The before and after story of Sarah Regan and Little Flowers

little flowers

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Sarah Regan owns Little Flowers in Sydney. Little Flowers is an innovative floristry business who’s Purpose is:

More smiles, more faces, more reasons

Sarah has written below about her experiences working with me generally and in a couple of specific areas:

Financial management

People management

As well as about her journey to becoming a successful business owner with a Fun business that will sustain her for years to come.

Feel free to contact Sarah by phone or email for any further information:

email: sarah@littleflowers.com.au

mb: +61 449 000 554

web: https://www.littleflowers.com.au/

General

Roland is a sounding board and he puts me in touch with other experts who help me short cut a process and who I know can be trusted

Roland ‘holds my hand’ through the things that I find scary of overwhelming (even if other people might not find them scary) so that I keep making steps forward and keep making progress.

Roland keeps me on track and continually pushing forward, and as a consequence, I continue to develop my business and leadership skills and become more competent along the way.

Finance

Before

  • I had been through different accountants, neither of whom I had managed to get a great relationship with. Both used to surprise me with unexpected invoices that always seemed expensive in relation to the advice provided. They were also quite patronising and dismissive. I felt that I was not knowledgeable enough to ask the relevant questions to get the best out of the relationship. It was intimidating and frustrating
  • Having little financial literacy, I did not realise that I should be getting monthly reports, let alone what I should be looking for when they were finally delivered. When it transpired that the reports weren’t accurate I didn’t know where to start to put this right.
  • I did not know how much I could afford to pay myself – now or in the future, whether we were making profit or not, or if I had a sustainable business. I just knew that we were very busy, needed to employ people so that I had time to try to work it out, but possibly couldn’t afford to employ them. It was terrifying. (It was at this point that I decided to work with Roland. This was not an easy decision given that I was pretty sure we were losing money, and in that context, Roland didn’t come cheap. But I new I had a great business idea with a lot of potential and I didn’t want to mess it up. It was a bit of a leap of faith as I didn’t know anyone who had worked with Roland before. But as it turned out it was one of the best business decisions I have ever made.)

During

  • little flowersRoland introduced me to two accountants that he knew and trusted, and guided me through the process of ‘interviewing’ them, to ensure that my next one would be a keeper
  • He was someone I could ask ‘stupid’ questions to – until I found an accountant that I trusted
  • He advised on how much accountants should be charging, to help ensure I didn’t get ripped off. Just having someone to ask these kind of things was a great ‘short cut’ and really reduced my stress levels
  • He helped me work out some ‘key performance indicators’ that I could measure on a daily / weekly basis, so I could start to get an idea of how we were going throughout the month, rather than waiting for the monthly reports (which were not making any sense at the time)
  • Roland helped me stay focused and kept me moving forward on a task that was really challenging and at times quite dull! His guidance – and being accountable to him – meant that the feeling of “overwhelm” didn’t get the better of me, and I saw the task through
  • He ‘held my hand’ through the process of a significant price increase – for a business that has only one product this was very nerve wracking and having his counsel gave me the confidence to make this crucial but scary change

Now

  • I have an accountant that I trust – she understands my business and is a partner in helping me make it stronger
  • I get monthly reports – not just the basic ones, but extra analysis, tailored to my business, that I can easily read and understand
  • I consider myself to be financially literate
  • I know how the business is doing financially, I feel really in tune with it
  • The numbers have gone from being something utterly terrifying to something that helps give me clarity and makes decision-making easier
  • I have given myself two pay rises
  • I feel much more confident and hopeful about the future of my business – and as a result the future of my life

PEOPLE

Before

  • Heavily reliant on one staff member, and as such professionally (and personally) vulnerable in the event of her leaving / being sick or on holiday
  • Staff member heavily pursuing pay rise we couldn’t afford and felt ‘over a barrel’ as my life and the business would go backwards if we did not grant it
  • Nervous about employing new people, not sure what job description was, overwhelmed by the legalities and ‘HR’ stuff involved
  • Reactive, employing new people ‘too late’ – when we were already stretched and I was working very very long days because we were understaffed. constantly on a back foot
  • No real training process or clarity around what was expected of staff for them to be doing a ‘good job’
  • Everyone working at wildly different paces. resentments creeping in between staff members. difficult to ‘replace’ a faster person at short notice as it disrupted the whole work flow and led to the underperformance of the team as a whole
  • Several injuries in the work place
  • Reactive when it came to people taking holidays, resigned or were sick. ended up back ‘on the tools’ myself.
  • Highly stressed and constantly worrying about whether people were happy or whether they were about to leave

Now

  • Standardised production process. more efficient, fairer and more transparent. a more positive team dynamic as a result. calmer working environment
  • Everyone works at the same pace so team members are interchangeable in the event of sickness / resignation
  • A clear pay structure is in place – fair and transparent and I am able lead the discussion regarding pay rises rather than being reactive (okay not yet, but it was and it will be again soon!)
  • I now schedule shifts 3 months in advance. have a team of regular staff and casual staff. ‘deputy’ online rostering system in place and people can swap shifts without me getting involved
  • Safety assessments have taken place, and health and safety measures put into place to dramatically reduce risk of injury. no injuries in last six months.
  • I have ‘spare’ people in the mix ready to go as florists
  • I have a proper training / induction process for new florists in place. training manuals and ‘on the job’ training
  • I am confident that i have a happy healthy work place and have created a positive environment. more relaxed about people moving on as i have strategies in place to replace them without (hopefully!!) a major impact on my personal or professional life – or on the rest of the team

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