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.

How much should I pay myself in my business?

pay myself business owner

how much should I pay myself as the business owner

Why it matters what you pay yourself as the business owner.

Business owners often don’t pay themselves at all, but just draw money out of the business account when they need it. At the end of the year, the accountant adds up all the “draws” and books it to something appropriate in the balance sheet to make the Tax Department happy and it’s all good. Sp why does it matter how much you pay yourself, why should you pay yourself at all and how much should you get paid?

Clearly, a big factor in how much profit your business makes and whether or not the business has the cash to pay it’s bills is how much money you draw out of the business at any one time. If your business turns over half a million dollars and you have 4 employees and an office and you pull out $200K yourself every year there may not be enough money left to pay for Cost of Sales, staff wages and overheads (or tax, for that matter), and if you pull out nothing at all, it might look like your business is enormously profitable. Your wages, drawings or dividends are a significant factor influencing the health of the company.

So wat’s wrong with letting your drawings depend on whether there’s enough money in the bank to pull some out?

As I’ve said many times elsewhere:

If your business doesn’t make profit, it’s a hobby.

A healthy small business ought to make somewhere north of 5% net profit before tax, every year. I generally advise my clients to aim around 10% as a guideline. (10% of revenue… so for every $100 in sales, the business ends up with $10 of net profit). There is no golden rule about this number, but it’s a useful guideline in most cases.

Net profit is the money that’s left after all costs of the business have been paid, and you, the owner of the business are absolutely one of the business’ costs, a major one at that. And you rightly should be a cost to the business, just like the electricity and the rent and the mobile phone bills and the staff. Without you the business can’t function. You are the CEO and general manager, the head sales person, the chief cook as well as the bottle washer. In any other business, all those people would need to be paid and probably quite highly, and so should you. If you do not pay yourself a proper wage, you’re not professional and nor is your business.

Dribs and Drabs for the boss

I recently started working with a client in an architecture business. The client has 4 staff plus himself and he pays his staff and all his other costs, but he only gets paid in dribs and drabs when there’s money available. He showed me his P&L and proudly pointed to the net profit his business made last year. But when I asked him how much the business was paying him, it turned out that he just drew out some money every now and then and that his drawings didn’t show up in the P&L. In effect, if he were to pay himself as much as his lowest paid staff member, he would have made a loss last year. In other words:

My client wasn’t running a business at all, he was running a hobby.

My client has now implemented a weekly minimal wage for himself, run through the books as a wage, showing as a wage in the overheads and we’ve updated his business targets to be in line with the new reality. The business is not out of the woods yet, but there is a new air of professionality in the practice and my clients is learning to think like a business owner rather than a hobbyist.

How much then?

The second question therefore is: How much should I pay myself?

Again, it may seem that there is a certain arbitrariness to this question. But the answer is actually quite straightforward:

You should pay yourself as much as it would cost you to pay someone else to take over from you.

Assume you want to go on sabbatical for a year and bring in a CEO to run the business for you… Doing everything you do for the business now… What would that cost? $80K, $100K, $120K? Whatever the answer to that question is, that’s what you ought to pay yourself.

This may well be unachievable right now, (it is for my client… He can only manage about $60K right now), but it’s certainly something you should work towards over the next year or so. It will put the business on an entirely different footing and every time I introduce this discipline with my clients, the business starts to change completely… guaranteed.

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

Why I don’t believe in business coaching and why it works

Why coaching works

Why business coaching works captain the in the storm

Don’t talk to me about the storms and the reefs, Coach,  just tell me we’ll be safe

I was working with a business – life coaching client recently, let’s call him Peter. Peter set a big Goal for himself as part of our work together.

Peter’s Goal was so big, in fact, that I was bothered by it. You see, I know from experience, that setting Goals that are too big are likely to have a demotivational effect and worse, can lead to disappointment.

I challenged Peter and asked him if he felt confident the Goal was realistic, and if he felt he could make it happen in the time we had. Peter was adamant. Although he wasn’t sure if he could do it, he wanted to stretch himself and “set it out there”. Peter has done a lot of self-development work and he believes in a version of the “Law of Attraction”, which loosely states that you get what you focus on in life and in business.

Goal blown out of the water

3 Weeks later, Peter rang me unexpectedly. He’d just signed a new contract that meant he’d blown his Goal out of the water two weeks early.

Wonderful news, very exciting and I truly feel Peter deserves every dollar of that success, because he is one of the nicest guys I know.

Peter said: “There you go, I knew it, when you set it out there, the Universe will provide”.

And it’s such a comforting idea, isn’t it? The idea that there is some greater power that’s going to look after you in your time of need. It’s lovely that Peter felt confirmed in his beliefs. It will no doubt help him to remain motivated to move forward in his business and that was his biggest problem prior to coming to see me.

But it confirmed my growing confusions.

I don’t believe

You see, I do not believe in the “Law of Attraction”, or it’s many variants. I don’t even believe in traditional Goal setting anymore. As a matter of fact, there are a whole bunch of foundational principles of my profession of coaching that I have stopped believing in. Consequently, in the past years, I’ve adjusted the way I work with my clients to rely only on well-established scientific principles.

And my clients achieve great things in their businesses and their lives and I am excited and proud of the work I do with them. But the experience with Peter recently makes me wonder if I’m doing the right thing for my clients.

You see, Peter is an old hand at being coached and mentored. I’ve known him for years and we have done a lot of work together. Also, Peter moves in a world where he comes across self-development gurus of many ilks all the time, and he’s convinced by the self-development messages he hears from them. What’s more, Peter and I have become good friends over the years, so he felt comfortable enough with me to push back and set the Goal he wanted to set. It worked out great for him, but not everyone has Peter’s confidence or clarity.

The many contradictions

It’s all very well for me to question myself and my beliefs. I don’t believe anything in life or business is ever black and white, there are no simple rules. Here’s just a few of those contradictions in business:

  • A business must make profit or else it’s a hobby… but… Making profit is not the Purpose of business.
  • A business must have a plan to move forward… but… Planning is guessing
  • Goalsetting is important… but… Goals are not destinations, just directions.
  • Great leaders are fiercely ambitious… but… Not for themselves
  • Systemisation is critical for developing your business… but… I’d hate to live in a world where all restaurants are McDonalds.
  • Knowing how to “close” a sale is a key skill in business… but… The most successful people in business and in life “Give without expectation of return”.
  • Growing your business is fine… but… Don’t focus on growth (focus on delivery instead).
  • Change your business, make it grow, make more money… but… Not unless you yourself change and grow first.

Life is full of contradictions such as those. Sure, it would be easier if it wasn’t and we all like the idea of winning the lottery, but even winning the lottery turns out not to be as great as we thought. (Read about lottery winners and happiness here)

And so I believe questioning myself is healthy, it keeps me sharp and pushing the boundaries. But it’s not necessarily what my clients need from me.

The shortest route

business coaching The experience with Peter has shown me that most clients simply want to get from point A to point B, via the shortest route possible, with as few detours as possible. And they look for someone to help them get there.

Maybe, when they come across me, they hear my questioning, my lack of certainty and start to wonder if getting my help might take them up the scenic route to point B, and so they’ll move on to someone who promises to take them up the freeway instead.

And that’s a shame, because the thing is, I know I transform people’s lives and businesses. I have literally hundreds of past clients who will attest to that fact.

So what I need to do is to communicate that you can trust me to take you on an amazing journey and adventure, and that like the captain of the ship, I know how to handle the storms when they come up. You don’t particularly want me to talk about the reefs we might hit under way, you just want to know we’ll be safe.

And this blog post?… It’s doing exactly the opposite… isn’t it?… Ah well, Peter loves me anyway.

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

Further reading and research

You may be interested in taking my ”Are you ready for Change” survey. It takes 10 minutes to complete and I promise it will give you plenty of food for thought. I’ve written more about Change (with a capital ”C”) here.

Here is the link to my webpage about all my coaching, mentoring, guidance and training services

There is a lovely guest post from one of my clients, Geoff Anderson from Sonic Sight about his experience with business coaching here

Here is an article I wrote about how to go about finding the right coach for you and here is a link to my webpage about all forms of business support that are available to small business owners.

And here are three articles on how to go about finding the right business coach on Inc.com , on Entrepreneur.com and on Fastcompany.com. All worth a good read if you’re considering the idea of getting a business coach soon.

I’ve also written here, about the power of great conversations, which is how I fill my days as a business coach.

More about my own coaching background here

 

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.

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 Trial Business Coaching Session by Donation

The Trial Coaching Session

How would you like to blow away your biggest hurdle now?

The Trial Coaching Session is the third step in my Five Steps to Discovery Process (more here) to decide about coaching and mentoring with me. The Trial session is a full hour Coaching session focused on answering one burning question for you or dealing with one immediate challenge.

You will walk away from this session having had a true experience of what coaching with me is about and you’ll gain enormous clarity and insight about your biggest challenge in business, your most pressing issue, the thing that keeps you awake some nights.

Book a free Discovery Session now

This what you can expect:

All you have to do to experience this special Trial Session is to make a donation, here is how it works:

wayside
  1. Make a Donation to my favorite charity, Wayside Chapel in Sydney (or if you prefer, your own favorite charity). My suggestion is a donation of $100 or more Make the donation here.
  2. Then book in your Trial Session on my online booking calendar here.
  3. We will carry out a focused coaching session about your most pressing issue, your biggest challenge in business right now. The session will be around 60 minutes and be held by Skype (or Apple FaceTime or Google Hangouts),
  4. You will walk away with increased clarity and insight about this issue and at least one or more simple practical actions that will help you start to move past the challenge.

And … as if that weren’t enough… you will also have supported a really fantastic charity. You would normally pay in excess of $600 to do this work with me. To take up the offer, simply make the donation now here and fill in the form below.

Please Note:

In most cases, I do however suggest that we carry out the previous steps in the Five Steps to Discovery Process (more here) first, before we carry out the Trial session. The most important previous step is the 30 minute Discovery Session. You can book your Discovery Session in the form below now.

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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The Most Important Reason for Taking on a Business Coach

shhhhhhhhhhh

A business coach will change your life

But here’s the secret no coach will tell you

shh hush shush secret red sexy lips I read a great article in Leaders in Heels, online the other day (read it here) about the reasons for taking on a business coach.

The article got me thinking about my profession, about what I do and why working with me and people like me can make such an enormous difference to your business growth and development, and hence why I firmly believe that taking on a coach from time to time is one of the best decisions you’ll ever make in your business.

There is one reason above all others, that you should know about and noone tells you about. And that is this… it’s not the brilliance of the coach, rather it is the commitment you make that makes the difference.

The conventional factors

The article by Ros Cardinal mentions a number of important benefits from taking on a coach, such as:

Time management and prioritisation, clarity, brainstorming and accountability. and those are absolutely great benefits you’ll gain from having a coach (a good one anyway) and there a bunch of others, depending on the coach and the relationship you and your coach may have.

But the biggest one is rarely mentioned, because it actually is not dependent on the qualities, knowledge and experience of your coach… It is the commitment made by you, the client. Obviously coaches don’t like to mention this too much, because they want you to think they are brilliant and that their singular brilliance is going to make you rich and successful… I’m no different really, I am similarly convinced of my genius… but in the depth of the night, when noone is listening, I know it hasn’t got anywhere near as much to do with my talents as I like to make out.

The commitment

To take on a business coach costs significant time, energy and money. To sign a contract or shake hands with a business coach is not a decision to be taken lightly. It takes a lot of faith and trust and actually not going to make your life easier in the short term. I say to my clients that taking me on as their coach: “Is full-on, it’s intense, it’s made grown men cry… but it works”

And one of the reasons it works is that it is a big commitment, and once you make the big commitment it means you become highly invested to make it work for you by hook or by crook.

Once you make the commitment and I am up to the job of “holding the space” and being there for you every step of the way, the change becomes relentless and unavoidable.

It’s the reason I actually make it quite hard to engage with me (which doesn’t help my business model of course but then the dentists kids have holes in their teeth… maybe I need a new business coach!)

Next time you talk to a business coach who wants to make it easy to sign you up… go and find someone else… I promise you.

More about the various forms of business support, guidance and advice that are available to small business owners here

 

AY YOU, The Small Business Owner

Who are you?

How will you know if you and I are the right fit to build your unique Beautiful Business and Life together?

Good question, Glad you asked

Watch this quick video in which I explain a bit more about the kind of people who enjoy working with me and who get most benefit from from engaging me.

There are many common challenges all of us business owners face from time when developing our small businesses. You can read about some of those common challenges below and you can read and watch a series of real life stories from my clients in their own words here. But there are also many issues I see, that are unique to specific industries and professions. If you are in one of the industries or professions below, you might like to read more about the things that bedevil you in your business on a daily basis.

“Having a coach like Roland who actually cares about you and your business is a great experience. I am well on my way to building a Beautiful Business and Life!”

(Brad Chapman BIC Construction)

Besides the specific industry groups below I also specialise in Husband and Wife operated businesses. Family business such as those can be enormously rewarding in many ways but they present their own set of special challenges. Read about when couples become business partners here and take the “Beyoncé and Jay-Z Family Business Survey” on the same page.

Skip ahead to the special industry pages:

Does this look like you?

overwhelm and stress in business Nearly all of my clients have the following things in common:

  • You started the business, because you are great at what you do… You decided some time ago that you are simply too good at your trade, profession or skill to spend the rest of your life doing it for someone else.
  • You’ve been going for a little while, probably 2 years or more.
  • You’ve developed the business to somewhere between 2 to 20 employees.
  • You are passionate about your business and you are proud of what you’ve achieved so far.

“Roland helped me manage my business so that it flows and I’m no longer a slave to it.”

(Geoff Anderson, Sonic Sight)

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

And do you recognise this picture?

confused stressed overwhelmed lost And most of my clients would recognise much of this picture:

  • Business growth and development has slowed down or stopped altogether, and that frustrates you.
  • You have started to feel that running your business is a lot like playing a game of “Whack the Mole” you never what is going to come up next and where, and you simply don’t get around to the stuff you know you should focus on.
  • You feel overwhelmed a lot because there are simply too many business development priorities screaming for you attention every day (Marketing, Staff, Planning, Systems, Finances, KPIs, Leadership, Innovation, etc) and you don’t have the time, you don’t know where to focus next and you don’t feel all that confident in those business development areas anyway.
  • You seem to spend more time managing crises and extinguishing brush fires than anything else in your business.
  • You’re the first one in the door in the morning, the last one out the door at night and you have to catch up on emails and admin after you’ve put the kids to bed.
  • Business just isn’t as much fun as it used to be.

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.