As a side note before I roll on… I’ve worked with many people all over the world, and many of my clients have appeared on the cover of the ChannelPro Networks monthly magazine. This magazine doesn’t really circulate outside of the U.S. and Canada, so they are not necessarily interested in great stories like this from the U.K., but if they were, I’d see to it this story appeared on the cover.
My client, Computing Dynamic Ltd. (CDL), is run by Steve and Pheona Bootes. As some of you may know, I run a company as a solo business coach and my support team consists of many people from around the world, in addition to my wife Laura who is my executive admin and all around high-level wizardess. Laura also spent some time working directly with Steve and Pheona (mostly Pheona) doing their social media and helping get their lunch and learns off the ground. Over the last four years, Laura and I have become more than just strategic business partners with Steve and Pheona; we have become friends. More on this later.
I remember when I was having the initial strategy session with Steve and Pheona, I had asked if they had worked with other coaches before. They indicated that they had tried at least one. I recall Pheona telling me how the one coach had given them homework of writing down exactly what they wanted to get or acquire in life so that all further conversations would be based on how they would realize these very specific dreams. The coach had asked for specifics like what type of car and how much money and so on. A very common practice in some coaching programs. Steve and Pheona were both pretty quick to make sure I wasn’t going to be assigning similar homework. I assured them I wasn’t, but I was curious about what type of car they dreamt of. It happened to be a big-ass Mercedes Benz.
Steve’s father had been a partner in the business for some time and only recently, through consistent payments, had been paid off for his portion of the business. As we were in the mode of helping them to create a savings pool of money while refining the business, it was my suggestion that unless something came up, they pretend they were still making the payment, but instead, direct it to a savings account. For more than a year, CDL worked hard to get certain cannonball-like clients that they were chained to off their books. It’s not always easy when the client is non-responsive and all they use you for is services. Yes, you could just allow their services to drop, but then you’d be a douchebag who drops people’s services. The main focus was on revising client fees and effective hourly rates. Basically, increasing internal process efficiency and raising rates to a standard level across the board.
As the close of the fiscal year came to an end, we were all eyeing the numbers to see if CDL had in fact actually turned a profit. Initial numbers told a very impressive story. From what we could see, CDL had increased profit significantly from the previous year. Assuming the accountant didn’t move things around too much, it might just stick. CDL had also shed a lot of dead weight in their expenses and in unprofitable clients and services. And to top it off, they had about £9,000 spare cash above the previous year. The diet paid off.
When we had our next call, we were of course all so happy to see the numbers and talk about their success. It had taken a lot of hard work to get themselves into this very good financial shape. But I was especially elated to hear what Steve had decided to do with a large chunk of the money. He said that his father - who helped build and support this business, even though he had been paid off completely - deserved, in his mind, to have a bit of hard-earned profits. So CDL cut Steve’s father a check with which he will use to do some more traveling.
This summer, Laura and I went to officially meet Steve and Pheona in person for the first time in the four years we’ve worked with them. That’s when we saw the other thing they chose to spend a portion of their profits on.
Running any successful business is hard, but running a small business is the hardest. I believe that we all create our own success. And when we do, we need to remember to take a little off the top to remind ourselves why we’re working so damn hard.
Congratulations again, Steve and Pheona, you deserve it. For a moment in time, you’re on the cover of my magazine!