My name is Cathy Thesing and I started in business in 1998 as Melbourne Dietetic Centre. We had a team of 6 dietitians including myself in a small clinic in Camberwell. Like many small business owners, I spent 80% of my time working in the business and 20% doing the admin. My husband, Ralf, had corporate role with SAP and he helped me on the weekends. Because that’s what you do when one of you has a small business. Our goal was just to have a bit more financial freedom and more time to enjoy it.
My degree was in dietetics; at university they didn’t teach us anything about business. Nothing about financials, or cash flow or employment law. Nothing about how to grow a successful business. I took the business as far as I could. Then I looked to coaching and started with my coach in 2004.
Our business coach put the focus on the right things
The initial value we got out of coaching was from the alignment consultation – having someone from outside look at the business and the way were running things. It was really clear that working with a Tenfold business coach would have a very different outcome – the focus was going to be on what the business should do for us.
With our coach in Melbourne, we developed a big picture that was really clear and we set a path to achieving it. Our business coach used his experience to help us identify a niche – a sector of the market that we could serve really well and profitably. We mapped out an organisation chart and built a financial model. That helped us hire the right roles at the right time. And it worked. The business grew profitably and Ralf left his corporate job (which had felt like a golden cage) and joined me full time in the business.
Taking the business to the next level
With the business going well in Victoria we thought, “where to from here?” We decided we wanted to take the business to the next level, which meant nationally. Our business coach looked at what we needed to put in place: plans and goals for this new chapter, measuring along the way for how we’re progressing.
Over time we built our business to a team of 30, servicing clients across Australia. We promoted one of our team members to operations manager and then general manager. Coaching extended to our senior staff members, enabling them to take responsibility and make decisions. We learned to trust the team because they were on board with our goals and we were investing in their capabilities.
Better than expected
Business mentoring with Tenfold turned out to be different from our first expectations. We thought that business coaching would only be relevant to marketing, finance and operations but it was so much more – it evolved over time as we needed it to. Our Tenfold coach showed us the difference between being an employee of your own business (which I was originally) and being a business owner. You’re really only a business owner (not an employee) when the business can run successfully without you. Because we had built a business (and not just a job), we were able to take a 10-week holiday to Europe, as well as regular 2-week breaks throughout the year.
Finished business, financial freedom
We started to receive offers to buy the business; they were decent offers but they weren’t interesting to us for various reasons. Then we were approached by one of the major players in the Australian aged-care sector with a very attractive offer to buy the business. It took us 3 months to decide to accept. We sold the business in 2018 and now we have complete financial freedom.
We were coached for 14 years and the results we achieved were more than we hoped for when we set out.
Return on investment
People sometimes ask if the investment in coaching is worth it. I can say that coaching with Tenfold is definitely worth it and it also depends what you make out of it. It’s more than just turning up – if you implement what you learn, there’s no limit.