joanne s

Author Archives: joanne s

May 10, 2016

Spring Clean Your Business

This weekend felt very much like Spring had arrived and as it did Shara and I took to cleaning the house, got some fresh air out walking and my thoughts turned to my health.

Health, in particular making time to be healthy, has been a constant challenge to me especially since Shara was born 4 years ago.  I want to be fitter BUT something always stops me.  I can hear the excuses now:

  • I don’t know where to start
  • There is so much conflicting advice in respect of diet which one is right for me?
  • That works for everyone else but they are not me and I’m different
  • I don’t have the time or energy to do that

Two of my biggest blocks are not wanting to know how bad it has got (measurements!) and not wanting to share that information with someone who can help as I’m afraid it will not look good.

So as I’m sharing my springtime walk with my wonderful little girl I made the decision that this is my time to face up to the excuses and just get fit anyway.  And for 5 days in I’ve juiced daily, I’m being more active and I’m talking to two personal trainers about getting help with planning and staying on track.  Oh and I took some measurements!

So what does that have to do with you and your business?  Well I realised that the feelings I have around health are the same feelings many business owners have that stop them improving their businesses.  I was with one such business owner today who, although they knew business was tough, did not have the information to know why or how bad things had got.

My first step with them has been to have a detailed look at what is going on and make recommendations for how they can structure management reporting going forward.  And I have to say I was nervous about the meeting as I did have bad news to deliver.  BUT it went really well.  The meeting highlighted for the business owner what was not working and because I had identified key drivers that needed to be addressed to improve performance an action plan was created that I am confident will make a big difference to business results quickly, one step at a time.

This reminds me of what my personal trainer said to me this weekend.  How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.  An old one but it makes sense.  You just need to start somewhere.  So for my health that means:

  • Decide what my end goal is
  • Measure where I am now
  • Get support
  • Plan my strategy
  • Implement
  • Review and adjust my strategy based on results.

And I’m excited to have already started.

Which leads me to ask you – what is it you want to spring clean?  Your business?  Your health?  Or is it something else? And what will you do differently this time to make sure you get better results.

Until next time, keep growing

Best regards



p.s. We are launching our next business workshops in a few days.  To get early notification and take advantage of £180 discount on your ticket click here click here

April 26, 2016

Employed Versus Self Employed

Today I was asked a question that I have often been asked before and I think many of you may face from time to time.  I know I have asked it of myself at times.  Do I take an opportunity to be employed right now or do I continue working for myself?

If this is something you are considering you might like to see the answer I gave this person. For me this starts with looking at what you want your business to do for you, whether that is employed or self-employed. Consider:

  • What do you really want for your life? – Start with the end in mind and the big picture so you know what you do fits with that.
  • What is the nature of work? – Is that the same for both opportunities?  Are you doing what you love as if you are the rest can be fixed!
  • Who are you working with? – Do you like them enough to commit?
  • Location – Is it where you want to be?
  • Hours – Number and flexibility (if flexibility is important).
  • Rate – What do you need / want to earn across how many hours and can you provide that better self-employed or employed?

You can also play around with what is tax allowable self employed versus employed but if the answers to the above lean one way or another then you have your decision.

Don’t let money be the deciding factor – I regularly demonstrate to business owners not making what they want how easily they can structure their products or services into packages aimed at the right target customer, to charge what they want and need to and earn what they are really worth.  In fact it is a big focus on our upcoming workshop.

And if the above still does not give clarity, a more simple way is list the positives and negatives of both options and see which list is longer.

Oh yes and you also need to consider the business viability of the employer – no good giving up your business unless you know they have a sustainable business themselves!

I hope this is of interest to some of you facing tough decisions and if you want to look at this and a whole lot more, why not join us at one of our workshops.

February 1, 2016

Happy New Year

Happy New Year


I know for most of you the year starts 1st January, but I decided for me this year I am designating 1st February as my new year. I’ll tell you why later.


And look what popped into my inbox this morning – inspiration from the universe:


Joanne, I love this job! You know, writing to you every day.

Do you know how I got it?

I just started doing it.

And that’s all anything takes.

Magic follows,

The Universe


On 10th January I had the pleasure of being reunited with a fantastic group of people in Dublin where we were attending a training with the wonderful Chris Howard. I’ve trained with Chris and his trainers all over the world and I am immensely humbled and honoured to be part of a smaller training group this time learning his material direct from him. This course was about presentation skills peppered with the usual Chris magic that changes your life and reignites your passion for what you do. And it gave me total clarity:


You can make money doing what you love.


Wind forward one week and I find myself knee deep in tax returns (32 out of 34 NOT done) and haven’t had chance to breathe since. Until today that is as they all got finished on 30th allowing me to finally write to you. The irony is I said last year ‘No MORE’ as I no longer thrive on compliance work. Yet there I was again faced with an even bigger hurdle than the year before. Or was it?


The fact is I had made progress. Can you relate to that at all? It wasn’t as bad because this year I took steps to address the problem. I had already notified clients I am moving away from compliance work and some had gone elsewhere. I had set up appointments with local accountants to talk about outsourcing compliance work and this made me feel more in control of the outcome. I also scheduled all the work I had to complete so I could handle it, one return at a time. And the plan worked. I finished a whole day earlier than last year. And the result is, today I have the gift of time and space to plan so I can get back to making money doing what I love, which includes writing to you. So, what is it that is STOPPING YOU do what you love and how can you overcome it?


And as I restart my new year, today I also set my goals. They are simple, clear and achievable. Last year I achieved my primary goal far easier than the rest, so I’ve decided to set a primary goal that is most important to me, improving my health. There are some other things I’d like to achieve on the way, so I’ve set those too, but my focus is health.


What about you? Have you set goals for your year? Do you feel off track and want to join me in resetting your year start date to 1st February? If so why not let me help you do just that.


As part of my new year celebration I am offering 3 taster sessions where I will take you through my 7 step process to getting back to making money doing what you love. We will spend 3 hours together, one to one, getting you back on track and coming up with a strategic plan. I usually charge £495 for this session, but for just three of you this is free – my new year’s gift. To learn more and book your session click here:


My new year wish for you is to have magic flow through everything you do so 2018 really is the best year you have ever had.


Happy new year.


All the best




p.s. These 3 slots will go fast so book now to kick start your 2018

January 6, 2016

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

I hope you had a fun festive season and, like me, are ready for a productive and creative year ahead.

Usually around this time of year I would be writing to you encouraging you to reflect on the year just gone and to set goals for the year ahead. I would also be telling you to make these specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and timed and be clear on your end game.

However this year I have taken a very different approach to my business and personal goals and would instead like to share that with you.

Yes I have reflected on the year just past. We had a great year, building the team to 5 regular members. We grew as a business in terms of turnover and profit and I got my month in Australia. What I also found was the year felt tough and much of it was an uphill climb. And I know many of my clients experienced the same.

So this year I am keeping things much simpler. This year I am looking for flow, in both my business and personally. This year I am saying YES to what feels right and NO to what just simply doesn’t. My goals are far more general.

  • To maintain and improve my work / life balance and make sure I get at least 6 weeks away with Shara before she starts school.
  • To work with clients I enjoy working with, that respect my opinions and include me as part of their team.
  • To stick to what I love and delegate the rest to the other experts. This includes expanding our team of expert trainers to deliver courses through the BGA.

There are a few more, but you get the point. And yes this is backed up by an updated strategic plan and a detailed budget (come on I’m still me!) that I will be meeting my team on in the next few days BUT it feels as if this year I have a broader perspective and am open to possibilities.

And I wish you and your business flow and success in 2016

Best regards


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December 7, 2015

Is your team in the Premier League?

Is your team in the Premier League?

Do you ever look at your staff and wonder how they hoodwinked you into thinking employing them was a good idea? Or do you gaze upon them with pride and gratitude, knowing you wouldn’t be where you are today without them?

If you’ve ever felt that some of your team are not performing at their best and do not share your drive and enthusiasm for the company’s success, it is time to take the team apart, analyse it and rebuild it; faster, more efficient and hungry for success.

The thing is, like all elements of your business, your team performance does not have to be subjective.  In fact it is by measuring the team numbers we often get the best results for the business we work with.  And by including team members in the process we get their buy in and commitment which further improves business performance.

The types of measures we look at are:

  • Return per employee per hour
  • Chargeable versus non chargeable time
  • Cost per desk
  • Efficiency – comparing work generated in house with the equivalent work outsourced
  • Contribution to overheads
  • Charge out rate and what profit this should generate based on expected productivity
  • Return on training and development.

There are lots of non financial measures too:

  • Staff satisfaction as indicated by staff turnover, absenteeism and general attendance
  • Innovation and ideas generated
  • Customer satisfaction

A good business will be as successful as its team.  And there are many ways to both motivate and reward success from good benefit packages, through to the Christmas party and even just the acknowledgment of a thank you for a job well done.

At Business Growth Academy, we help you to calculate the numbers behind your team performance and also work with your teams so they take responsibility for achieving their own goals.  We will show you how to plan for non-effective hours (holiday and sickness) to ensure your turnover is not affected.  We will give you ideas of how to motivate and empower your team, encourage them to share in your success, and consider the return on training and development.

If you have the right team around you, they will support you all the way. And remember, if you have empowered your team, trained them well, and supported them to learn through practice, they will be capable of running your business in your absence, freeing you to concentrate on other things.  What will you do with this extra freedom?  A spa day, a round of golf or that well deserved and often put off golf day?

Come along to one of our introductory sessions find out how to take your business into the Premier League.