiful Business and Life

Skip ahead to the relevant sections:

Why couldn’t I do it alone?

In business we need other people to:

  • To reality check our assumptions
  • To brainstorm
  • To hold a mirror up to us
  • To develop strategic plans
  • To hold us accountable
  • To give us outside perspectives
  • To pick us up when we’re down
  • To give us a sense of belonging
  • To give us honest feedback

Some of that business support can come from our friends and family, but accountability, holding up a mirror, independent perspectives and honest feedback especially, can’t come from those close to you. You can’t ask your spouse to hold you accountable to your strategic Goals, it leads to divorce (trust me on that). Your friends won’t provide an independent perspective, because they’re not independent. Your brother can’t hold a mirror up to you, because there’s too much baggage in your shared history.

Click here to download my Free Guide to finding the perfect coach or mentor for you.

It takes a village

Business coaching guidance support advice

People who build Beautiful Businesses and Lives, know it takes a village and they are always looking for the right support. My oldest and most successful client, has three different coaches, and he cycles between us. He does 6 months with me and then he goes and works with his business coach in New Zealand and then he does a stint with his executive coach and then he comes back to me again.  (You can read the story of Narinder Singh from QE foodstores here)

Besides us three coaches Narinder has developed important relationships with his external accountant, his HR consultant, a marketing consultant, an IT consultant and a property adviser. He’s involved all of his advisers in all of his big decisions and planning in the past 10 years, and he credits his team of advisers and coaches with the fact he is so successful. (He’s a humble man, so let me put it on record now that his success is at least equally due to his incredible passion and determination, but the point remains).

Click here to download my Free Guide to finding the perfect coach or mentor for you.

As I said above, we all need support when developing our businesses. And what’s more, we need different kinds of support at different stages on the journey. I myself have engaged, mentors, coaches, consultants, counsellors and therapists in the past 15 years and I’ve joined various different business support groups at different times as well.

The main forms of business support:

Mentoring:

Mentors are often people who’ve “been there, done that”. They’re usually a bit older, they might even be retired and they often have direct experience in your specific industry or business type. Some mentors do their mentoring on a volunteer basis, others get paid a little or a lot. Mentoring can be really powerful in the early years of developing your business. I believe the most effective method to find a great mentor is to find someone you look up to in your industry and approach him or her and simply ask them.

Many senior business owners really enjoy being asked to “give back”. I have have taken a role of mentor for some young business owners in the past and you can feel free to contact me to discuss a mentoring relationship. There are also a number of small business mentoring organisations you can contact. One of them is the Small Business Mentoring Services, find out more here.

Whether you work with a volunteer mentor or a paid one, there is one thing you must keep in mind to get the most out of the relationship: You have to drive the agenda. When you sit down with your mentor you have to know what specific questions you need to address in the meeting and what input you need from your mentor. If you don’t control the agenda you’ll waste enormous amounts of time and the mentor will start to feel uncomfortable. (More about the secrets of great mentoring relationships here).

Click here to download my Free Guide to finding the perfect coach or mentor for you.

Business Coaching Companies:

Business coaching companies generally have developed a system for growing a business and their coaches will teach you the system and help you implement it. One of the best organisations I’ve come across who do exactly this and don’t stray outside of that model are EOS Worldwide. Their Australian franchisee is contactable here.

I believe it can be very useful to work with the right business coaching company for a while, to learn their systems and get help with it’s implementation into your business. But to build a Beautiful Business that Stands the Test of Time, you can’t ignore the personal side of growing your business: Find an executive or leadership coach or someone like me (see below) to support you in the journey of personal development and leadership that is integral to creating the business you dream of.

Business-Life Coaching:
business support, coaching, guidance, external advice

I am a Business-Life Coach. What that means is that I start from the principle that:

“Your business is what it is today, because of who you are today”. 

This means that if you want your business to change, you must be prepared to change first.

So I, and coaches like me, combine the “hard” business systems with the “soft” personal skills. I will teach you about the latest business management systems and techniques, design new systems customised to your business and help you implement them, but at the same time we’ll be working on what it takes to be a great business owner. We’ll work on leadership skills, self management skills, developing your vision, prioritising, goal setting, strategic thinking, planning, communication, people management, and how to get out of crisis management. (More here)

Free Five Step Discovery Process:

Before we engage in any of my coaching programs, I always suggest we follow my Five Steps to Discovery Process, starting with a free 30 minute Discovery Coaching session (Skype) combined with a short business discovery survey and report. You can book a Discovery Business Coaching session and Business Discovery Survey through any one of the forms on The Five Steps page here. In the Discovery session, we’ll get to know each other a little and I’ll get some insight into what stage you and your business are at, allowing me to tailor the next steps in the Five Steps to Discovery Process

Click here to download my Free Guide to finding the perfect coach or mentor for you.

Executive Coaching/ Leadership Coaching:

An Executive or Leadership Coach is skilled in helping people develop their leadership skills. Executive coaches are more often engaged with executives of larger organisations than with small business owners, but one of the three coaches that Narinder Singh, who I talk about above, works with is an executive coach. There are many executive coaches to choose from. The best I can suggest is to do an introductory session with 3 different executive coaches and make your assessment based on how you feel at the end of each of the three sessions.

Choosing an executive coach is almost entirely about how you click with him or her. Feel free to send me an email to ask for a referral to a trustworthy executive coach. You might also have a look at the website of the International Coach Federation, it’s the professional body of record for executive coaches worldwide.

Click here to download my Free Guide to finding the perfect coach or mentor for you.

Advisory Boards:

Pulling together an advisory board for your business can be a highly effective strategy to get the support you need to drive the development of your business forward. You can create your own board and ask a bunch of people you trust, with varying skills and experience to become part of your board, and maybe meet with them once a month for 2 or 3 hours. You may decide to pay these board members a fee for their time and input or you may ask them to sit on your board on a voluntary basis, and you yourself may in turn do the same for someone else. Advisory boards like this are often really valuable and offer great support, but they can sometimes be short lived, because of time pressure on various board members.

You can also join an advisory board program run by specialist organisations. Those programs are usually run by a professional facilitator and there might be anywhere from 5 to maybe 15 members on a board, all of whom are business owners and the members meet every month and support each other. I run a board program like that from time to time called The Business Growth Club and there are various other organisation that do the same thing such as TEC, The CEO Institute and Coraggio. I’ve also written a White Paper about benefits of Advisory Boards that you can download here.

Business study and training:

At different stages on the journey of entrepreneurship it may be important to improve your skill and knowledge levels. When moving from solo-entrepreneur to small business owner and beyond it can simply be beneficial to go back to school and learn about the latest business management techniques and philosophies.  You can go to university and take post graduate or summer school  courses on specific topics in marketing, innovation, management, leadership etc, or you may enroll in a full MBA program.

Alternatively it may be more relevant for you to engage with the Vocational Education and Training system (VET, via TAFE or via many registered private training organisations in the country, more here) The Business Growth Club program I mentioned above often incorporates a VET training component, leading to the Diploma of Business or to a Diploma of Leadership.

More information about the Business Growth Clubs here

Click here to download my Free Guide to finding the perfect coach or mentor for you.

Further reading about business support

Click here to download my Free Guide to finding the perfect coach or mentor for you.

SBP The 5 Steps to Change your business

Just Five Steps to Discover Your

Own Beautiful Business and Life

12 questions business coach support guidance, mentor

Are You Ready for the Adventure of a Life-time?

Did you know that modelling your business on your competitors means you have an 85% chance of failure?

Click here to skip ahead to the Five Steps

Being a small business owner is not as easy as it looks. You’re usually the first one in the door in the morning (on site, in the shop or on the road) and the last one out the door at night. You catch up on your admin after the kids have gone to bed most nights and a whole free weekend is a dim memory. Some of your employees take home more money than you do every week, you’re frustrated with constantly having to fix everybody’s problems and you often feel overwhelmed and alone in your business.

And the competition?… If only you could model your business on that of your most effective competitors… They seem to have it all going on, don’t they!

I have Good news and Bad news for you:

I’ve worked with literally hundreds of clients like you since 2004, after having experienced the same frustrations for 20 years as a builder in Sydney. And I have good news and bad news for you:

  1. The bad news: You can never build the same business your competitors have built. Your business is and always will be as unique as you are, there are no two businesses on this planet that are the same, you’ll have to discover what your own unique Beautiful Business and Life could actually look like, before you can go and build it.
  2. The good news: I’ve developed a simple 5 step process to help you discover what your Beautiful Business and Life can actually look like and then to help you build it.

The 5 steps to Discovery Process:

These are the first five steps on the adventure of a life-time to discover your own Beautiful Business and Life with me. (Step 5 is optional. We may decide to go straight to the Trial Month or one of the other Next Steps, after the Goal session)

  1. Chat: Call me for an initial chat over the phone, just to shake hands, and break the ice as it were, ph +61404490012. Also, at this stage you might like to subscribe to my weekly One-Minute-Business-Tips, they’re cool, Click here.
  2. Discover: Book in a Free one-hour Discovery Coaching session. The Discovery Session is all about me asking you a thousand questions and taking notes to get as complete a picture of you and your business, your challenges, your opportunities, your dreams, and your goals as possible. Click here to book in the Discovery session.
  3. Trial: Book in a full 1 to 1.5 hr Trial Coaching session, by donation of $100 to The Wayside Chapel in Sydney. The Trial session is aimed at giving you a really good sense of what it is like to work with me. We’ll tackle one challenge, one big question, one dilemma in the session, dig as deep as we can and you’ll walk away with a bunch of insights and greater clarity and one or more simple practical steps you can implement straight away to start moving forward again in respect of this challenge. Click here to book in the Trial session.
  4. Check: Complete my 100 question Business Health check survey. You will receive a 7 to 8 page report showing the strenghts and weaknesses in your business including some high level observations of mine about your business and life. The Business Health Check is included as part of Step 5, no separate fee.
  5. Goal: Carry out my 2hr Goal session. What do you want your business and life to look like a year from now. (Standard fee for 2 hr Goal session and business health check $600 plus GST)
  6. Optional: Plan: Carry out my optional 2hr strategic planning session. Once we’ve created the Goal, you may want to create a high level strategic plan with me for the achievement of your Goal, before moving on to one of the next steps. (Standard fee for Strategic Planning Session of 1-2 hrs, $600 plus GST)

Follow these five steps and book in your free Discovery session now.  On completion of the Goal or the Plan sessions, we’ll both know how we should work together and what the best next steps are for you to build your own Beautiful Business and Life.

Next Steps:

And these are some of the options for the next steps:

  • Put your toe in the water: Trial month: Try out what it’s like to get on the Journey, the adventure. Click here for more information on the One Month Transformation sessions (Trial Month includes 4 x 1 hr coaching session during one month, including unlimited email access. Fee for once-off trial month is $1,300 plus GST)
  • Change your world: The Journey: The adventure of a life time. When you’re ready to go on the greatest journey of discovery you’ve ever undertaken, to build your own Beautiful Business and Life. Click here to find out more about the Fun in Business Intensive (minimum 6 month, maximum 12 month commitment, weekly sessions, including unlimited email and phone access. The fee for The Journey to be negotiated in a range from $1,600 to $2,800 per month plus GST).
  • Tackle one big hurdle at a time: One-Month-Transformation: The One-Month-Transformation programs are similar to the “Toe in the water, Trial month” program, above. We’ll take one topic, one aspect of your business that you are experiencing a major hurdle in, and break through in a month. Click here for more information of the One-Month-Transformation programs (Fee for the one month programs to be negotiated in a range from $1,600 to $3,000 plus GST)
  • You have a decision to make or question to answer: Brainstorming: One-off, 1 hr focused powerful coaching session when you simply need to resolve a dilemma or do some brainstorming and find the resolution to a problem. (Standard fee for one-off, 1 hr coaching session: $400 plus GST) (longer or multiple sessions by arrangement)
  • You want to be able to pick up the phone from time to time: Retainer: Ongoing support and availability to brainstorm, be a sounding board, advice, support, guidance. (Fee and structure to be negotiated depending on your requirements in a range from $350 to $1250 per month plus GST)

Further reading and resources:

AYR Retail Business Coach

The world of retail

Watch this quick video in which I talk about a couple of the unique challenges that come with building a retail business; A business that sells goods directly to consumers.

Retail is full of great opportunities and great challenges. I have worked with businesss owners in many and varied retail operations from supermarkets and handbags to bicycles, candles and motor scooters. There is an art to getting a retail business to hum and the difference between a shop that works and one that doesn’t can seem quite mysterious at times. But most of the time there is no mystery at all. It’s all about discipline and consistency, and constantly asking yourself: What else do my customers want next?

“Roland has been an integral part of the success of QE Foodstores, for many years now and I trust will remain so for years to come.”

(Narinder Badhan Singh QE Foodstores)

Does this sound like you?

These are some of the things I often hear owners of retail businesses say:

  • “The major chains are always undercutting us”
  • “People come in and use us as a show room and then they go an buy online (and sometimes even bring in the thing they bought online for us to fit or install for them)”
  • “My staff just don’t care”
  • “My suppliers treat me as a second class citizen compared to the major chains”

  • “I’ve spent a fortune on marketing but I don’t think it’s paying off”
  • “Wastage is what’s eating my margins”
  • “Every time I find a new site, some major chain offers more money to the landlord than I can afford.”
  • “Shoplifting costs me a lot of money.”
  • “Centre management is just bleeding us”
  • “I have to discount too much to turn my stock”
  • “Staff come and go so much that it’s really hard to create an engaged company culture”

Running a retail business is challenging. The risks are large. Setting up a shop usually involves a significant investment, you generally have to sign up to a commercial lease for at least 3 years, that is guaranteed by your personal property, and if you set up shop in a major centre, the lease conditions can be onerous. Staff are often itinerant and difficult to engage and motivate, and in these days of instant internet shopping, it can be difficult to convince customers to buy from you rather than from Ebay. And yet, retail offers some wonderful opportunities, to build a great Fun Business that sustains you for years to come.

“In one session, Roland helps me translate a weeks worth of swirling ideas (than may not eventuate) into reality”

(Ralph Leavesy-Moase)

Click here to download my Free Guide to finding the perfect coach or mentor for you.

What you can expect:

How I’ll help you build a business that stands the test of time:

  • Finding absolute clarity about the Purpose of your business and developing a comprehensive but practical business plan on that foundation; Know where you’re going and how you’re getting there.
  • Developing and implementing an effective but simple marketing plan; Clients walk in the door, wanting to buy from you.
  • Developing simple systems to engage and keep the brightest of your staff; Build a reliable and passionate team of people.
  • Implementing better bookkeeping and retail POS systems; Your fingers on the pulse of all the key indicators of the health of your business, as opposed to keeping your fingers crossed.
  • Strengthening sales skills throughout the business; Sales conversion rates double and triple.
  • Implementing continuous improvement systems; Know your business is getting better and better all the time.

“Roland forced me to address the hard issues and in doing so, I have made changes which have saved me over $50,000 per year.

(James France, Vanguard luxury)

Five Steps to Discovery

If you recognise some of those statements above and you’d like to explore how I can help you overcome some of those everyday struggles, click here to book in a free Discovery Coaching Session now as part of my Five Steps to Discovery Process, designed to help you discover and build your own Beautiful Business and Life.

More reading, books, surveys, webinars

Click here to download my Free Guide to finding the perfect coach or mentor for you.

AYW Business Coach for Studios and Workshops

Studios, Salons and Workshops

Watch this quick video in which I talk about some of the unique challenges that come with building a business that operates like a salon, studio or a workshop… on the face of it very different kind of businesses but there is also a really specific set of common factors.

Over the past 11 years I have worked with many owners of what I’ll refer to here as Studios. Studio business are all about having jobs booked in on a schedule and having to complete the job inside the schedule. In that way a hair or nail salon operates quite similarly to a mechanics workshop. The Studio business model has all kinds of unique challenges.

“Working with Roland has been the most productive time I have ever dedicated to myself and my business.”

(Anna Field, The Paddington Beauty Room)

Does this sound like you?

These are some of the things I often hear owners of Studios, Salons and Workshops say:

  • “As soon as I’ve finished training my staff, and they start to work out well, they leave me again.”
  • “I can never know how busy the day or the week is going to be, rostering my staff is a nightmare.”
  • “I get so many tyre kickers ringing up, they waste so much of my time”
  • “My staff just don’t care the way I do, and my customers know it.”
  • “My staff earn more money than I do.”

  • “I do everything I can to look after my staff but they walk all over me.”
  • “To be profitable we have to focus on ‘upselling’ our clients, but we just don’t seem to be very good at it.”
  • “I keep my fingers crossed every day that we don’t get too many cancellations or that we’ll have enough walk-ins.”
  • “I spend a fortune advertising the studio in the local rags, but I’m not sure it actually pays off.”
  • “I have to be on the Studio floor all day to make sure things don’t fall apart, so I can only work “on” the business at night.”
  • “I focus a lot on safety in the Studio, but I live in fear of being audited by Workcover one day.”

Click here to download my Free Guide to finding the perfect coach or mentor for you.

Running a Studio type of business can be incredibly stressful and it can feel like all you can do is react to what happens rather than pro-actively build your business. Finding and keeping the right staff is often one of the greatest challenges, industry wages are generally relatively low and hence the staff are often highly itinerant. Marketing on a tight budget and time management are also often particular challenges because of the many distractions the day brings.

“Great results require great effort and great guidance, Roland is such a guide”

(Sebastiaan de Jonge, KwikKopy Auburn)

What you can expect:

How I’ll help you build a business that stands the test of time:

  • Finding absolute clarity about the Purpose of your business and developing a comprehensive but practical business plan and marketing plan from that foundation. Know where you’re going and how you’re getting there.
  • Improving the look and feel of your business; Clients feel comfortable and trust your business is going to give them what they need.
  • Developing HR thinking and systems that make the process of hiring, engaging and keeping great staff easier. Build a great engaged team of people.
  • Implementing better bookkeeping and workshop management systems, so you know where you make money and where you lose money. Your fingers on the pulse of all the key indicators of the health of your business.
  • Strengthening sales skills throughout the business; Sales conversion rates double and triple.
  • Improving health and safety discipline and management in a practical way. Less accidents, lower premiums, less sick days.
Five Steps to Discovery

If you recognise some of those statements above and you’d like to explore how I can help you overcome some of those everyday struggles, click here to book in a free Discovery Coaching Session now as part of my Five Steps to Discovery Process, designed to help you discover and build your own Beautiful Business and Life.

More reading, books, surveys, webinars

Click here to download my Free Guide to finding the perfect coach or mentor for you.

AYP Business Coach for Professionals

Architects, Designers, Creative

Agencies, Professional Services

Watch this quick video in which I talk about a couple of the unique challenges that come with building a business based around creating beautiful things: buildings, websites, logos, photography, videos, etc.

I have worked with many architects, designers, and owners of creative agencies in the last 11 years. I love the passion that designers have for their profession and their craft. There is a special set of challenges in marrying business with the design mindset.

“Roland helped me put my work into a bigger context which defined the purpose of my business and brought clarity to my decisions.”

(Michael Hill, Lightwell)

Does this sound like you?

These are some of the things I often hear architects and design professionals say:

  • “I love creating amazing buildings (websites, offices, brochures, brands), but clients rarely want to pay for the time it takes to create… Good design takes time.”
  • “My clients expect me to be at every meeting and to personally design every detail of their project, they insist on speaking to me personally instead of my staff.”
  • “I don’t know which projects I make money on and which lose money.”
  • “My staff earn more money than I do.”

architect designer agency

  • “Nobody in my practice has a clue what it costs to run this business.”
  • “Clients use me as a free consultant and then they go shopping for the cheapest quote.”
  • “I don’t seem to be able to move away from small alts and adds/ little websites… etc”
  • “I’m always waiting to get paid”
  • “I run around from crisis to crisis all day.”
  • “I’m a designer, not an accountant.”
  • “I just seem to be managing people these days instead of designing amazing buildings/ websites/ brands.”

Click here to download my Free Guide to finding the perfect coach or mentor for you.

Building a design agency that is founded on your passion and creativity can be especially tricky at times. Your clients come to you for your creative reputation and they often resist dealing with your staff. And turning a design practice into a profitable business while being true to your principles is a constant balancing act.

“Roland helped transform my business daydreams in to a practical, pragmatic and actionable plan… And then we made it happen”

(Adrian Black, Blackline Retail Design and Management)

What you can expect:

How I’ll help you build a business that stands the test of time:

  • Implementing better bookkeeping, workflow management and project management systems. Your fingers on the pulse of all the key indicators of the health of your business, as opposed to keeping your fingers crossed.
  • Developing absolute clarity abut the Purpose of your business; the reason your business exists and why anybody else would care about that. Know where you’re going and how you’re getting there.
  • Building relationships with the right people. Referral marketing is the most powerful way to build your business.
  • Developing marketing strategies that mean you get to build your business with the right type of clients. Clients walk in the door, wanting to do business with you.
  • Developing and implementing Quality systems that allow you let people get on with things confident the work will be consistent. Make your agency or practice run like a Swiss clock.
  • Developing better approaches to managing and engaging your staff consultants, so that you won’t have to stand there and watch them all day.

“Working with Roland transformed me and my business. It now flows. It’s less stressful and more enjoyable.”

(Geoff Anderson, Sonic Sight)

Five Steps to Discovery

If you recognise some of those statements above and you’d like to explore how I can help you overcome some of those everyday struggles, click here to book in a free Discovery Coaching Session now as part of my Five Steps to Discovery Process, designed to help you discover and build your own Beautiful Business and Life.

More reading, books, surveys, webinars

Click here to download my Free Guide to finding the perfect coach or mentor for you.

AYB Business Coach for Builders

Builders, contractors and trades

Watch this quick video in which I explain about a couple of the unique challenges that are part of running a business in the building  and trades industry in Australia.

I have worked with many builders, subbies and trades people over the years. The building industry in Australia has many great opportunities to build Beautiful Businesses and Lives, but it also has a bunch a unique challenges. I love supporting tradies to become mature business owners and help them build Beautiful Businesses and Lives.

“Working with Roland set the path for my business to be everything I dreamed it could be”

(Brad Chapman BIC Construction)

Does this sound like you?

These are some of the things I hear people in the building industry say all the time (and to be honest, I’ve certainly said most of them myself at different times in my building days):

  • “I spend so much time training my staff and as soon as they’re all trained up, they go and start out on their own.”
  • “I spend days preparing detailed budget estimates for clients and architects but in the end they still just pick the cheapest quote.”
  • “I’m always the last one to get paid”
  • “My staff earn more money than I do.”

building trade construction builder subbie

  • “As soon as I turn my back they stuff something up.”
  • “I have no idea where I make money and where I lose money.”
  • “I’m so busy but I think I made more money when I was on my own.”
  • “I’m always struggling to pay the tax bill when it’s due.”
  • “I’m run around from crisis to crisis, extinguishing brush fires all the time.”
  • “I get stuck doing jobs I don’t actually want to do (my friend’s bathroom, my uncle’s deck).”
  • “The last 5% of any job has as many challenges and takes as long as the first 50%.”

As a former carpenter and builder myself I know what those statements are about and I have worked with many builders, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, painters and others on turning those challenges around.

“Working with Roland taught me the correct way to run a business and more importantly, run it so that I can spend more time with my family.”

(Mark Nashaty, On the Go Plumbing)

Click here to download my Free Guide to finding the perfect coach or mentor for you.

What you can expect:

How I’ll help you discover and build your own Beautiful Business and Life:

  • Implementing better bookkeeping, workflow management and project management systems; Your fingers on the pulse of all the key indicators of the health of your business, as opposed to keeping your fingers crossed.
  • Developing absolute clarity about the Purpose of your business; the reason your business exists and why anybody should care about that; Know where you’re going and how you’re getting there.
  • Developing marketing plans that are simple and effective; Clients walk in the door, wanting to do business with you.
  • Building relationships with the right people; Referral marketing is the most powerful way to build your business.
  • Designing and implementing Quality Assurance and Safety approaches that are practical and appropriate for your business; Make your business run like a Swiss clock.
  • Developing systems and procedures that you can rely on; Feel confident that things happen the way you want them to happen even when you’re not looking.
  • Developing better approaches to managing and engaging your staff and your subbies, so that you won’t have to stand there and watch them all day.

“Roland helped me install the right systems into my business and helped put all the missing pieces together to form a business that is now performing 100% better on all fronts: It’s making profit, my clients love our work and my staff love working with me, and It’s a lot of Fun.”

(Brent Tamati, Direct Building Solutions)

Five Steps to Discovery

If you recognise some of those statements above and you’d like to explore how I can help you overcome some of those everyday struggles, click here to book in a free Discovery Coaching Session now as part of my Five Steps to Discovery Process, designed to help you discover and build your own Beautiful Business and Life.

More reading, books, surveys, webinars

Click here to download my Free Guide to finding the perfect coach or mentor for you.

SBP Free Discovery Business Coaching and Mentoring Session

Free Discovery Business / Life Coaching Session

Would you like to discover what your business and life could really look like?

free discovery coaching session
* How would it be to have absolute clarity about the way forward?
* If you could change one thing in your business overnight, what would it be?
* What’s been getting in the way for you so far?
* What is the best business support for you?

Click here to book your Free Discovery Coaching Session now

Find out the answers to those questions and more for free. No obligation, No expectations, No sales… Nothing but Clarity and Insight.

Click on the button or the link above to book in a half hour free coaching and mentoring session by Skype (or Apple FaceTime or Google Hangouts) with me any time you like, all you need is a good internet connection, a Skype camera and microphone, and a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted for half an hour.

In preparation for the Discovery Coaching Session I will get you to complete a short business health survey. It will take no more than a minute or two to complete. It’s called the Richard Branson Business Discover Survey. You’ll receive a 2-page report on the Richard Branson Entrepreneurial scale and where you sit on the scale; It will help us get right to the heart of the most important issues when we speak.

SBP Free Business Coaching Programs

Free Business Coaching Programs

How about taking some tiny little steps on your journey together first?

free business coaching programs girl asking business question

Is business coaching right for me?
What about a mentor, or a consultant?
Is coaching going to change my business and my life?
How do I know that this is not going to be a waste of  my money?

I know these are impossibly difficult questions to answer for you at this early stage. To help you figure out the right way forward for you, I have created a Five Steps To Discovery Process of really small steps, to help you discover what your Beautiful Business and Life could really look like, to help us understand if we are a good fit for each other, and to help me understand how I can best support you to build it.

The first steps are entirely free and even the third step only involves you making a donation to my favorite charity in Sydney.

You can read more about the Five Steps to Discovery Process here or you can fill in the form below to book in a free Discovery session now.

More free coaching and resources

SBP The One-Month Business Transformation Programs

Transform Your Business in a Month

Transform your business in a month

How would you like to blow away the biggest hurdle you face right now?

Skip ahead to the individual program details

If you’re anything like most other small business owners (and like me when I ran my building companies), you spend a lot of your days in a state of overwhelm and feeling like you are stuck.

For many business owners those feelings originate in one major issue. One challenge above all others needs to be tackled effectively right now before you and the business can start to move forward again:

  • Maybe it’s your marketing that isn’t working and you are not getting enough new inquiries
  • Or maybe you’re not converting enough inquiries into new sales, or
  • You’re always struggling to pay the bills on time, or
  • Maybe your staff are not delivering for you, or
  • Your business plan is way out of date
  • Or you simply feel that you are drifting from job to job, client to client, without a sense of direction.
Lifting the fog

It was certainly like that for me in my days as a builder in Sydney and I believe most of us experience at least one of those challenges at some stage in our journey. When we are in the midst of such a challenge it can feel like we are surrounded by a fog through which we can see very little else.
What we need at a time like that is to fix that issue and lift the fog… Nothing else. Book a free Discovery Coaching Session with me to explore how to lift the fog.

“Roland’s keen perception has helped me get to the heart of my issues extremely quickly”.

(Rebecca Wells, Clear Horizon Coaching)

Tackle one issue at a time

If you find yourself in that situation from time to time, I want to help you. The One-Month-Business-Transformation programs are short, sharp, fun and intensive 4 week programs designed to tackle one specific business development priority in your business, in one month, and implement a series of effective and simple strategies that will start to transform that specific aspect of your business.

One Month… One Issue… Fix it now!

I will customise each program specifically to your circumstances and your business needs.

The programs consist of a Discovery session (see below) and up to 4 one-on-one 1hr coaching sessions with me via Skype, spread out over no more than one month.

The Programs:

Each of the One-Month Business Transformation Programs tackle one of the following topics (click on each one for more information):

  1. Transform Your Purpose
  2. Transform Your Business Plan
  3. Transform Your Cashflow
  4. Transform Your Marketing
  5. Transform Your Sales
  6. Transform Your Staff
Structure and investment:

All programs come with a workbook or worksheets and relevant resources and tools, such as videos, podcast stories, webinars, articles, surveys and templates.

Each of the programs will be customised to suit your business and your circumstances, we will only be working on the stuff that really matters to you.

Your investment for each of the One-Month Business Transformation Program will be between AUD $1500 and $2500 (plus GST if you are in Australia).

Free Five Step Discovery Process:

Before we engage in any of my coaching programs, I always suggest we follow my Five Steps to Discovery Process, starting with a free 30 minute Discovery Coaching session (Skype) combined with a short business discovery survey and report. You can book a Discovery Business Coaching session and Business Discovery Survey through any one of the forms of this page. In the Discovery session, we’ll get to know each other a little and I’ll get some insight into what stage you and your business are at, allowing me to tailor the next steps in the Five Steps to Discovery Process.

Read about all my business coaching programs here

Next step:

Fill in the form below to find out more or book in a Free 30 minute Discovery Session with me to explore what is right for you at this stage of your journey.

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Transform Your Purpose

A Business without True Purpose and Passion, isn’t

Why does your business exist?

What’s it on this earth for? And why would anybody care?

purpose of business Many times when I’ve asked business owners those questions, they answer with a variant of the three standards replies:

  • We deliver a great product.
  • For a great price.
  • With great customer service.

Is that maybe what you would have said?

Probably, right? But the problem is that all your competitors say the same thing (they do, believe me), and so you make it very difficult for your prospective customers to make a decision based on anything other than price, and we all know that competing on price is a dog’s game; We’d all like to stay away from competing on price if we could, right?

Read the chapter on the Purpose of your Business in the first of The Ten Truths Trilogy books for business owners.

What you can expect:

In the Transform-Your-Purpose program we find the unique answer for you and your business to the question of why your business exists, what it’s Greater Purpose is, and why anyone else would care about that. When you nail that answer, once and for all, your business and your life will never be the same again…

I promise you.

“I always leave our meetings feeling aligned, confident and positive about the direction I am heading.”

(Colin Garrett, Colin the Butcher)

Free Five Step Discovery Process:

Before we engage in any of my coaching programs, I always suggest we follow my Five Steps to Discovery Process, starting with a free 30 minute Discovery Coaching session (Skype) combined with a short business discovery survey and report. You can book a Discovery Business Coaching session and Business Discovery Survey through any one of the forms of this page. In the Discovery session, we’ll get to know each other a little and I’ll get some insight into what stage you and your business are at, allowing me to tailor the next steps in the Five Steps to Discovery Process.

Next step:

Fill in the form below to find out more or book in a Free 30 minute Discovery Session with me to explore what is right for you at this stage of your journey.

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Transform your Business Plan

A business without a plan achieves everything in it

plan We all know we should have a business plan, all the business gurus, all the business books, our accountants and even aunt Sally have told us so for years… Or maybe you actually did write a business plan a couple of years ago, but you haven’t looked at the thing for over a year and it’s gathering dust in the bottom of a filing cabinet somewhere.

So how do we write a business plan that actually works, a business plan that functions as a tool for the development of our businesses, a business plan that makes a difference.

What you can expect:

In the Transform-Your-Business-Plan program you get to understand how to write a business plan that transforms your business, and depending on your circumstances you’ll either create your first ever living business plan or get well under way to creating one, in a great position to complete it and implement it in your business.

Read the chapter about business planning in the first of The Ten Truths Trilogy business books.

Creating a business plan that works for your business is the first step to transforming your business and your life,

I promise you

“I implemented a range of enormous changes in my business and in my life.”

(Dave Scott, Invenco)

Free Five Step Discovery Process:

Before we engage in any of my coaching programs, I always suggest we follow my Five Steps to Discovery Process, starting with a free 30 minute Discovery Coaching session (Skype) combined with a short business discovery survey and report. You can book a Discovery Business Coaching session and Business Discovery Survey through any one of the forms of this page. In the Discovery session, we’ll get to know each other a little and I’ll get some insight into what stage you and your business are at, allowing me to tailor the next steps in the Five Steps to Discovery Process.

Next step:

Fill in the form below to find out more or book in a Free 30 minute Discovery Session with me to explore what is right for you at this stage of your journey.

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Transform Your Cashflow

A business that doesn’t make Profit and generate Cash is a hobby

cat Many times have I spoken to business owners who tell me they are confused about the fact that they make profit, but they don’t know where the money is. In my days as a builder I also saw lots of business owners get into trouble, because they thought that because they had lots of money in the bank, they must be doing alright.

The fact is that the connection between profit and cash is a loose one generally speaking, unless your business operates entirely on a cash on delivery basis, and very few businesses are.

To build a fun business you simply must keep your eyes on 4 things:

  1. Sales
  2. Production
  3. Invoicing
  4. Collections

Drop your attention from any one of those 4 factors and as sure as God made little apples, you’ll get into trouble.

Read the chapter about financial management in the first of The Ten Truths Trilogy business books.

What you can expect:

In the Transform-Your-Cash-Flow program you’ll learn how to measure those 4 factors. You’ll also learn which one of the four is the most important and how to watch it and manage it like a hawk.

To build a business that is Fun and that sustains you for years to come you have to be all over those 4 factors, like a rash…

I promise you

“Roland helped me focus on the fundamentals and that has now given me peace of mind and control over my business.”

(Brad Chapman, BIC construction)

Free Five Step Discovery Process:

Before we engage in any of my coaching programs, I always suggest we follow my Five Steps to Discovery Process, starting with a free 30 minute Discovery Coaching session (Skype) combined with a short business discovery survey and report. You can book a Discovery Business Coaching session and Business Discovery Survey through any one of the forms of this page. In the Discovery session, we’ll get to know each other a little and I’ll get some insight into what stage you and your business are at, allowing me to tailor the next steps in the Five Steps to Discovery Process.

Next step:

Fill in the form below to find out more or book in a Free 30 minute Discovery Session with me to explore what is right for you at this stage of your journey.

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Transform Your Marketing

Marketing is everything and everything is marketing

markeing stand out from the crowd Most of us think of marketing in terms of advertising, and doing social media, sponsoring the local under 10’s footy team or going networking at the local chamber of commerce.

And all of those things fall in the marketing camp, no doubt. But marketing is so much more. The price you charge for your product is a marketing decision. How you answer the phones in your business is about marketing and so is the wording you use on the reminder letters your accounts receivable person sends out to your customers.

Everything you do and every decision you take in your business has a marketing angle to it. In fact if there is anything you do in your business that doesn’t have a marketing angle associated with it you could argue you shouldn’t be doing it at all. The Granddaddy of all the 20th century business gurus, Peter Drucker, used to say that the the purpose of business is to get and keep a customer, so anything that doesn’t contribute to doing that, doesn’t belong in your business. Does that sound a bit extreme? Maybe, but let’s find out what it means for your business.

Read the chapter about marketing in the first of The Ten Truths Trilogy business books.

What you can expect:

In the Transform-Your-Marketing program we’ll examine the opportunities in your business to improve your marketing so that you’ll start to bring more customers through your doors.

To build a business that is Fun and that sustains you for years to come, you have to learn to think about marketing in everything you do…

I promise you.

“Roland forced me to address the hard issues and in doing so, I have made changes which have saved me over $50,000 per year.”

(James France, Vanguard)

Free Five Step Discovery Process:

Before we engage in any of my coaching programs, I always suggest we follow my Five Steps to Discovery Process, starting with a free 30 minute Discovery Coaching session (Skype) combined with a short business discovery survey and report. You can book a Discovery Business Coaching session and Business Discovery Survey through any one of the forms of this page. In the Discovery session, we’ll get to know each other a little and I’ll get some insight into what stage you and your business are at, allowing me to tailor the next steps in the Five Steps to Discovery Process.

Next step:

Fill in the form below to find out more or book in a Free 30 minute Discovery Session with me to explore what is right for you at this stage of your journey.

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Transform Your Sales

Nothing happens until we sell something

sales is hard girl selling Without sales there are no customers, without customers there is no income and without income there is no business. It truly doesn’t matter how gorgeous your website looks, how well your apple peeler works or how silently your IT systems are humming along in the background. Business can not exist without sales.

But sales can be hard. There are some people for whom sales comes easily, but you may not be one of those people. The temptation for many small business owners is to believe that if we deliver good enough products or services, the customers will somehow flock to our doors. But the customers rarely will cue up  for our stuff the way they do for the latest Iphone. Somehow we have to get our stuff in front of enough of the right people and then we have to make it so attractive to buy from us that they’ll do so with a smile

Read the chapter about sales in the first of The Ten Truths Trilogy business books.

What you can expect:

In the Transform-Your-Sales Program we’ll look at the opportunities in your business to make sales much easier for you and your business, so that you’ll convert a greater percentage of the people that walk through your doors into paying customers.

To build a business that is Fun and that sustains you for years to come, you must get good at sales…

I promise you

“Working with Roland, was the most productive time I have ever dedicated to me and my business.”

(Anna Field, Paddington Beauty Room)

Free Five Step Discovery Process:

Before we engage in any of my coaching programs, I always suggest we follow my Five Steps to Discovery Process, starting with a free 30 minute Discovery Coaching session (Skype) combined with a short business discovery survey and report. You can book a Discovery Business Coaching session and Business Discovery Survey through any one of the forms of this page. In the Discovery session, we’ll get to know each other a little and I’ll get some insight into what stage you and your business are at, allowing me to tailor the next steps in the Five Steps to Discovery Process.

Next step:

Fill in the form below to find out more or book in a Free 30 minute Discovery Session with me to explore what is right for you at this stage of your journey.

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Transform Your Staff

A fun business hires the brightest and keeps the brightest

the right people on the bus The Right people on the bus,
in the right seats,
facing the Right direction.

An old business mentor of mine used to say: “You could have such a great business if it wasn’t for the staff”, and famous business author Michael Gerber said in The E-Myth: “It’s impossible to manage people, because people actively resist being managed and they are unpredictable, only systems can be managed”.

I’m not sure that I entirely agree with Michael Gerber, but he had a point. People complicate things. It’s much easier to manage an office after hours, when everyone else has gone home. But the nature of business is that it’s with people that business creates value. It’s the combined effort and creativity and knowledge of the people of the business, that allow a business to make profit and grow and develop.

But all people are not created equal, some are definitely more equal than others, and some start out looking really good, but half a year down the track we’re not so sure anymore. Maybe that’s even a pattern that seems to repeat itself a lot in your business?

So how do we go about finding the right people and once we have them how do we keep them engaged?

Read the chapter about staff in the first of The Ten Truths Trilogy business books.

What you can expect:

In the Transform-Your-Staff Program we’ll look at the opportunities in your business for finding and keeping the right people and maximising the opportunities we have to get our people to do great work.

To build a business that is Fun and that sustains you for years to come, you must have the right people on the bus, and facing in the right direction…

I promise you

“Roland has created a simple, effective, and repeatable process that makes his coaching strategy work.”

(Wendy Lloyd Curley, WLC Enterprises).

Free Five Step Discovery Process:

Before we engage in any of my coaching programs, I always suggest we follow my Five Steps to Discovery Process, starting with a free 30 minute Discovery Coaching session (Skype) combined with a short business discovery survey and report. You can book a Discovery Business Coaching session and Business Discovery Survey through any one of the forms of this page. In the Discovery session, we’ll get to know each other a little and I’ll get some insight into what stage you and your business are at, allowing me to tailor the next steps in the Five Steps to Discovery Process.

Next step:

Fill in the form below to find out more or book in a Free 30 minute Discovery Session with me to explore what is right for you at this stage of your journey.

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