“Amazing how time flies – it was five years ago, that I eventually decided to click the opt-in button on an Entrepreneurs’ Circle ad and pay the princely sum of £4.95 to “cover postage and packing” for a one-month trial of the EC” says David Browne. “I never thought, for one minute, how that click would not only change our business but the lives of our entire family so dramatically and massively for the better.”
“Back then our marketing consisted of spending fortunes on Yellow Pages (we were in every book in Scotland), newspaper ads, magazine ads, radio advertising and we even had a deal with Scotland’s largest Sunday paper “Scotland on Sunday” for full colour, double-page spreads. Ads which, looking back now, are embarrassing to say the least. They were brand awareness ads that Coke and Nike would be proud of with no call-to-action in sight.
Back then I didn’t even know what AdWords was. Now, well that’s a whole story in itself. Facebook was something kids played with and I would never have thought that five years on it would be a licence to print money.
Oh, and the concept of autoresponders and lumpy mail had not even crossed my mind and we only used funnels when syphoning fuel.
Who would ever have thought that sending lots of mail to prospective clients in coloured envelopes with a proper stamp and a hand written address would make money, and who in their right mind would hand-address over 2,000 envelopes anyway?
Five years ago it didn’t even occur to me that compelling offers with deadlines would also make the cash register ring especially in the last few minutes before the deadline expired.
But not only that, five years ago, I’d never heard of Nigel Botterill, not to mention Terry Gormley, Martin Norbury, Aynsley Damery, Hazel & Tim Edwards and, of course, the amazing Pieter De Villiers – all amazing members of EC who have played such a part in the transformation of our business and change our lives way beyond anything they could ever comprehend.
I also didn’t have a book shelf with over 200 books (I have read every one) on how to do stuff, to say nothing of the massive manuals like the Six Pack. I’d never heard of ‘The One Thing’ – now I live by it.
Five years ago, our business had never been nominated for an award, let alone won one. Since then, The Scottish Shutter Company has been voted Scottish Family Business of the Year and won or been nominated for many more awards. We didn’t enter awards before we joined the EC.
Five years ago I didn’t spend 90 minutes each day working on my business instead of in it – the thought just never occurred to me but what a difference it makes.
Five years ago, I’d never hear of Infusionsoft., our CRM system. We didn’t have a database of clients just bits of paper everywhere with their names addresses and, sometimes their phone number on. Five years on and our Infusionsoft database of existing and prospective clients is our most important asset and its updated automatically at every interaction with a prospect or client. Infusionsoft also now provides an instant and accurate picture of the key performance indicators for the business.
Five years ago it never crossed my mind to think “what would the best in the world do?’ – why – because I thought we were so far removed from the best in the world that it was pointless even thinking about it. Now we concentrate on becoming the best in the world at what we do.
Five years ago, I was the hub of everything that happened in the business. Everything depended on me. I did everything – including the book-keeping and the CAD drawings. I believed, like many small business owners, that I was the only person capable of doing these things. In addition, I was measuring, quoting, buying, installing, fitting, collecting the cash and accounting for it. Now, we outsource everything we can, to experts in their field, leaving us to get on with the bits we’re awesome at.
Five years on, and the business is run by our Infusionsoft system and our staff (four more than we had five years ago) who operate the system.
Just like Ray Croc did at McDonalds, there are now written processes for every part of our operation. Judith & David (the next generation1) can get on with driving the business forward.
And for me, I now work on a whole myriad of new and exciting projects from the comfort of my home office. I rarely go into the business any more because it runs brilliantly without me!
I’m reminded of a guy I met at the very first EC National Event. He was introduced to me as he too had a shutter business, just like ours. His product came from the same supplier and his customer demographic was pretty much the same as ours except he was in middle England somewhere. I never saw him again and about a year later I enquired of his whereabouts only to find that he’d left the EC as he ‘couldn’t see any value in it for his shutter business’. Bonkers!
It’s all about your attitude and how you interpret things. I’ve learned that we all see the same thing in different ways. From different perspectives. Some see opportunities and some see the obstacles.
The opportunities and learnings we’ve had from EC have been life-changing for all of us.”