In early 2016, I was dissatisfied with my business. I wanted to ‘make the boat go faster’, have more clients, grow my revenues and make progress towards my goals. Business seemed to have flat-lined and I needed to do something to kick start growth. I’d done lots of business training previously so I was wary of signing up for another programme – I knew I was the problem so it was as much about my attitude and motivation as a lack of knowledge. After a conversation with Tom at Dent (another Australian – why do we Brits need Australians to teach us about business?), I decided to take the plunge and started the very first Threshold Accelerator programme in London in April 2016.
The first session was exhilarating. Andrew Priestley clearly knew his stuff, he was authentic, informative, even entertaining but also challenging. After lunch we were treated to a truly inspiring talk by Masami Sato, a Japanese woman entrepreneur and author of ‘Giving Business’, otherwise known as ‘Buy One Give One’ or ‘B1G1’. This warmed my heart and demonstrated to me that Threshold Accelerator is about more than making money, it’s about being true to oneself and making a difference in the world. I liked that Andrew was big on the importance of gratitude and urged us all to go back and thank the mentors who’d helped us on our life and business journeys – this really resonated with me. During Q&A, Andrew said to one of our cohort, ‘I think you are being quite selfish.’ This startled me but I came to understand his meaning: we all have talents that can make a difference and by playing small, we are denying those talents to the world. As Andrew put it, we are all, ‘…sitting on a mountain of value’ and, ‘everything that comes out of your gob is gold.’
Andrew told us that the key question is ‘Why am I doing this?’ This is fundamental in the era of relational marketing so we all need to tell our business story to share and demonstrate our ‘why’. We also need to ask ourselves, ‘why will my target market buy from me, and how will I measure success?’ I liked Andrew’s lead qualifying process, which seemed more powerful than the traditional way: do I like my client? Can I deliver great results for my client? Can they afford me? Can they afford to implement my recommendations?
We also had an entertaining and informative presentation by Richard Woods, runner up in the previous series of The Apprentice. Richard shared his first business experience of buying gifts and curios abroad to sell in UK, in particular a Roman bust he called Maximus: after months of trying to sell Maximus to retailers, he realised he could never make money from it. This left me wondering if I was in effect trying to sell Maximus in my business – if I was good at what I did, why weren’t more people hiring me as a business mentor, career and life coach? I also realised that there is much more scope for me to use digital marketing.
I came away uplifted and determined that I would not squander this opportunity to have the business success I wanted while being my authentic self, recognising my talents and my value, and walking my true path. As Andrew advised, I voice recorded my feedback on that first training day. Here is some of what I said, ‘The target is now clearly and very firmly £83K turnover [the VAT threshold]. It’s given me confidence that this is the right programme and the right trainer for me.’
There was so much to think about from this first session. It was an exciting first day, I liked the people on my table and in the room. I felt more confident, motivated and ambitious afterwards – aiming way beyond what I was previously aiming for. I felt committed to following through with the programme. The next day I started carrying extra cash around with me as Andrew suggested, not the full amount of my day rate – that took me a week or so to build up – and it did give me more energy. After a couple of months, I replaced the cash with a cheque for the same amount that I wrote to myself, signed and dated 31 December 2016. I was curious to learn whether I would earn that amount from my business. If you’d like to find out what happened, email me and I’ll let you know: firstname.lastname@example.org For homework I began the ‘100 problem analysis’ in order to really understand my clients and their problems so that I could identify their top 3 problems, my solutions to those problems, and then develop marketing messages on these. As Andrew said, ‘sharpen your business on the stone of the market place.’
This photo shows our Threshold Accelerator cohort with Andrew Priestley and his son Daniel Priestley of 'Key Person Of Influence' fame.
Tags: "business accelerator" "business coaching"