Reliable Plumbing has been operating as a family-run business in Melbourne for nearly 40 years. In that time, we’ve earned a reputation as an industry leader in commercial facility maintenance. The company was profitable and running well when I took over in 2009 but it wasn’t without its difficulties.
I learnt to run a business on the job. I was comfortable with where I got it to but I knew it could do more. I considered doing a business degree but it would have been a massive commitment of my time. I realised that I needed the knowledge now, not the qualification or the bit of paper at the end.
It was hearing from other business owners about the value they got from their Tenfold coach that prompted me to consider coaching. These are guys I respect and they had really good feedback about their experience with Tenfold Business Coaching; they encouraged me to look into it so I did. I started working with Ashley at Tenfold in November 2014.
In the time I’ve been coached by Tenfold, the business turnover has tripled and net profits have grown almost 5-fold. Those are great results and they’re not the only benefit of coaching – it’s the clarity you get to see your business from a different angle and see the bigger picture.
It’s good to have someone to bounce ideas off, particularly in a crisis. My coach, Ashley, helps me see things from a completely different perspective. He’s closely involved in the business but removed emotionally. He can see straight down the line and see clearly.
It’s also useful to have a sounding board who can objectively validate your ideas and help you implement them. You get the advantage of learning from the coach’s experience. A good coach like mine has seen it all before; they can tell you, “watch out for that, this has worked well for other businesses.” And because Ashley works in a firm, you get access to the collective experience and collective results of other coaches.
Coaching has also contributed to my own development as a leader of the business. I’m much more focused on the key numbers in the business now and I’ve learned so much more about leading a high performing team.
The team has changed a lot since we started coaching; we’ve more than doubled in size and improved the quality of the team. Ashley assisted with the recruitment for two new roles that have made a significant difference to the operations of the business. We’ve also managed out some underperformers. It’s never enjoyable to performance manage someone so it’s good to have the support of an experienced coach. We’re in such a better position now and I know we wouldn’t be here without the team we have.
The goal for Reliable Plumbing has always been to be the preferred supplier for plumbing maintenance in the education sector. Our Tenfold coach helped us prepared for and present the tender for the University of Melbourne contract, which we won. We’re now targeting other industry leaders and working on systems to negotiate and structure better supply deals.
Before we started coaching, my wife Steph and I wrote down our plans for the next 3, 5 and 10 years. I pulled them out a couple of weeks ago: our 3-year plans are well and truly achieved, we’ve ticked off our 5-year plans, and we’re already ahead of schedule for our 10-year plans. I need to set new goals!
If you’re considering coaching with Tenfold, I’d say do yourself a favour. From the outset, it seems expensive but you get it back. It takes a bit of time in those early few months for it to pay off but you definitely get it back on the bottom line.
I originally thought that I’d give coaching a try for 6-12 months. That was 3 years ago and I now believe that as long as I’m in business, I’m in coaching for life. I get so much value from it.