Kevin Lancaster is one of the company’s founders and he explains why, even though they maintained business during the recent economic downturn, they chose to bring in an ActionCOACH business coach.
“My business partner, Simon, and I had a great combination of experience in both cooling engineering management and sales when we first started the company. Growth was good and this just plateaued during the recession. We weren’t worried about the business and were confidently holding our head above water.
“By most standards £400k profit a year is great but there were other issues that were taking the enjoyment out of running the business. In particular, the people management had started to become a headache and we felt less enthused to go in to work each day.”
Meeting an ActionCOACH
“The idea of using a business coach hadn’t occurred to us but our accountant knows Kevin Stansfield and I met him during a game of golf. I already knew about ActionCOACH as I’d come across another of their coaches 12 years previously but, truthfully, the personality match and timing wasn’t right back then.
“During our 18 holes, Kevin wanted to understand what my business was all about and I liked his views on transitioning from being self employed to becoming a business owner. He could understand how we had come from developing our own company on the management experience we had accumulated in our employed lives and how we’d had to learn on-the-hoof. He gave a few suggestions on our options to move the business forward in terms of doing things better and putting in place some preventative measures to combat the recent difficulties we’d been experiencing.
“It all made sense to me and, this time, the personalities matched and the timing was right. But I still had to get my business partner’s buy in before we could start working with Kevin. So, I arranged a meeting and I was surprised at how quickly Simon saw how the business coaching could really benefit us.”
The Results So Far
“The results are clear for us and are much more than the 50% increase in net profit and 4 new employees. We have happier employees and, on a daily basis, work is much more rewarding for our management team. We have a map to follow to achieve the company’s vision and growth. All of the company owners share the same view on where we are headed and we have new tools in place to help us get there. We have targets and understand things such as how many employees it will take to reach each goal.
“The orthodox structure of the business feels stronger. The separate parts of the business work better together by speaking to key people who know it is part of their role to communicate up and down. We were recently awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, the UK’s highest accolade for business success for our Aqua Leak Prevention System. I don’t think we would have considered this sort of accolade before we started to “think big” and this has opened up new geographical markets to the business including exporting to the Middle East, Africa and USA.
“On a personal level, I have been surprised to move myself out of a situation of contentment to one of ambition. It makes sense to have big goals in life and they drive you to achieve them.
“I have always had a good work-life balance so, unlike many business owners, I wasn’t looking to spend less time at work. I also wasn’t looking to make enough money to buy a holiday home or a new car. I wanted to remove that constant problem solving and aggravation that had begun to ruin my enjoyment of running my own business and I can now say that I feel good about going into work every day.”