Review of business coaching

Sarah and Kris Dillon,
KD Landscapes

Michael Ewald - M Ewald Building
M Ewald Building Logo

We’re a husband and wife business doing high-end landscape construction in Melbourne’s south east. Our business was going well. We knew we were making money but to be honest we never really knew how much. Everything felt like an educated guess. We had a good reputation and we got a lot of leads so our business didn’t need saving, we just wanted to understand our business better.

We’d heard about business coaching before. We wanted to look at a few options so we met with one coach but it just felt like a sales pitch, and it put Kris off the idea of coaching completely. We wanted a business coach to look at everything we were doing and do a proper review, not blow smoke just to get us on side.

A good friend of ours (who Kris used to work with) was getting business coaching for his landscape construction business. He recommended Tenfold highly, but to be honest it took about 6 months after the other business coach for Kris to be ready to consider it.

He finally agreed and we met with Lee at Tenfold. 10 minutes into our initial meeting and Kris knew it was the right fit for us.

An experienced sounding board

Because we’re in landscape construction we wanted a coach with experience in the trades industry because they could look at our operations and say, “Yep, that’s good. No, that sucks. You need to fix this, here’s how it could be better.”

And as a husband and wife business, it was important for us to have a third party as a sounding board. Someone who could say objectively what we needed to do without it causing tension.

We also knew that we didn’t want to expand. We have a young family and we want to protect the lifestyle that we’ve earned. So for us it wasn’t about getting bigger, it was about being better and gaining confidence in our ability as business operators and leaders.

When Lee sat down with us he said, “Your business is doing well, nothing is broken but it could improve in these areas.” He never came in saying, “You have to expand.” He understood our goals and he built a plan for them.

From educated guesses to informed decisions

Before coaching, Kris used to quote the way he’d learned on the job. Our bank account was always very healthy but in reality we had no idea how much money we were making on each job, or what things were costing us. I think that’s the way a lot of trades business do it; you kind of do what you know but you’re not really quantifying.

The advantage of Tenfold is that they coach landscaping construction businesses and so they have best practices. Lee took our quoting model and built it out into a tool that Kris now uses every day. And it has a profit sheet with current and forecast so we can see in advance where we’re going. That put the fire under Kris’ arse at times! Being able to see the booked work made it easy to see when he needs to quote more and when we are hitting comfortable targets.

A new perspective for a perfectionist

Kris is a perfectionist, which is a real strength most of the time because of his high quality work that clients absolutely love. But in some areas that perfectionism can hold us back. For example, it used to take Kris 3 months to hire someone new. Partly because he’s so fussy but also because when you don’t know exactly how much money you’re making on a job it can be kind of scary to think about the financial commitment of putting someone on and how much work you need to have to justify it. Having our business coach as a sounding board helped because we have totally clarity on our financial position and our pipeline, and also because Lee gave us a different perspective about hiring.

We’ve now got a development plan for our foreman, James. He’s starting to quote using the tool, and because we know 100% that both James and the tool are completely reliable, we’re confident in delegating.

Growing us as business owners

Like many guys in the trades, the idea of money stresses Kris out. He does excellent work and he hates the idea of ever letting anyone down. But the problem with that is that he would quote any job. He would take lots of small jobs pretty much anywhere, he wasn’t protecting his time.

Coaching isn’t about giving you the answers, it’s about asking the right questions. Lee tapped into Kris’ knowledge and came up with the strategy to finesse where we are targeting our work. It’s gone gangbusters; we get so many quality leads that we didn’t get before.

One of the major benefits of coaching is how it has developed Kris’ confidence as a business owner. By having a better understanding of his business, it enables him to make smarter decisions. He’s more confident in knocking back work that doesn’t fit our niche now.

Why I recommend Tenfold Business Coaching

My advice to people who are considering coaching is this: I don’t think it matters what stage of your business you’re in, even if you’re going well, it can help you in every aspect. Having another pair of eyes and someone who is a sounding board, they can have your back when you’re a bit uncertain and they can give you a push when you need it.

Visit KD Landscapes website here.