Jim Stewart – StewArtMedia: See Jim on YouTube, excited about his business coach achieving Top 1% in the world ranking.
Peter Schelfhout and Michael Simpson – Perennial Kitchens
We’re a medium sized business, and we produce kitchens. We’ve been working with Ashley for 12 months.
We started working with Ashley because we were frustrated with the business – it just wasn’t moving in the direction that we wanted it to. And Mike and I were doing too much work.
Coaching has made a big difference to us personally with our time – not doing so much work ourselves anymore. For the business, the biggest change has been in increased productivity and less mistakes. Now we turn around jobs faster, which means we’re getting more jobs out the door.
Putting procedures into the business has helped. That’s made a big difference. Better accounting systems mean that we have a much better idea of what’s going on in the business, and we can make decisions with more complete information.
We have more accountability in the business, and our team all know where we’re going. The attitude shift in the business has been for the better. We have more people than we did, doing the work that Mike and I had been doing previously. That’s meant less headaches for us.
Our goals haven’t changed through coaching, but we have realised them. I never thought we could, and now we know our goals are achievable, not just dreams. We now have a long term plan, and we can see how we’re going to get there.
Our business is a seasonal one and hasn’t been consistent. We’re working on that now, and the last five months – especially the last three months – we’ve been growing steadily. I think we’re on track to have a stable business in another 6 months.
We’ve appreciated Ashley’s manufacturing background, that he knew how our business worked.
Coaching has made our lives better. The business is about 80% turned around from where it was when we started – Ashley’s methods work. I wouldn’t start another business without a coach.
Fiona Chin – Vitalchi Wellness Sanctuary:
I’ve been working with Ashley for just over a year.
We’re a small business, with 13 sub contractors and four reception staff. We’re a natural therapies clinic specialising in wellness care with everyone from an osteopath, chiropractor to acupuncture, massage therapy and naturopathy, so we cover all those bases.
I had been doing group coaching with other people, and just found that group coaching didn’t work for me. My business was in a different place compared to everyone else – everyone else was in setup or was a one person business and we were a bigger company, so that wasn’t working. I jumped on the internet and I knew the ActionCOACH group had a good reputation. I saw Ashley’s profile and read a few testimonials, and I decided to try Ashley.
Ashley has made a 300% difference in our takings this year. As well as that great result, I’m far more focused, and I like knowing what to work on, having someone who I can workshop ideas with and run through what will work and what won’t.
I find the specific direction and the one on one attention really good. I tend to do a lot of things at once, so it helped to have a specific goal to work towards and the steps for how to get there, and the support on how to do all that in the most effective way. Ashley has provided great support.
I’m far less stressed now. I’ve removed myself more and more from the business. I work less hours, which is great, and now I’m more the leader of my business – I direct it where to go rather than feeling like I’m the person who does everything and takes responsibility for everyone.
I’m doing far more working on the business that in the business. I have much better role differentiation. I have two days a week where I go in and I’m a practitioner and that’s all I do, and the rest of the time I’m working on the business. Ashley’s definitely changed my mind on how I do that –and I enjoy it heaps more.
The biggest change is probably the way that I communicate and the way that I work with my sub contractors. I’m much more proactive with them – I’ve almost become their coach for what they can do to get more clients and get busy. Before, I was waiting for things to fall out of sky and I had the expectation that everyone would be self-motivated like I am. It’s been a huge change. This helps them get more out of their business as well, which helps the business. And I work far less hours.
Ashley has helped with procedures and productivity. Things are much smoother now, and everyone knows what they’re doing. My staff are spending less time on admin, and spending more time on clients.
We’ve reached the goals that I set when I started working with Ashley – which was to have a million dollar business. Now we’ve done that, so we can move on to the next goals. I wanted it to be a profitable, well-run business and we’ve achieved that.
That’s all been done in a year, which I give myself a bit of hard time about, but I guess it’s pretty impressive.
Ashley also helped me learn how to best affect the bottom line and how to improve the profit margins, and how much to spend here and there. Now when we spend money we know it’s going into the areas in needs to be in.
I was working 7 days a week, 10 hours a day or more. Now I see clients 2 days a week for 10 hours, the other three days I spend half days working on the business – and have 2 days off a week.
Ashley is a great coach, and I highly recommend him to anyone.
My advice would be, just do it. Most people put it off. If you want to be good in your field – if you look at top tennis players they all have coaches – it’s exactly the same in business. I’ve had some sort of coach from the beginning of my business, and people often say to me that my business has done so well so quickly, and I think, yes, because I’ve had coaches the entire time. I would say to anyone thinking about getting a coach, if you want to be good in your field, you have to have a coach. It makes no logical sense not to do it that way.
Peter Watson – Aged Care Specialists:
I thoroughly recommend Ashley Thomson from ActionCOACH to anyone who wants their business to succeed. The term “business coach” does not go far enough to explain what he has done for me and my business. In under 2 years, Ashley has been instrumental in:
- Releasing my business potential:
- Amazing growth from 2 staff to a team of over 40
- Amazing growth from 10 clients in Victoria to 500 nationally
- From an industry unknown to a respected and influencial industry “player”
- Completing 5 years work in less than 18 months – without splitting at the seams
- Releasing my professional potential:
- From being bogged down working in the business to working on the business
- From being a reasonable manager to becoming a leader
- Through guidance, embraced learning and in return received a lifetime of professional development
- Releasing my personal potential:
- From struggling to pay the rent to speeding toward early retirement
- From being blind in the daily struggle to having a better understanding of work-life balance
- I have now realised what I thought impossible – more responsibility with less stress
To all businesses not working with Ashley may I say – “You can never underestimate the value of having someone to talk to and help you make informed decisions on a regular basis. The guidance, support and advice received is priceless. In fact, if I had to put a price on Ashley’s value it would have to be infinitely more than his cost. Your confidence and knowledge will grow exponentially as will your business and your outlook on life. I recommend and implore every business to get Ashley working with them as soon as possible – I will be forever grateful I did!”
Geoff O’Brien – Roadsigns (Australia)
We’re a small business – we have 6-10 employees. The majority of what we do is linemarking.
We had our initial meeting with Ashley, and he explained what he does and how he goes about it, and we thought it was something we could benefit from. We took it on and ran with it. It wasn’t that we thought there was anything wrong with the business at the time, we just knew that we could do better if we knew how to go about it better. Of course, as we’ve found out now there was plenty that needed fixing!
The business has improved right across the board in a lot of ways, from just clarifying what we do and how we do it, to better marketing and better recruiting, and when you put it all together you end up with a better bottom line, better turnover and better profits. It’s been a whole of business approach. Coming off a pretty low base, it’s been something like a 1600% increase in our profits over the five years we’ve worked together.
We were muddling along breaking even and making wages out of the business, but coaching started to really show that it can turn a profit. It’s been a big difference. Coaching led me to understand a lot more about where I should be going with the business, whereas before I was just working it like a job, not a business. Before I started with Ashley, I was content to make my wages whereas he’s shown us that it can do better than that, and make the business run at a profit so that it will become a saleable entity when I finally do want to get out of it.
The business relies a lot less on me now. I can get away from the business a lot more easily now than back before I started with Ashley.
The biggest change has been the management side. I had somebody else start doing the estimating, which freed up a lot of my time. Delegating a lot more of the responsibility for the actual programming and work, which left me a lot more free of that as well. Those have been some of the biggest changes. I’m not just doing all of the load bearing myself. Now I can choose what I’d like to work on in the business.
The other big change is in the turnover and the profit margin. That was about changing the prices and working more efficiently. It didn’t happen immediately, it’s taken the five years to achieve what we’ve got, but it’s got there. It’s been steady over that time, and it’s been improving and improving as we’ve worked on it.
We’re now running three teams, where we used to run one or two teams. We now work with three councils, whereas we used to do more private work. It’s good steady work, and it’s quite profitable. We made changes to the way we charged. Ashley pointed us in the right direction and now we charge a fair price to cover our costs for weekend and after hours work. Now we have more variety in our work, we can move people around different kinds of job and keep them interested. We’ve also smoothed out the work so that it’s not so concentrated in certain periods of the year.
Now we’re moving towards an exit strategy and to diversify a bit – do a few things a bit out of the ordinary.
Coaching has worked well beyond my expectations and more so. There’s still room for improvement – we could still do better. But as I went into it I couldn’t have believed it made as much difference as it had already. It’s made inroads as good or better than I could have hoped for.
Doug Lord & Chris Meddings – Yellowstone Landscaping:
We have a medium-sized landscaping business, running 16 people. When we started working with Ashley about 18 mouths ago, it was a crucial time for us because Doug had injured his back. We had to change, but there was no direction – we were just going along. There were three or four of us and we were content with that. If you’d asked us two years ago if the business could have had 16 people, we wouldn’t have thought of the business being able to support that. We had no idea. We never anticipated it being this big.
Ashley met with us and asked us how we’d feel if we could have the business run, and just work the days we chose, and we thought yeah, that’s for us.
The biggest benefit to coaching has been having the confidence to grow without stressing about how to do it. It’s given us confidence in employing people and running teams. Ashley’s put a lot of order into the business, which was hard for us because we’re not that way inclined.
We look at the business differently now. The biggest change has been administration. We’re tradespeople because we weren’t good with our heads – we’re good with our hands. We knew how to get the jobs done and make money, but after that we were at a bit of a loss as to what’s needed to run a great business.
It takes the pressure off yourself when you learn to delegate everything. It took a while to let go, but we’re doing it more and more.
Our minds are still changing. Chris is still on the tools, but the way it’s heading in six months he’ll be off entirely and spending his time on quoting and sales, and doing the jobs he chooses to do. What we learned from Ashley, everything you don’t like to do, you get someone else to do it.
We’ve changed our market. When we realised what we had to turn over, and what we had to make, we started choosing our jobs much better. Before, we wouldn’t say no to anything.
Our goal now is getting the business to function without us there. We’re not at that stage yet, but that’s our next serious step. Before we started, we wouldn’t ever have thought the business could run without us. I thought we personally had to do the work, or the client wouldn’t be happy. I was blind back then. Now I think it’s a crazy idea to think I would be on the tools.
It’s been a massive learning cove. It’s given me a lot of hope. A lot of confidence. We talked about employing leading hands for years, but we never had the confidence to do that. Now we have three. Just having Ashley there to check the figures with us, and tell us we can do it.
It’s now just starting to kick in, us managing the business at a higher level. Now we know the job on site is getting done, we’re getting into the budgets, cashflow, finances. That’s key to the business now – we need to read the business better. We’re ready to do that now.
We drive past other tradesmen now and think, wow, they have no idea. We’ve come so far, with all the systems and having everything run itself. We’re setting up a business to run, and that’s completely different to being a tradesperson. That’s our goal – to make this place turn over while we’re not here.
Our journey is not to work, but to still make money. To be smarter about how we approach our business.
Nick Cheung – Pronet Technology:
I have a small tech support company with 12 – 15 staff. We’re the IT department for small to medium businesses who don’t have their own IT departments. We started looking at coaching about two years ago, because I wanted to take the company to the next level. I wanted some fresh ideas. I’m the sole owner, and I wanted someone to talk things over with.
I chose Ashley of all the coaches I spoke to because I felt most comfortable with him.
The biggest benefit has been that we’ve solved problems that I’d thought about for some time – sometimes a couple of years – but never taken action on. Ashley gave me a push along the way, to get those things done that I wanted to get done and needed to get done, but hadn’t. He’s pushed me forward.
We used to rely on word of mouth only, and now we do some dedicated marketing. We’re now driving our sales, rather than letting the customer drive.
The biggest impact has been getting my time back as I delegate more, and getting more structure in the business. We now have figures to look at for our billable hours – it’s now measurable. We can look at reports and see there’s a problem ahead and fix it early, before it’s too late. We can do more planning.
Looking back, I made the right decision to work with Ashley, and I would make the same decision again.
Andrea Tappe – TechnichalWriter.Com.Au
I have a small to micro business providing technical writing services. I started working with Ashley because I wanted some outside advice on the direction of the business. I had just lost a major client and needed to look at the business from another perspective.
I wanted to find different ways of running the business, outside of the one model that’s shaped by the industry I work in. It was important to me to speak to someone outside the tech writing industry who didn’t think inside that same box.
That different perspective has been the biggest benefit of working with Ashley. His input has allowed TechnicalWriter.Com.Au to do things differently than anyone else in the industry, and that has allowed me to win business I wouldn’t have had without him.
The knowledge from Ashley’s broader perspective let me take something and make it work when conventional wisdom said it wouldn’t. I had more information available to me, to make a more informed decision. I’ve changed the way our charging models work, and I have almost an unassailable USP in the industry as a result. That’s meant I have a really good competitive edge.
It’s very much changed the way we present our contracts, and it’s put me in a different ball park for our clients. We immediately stand out from the pack.
I used to work 7 days a week, and now I work 3 days a week. Now I use my strengths. We’ve found our niche. I make more money out of this niche than anyone ever could out of the traditional model.
It’s enabled me to tap into a whole new market who’ve previously been wary about hiring a tech writer. It’s green fields – I’m not having to compete on price. I make money, they save money, everyone’s happy. My jobs are a lot more profitable.
I’m working much fewer hours. The amount of return I’m suddenly getting for each hour of work – it’s four to six times what I used to. Coaching has taken me away from the stuff ‘everyone knows’. It’s taught me how to use my strengths.
It’s been good to have access to a wider range of marketing strategies. Particularly for small businesses, if you go to a traditional marketing company they give you over the top options. It’s good to have access to a wide range of really practical stuff that you don’t have to be Coles or BMW to make work.
It’s a completely different business. When I first came to talk to Ashley, I wanted to build the business up so I could have people working for me. Now I think of the business differently – it’s been a complete turnaround.
Brij Purohit – Keen to Clean:
I’ve been working with Ashley for a year and a half. I run a small to medium cleaning business. We’ve just started selling franchise licenses.
I was looking for some help, because I was new to the country and I wanted to learn how the system works here. I’d already started a business, but I wanted to grow it. I realised if I wanted to grow my business to the level of franchising it, I’d need help.
The best thing about Ashley is that he gives honest advice. If I’m doing something wrong, he tells me. That’s saved us a lot of money. Having an outside perspective is very important. Working with Ashley has meant we make decisions with more confidence.
He’s guided us through the whole process of franchising the business. I get really good service from Ashley. He’s always happy to help. Whenever I’ve had something urgent, he’s responded.
I knew what I wanted to do when we started working together, but Ashley has taught me to look at the business differently, which has made a huge difference.
He balanced the process of growing the business so that it happened smoothly.
Ashley has been fantastic for us. He’s a fantastic person. I really enjoy working with him, and we’ll keep working with him for many years in the future, as long as we’re running the business.
At the end of the day, most business owners know what they’re doing, and what they’re supposed to be doing, but Ashley keeps us on track.
Cathy Thesing – The Melbourne Dietetic Centre:
I have a small business, dietetic consulting. We do one on one consulting, consulting to nursing homes and hospitals, and working with city councils for meal services review. I’ve been working with Ashley for over three years now.
I decided to start working with Ashley because we needed advice, support, information on structuring, and accountability – the accountability is the ongoing thing that makes it attractive to me. I feel a lot more in control these days. When I started coaching, I had a job, not a business.
There have been a lot of benefits – realising my business doesn’t have to be a job, bigger ideas and aspirations. I now work on different areas of the business – I used to work in the business, but now I spend half a day working as a dietitian per week, and rest of my time working on my other responsibilities.
I now think of the business differently. I work on the business rather than in it, and I can see it becoming something independent of me that I don’t need to be involved in every day. Before I started working with Ashley, there was no concept in my mind that that was even possible.
Working on systems has given the business stability, consistency, reliability and professionalism. It’s taken a lot of the stress out of the business. I don’t have to do so much of the work myself, correcting errors. It’s made the team more cohesive.
Our bottom line has at least doubled. Coaching has paid for itself many a time. We set a five year goal when we started working together, and we’re on track to reach that.
In the past, my goals were just to get the work done and be reasonably efficient. Now the business can be bigger than I ever thought it could be. The goals now are much larger, broader and more exciting
Peter Rayson – Quest on Doncaster:
My name is Peter Rayson and I am a part owner and director of Quest on Doncaster. Our business is in the serviced accommodation industry. We prove accommodate from people who need to stay in the Doncaster area.
I’ve been working with Ashley Thomson of Action International for twelve months, and my whole outlook on life has changed.
I started working with Ashley because I was concerned about the business standing still. I was in a stage in my life when I was very blah. The business was there but it was going nowhere. I made some fairly significant changes. I had a health checkup – saw my doctor, a dietician and a cardiologist; I got a personal trainer AND I got a business coach. They were all things that needed to be done, and my life has changed dramatically.
I was working crazy hours before I started with Ashley. The first thing he got me to do was sit and down and work out whether I really needed to spend that much time or not, and of course I didn’t. I was working 80-100 hours a week – 7am til 11pm 7 days a week. I was on call all the time. I’ve now become a lot more focussed on running the business. I’ve got a manager in place to run the day to day part of the business, I’m making arrangements for someone to come and live in on the premises, which is just going to totally free me up. So I’m working in the business very few hours in the week. I’m now working 50-60 hours.
That’s meant that I can focus on getting more business. I’m starting to get a bit of a life back together. I’m not just at work or asleep – I do other things in between there. I’m starting to get back into all my sporting pursuits which I thoroughly enjoy. I’m starting to get back to meeting friends again, and I guess it’s just helped me revaluate what life’s all about.
When I first took over the business the occupancy rate was about 50%. In first 18 months we’d increased it to about 60%. Since then we’ve steadily increased and last month was the best month we’ve ever had – 82%. The last six months we’ve hit and substantially exceeded the budget.
The coaching program’s changed the way I think about my business. It’s chalk and cheese. I’m no longer on the ground stamping out bushfires, but sitting back a bit and controlling the destiny of the business. I’ve got great staff that are now handling the day to day running of the business, and staff that enjoy doing it.
My outlook on life has changed, and that’s reflected in the goals of the business. We’re aiming a lot higher. We’ve started to believe in what we can do. You put a plan together and start thinking that way, and all of a sudden you get people working that way, everyone pushing in the same direction. It’s amazing how quickly you can go.
There’s no question that it’s been about controlling destiny. It’s incredible what you can achieve when you put your mind to it.
I don’t think there are too many things that Ashley’s needed to teach me – but he’s been able to coach me to get it out of myself. It’s been there all the time. He’s helped get it out and get it working. He’s come up with some great ideas, but I’ve had the philosophies and the knowledge all along, I just haven’t used it properly. That’s the beauty of Ashley – he’s kept me focussed, kept me doing the things I should be doing – and it’s paid off.
Mark Silver – Future Business Systems:
I have a medium sized business – computer software development, systems integration, and consulting and hardware sales.
I started working with Ashley because I realised I needed help with focusing on getting things moving. I started the business when I was 17, so I hadn’t had a lot of exposure to how to run a business – I’m self taught.
The biggest benefit to working with a coach is keeping me focussed on tasks and making sure I keep looking at the longer term rather than the everyday things that I’d be concentrating on if I weren’t working with Ashley.
Growth, profitability and expansion have been biggest areas of impact. The year before we started the program, we were making a loss. Since then, we have turned our losses into profits and achieved profit growth of around 100% per annum.
Ashley’s given me more confidence to make decisions.
Coaching has changed the way I interact with my business, because I’ve employed another ten or twelve staff since we started – the whole dynamic of the business has changed, so my role has changed. It’s changed the amount of hours I spend working in the business – I used to work 80 hour weeks, and I’m now down to 60. I don’t work weekends now. Now the spare time I’ve got I spend on non-work activities.
It’s worth the investment.
Kent Fisher – Access Scaffolding:
I’ve been working with Ashley for eleven months now. I have a 1.5 million dollar business, with two branches, and ten employees.
I started working with Ashley because I’d been put in a position of running, managing, and buying into the business, and I was a tradesman. I knew how to do the job, but I didn’t know how to be a manager. I didn’t know there was supposed to be leadership on top of that, so I recognised some deficiencies and thought, well, I need to learn how to do this. I also liked the focus of the program aiming to increase the turnover of the business.
When I met Ashley, he presented himself well – he’s a nice bloke and very easy to talk to, and he knew what he was talking about. The program he presented was very professional and it was structured well. Not like someone turning up and just saying, ‘I can show you how to make more money in your business,’ ‘ instead, it was a well-structured program aimed at making small improvements and getting measurable results.
Our turnover’s increased, definitely. The profitability of the business is good. Ashley’s helped streamline the business a lot, but the educational value of it has been massive.
The biggest benefits of the program for me have been the change in my attitude, change of direction, and letting me know what I should be so that the employees can see that the bloke who’s running the company knows what he’s talking about ‘ they’re not looking at the boss thinking, ‘that guy’s an idiot.’
I also understand people much better now, understanding personalities and their motivations, and finding out what motivates particular people. Now when I recruit I look for specific people with specific traits for the positions I’m looking to fill.
The business now runs without me – and I used to be too paranoid to leave. Now I’m down to two and half days a week and it’s not even been a full year since I started the program. I’ve started another business as an offshoot, and I’ve got time for my passion, which is farming.
I’ve changed the way I think about business ‘ I understand now that my business needs to work without me, otherwise it’s just an expensive job. If you have to work in the business, it’s not a business.
Everything runs a lot smoother now that we’ve put systems in place in the business ‘ regular meetings with the managers, Key Performance Indicators, making sure everyone’s happy in the business.
I’m a different person. My training’s helped my personal relationships, my business relationships, and it’s helped cement my ideals, my parameters – I’ve become a better person, and a better businessperson. Or rather a businessperson, because I probably wasn’t before. I’ve moved from the tradesman through to the manager through to the entrepreneur.
If you’re thinking about working with Ashley, do it.
Bill Sides – Sides Engineering Drilling Services:
We are a contract drilling company. In comparison to the rest of the industry, we’re a medium sized business. We’ve just finished up our coaching program after three years, which was well beyond our original contract.
The initial goal was to tidy the business up for a possible sale, or what I really wanted, which was a successful succession of the business.
I started working with Ashley because of what I wanted to do with my company. I was entering an area that I had zero expertise with, and it was an area fraught with problems that I perhaps wouldn’t be able to understand. I needed an independent source of support and advice. I needed someone I could turn to apart from my own men because of ultimately what it was about. It was really a question of reality.
For me, it was a major operation to get the business to a saleable point. I’d done a lot of thinking, but in an uncontrolled way. I had no family succession, and the company has been in the family for 83 years. The thought of moving the company out of the family for the first time was an absolutely huge step. That was one of the reasons that I needed outside help in the first place.
Ashley more than anyone else made this happen, and the result is really pretty close to what I ultimately hoped for.
Sharon Pearson – The Coaching Institute:
I run a life coaching and executive business training company. I’ve been working with Ashley for twelve months.
The biggest benefit of working with Ashley has been making more money. Putting systems into the business meant we have better people; because we have better people we’re more successful; because we’re more successful we make more money. We did $270k the financial year before last, and last financial year we did nearly $1.2m.
I started working with Ashley because I’d just gone through a disappointing experience with a team member, and it just showed me that my business model was flawed. I didn’t have a business, I just had me. Me turning up every day doing the job – if I went away, my business shut down.
I knew that what was missing was the systematic approach to my business. It was so random – just whatever happened on the day. It was a very reactive business. I knew we could be doing so much better.
It is a business now and not just me having a job. I’m a lot more focused. I know where my time and energy needs to be spent. The major change is, I understand I’m not in a coaching business – I’m in a sales business.
Coaching has had a big impact on my vision for the business and what it’s capable of doing. I think I’m only just starting to see how big this can be. When I started it was a hobby – something to do. Now, the sky’s the limit. I’m far more ambitious now about what I want to create.
When I first started, my goal was to have fun, to have an adventure. I outgrew that quickly. Now, my goal is to be the number one provider of executive business and life coaching services in Australia.
It’s lovely to have someone to collaborate with. The one thing that Ashley really brings that I lack is that he keeps going at me about the franchise. I think I would have thrown in the towel months ago with me. He kept coming back to it, and thank God he did – he saw something there that took me months to see, and now that I can see it I think wow, why didn’t I see it before. His diligence has made the difference – otherwise we’d still be selling low-end programs and now the sky’s the limit.
The outside perspective on the business is essential. I’m in this all the time, I never get away from it. I need someone who just sees the business, and whose only agenda is keeping me on track with the business.
It’s very really valuable to have someone who’s seen the vision of the business better than I could, and hasn’t given up on it. He’s helped me see a bigger picture of what we could do than I could see. I didn’t see it as being real, but he did, and now it is becoming real.
Gary & Jan Herzig – Dueltek:
Over the last few years Dueltek have enjoyed year on year growth, but last year we just consolidated our position. We felt that we needed assistance in building the business to a higher level so we engaged Ashley Thomson as our business coach.
Today our turnover is higher and our gross profit has increased. We’ve been able to tick off all the goals we had at the start of the coaching program.
We were already doing a lot of the things that Ashley taught us, but he allowed us to focus on them more. He’s helped us take the ideas we already had, and look at them in different ways and take those ideas to their logical conclusion. It seems funny, but having someone to report to gives you that extra discipline. We’ve said in the past that we’ll do this or that, but it hasn’t actually happened.
Putting the KPIs, financial dashboard and test and measures in place to monitor our business has been the biggest area of impact. We’re much better informed as to our sales, prospecting, staff performance and financial levels, and whether we are on track. We’ve raised the bar three times this year as far as our budget is concerned, and by having the measuring systems in place we’ve been able to monitor that and adjust things along the way. That part of the coaching along has been very important to us.
We’re a small business. Jan and I have worked on it for twenty years. We don’t have time to fiddle around. We took this on, thinking we’d learn a little bit and come out of it fairly unscathed. But it was a pretty hard road there a few times. We’ve come through it. We’re better people for it, we’re better managers.
Instead of working longer – harder, Ashley taught us to work smarter – harder. That has involved seeing if there was a better way to do a job, or if there was a job that could be delegated to other people. Neither of us is doing as many tasks as we were prior to Ashley coming on board. We’re more managers now than day to day workers.
Jan and I were dubious in the beginning. We thought, ‘What can this young bloke teach us” But Ashley has done a good job, we’re very pleased with his methods and his candour and his approach. He’s helped us along the way whenever we’ve needed it. We would recommend him to others – the testament to that is that we’ve decided to retain him in an ongoing arrangement. Ashley’s coaching program is not for the faint hearted however. We have invested hundreds of hours this year into working through Ashley’s various programs, reading books, viewing training videos and listening to audio presentations. Ashley has pointed us in the right direction and together we have set ourselves weekly and quarterly goals. Ultimately though, the success, growth and development we have personally achieved out of this program have been up to us.
We’re grateful to Ashley and his team. It’s been a very professional relationship and arrangement. We’d recommend Ashley to anybody that’s looking for a business coach.
Brian Emberson – Mobile Electrics:
I’ve been working with Ashley Thomson for 18 months now. Since we started working together, my turnover has increased 67%. Ashley provides the guidance and discipline that has made a change like that possible. My idea of what Mobile Electrics is capable of achieving has broadened, and I think it can happen a lot quicker than we first anticipated.
Together, we’ve implemented changes in the company structure, reporting systems, recruiting and workload management. It’s meant that we can match the workload to the labour we have. When the workload increases, we can quickly increase the number of staff to meet it. It’s meant an increase in sales and therefore an increase on the bottom line.
I initially took on a business coach because I’d reached a point where I knew I’d taken the business as far as I could by myself, and some help and guidance would be great. At that stage I was still thinking like a technician rather than as the owner of a significant business. Ashley’s helped me get to that stage, giving me a real understanding of what I should be doing to grow the business.
I’ve always wanted to be able to spend more time out of the business than in it, and we’re definitely working towards that. As long as the business is functioning quite well without me, I’m more than happy to just stand aside and let someone else take care of it. That’s part of my understanding of the difference between a technician and a business owner.
With what I’ve learned, I’ve no doubt that we could further the business even without Ashley’s help, but I still need the discipline and he’ll be part of the team as long as we’re still growing.
I recommend Ashley Thomson to any small or medium business. Especially if you’ve come up from being on the tools, have people working for you and haven’t had a huge amount of experience running the business. Even if you think you know what you’re doing, I think with a business coach you will definitely benefit.
Bryce Norton – Mainphase:
I’ve been working with Ashley for six months now. We started working together because I’d realised I needed to do more than what I was doing. I knew I had to do something in order to be able to expand, and I didn’t really know how to go about it. I know a lot of CEOs of a lot of different companies, and like me they started off knowing a particular trade and decided to go out on their own because they had a few entrepreneurial skills. But running the business is totally different ‘ unless you’re trained in the area, it’s a lot of hit and miss. And I’d been doing that for 20 years – the company just bowled along week to week. I looked at it and thought that was extremely unprofessional on my behalf ‘ I didn’t really have a proper company structure set up with a plan for expansion, so really I was letting my own company down. I figured after 20 years it was time to do something about it.
Having a coach works for me because we get into areas such as marketing and sales ‘ how do we get new clients’ Over 20 years of business, I’d never really looked at doing that. The type of service we provide speaks for itself and we’d been going by word of mouth and just picking up clients along the way. Of course I had no idea ‘ I’m not a salesman, I’m not an ad man ‘ I don’t know how to do that sort of work, so I figured I was lacking there.
Ashley’s help has made me change the procedures in the company. I’ve now employed more people, I’m not working the hours that I had to work, and I’m not stressed under the hours that I’m working because I’ve delegated most of my problems to other people. It means I can put more thought into other areas ‘ instead of working IN the business, I’m working ON the business. It’s been a help to have someone to tell me what to do and which way to go. The business is more valuable and more professional, and I’m a more relaxed person because of it.
Before I started the coaching program, I could see some major dramas approaching us in the future. When you’re worried about something you don’t enjoy your work – sleepless nights, and then your family takes the brunt of your stress. Six months later, suddenly now I can see light at the end of the tunnel. It’s been very, very good, and I can see that we’re building up clients – which has been very lucrative for us – we’ve put on new staff, we’ve got structures and procedures in place, and things are running without me.
We’ll work together past our current twelve month contract, because there’ll still be issues we need to work on. There’s no end to learning more about running a business, and running other businesses. You need to reeducate yourself on a daily basis, and I understand that so the business coaching will probably go on for a long time.
I’ve got the choice now to do what I want to do during the day. It’s giving me more enthusiasm to find new ways of running the business – life’s pretty good at the moment.
Carolyn & Richie Miles – Surrey Hills Garden Supplies:
"We have run a paving and landscaping business for 18 years, and a garden supply business for the last 8 years. The garden supply business had been realising a steady 20% growth per year, and we thought we were doing well. Ashley has doubled that growth in three months. We are learning each day that these goals can be real in the very near future and with Ashley’s help we know we will get there sooner rather than later."
Phillip & Karen Theodore – Apple Print:
"We hired Ashley 6 months ago and will never look back!
At first Ashley taught us to set goals and make small changes in our business and we started seeing results almost immediately.
Now we are 6 months down the track and our whole way of thinking has changed. We now look at the business in an entirely different way and we are actually making a profit for the first time.
Ashley has guided us through some big decisions and we now feel we can tackle more.
We are very excited to see where we will be in another six months – we’ve come so far already!"