Posted: Tue 27th Apr 2021
Every business owner has a different reason for starting their own company but more often than not, we want the same outcomes: we want it to grow, make a profit, have a happy and engaged workforce, and we want it to give us a better lifestyle.
However, as the years go by, often the reality of working harder for less money sets in, among other issues like having less time to spend with family. As a business coach, I have helped countless business owners realise their ambitions. Here is one such story and how together, we overcame the obstacles that were blocking progression.
Louise had been running her own reflexology business for eight years and while it was doing OK, it wasn't giving her the financial independence she had hoped for. She worked remotely, travelling to clients' homes to perform both chiropody and reflexology treatments. She had a large portable chair she would take with her and was charging £35 for a one-hour treatment.
Louise was in rented accommodation but wanted to buy her own property
She was a single mum and had a lot of financial pressure on her shoulders
She had a problem with her own back due to the positions she would sit in for treatments and transporting the heavy chair to each appointment
Louise was feeling a lot of stress and not enjoying the business as much as she used to
Overall, Louise knew she wasn't charging her clients enough but as she had a loyal client base, she was worried an increase in her prices would result in clients leaving.
As soon as I met Louise, I could see she was a very determined lady and a really hard worker; however, she was getting towards breaking point. She was really desperate not to go back into employment but wanted a better and secure future for her and her son.
Together we explored what she wanted her business to look like. We imagined:
The life she wanted to lead
Where she was going to live
What she was going to buy
How much she wanted to and could work
Her dream was to have her own little studio, which would have its own therapy room, so she didn't have to travel to other people's homes. Instead, they would come to her and she would have a professional height-adjustable treatment chair, which would also mean she would not have to perform treatments at awkward angles.
Together we looked at how Louise could realise her dream and agreed we had to work on her pricing. While £35 an hour seemed appropriate, the hours she worked were not consecutive because of travelling in between clients. In fact, with travel time and petrol consumption, Louise was only earning that £35 every two hours.
After overcoming the initial fear of losing customers if she increased her prices, we actually decided to keep her hourly rate as it was but only if clients came to her. If clients wanted Louise to go to them, to treat them in their own homes, then it would be £45 an hour. This gave her current client base a choice.
The issue of her bad back would be solved by buying the height-adjustable chair which she could buy on finance and with her projected income, we knew it wouldn't take long for her to pay it off.
Her rental property had a spare room and so she took the plunge. Clients who wanted to continue paying £35 an hour were happy to travel to her and those who wanted to be treated in their own homes were happy to pay more.
Within a year of operating her business in this new way, Louise's situation was very different. Most of her clients were more than happy to come to her house, and she was hardly doing home visits anymore. She was also able to increase her minimum price to £45 and thus improve her financial situation even more. A few years later, she was able to buy her own house and have a bespoke treatment room in her garden. The height-adjustable chair had long since been paid off and she was able to work in much more comfort.
Obviously Covid-19 and numerous lockdowns had an effect on Louise's business, but the negative impact was alleviated by the fact she made the changes. As a result, she is still going strong.
If you, like Louise, are working extremely hard for little financial reward, or you simply want a renewed vigour for your business dreams, working with a business coach can give you clarity and confidence to make changes to help lead you towards a happy and successful business life.
Disclaimer: Names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals, but this is a real case and if you would like to discuss it with me, you are very welcome to contact me.