Over the last 12 months I’ve been writing and sharing with you chapters from my book Scratch to A Million.
This first book of mine has now been to the copy writers, has a registered ISBN number and is ready to go to print. I hope you enjoyed reading the strategies I used to develop and grow my businesses, and that you’ve taken some golden nuggets of information from it, that you’ve been able to apply within your business to help it develop and grow.
I’m now looking forward to writing my next book, 1-3 million.
Again, this will be writing around strategy and will be based on experience. So why 1-3 million? Because to reach this level it requires a whole new way of thinking, implementing and strategy. More challenges on sales & marketing, systems & processes, KPI’s, infrastructure and finances just to name a few. Well, there’s a whole new book for it….
Now on to the recent challenges that I’ve been facing.
Back in March I was in a fortunate position where I could take 6 weeks away from work to take care of my special arrivals. My partner gave birth to our twin girls Grace & Ellie Thistleton. They were born on 13th March and my life hasn’t been the same ever since (for the good of course).
They’re now 5 months old and I’m loving every day being a dad. I am truly blessed to have them in my life and since dad owns two swimming pool companies, they’ve been swimming several times already, so we could have a couple of Olympic swimmers on our hands.
Since the arrival of the twin’s, all work has taken a back seat and my priorities in life have changed. I felt myself distancing myself away from work associated activities. Alongside that, I was also finding a disconnect between my Renegade colleagues.
I had opted to miss our April summit due to the twins being so young and my mind not being in work mode. My interaction with the Renegade faculty was poor at best and I found myself thinking. . . Is this something I want to be a part of anymore? Do I want to work as hard as I’ve done over the last 5 years?
This could be a natural reaction after having children, but I don’t know because it was my first time. All I do know is that I couldn’t make decisions like I had been doing, and my motivation for these two things were dwindling.
This was something new for me, it felt strange, and fundamentally I had lost my focus. We were approaching July and 5 months is a long time not to be fully focused. This may sound like I am being hard on myself, but this is what I do. I can’t stand comfort zones, they bore me.
If you’re in a comfort zone, then you’re only going backwards. All I did know was that I needed to pull my head from up my arse and get back on the entrepreneurial journey and balance this with quality family time.
I can’t stand comfort zones, they bore me
As luck would have it our July summit was approaching us, and I was in two minds whether to attend or not. This is usually a non-negotiable 3-day event for me, but I was having doubts. Funnily enough this was a time where I needed it the most and a time where I needed to lean on my faculty for support and advice. So, the smartest decision I had made in 5 months was to attend the summit prepared with the list of challenges I was experiencing.
Our summit begun on Wednesday 24th July. I can honestly say that within 1 hour of being around the faculty I knew that this was what I had been missing. Likeminded people with tons and tons of eye-opening advice and encouragement.
From that first hour I knew I was back. Back as a Renegade and back on the entrepreneurial journey. The juices were flowing again listening to other people’s challenges and helping them find solutions to their challenges. I remember sitting there thinking. . . Why the hell would you even consider not being in this group that had served me so well for the past 3 years? But these things can happen to us all, especially when your head isn’t in the game.
My session was first up on the Friday morning and on reflection I had a lot of very good updates on the businesses. Had the businesses suffered with my 5 months non focus? Yes, they had. Were they detrimental? No, they were still there making a profit, but they hadn’t pushed on as they could have, they were ticking over and so were some of the staff.
Some had fallen into the comfort zone trap and there was no one there to lead them out of it. So, this was one of my challenges, businesses slipping into comfort zones when I’m not there. I’m a strong believer that everything happens for a reason, and this had been a test to see how they would perform with me not around for a long stretch of time.
My next challenge is finding the right COO
It was quite quickly realised within my session that I need a COO (Chief Operating Officer) in my two swimming pool companies. Or as Ian Stewart likes to say (The guy that gets shit done).
Before my time away I was the COO, but I was also the CEO. I was the guy that made sure shit got done. I was also the strategist and often the strategy work would come second to the get shit done work.
It’s very hard to do both as we all only have a certain band width within our own minds. And these businesses were at a point where this role needed to be filled by someone else if I want them to continually grow year on year as they have been.
This was one of those light bulb moments for me. This was a return on my 3-day investment for attending the summit.
When I started out, the days of COO roles within my company structure seemed light years away, but in truth it’s not.
There’s one thing for sure, you cannot build a successful business without a solid structure, and adding a COO to mine will help bolster that structure and future proof the growth of the business whilst leaving me the time to work on the business rather than in it. And if I want time away, the business won’t suffer because the day to day responsibility rests with the COO.
It’s a well-known fact that when the boss is away the staff think they can get away with certain things that they wouldn’t if the boss was around. The COO will be there every hour of every day making sure the ship is sailing in the right direction.
My next challenge is finding the right COO. I have identified two potentials from within the current structure, which I’m currently vetting. Otherwise the candidate may well have to come from outside.
Either way, it’s certainly a challenge to let someone take the wheel once you’re confident they can keep on course. Finding the right COO is one of the accountabilities I took away from the summit, so I have 3 months to find and implement the right candidate.
It’s fair to say that I’m back, and I’m back fully focused and committed to my goals and visions for my businesses.
The moral of the story is that I very nearly threw away something that I desperately needed to get back on track, and that was not to attend the summit that I so desperately needed.
Luckily for me my awareness kicked in with the value that I know I get whenever I spend around the Renegade faculty.
It seems like a cliché, but where else would I have got the clarity I needed to re-focus and go again to the next level within my businesses.