I’m gonna start with a bit of story to get you all in the groove.
So 7th January 2013, 7 minutes past 9 in the morning.
I am sat in my office. I’ve got my head in my hands. It’s a disastrous day. It’s a disastrous week. It’s been a disastrous year.
I’ve been in this business for 15-16 years, and I’ve just spent the last year as MD trying to turn it around, and it wasn’t working.
The business is going backwards.
We turned over about 12 million.
We were losing money, and we were literally 72 people in that business.
Me leading the board, the board of six directors and we were literally running around like headless chickens.
We’re trying to do everything to fix the business, to grow it, to stimulate more sales, and to create collaboration and teamwork.
And it just wasn’t working, and it felt like every day was Groundhog Day.
Nothing worked, and actually, on that particular day, I sat in my office, I’ve got three options.
I felt like I only had three options.
One was getting fired because I was on the verge of getting fired from an almost 20-year career.
The second was to leave because I felt that was the only option.
The third option was to check into a hospital because I felt so bad. I felt so ill about the fact that I lost belief in my mission to grow.
The business had lost the support of the people, and I totally lost my way.
On that particular day, on the 7th of January 2013, at 9:07 am, I got a knock at the door, and it was my HR Director, and she came in and said, “Andrew, come with me.” She said, “I’ve got a problem.”
At that point, I didn’t need any more problems, but I said, “Okay, I’ll come.”
We went into the canteen, and in the canteen there was loads of blown up pictures of press releases and all sorts- some of the good times that happened in the business since I became MD.
She said, “Go and have a look at those pictures more closely.” Because some of those pictures were of me and I went more closely to the picture, and I saw that someone had scratched my face out with a compass. They had literally scratched my face out with a compass.
I’ve been trying my absolute best to make this business work, to bring the people together, but on that particular day, I realised the answer was about poor leadership on my part.
It was about a lack of engagement on my part.
It was about a lack of forward planning and really getting together with the team to ask them where they wanted to be in the future.
Where do you want this business to be?
Where do you want to be?
Personally and in this business?
What do you want? What does your career development look like in the future? How do you want to feel in this business overall?
I changed my management style as a result. We started to really engage with people and really started to ask them, where do you want to be?
What does this look like?
What does success look like?
And we started to create a plan.
We started to liken this journey in business to climbing a mountain because business growth and scaling a business isn’t easy.
It’s bloody hard work.
There’s some extreme highs, and there’s extreme lows.
And when we started to collectively work with the people, asked them about where they wanted to be, asked them about the potential that was inside this business and really started to value their voice and value their opinion.
From their perspective, we started to get somewhere. so really quickly, that turnaround situation did turn around and went from 12 million to 14.6 million, to 19 million, to £25 million rev.
Very, very profitable.
And we did that with 20% less people because we’ve created belief, we created belonging, and we created a laser-guided plan to get to the top of our collective mountain.
Once we achieved that, we sold the business, we made some money, it was great.
I ended up on this journey up my own personal mountain, and that’s where I came across Sarah.
I call myself a Sherpa guard because of my affinity for climbing mountains.
This journey growing a business is like climbing a mountain. It’s bloody hard.
You get halfway, you feel sick, you feel tired, and you’re out of breath.
You sometimes feel like you want to come back down and maybe fall off the mountain, but as long as you know what that vision is, as long as you’ve crystalised what happens at the top, what you want to happen at the top of your mountain.
That encourages you to take your steps. Even if you’re thirsty, even if it’s painful and horrible, you’re going to take those steps.
You’re going to march up towards the top and bring your team with you.
Then you get that self-belief, that confidence and pride and above all, you’ve got clarity.
You can see for miles, and guess what you see? When you’ve achieved it and get to the top of that mountain, and you look out, you see more mountains.
At that point, it’s your choice which one you want to climb next, which is great.
So I’m climbing this mountain, and I’m thinking about my future as the Sherpa of Lancashire, and I came across Sarah Clemson, who is the Marketing Sherpa of Lancashire.
At that point, we had to come together and do something because we’re seeing a lot of stressed businesses or seeing a lot of teams that aren’t performing, and we thought if we combine some of my stuff and my history with some of this marketing genius, then I think we can help.
It’s uncanny how Andrew and I both described ourselves as Sherpa’s independently, in the same town, without even realising it.
So we collaborated, and we’ve pulled all our knowledge, which is business coaching, mentoring, strategy, planning, sales, and marketing operations, and we’re going to give you a snapshot of it.
So, how to achieve unstoppable business growth by switching your mindset and focus.
First and foremost, it’s all about you. Your focus, your mindset.
You are in control of your own design and your own destiny.
It’s proactive, not reactive.
The year ahead can go one of two ways, it can either be valleys or it could be peaks.
It’s all down to you.
Do you have this situation? You’ve got no plan, you’re not even, you’re stepping along, you’re busy, your weeks are full, but are you really going in the right direction?
Are you really achieving anything?
I love the analogy of football in business. You’re kicking a ball across grass, and it’s great. You’re moving forwards, you’re busy, you’re active, you’re doing something, but without a goalpost, where are you going?
You’re just running across the field, and I think that’s quite a lot of what we all do.
We see it time and again. People will only work on the work that comes in. They hope that the phone will ring or that an email will come in. They hope that they’ll have a good month and hope that next month might be better.
But there’s a lot of hope and a lot of reaction.
A lot of this is about really, really focusing and switching your mindset, and it’s a daily practise.
You can change every day, every week, every month.
So, you might find this situation.
You’re in a bit of a valley. You’re either dropping, or you stay the same.
Most businesses incrementally only grow 5%, 10% or 15% each year.
There’s no exponential growth.
There’s no real plan.
There’s no real grabbing hold of it and designing it in a completely different way.
There might be cash flow, worries, sleepless nights, sales dips, worries about the economy, the media’s dire, working long hours, always fighting fires, and you feel like it’s all falling on you.
Or, you can have the opposite, which is when you have a very definite plan.
You know where you’re going, and you’re going up.
You’re taking the first step on a route map.
As Andy said with his, his is a painful story of business, and he really turned it around by stopping.
I think that’s what I’d ask everybody to do.
If you can stop and pause before you start again, and when you start again, you start in a different way, in the right direction, and you will not believe the value and the productivity, profitability, the enjoyment, the freedom, and the ease with which everything starts to flow when you take hold of it and manage it.
You’ve got a choice.
We take the peaks, or we take the valleys.
The peaks are the good bits, and the valleys are the hard bits.
You choose this, or you choose that.
I know what I’m going to choose, it’s definitely peaks.
I want to go up the mountain, I don’t want to go down into the valley because that’s where the rain is now.
Okay, so what is a strategy?
Everyone overcomplicates this, but it’s dead easy.
It’s simply a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term goal.
Let me ask you another question.
Has anybody ever worked so hard through the week, leading a business, owning your business, founding a business, doing all the stuff that business owners do?
Have you ever worked so hard Monday through Friday, you’re tired, you’re stressed, and you sit there, maybe with a beer or a glass of wine, and think, “I’ve worked so bloody hard this week, I just don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere. I just don’t feel like I’m making progress.”
It’s a really common thing.
So this is part of strategy. We need to understand where we are, what we’re trying to get to and what we need.
That laser-guided focus is a plan to get from A to B.
Often, we’re just at Point A, going round and round in circles, doing loads of stuff like I was back in the day and that story I told you, just literally trying anything and everything to try and move forwards.
But how can you move forwards if you don’t know where you’re trying to get to?
That’s a key point and the second component to strategy.
Where are we trying to get to?
What is point B?
Because that is the answer.
If you find yourself going round and round in circles, absolutely knackered at the end of the week, not making any progress, it’s because you have no idea where you’re going.
You haven’t defined Point B.
I’m not talking about Point B in a week’s time, in a month’s time or even a year’s time.
I’m talking about what you want to do with your life in 10 years’ time.
What do you want your business to be like in 10 years’ time?
What do you want to be famous for?
Who do you want to become through this process?
Defined Point B’s are absolutely critical because otherwise, you’re gonna move around Point A trying to find Point B.
Asking yourself, is it down this road? Is it down that road? Is it over here or over there?
You’ll never find it like that.
You’ve got to create a Point B, and this is about focus. This Point B is what we have to focus on.
Point B is not just about you. Yes, it’s absolutely a part of who you want to become, the things you want to own and the business you want to create.
But also, we need to bring things into Point B, like the impact you want to make on the world, because, in my simplistic world, there are two types of business owners.
One just wants to make money.
The other wants to make a big difference.
They want to make a difference on the world and leave a legacy.
I choose the second every single time. It makes our business and our work more meaningful.
If we’ve got meaning in our work, then magical things happen.
So we need Point A, we need to understand where we are.
We need to understand what Point B is. The top of our mountain.
What is it personally?
What is it professionally?
What is it from an impact perspective?
If we just keep going around Point A in circles, we just waste a lot of time, effort, energy and money.
If you can define point B and harness your time, effort, energy, and money, and focus on getting there, then you’ve got a chance of going where you actually want to be.
If you know where you’re going and why you want to be there, and you can measure progress in that journey, that’s what’s going to lead you to a pathway and the feeling of fulfilment, which is what I think a lot of us are chasing.
It’s what a lot of us are missing. It’s fulfilment.
It’s because we don’t know where we are. We don’t know where we’re trying to get to. We can’t measure that progress.
If we could, we’d experience the feeling of fulfilment.
Okay, so how do we define Point A? Situation analysis in marketing is absolutely essential to really know where we are now.
You can’t go from A to B without knowing the A, so it’s absolutely essential.
It’s really important to pause and take this time to figure it out.
Sit with yourself and really drill into where you are now.
What are the numbers?
What are the obstacles?
What are the opportunities?
There are so many opportunities out there you may not even know where they are.
That’s the point of the process. You’ll find them.
How does it feel? Are you satisfied? Fulfilled? Knackered? Just living the dream?
This isn’t always just about disastrous situations. You could be in a really, really good position. You could be busy, buoyant. You could be very, very happy.
But even then, do you want to climb to the next level?
What is the 3 and 5-year plan?
Who do you want to be?
You’ve got this finite amount of time to really create this legacy, to create this pride in your working life, your business, and your personal life.
Start with your numbers, and get all the facts down. Here’s a guide: revenue, gross profit, net profit, key revenue streams, key business costs, number of customers, number of hours you work, cash in the bank and spare.
So you’ve got a definite A at a date, and you’ve got a period of time to reach a destination.
What obstacles are holding you back?
It could be confidence. It could be fear of the unknown. It could be a lack of a plan. Could be that you don’t like networking or that you hate sales. It could be that you don’t have a clue about marketing.
A really simple way to do it is to find out what a week or a month looks like and what was good and what was bad about that month.
On the opposite of that is opportunities. There are so many new markets you may not have even considered.
It’s essential that we pivot and understand how we can maximise opportunity.
Once you’ve got that Point A and you’ve defined the numbers, the facts, the obstacles holding you back, the opportunities that exist that you’re not capitalising on, and how it feels in your business right now.
Then you need to think about where you want to be.
This is about capturing and harnessing your hopes and dreams for the future. It’s about thinking about who you want to become.
Where do you want to be in 10 years’ time?
And think personally, too. Think about yourself and what you want out of like.
Think about what success looks like to you. Think about what you want out of life.
Think about your team, your family, your business and what you want it to look like in the future and how many customers you want to serve.
Then we need to understand how you need your business to perform to get you the life you want in the future.
We need to understand the performance metrics. What revenue do you need your business to achieve to give you the life you want?
Define success. Define the performance of your business. Then when you get to the top of that mountain, you’ll have choices.
Okay, so you know your Point A and your Point B, but how do you build the bridge to get you there?
In the Sherpa programme, we help you build that bridge.
This starts by defining your Northern Star goal, your long-term goal. Your 5 or 10-year goal.
You can’t plan out 10 years, but you can use that goal to give you a sense of direction.
If you have a team, don’t create a revenue goal because they won’t believe in it. Also, don’t create a profit goal because revenue and profit is money and that has no meaning to other people in your business.
I’d suggest you create an impact goal. A goal that aligns to the impact you want to make in the world.
Once you’ve got that long-term goal in place, use it to rouse your team, motivate them and guide them to success.
Once you’ve got that long-term goal, you simply reverse engineer.
Say you have a 5-year plan. You break that goal down into a 3-year, 2-year, and one-year plan, creating three goals.
You create a 3-year revenue, profit and impact goal.
Then all of a sudden, the journey becomes a lot clearer, and you’ve got the bridge in between Point A and Point B.
So you have your guiding light and the short-term and medium-term goals that we need our business to hit.
So think about your dream buyers. Your ideal customer.
You really want to drill into the detail here, it’s absolutely essential.
A business owner only has a finite amount of time in a week, so it needs to be laser-targeted.
All you need is focus.
Look at your past and come up with your own dream buyer.
There will be a client out there that is super enjoyable, super profitable, and they’re the ones you want to work for.
That’s your ideal customer.
Anybody who isn’t that isn’t worth dealing with and wasting time over.
They just bring you down.
So now you have your dream buyer, think about sector breakdown. Similar thing.
Think about which sectors have got opportunities for you, which have got obstacles, and you can do your analysis on this.
Once you have your dream buyer and sectors, think about the type of work you should be doing.
Only give energy to places worth your time.
A really important thing is alignment. Once you have your ideal customer, you want to create alignment.
Only when you have alignment and attraction, and you’re very, very clear about what you do, and you find an audience and a community with like-minded people, they get you and you get them.
It’s that easy.
You just need to be clear on who you are and who you’re selling to.
People buy people. People buy missions, they buy values, they buy visions.
Get clear on what you’re providing and how you’re helping somebody, what you’re about, the business and what you’re about.
People turn off brands all the time, particularly with social media.
You’ll really build a community of people who really get what you’re saying if you get this part right at the beginning.
This is a very entry-level version of branding, but it’s just here to give you an idea.
Value proposition is a short statement that communicates why buyers should choose your products or services and not your competitors. Think about what differentiates you and what you can bring.
You need to be really clear about what you’re doing because only when you’re clear about what you’re doing and have that confidence and self-belief can you communicate it to others passionately, enthusiastically, genuinely and authentically, and then the connection happens.
The connection happens when that’s real. People buy your passion and enthusiasm.
Your value proposition is one quick statement; think elevator pitch.
So how do you solve those problems? What are the benefits? What are you trying to save them? Money? Time?
Facilitate a result. Be really, really clear because when you’re clear about what problems you can solve for them, there will be a different dream buyer for each of them.
To summarise, it’s in your hands.
If you have an intention every single day to get to B, it will all naturally fall into place.
It’s amazing how transformations occur when you qualify and do all this work in the beginning.
Thank you for listening. Our gift to you is if you want to book a business mapping session with us, we can help you define Point A and figure out how to get to Point B and solve issues that are holding you back, we’ll sit down with you for free.