District 32 Radio interviewed Emergination on the value of business coaching and strategic planning for small businesses.

In this interview, Justin discussed the importance of understanding your business, getting clear on your vision, and knowing the top priorities you need to tackle in order to achieve your goals.

Here is a transcript of the podcast:

Jackie Campbell 0:12
Welcome back to district 32 Radio. I’m Jackie Campbell and I am joined today by Justin Davies of Emergination. And these guys are business development coaches, strategic planners, they specialise in business development for leadership and really making businesses grow to their full potential, not over a period of a bazillion years, but really getting in-depth and getting things done. Justin, welcome.

Justin Davies 0:33
Thank you, glad to be here.

Jackie Campbell 0:34
Now we hear a lot from business coaches about partnering with people for success and doing all these sorts of kind of things. And I always think that sometimes with business coaches, it’s almost sort of kind of like showing someone under your – under your coat, certainly not under your dress, but certainly under your coat to say, Well, this is sort of kind of the inside workings of what’s going on here. So you’re talking to them about what their focus is going to be, how they going, what their dreams are? How do you go about approaching that from a point of view? And how do you match your skillset to business? Because I would think that needs to be some sort of synergy there and trust.

Justin Davies 1:12
Great question, great place to start. Actually, the first question I ask is, so how’s it going? And often what I get is you’ll see them, look to the left. And five seconds later, they look straight at you. And then they just vomit up everything that’s going on. And for some of them, it’s extraordinarily cathartic because they can’t do that anywhere else. They sometimes don’t want to burn a partner. They certainly don’t want to be having a chat with the staff like that, because the staff will just lose confidence in terms of what’s going on. So having somebody that they can have a real frank and candid conversation is valuable. Now the frank and candid conversations and I just had one in the last 24 hours where there’s a business where the partners are involved. It’s not going great. They are under a lot of duress. They’re not sleeping, they’re very stressed. I think they’ve got an interesting business. It’s just like, how do they get to the next level? So that’s one, you know, one scenario. The other scenario that you get is a business that’s established or at a size where the owners are working really hard, and it feels like they are doing twice the work of everybody else that’s in business feel like physically lifting everything. Neither of those positions are sustainable. That’s neither of those are a life. You’ve got to get to a point where you’ve got a clear plan for where you are going and then able to execute on that plan.

Jackie Campbell 2:37
And we’ve almost a small business owners become to expect that that’s just the way it is. Yeah. So what does the business owner need to do in that space? Obviously, other than contact yourself, or someone that they can resonate with? What is that first step for getting that focus and that vision really going?

Justin Davies 2:55
Couple of things. job number one is, you need all the brains you have – and all the brains you can borrow. Right? right! So the first thing is you do need to decide what sort of sounding board or coach or mentor or advisor you need to help you grow and meet with some. Absolutely meet them and talk to them and get a sense of, is there a chemistry a connection that they pass the barbecue test? If not, then you shouldn’t be working with them. So there’s a bit of that. But you also don’t want somebody who’s just going to be nicey-nicey to you all the time. That doesn’t help. The steps are to get a vision for where you’re going. Then you’ve got to put a plan in place – a simple plan, not a great big complicated third factor, business plan. Saw one of those about a month ago, completely worthless. Well, not completely worthless, you could use as a doorstop. Fantastic, you could light a fire with it, other than that useless, absolutely useless. I had no idea what the business was going to do as a result of building that plan.

Jackie Campbell 3:46
Maybe I could walk into a financial institution because often it seems to be with these really big plans around it, but not helpful from a business growth point of view.

Justin Davies 3:54
Well, they’re not. They’re like, what are you doing? Are you doing a selling document, or are you doing a document that actually guides where your business is growing to. Once you’ve got a strategic plan done and you’ve got an analysis of where the business is, you then can think about where the business is going to grow and what things you’re going to address. And guess what, you know, you can’t boil the ocean, you got to think about where do we start? Pick three things, start those, execute those really well. And then you’re on the way.

Jackie Campbell 4:20
Okay, so if you had to pick the first thing, what should be?

Two first things. Am I allowed two?

Jackie Campbell 4:26
You are a coach – you’re allowed to do anything you like.

Justin Davies 4:30
Visions is number one, where do we want to be?

Jackie Campbell 4:32
And you talking about something which is like, Oh, I would like to be a successful business.

Justin Davies 4:37
Yeah, that’s, that’s not exciting. That wouldn’t get me out of bed in the morning. There’s a few different ways of working back from vision but you just really think about, and people overuse this phrase, but the reality is, what you’re trying to do. I want a real clear picture that I can see smell, taste, feel, experience as vividly as possible, of what this business is going to look like. You know what it’s going to be like when I get there. Whom am I dealing with, where am I working from? What’s my computer look like? What sort of karma driving to work with? Or am I taking a motorised skateboard to work? Yeah, what? Who am I working with? And am I traveling? And while it’s the sort of stuff that I’m doing, and who are the clients I’m working with, write all that stuff down. Because that’s practical. It’s plain-speaking, usually, and it’s much more relevant.

The second job is to work out what are the top three things you are going to work on? And so what are the top three things they usually business got three parts, sales and marketing, operations and finance, right? Businesses are often good at one or two. Really good at all three, and everything starts with sales and marketing. So if you’ve got your positioning and all that sort of thing right, but you can’t deliver them, we know what we’ve got to work on. If you can deliver really great referrals and testimonials and all those sorts of things, but not enough customers. Well, guess what? We need to work on the sales and marketing. If we’ve got no cash. Well, guess what? We’re going to on the finance. It’s that simple.

Jackie Campbell 6:00
It’s just a case of going, where the heck do I actually want to be? Not Where do I think I should be where actually I want to be? Hmm. And not making excuses for that just being authentic, and then going Hang on a minute. Okay, cool. I’ve got these three parts to my Stool. Where do I need to start to shore up a little bit?

Justin Davies 6:20
Absolutely. And here’s the thing too, I find that when people are thinking about where they want to go, often they set a bar that is too low, because they don’t have the self-belief. So if I take a business that I’ve been working with over the last 12 months, in the last 12 months, I’ve tripled their turnover. Right? Tripled the turnover. Fantastic business great owners working really hard. Their target is double that. Right? So to double it triple, double or triple nice. Okay, so what we’ve now done is we’ve reset the target, which is double the double of the treble, right, if that makes sense.

So like your way You know, they’ve set a big target. And when I first talked to them about the first target, they just went can’t see it. So don’t worry about it. We’ll just, we’ll just put it there. And we’ll just aim for it. And the vision will come clear. Now we’ve doubled that target that they couldn’t see. And again, now they are “yes, we know, we understand we know we need to do.” That’s exciting.

Jackie Campbell 7:19
So where they work out what they need to do, the owner of the business, though, surely, they sort of kind of knee-deep, if not, neck-deep in what’s going on. So do they need to be able to change and grow with this sort of planning that’s going on? It does sound like it’s a personal journey. As much as it is a this is what I do for work. I go home to my family journey.

Justin Davies 7:44
Yeah, you’re right. If you think about like a racing team, you know, you’ve got the vehicle racing car that you’re in, you’ve got the pit crew around the vehicle and you’ve got the driver and you got to work on all of it. So if you think of the pit crew, that’s your team. If you’re the driver – if you put a great driver in a terrible car, you get a result you put a terrible driver in and an outstanding car you are just going to get flaming crash, you know so. So if you use that as an analogy, it’s an it’s an interesting one. But the reality is mindset is where it starts. And that’s a mindset, it’s got to pervade through the whole business. There’s plenty of coaches that just work on people. You know, it’s all about your personal development and your journey and all that, like if I hear that word, journey again… But the reality is, you’ve got to work on both. You’ve got to work on the mindset, you’ve got to give people the capability and skills but the reality is, if you’re working on the business and growing that person through what the business is doing, they’ll grow as well and everybody on solder.

Jackie Campbell 8:40
A lot of businesses start as micro-businesses. It’s you and a great idea or you and you’re making a great idea. And you really, really put your absolute effort, bring everything you possibly can to the table. Yeah. But you don’t sort of kind of know everything but you’re working on it. So you might go out and decide I need a website. So I need to do this myself. I’m gonna learn to code. Is that a good way forward? In your experience?

Justin Davies 9:04
No. I know plenty of people that do it, right. And I’ve met plenty of people who’ve done that. And what they’re doing is they’re saying is my money is worth more than my time. That’s what they’re saying. And what happens that after 12 to 14 months or so they go, actually, I’ve got that round the wrong way.

Jackie Campbell 9:22
And I’ve got no money in no time.

Justin Davies 9:24
Exactly. And I’ve my ideas dead because I can’t make it go now. Right? So you’ve you’ve got that. Sometimes, though, people have got to fail before that actually be paid to listen. One guy I was working with and I was talking to him about, you know, some things that he I thought he needed to be doing. And he just wasn’t taking it in. And so I just put a hand on his shoulder and I’d said to him, are you coachable? And he said, Ahhh no, I uh I don’t think I am. And what was funny was overnight, he came back and then went, actually, I’m gonna do all of those ideas. I think they’re good. And so you’re getting That change, but here it is the owners get stuck. You know, if there are owners out there listening to this, you’ll get stuck at a level. You don’t know how to get the next person into the business. The next couple of people in the business you stuck about do we hire a salesperson or not? You know, you’re stuck? Do we buy some equipment or not? And having somebody to help you get unstuck and get moving? Is what I think this is all about. Because then you get this momentum. And which is really exciting.

Jackie Campbell 10:29
Does it need to be a business partner or a coach? Or can it be a good bottle of wine and a best mate? What is the what is the best approach to get unstuck?

Justin Davies 10:38
Well, look, I’ve I’ve tried all of the above.

Justin Davies 10:43
And no coach, consultant, advisor has a monopoly on good ideas. good ideas can come from anywhere. An idea of itself, those interesting but it’s not useful until it’s executed. By here with us use the term advisor, mentor, coach, consultant, whatever it is, it doesn’t really matter. Some people want to get a mentor, somebody that will give them some guidance. But what you need is you need somebody that is prepared to take a call from you 10 o’clock at night because your business is in a ton of pain, and you need help. And when you’ve got a commercial arrangement with a coach, they’ll do that. I’ve never had the call yet. But it’s a heck of a relief for people to know, if “I was really stressed, I could ring you.”

Jackie Campbell 11:21
on Sunday afternoon, you’d still be on the phone. So when you’re running a business, and you’ve decided that you’ve got a plan, and you know where you want to go, and you know, this is the next step forward, and we’re growing and you’ve got a coach and you’re doing just what you know you need to do. And then life gets in the way and business gets in the way and someone throws you a curveball, and all of a sudden the Facebook ads aren’t going right and you can’t work out what’s happening with your A B testing and all these other great ideas that you had. It can seem really overwhelming when you just look back at the plan, which is maybe three 5, 10 years and you go okay, but it’s January. What do I do now?

Justin Davies 12:00
Here’s what I actually find, right? The people that actually get themselves in that situation that you described, and I met heaps of them.

Jackie Campbell 12:06
So it’s not just me, I’m really pleased to hear that.

Justin Davies 12:10
They don’t have a plan. They’ve got something in their mind. They’ve got some ideas and some targets, they don’t have a plan, they’ve got nothing written down, nothing cohesive, and they’ve rarely got anything that’s right across the business, right? Once you get to that.

Jackie Campbell 12:23
So these are the guys that are trying to go it alone, even if they’re not a solopreneurs. They’ve got a business which is doing its thing and they’re trying to lead by themselves or they’re trying to change the world by themselves.

Justin Davies 12:32
You go and ask your business and most sizes, and probably not quite up to listed but they’re quite large companies that might handing over $50 million $20 million, you know, that sort of realm and you go, can you show me your business plan, your strategic plan? You know, can you show me how that translated to a sales and marketing plan and drill down on it? You’d be surprised at the level of depth that isn’t there.

Jackie Campbell 12:57
Right, right. So when you assume that these guys who have really gotten together in that big business and got their act together.

Justin Davies 13:06
you would assume that. Guess what? They’re all doing the same as last year plus 10%. That’s not a plan. That’s bloody budget. Come on. So. So what I find is that here’s what we need to do actually come back to what we need to do first got to get a vision, where are we now? Right? What’s going on? What are the things we got to look at? What what’s important? What isn’t? What are we start doing? What do we stop doing?

You know, your Russian brothers? What are we doing less off? What do we get rid off? What do we do more of right? You know, so, you know, work out what you got to do there? Where do you want to be? What does it look like? What are we trying to do get some targets around that then how are we going to get there? So you do that you do that plan? You’ve got like a maybe a three-year view, maybe a 12-month view, but either way, what you then have to do is you have to bring that down to go well, what does the 12-month plan look like? What do the 90-day plans look like? And then how do we get what I call meeting rhythm? How do we get the team together? So the everybody’s focused because what happens is focus moves and dissipates every 90 days. It’s just a fact, right? We get distracted by all sorts of stuff. Well, meaning, good stuff, good ideas, all that kind of thing gets distracted, somebody sends us some great content marketing. And that makes us think we got to go off in some other direction. So we get distracted. What we’ve got to do is we’ve got to come back and build it like Lego, we’ve got to think about what are the quarterly blocks that we’re trying to put together? What does that mean, in terms of annual plan? How does that look in terms of our three-year plan? And this is where the plans aren’t big. It’s not hundreds of bits of paper. It’s usually in the 90-day plans are a page, right? But again, you’ve got the challenges working out what is it that we’re going to pick to do, right?

It’s, for example, I was talking to a business and I said, Tell me about your competitors. They said, we’re getting we’re getting no revenue and I said, Okay, well, where do you sit competitively? And they said, Oh, you know, we’re pretty good. We got some good customers who said, Okay, well, what are the criteria that your customers used to buy. So we went through all of that. And I said price. And I say, you know, capability blah, blah, blah, past work and so on. I go, Well, that’s interesting. What what waiting till they put the price 90%? I said, really, really? And so we went through all of these things and said, Okay, well, let’s write your top three competitors against all that. And they worked out they had a competitive disadvantage in every single Buying Criteria right across that that exercise took me now I went right, what are we gonna do about it? Because I can’t give you advertising on top of that. I can’t give you marketing. I can’t give you a smart salesperson is going to fix that. If you’ve got a competitive disadvantage, you’ve got to change your offering, change your costs, change your value, go into a different market, but you’ve got to move on to something different, otherwise, you’re just gonna hit a wall. You can work that out in an hour, right? It’s that pragmatic stuff.

Jackie Campbell 15:49
I’m gonna challenge that. If I’m a business owner, you’re I’m standing with the world around me. I’m facing this wall. I can’t work that out in an hour. If I could work that out be. I would have done that three 6, 12 months ago.

Justin Davies 16:03

Jackie Campbell 16:04
I need friends. You tell someone to sit there and my ego What the hell are you thinking turn around numpty?

Now just have a good hard look at yourself. You need that facilitated third party I must admit I’m an addict to doing everything I possibly can myself. But even I admit that you need to have sometimes a third party come in and tap you on the shoulder and say you know what we need to talk about this. Let’s have coffee. What about a, b and c?

Justin Davies 16:28
Sometimes what people love is, they love that sounding board. One guy that I was dealing with who’s runs a fabulous business. I was going coaching with him and we would just go and sit in Alito in Cottesloe and do coffee for two hours and throw different things around. And yeah, cool. That’s everything I need. I’m off. And he would go and execute brilliantly, absolutely, brilliantly, you know, fantastic business and great business owner. It depends what people need. I’ve had another business where I felt like I was coaching them for 12 months and feeling like I wasn’t getting any. We sat down and did a review after 12 months and said, like, where are we at? Well, I’m working 30 hours less a week. I’m taking home.

Jackie Campbell 17:11
There’s like, a whole person less

Justin Davies 17:15
So I’m taking home three times the profit, I’ve added another third. What I’m taking home in terms of salary, and I’m having more fun. It’s been a good year, right?

Jackie Campbell 17:27
So I didn’t even know any of this happened.

Justin Davies 17:30
And it’s one of those things where a good coach, good advisor will not come and go, right month one we’re doing this month to be doing that, you know, like, every business is different. Every owner is different. You have to make the business and the owner where they are.

Jackie Campbell 17:42
It’s not everybody wants world domination.

Justin Davies 17:44
True. I’ve got a couple of clients that have been working and they go, look, I’m actually building a lifestyle business here. All right, well, great, but what does that look like? What does the perfect outcome for that look like? This, just wait to that. Let’s get rid of all the things that you don’t need. So you get to that point, so it’s, it’s great fun. And in particular, when you’re working uniting teams, you know, I did some strategic planning work with a really exciting business just before the end of Christmas, and there’s about 12, 13, 14 people in that business and bringing all of that together and getting all aligned is just so much fun. They’re just such a great time really exciting business.

Jackie Campbell 18:20
Bringing them online means of course, they’re all running or pulling in the same direction in these little 90 day and we don’t wanna call 90-day sprint. So that’s one of those throw away to sprint. Okay. Sure, I could run for 90-day sprints, but okay, but you know, so you’re working in that space. Fantastic. So it sounds like it’s a case of packaging up the plane into bite-sized pieces. So that you can just take one section at a time and anybody can say focus and you get what you’re gonna do, and then you meet and go, Oh, okay, so So what are we doing next? what worked, what didn’t reevaluate re-energize and go have I understood that correctly

Justin Davies 18:55
Bang on there, and often what we do is we pull projects into a six-week time cycle. So you’re working out, I’ve got a fairly standard way of doing projects and find me a business does projects the same way? Unless a project management business, they just don’t. And even when I do an internal project, they can’t manage it because they’re not used to doing an internal project versus one for a client.

Jackie Campbell 19:14
There are no contractors to yell at. I mean, what’s the point of it?

Justin Davies 19:18
Exactly, exactly. You know, so, when you get that going, you start to see this momentum, and it’s just it creates a different energy in a different light. And in the, in the eyes of everybody working and I think that’s the thing you know, what drives me really is that you know, when you’ve got a business owner in a team with great vision, and they got clarity, where they going, they’ve become a fantastic place to work, they become a fantastic place for them to lead. They become a fantastic business for others to do business with. And they become just a wonderful pillar in the community. And I think the more those businesses we have those what excites me about getting out of bed in the morning

Jackie Campbell 19:54
You’ve been listening to Justin Davies from Emergination, a company that can really take your business, work with you on what you need to do on your vision, your strategy and make it your reality.


You can listen to the podcasts below:

  • Emergination Introduction


  • Business coaching and strategic planning – Business Expert


If you would like to find out whether Emergination’s business coaching services is right for you, contact us today for an obligation-free discussion.