I had my first experience with a business coach in January 2016. Initially I was very enthusiastic about our activities, plans and goals. However, as the year progressed I felt that we were jumping from one theme to another without fully completing outstanding tasks. On reflection we were responding to the current issues whilst not having a carefully considered business plan. A failing, I identified in myself, but one that a seasoned business coach would have alerted me to and held me accountable to by analysing the business, identifying the priorities and setting ambitious goals. In addition, and most importantly, they would provide bespoke management tools pertinent and relevant to my business. Unfortunately, going into the last quarter of 2016 I couldn’t identify any significant progress; or returns on our coaching investment. Therefore, I terminated our contract with the business coach.
Around the same time, I received a referral from a supplier to give Stuart a call, who at that stage he’d work with for two and half years; and arranged an initial meeting to discuss our situation. From the outset the whole approach was completely different. I felt that despite our recent bad experience we couldn’t refuse the opportunity to engage Stuart’s services. Stuart was very analytical from the start of the meeting, asking detailed questions about our business, listening intently, and suggesting improvements that immediately resonated with us.
We already had a fairly good understanding of our businesses financials, but Stuart interrogated them to a much deeper level and through 2017 we gradually implemented additional systems to plan, measure and forecast our financial performance. This helped us to make much more informed decisions about the business and our strategies moving forward. In addition, we continued to maintain detailed financial reports enabling us to really keep our ’fingers on the pulse’ of the businesses’ financial performance.
Stuart founded and managed his own company, over a twenty-five year period, which I believe sets him apart from the majority of other business coaches. It seems an obvious prerequisite to becoming a business coach, but the facts are that most coaches haven’t actually operated their own businesses. They are classroom taught rather than learning from their own experiences good or bad.
During our first year with Stuart our turnover increased by 32% and our net profits improved by 109%, which made a significant impact on the business.
Stuart is a valuable member of our management team and continues to play a significant part in our financial, sales, marketing, operations, production and HR activities.
I would have no hesitation in recommending Stuart’s services to other ambitious businesses, regardless of their industry, who require help and support to build a more profitable business.
Chris Davies - Managing Director
Stuart has worked with our level 3 chef students previously, enhancing and enriching their curriculum in product development and delivery.
Since September 2017 I have been very fortunate to have Stuart teaching elements of the business management curriculum to my Level 3 hospitality management students.
Stuart’s knowledge and expertise in business has benefitted my students in their studies in exposure to such a valuable resource, providing real life and current business practises that tie in with the curriculum.
Over six tailor made sessions, Stuart has guided my students through the necessary steps to start up and run their own hospitality event company.
Beginning with the Orbit map on the first session Stuart lead the students through the three year plan. Explaining as we went through and adding information into the key areas of business planning and expansion over three years. In the second session we looked at the 90 day and 12 month goals, applying them to the plans set out in the Orbit map. In the third session we looked at budget forecasting for a 12 month period, taking into account the income vs expenditure. In the fourth session we went through the conversion rates and calculation, including weekly and monthly cash flow projections. In the fifth we went through Stuart’s marketing plan, including marketing strategy and review. Lastly Stuart took us through the time line and checklist for event planning which neatly tied up the whole experience for the students. Essentially each student received the resources and knowledge to start their own business.
Stuart’s delivery and patience with the students has led to some great teaching sessions. This has taken considerable time and effort from Stuart, for which I am extremely grateful.
Stuart’s sessions have been informative and interesting.
I now have the materials I need if I wanted to set up my own business.
Although I found some of the calculations quite difficult at the start, Stuart was patient and was able to explain in a way that I could follow and catch up.
Stephen Frei Level 3 Hospitality Management Programme Manager
We tried a number of coaches, including some big names, before enlisting Stuart Allan's help and his approach has been refreshing. Whereas most coaches have a text-book knowledge and trot out the same cliches and motivational material, Stuart has a very practical, bespoke design for each of his clients.
With a history of building up a successful brand, only to see it collapse when a large supermarket played the school-yard bully and then resurrecting it to take it on to a very profitable sale only a few years later, Stuart knows the conditions at the coal face.
We are beginning to see the fruits of the partnership and we hope things will continue to improve as rapidly. Meticulous financial records are a hallmark of Stuart's support and the value of them to our operation has been enormous.
I would add a note of caution to any business employing parrots, not to let Stuart near them, they bite!.
Don Bremner BSc BVSc MRCVS
I started working with Stuart in January 2017, I was a bit sceptical to start with as I had read a bit about business coach’s and was unsure of what to expect.
My main reason for working with Stuart was because I had lost interest, drive, ambition and was on the way to wanting out of my business, I had started the business 13 years ago and in the last five years had seen massive growth but had seen the business plateau in the last 12 months, I was concerned that our costs were increasing but our profit was starting to dwindle.
The first couple of meetings with Stuart I noticed I was getting some interest back but I was still doubting whether I was doing the right thing, anyway as time went on I did all the tasks Stuart told me to do and I started to notice subtle but very interesting changes, I invested in HR, I invested in Marketing, I invested in new vehicles, all the things that I would have never done on my own.
We are 8 months down the line now and I have for the first time a very clear understanding of my business, where I would like my business to go, our figures say it all, to date we are 21.8% increase on our growth to this period last year, my staff now have clear focus, I complete all my work and manage to take time for myself.
Stuart has opened my eyes to the fact that everything I was going through is the same as all other businesses, I no longer worry about what I could have done, I now concentrate on the next idea or project.
From a sceptical start in January to a solid growth plan and structure in September. That is one thing I can thank Stuart for and I am looking forward to the next part of the journey.
Many thanks Stuart for your help and advice
Lee Thrower - Managing Director