The first quarter of this year was horrible. I got to the stage where I just wanted to shut the business down. Not because we weren’t doing very well – just because I felt frustrated, trapped and exhausted. I felt I was on a never-ending climb of the mountain.
It’s interesting, because Elephant’s Child just felt grown up. It wasn’t about the fluffy stuff, they bought real focus, connected what I wanted and how the business could deliver that. They were not giving me all the answers, but the conversations that we had over our two day growth planning day were really challenging me and my fellow director.
So, we have grown – we are in the top 4 per cent of professional services firms in the UK, and we’re part of a larger group although YRH is still primarily privately owned by me and my business partner. We were quite a fast growing company anyway but I realised back in Q1 of this year, that I needed some help to achieve something different.
I can reach out to Richard Murray whenever I need to as a sounding board, and I know he’ll bring a different perspective. Richard’s not local to us as we’re down in Surrey and he is up in the Midlands, but we don’t lose anything by having our meetings on teams. Because he does travel around the country, we make that work. And I’d rather have somebody like Richard that brings that balance than somebody local that perhaps doesn’t have that strength. He and Martin seriously challenged us in our two days together. We explored ten different routes forward for the business. We explored , argue, shouted and cried over half of them. There were some that were “no, not doing that.” and “it’s just not us.” But it was a really great experience. Two days of planning actually aligned myself and my business partner more.
Strangely energized. I came into it actually 50 per cent ready to throw in the towel. I came out of those two days exhausted – but really energized and focused.
We know now that within two years, we’re going to be national. And that’s helping more business owners live the life they want to lead, because their business is doing better. We are working with Elephants Child in that as well, because I know that they can make that difference. We are bringing on board finance people that want to work a different way. As far as I’m concerned, I don’t really care whether the business is half the size of what it is at the moment or five times the size. What I’ve realised is we want a happy business, and I want a business that knows it’s helping people.