Tiny Steps and Big Decisions

Lea and Tim Allen own and manage The Butcher’s Bullevard in Coffs Central and Butcher’s Boutique in Sawtell while simultaneously raising their two daughters. To say life is hectic would be an understatement.

When Lea and Tim applied for one of MJ Accountants’ Business Excellence Scholarships they were looking for a better way to juggle their many priorities and move the business forward.

I caught up with Lea after four coaching sessions with our accountant Steve Oakley to see how things are going.

Mel: Has having a coach helped you to deal with the frantic pace?

Lea: Yes. I’ve really struggled with having so much to do. Sometimes I look at things I know I should be doing and just think “Oh my goodness. I can’t do that.” With Steve we look at what we want to achieve and then break the job down into tiny little steps that seem manageable.

Mel: What do you mean by tiny steps?

Lea: Well for example one of our goals is to install a new counter in Butcher’s Boutique. We’ve broken that down to steps like “Spend 2 hours investigating available counters” and “Compare the strengths and weaknesses of the top 5 counters.” I’ve realised that I don’t have to finish the whole job today! And there’s a plan – so once I’ve finished a task, I know exactly what I need to do next.

It’s a great tool for the everyday running of our business and I’ve used it now on other things.

Mel: Has coaching offered you any other useful tools and advice?

Lea: Absolutely. We’ve been able to look at our business against industry benchmarks.   We thought we were doing pretty well, but the benchmarks showed us we really needed to raise our prices to keep pace with the industry.

And Steve helped us prepare financial projections. All of a sudden we can see our weak and strong periods, which helps us make better plans. So if we know that the next 2 months are likely to be quiet months we can try to arrange for staff to take holiday and hold off on major expenses.

Mel: Those are great decision-making tools. What’s been the biggest decision you’ve made with your coach?

Lea: We decided to sell the business.

Mel: Wow! How did you make that decision?

Lea: We had already been thinking about selling Butcher’s Bullevard. We discussed the idea with Steve, pulled together some numbers and realised that selling the two shops together would be a stronger offering.   In our next meetings with Steve we will be working out what needs to be done to get the shops ready for sale.

Mel: That’s exciting. With your busy life have you found that having a coach makes things easier?

Lea: His knowledge is amazing. We’ve just learned so much. And it’s been like having another person driving our business. We get caught up in the day-to-day and miss stuff. Steve pulls us back so things keep moving forward.

MJ Accountants is here to help our clients grow and thrive. If you need help taking tiny steps or making big decisions, give us a call today.

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