So we got to a point at three years old where we wanted to carry on pushing on – we wanted to get to the next stage of business and form a proper structure and just run the business as properly as I physically could.
I spoke to Geoff Gwynn and had a conversation with the other guys there. It seemed like a really good fit for us – their approach was really good. It was direct, it was what we needed. It gave us a direction, a structure, and a lot of pointers along the way to work to.
Having come through the process, I feel like I’m a better person, I feel like I’m a better manager. I feel like the team around us have improved vastly – they’ve got proper direction, they know what their roles are and what’s expected of them, even to the point of having a proper job description. As a small business you have to put so many hats on and you have to do so many different things – it was a case of ‘we need to get this sorted, who’s going to do it, who’s going to step up?’ So I feel like the business has improved. And the people have improved massively as well.
Our business growth advisor was Geoff and our relationship is that he will advise me ultimately, or tell me what his thoughts are from his experiences. Initially, it’s a bit like ‘you don’t know my business, but know our industry, you don’t know this, you don’t know that.’ But behind it is a number of years’ experience dealing with different situations and dealing with different sectors. It’s more about working with that person to adapt their experience to your industry, and almost taking on a difference of opinion, and maybe even a disagreement. Once you’ve got over that initial hurdle of thinking that ‘I’m the director, you can’t tell me what to do’ sort of attitude (which I’m not saying I had, but there was a little bit of that initially) it was about embracing these people and bringing them in. That’s how you really reap the rewards of this process. So we feel like we’ve got a proper structure to the business. Now we feel not just in terms of a hierarchy of who does what, but it’s more about the future of the company.
Our next goal is to hit certain turnover targets over the next three years. It’s to buy the premises that we currently rent from our landlord and actually own that property. It’s to then grow and push on and continue that growth – bringing the right people into the business, getting the right setup and getting the right customers. We’ve never appreciated who is the right client previously, we’ve never had the luxury to. I feel like now we’re in a really good and strong position to actually discuss who are the target clients, who are the right customers for my business and how do we want to target them. What’s our approach with those people? There may be clients that ultimately we appreciate the work from, but they may not be the best payers and how we manage that. And that’s a real support structure that Geoff and elephants child have given us.