Don’t ignore your own business.

Almost all small business owners are guilty of prioritising doing what they love – the reason they got into business in the first place – over admin and promotion.

This is not the case for Jo and Wayne Pearce, co-founders of Eaglet Business Systems Ltd, who found that changing the way they think about these three areas is the fundamental reason behind the success of their business – but they had to learn the hard way.

The Problem

Eaglet specialise in providing consulting, auditing and training in British and International standards.

When starting in 1997, Wayne set up Eaglet as a sole trader. As time progressed, Wayne was able to develop Eaglet into a small business, with Jo joining full-time in 2005. Like many business owners, Jo and Wayne made the reason for starting the business their primary focus; certain that their quality work would bring in the money.

In the beginning, Jo admits that times were extremely difficult. Without Jo’s regular employed salary, the couple’s whole livelihood became dependent on the success of the business.

“It was typical ‘boom-or-bust’. When we had a contract, everything was great; when we didn’t, things weren’t so great.”

Then, when Wayne suffered an accidental injury and was forced to take time away from the business, things became critical.

With Wayne, the primary operator, away from the business, the husband and wife team needed to find some support before their company collapsed.

“We were being forced to seriously contemplate returning to fulltime employment, not something any business owner ever wants to go back to, but certainly something our families wanted us to do.

“Then we came across the Momentum programme and thought it was time to get some expert help if we were to save the business from foundering”.

The ETC solution

Jo and Wayne met with Executive Training and Consultancy Limited (ETC) to discuss the business in a free two-hour business review. After identifying that the Momentum programme was the best course of action, the next step was to create a tailored three-year business plan to initially help the business recover, then become more focused and efficient to increase profits.

When writing their first business plan, Jo and Wayne’s primary objective was to recover the business, but their long-term ambition was to employ full-time consultants so that they could step away from day-to-day operations.

To achieve these objectives, Jo and Wayne had to completely re-think how the business operated. ETC worked with them to put processes and strategies in place and appoint a decision-maker: someone who had the final say at those stalemate moments.

“It’s common for a husband a wife team, or any partnership, to make decisions together. This is great when you agree on things, but it’s potentially devastating when you don’t. Every business must have someone ultimately accountable: to make sure things get done and have the final say when a decision needs to be made.”

Doug D’Aubrey, Executive Training and Consultancy Limited

For Eaglet, that decision-maker had to be Jo. Her responsibility within the business was to focus on growth and business administration. This allowed Wayne to concentrate on how best to sell and deliver a quality service. In clearly defining these roles, decisions within the business became much easier to make, and on the rare occasion they disagreed, Jo’s new role ensured they made the right decisions quickly and effectively in order to progress.

With the new roles established, ETC worked with Eaglet on how to best manage their time – creating a balance between administration, lead generation, promoting the business and doing the actual work. This included dedicating time to networking, creating a clear, visible sales pipeline and developing new, engaging marketing materials.

“Throughout the whole programme, ETC was amazing at making us accountable. They made sure we set appropriate, realistic goals and had a purpose. It’s so easy to lose focus when the actual work is taking up so much of your time. ETC helped us realise that the administration and promotion of the business is the work too. Because I was accountable for completing the goals we set, I felt obligated to complete them – so we got them done!”
The outcome

Within three months of starting the Momentum programme, Eaglet was back to breakeven. Within six months, the business had completely turned around and was making a profit.

By the time the three-year Momentum programme ended, Jo and Wayne found themselves busier than ever, managing to keep a team of consultants working throughout the year and consistently trading at a level 25 times their starting point.

Ten years after starting the programme, Jo and Wayne still use the Momentum principals and have even entered into a new programme to help them develop their new automated ISO management system software.

“I can quite honestly say that the Momentum programme probably saved our business. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

When we looked at developing our own software, we realised that the success and day-to-day running of the business could easily divert us away from something we know will make a massive difference in the industry. With ETC on board, we know we’re going to get great outside support, give the software the attention it deserves and make it a success.”