Be like Jo...
Jo Naylor is a high-end soft furnishing design consultant based in Lancashire. This is her story of how she took charge of her business and brought it from strength to strength over the past 2 years. She wanted to be able to provide a quality service to her customers, whilst forming the personal and family life she wanted to lead. This inspirational article shows just what happens when you use the passion you have for your business to keep driving you forward and the rewards you can reap.
My ‘Peerworking’ Experience
By Jo Naylor – Jo Naylor Design Consultancy
Through some earlier mentoring, I saw the wisdom in continually educating yourself, and I had managed to bumble along for 7 years taking advantage of any free events, researching on YouTube and reading the right books as and when I had time.
Joining ‘The Business Clinic’ was a leap of faith. At the time, to me, it was a large commitment to my cash flow and to my time. However, one which I have no regrets.
My Personal Rewards:
1. I do love understanding business, I love problem-solving and I love the sharing of knowledge, I have never believed that being ‘precious’ betters you
2. I love getting to know new people and being inspired and motivated by their stories, it helps recharge my batteries and challenges my thoughts on business
3. My time management skills are poor and our surgeries have been a great discipline, enabling me to improve on the different areas of my business, and making them all work together
4. I have fulfilled an ambition to teach, by default of a long process of establishing a way to grow my business
5. One of the few downsides of being self-employed is that I miss the buzz of being part of a larger team, so the regular meeting give me a boost and prevent me from feeling isolated
My Business Rewards:
1. My sales have increased, this is due to getting my message right with help from Consulting Practitioner Ged Henderson (Henderson News and Media) who helped me perfect my pitch which went on to affect my website and my literature. My message now attracts the right customers
2. My business plan (still yet to be completed) has evolved, and I have learned that creating some amazing document is not the golden chalice and that studying and working on each area. Making tweaks a month at a time is what makes the real difference to business owners like me who may be great at our trades but struggle with business acumen and entrepreneurship
3. Rubbing shoulders with experts rubs off! And you appreciate that some areas of your business will benefit from their input. I have had some great support from the team of Consulting Practitioners at Forbes Solicitors who have helped me protect my business with a solid set of terms and conditions
4. Understanding my numbers. For years this was an area that I shied away from, but it is now my best subject and incredibly drives me to improve. I now have a true grasp of my KPI’s through my online accounts dashboard and enjoy finding new ways to make my numbers work for me
5. Receiving advice on sensitive issues. The support network I have made through attending regular ‘Peerworking’ means I feel comfortable talking about even the possibly embarrassing aspects of business with full confidence that other people will have shared that issue themselves and even if they haven’t will be sympathetic rather than judgemental and that they will always give me their true and honest advice, even if it may not be something I want to hear. It’s truly constructive and impartial advice that makes you challenge the way you have always done things to find out if it could be done better
6. Goal achieving. I have mentioned teaching and I have some more to come but my passion planner has been a central tool in making these goals a reality, and it was all down to advice from just one surgery
7. Sharing my mental challenges. ‘Peerworking’ gave me the confidence to address some of my “head trash” about increasing deposits. It gave me the jolt I needed to make necessary changes in my business. This simple adjustment freed up my time to address other areas and kick the growth of my business up a gear
8. For me, the surgeries are like having your very own board of directors, except you have the casting vote
9. I was aware once that my marketing improvements brought in extra work that I was hitting capacity and struggled to break through the ceiling to better profits. I am sure everyone at The Business Clinic has been involved at some point in thrashing ideas around the table and I have eventually found one that works for me. My turnover has been freed to substantially increase and my profits are now more sustainable. This has enabled me to reduce a personal loan making my balance sheet much stronger
My Financial Rewards: (Some would argue these are the most important)
1. Being avid Sailors, my husband and I, and having a dream to sail off into the sunset, we have managed to bring our boat nearer home and refurbish her as part of our longer-term retirement plan
2. We have been able to pay for a family holiday to Australia to see my Sister and family which was a dream come true for us
3. We have been able to reduce our debt since losing our business in 2010, and are now looking forward to clearing this and building our assets to secure our future ahead
The business clinic has taught me to discover what I want most dearly from life, and use that to motivate the learning, planning, implementing and monitoring your idea of “success”.
So thanks to its brilliant structure, brilliant staff and all the likeminded generous practitioners around this table I can continue to do the job I love confidently and with just rewards for the effort.