“My work life has involved a variety of work roles, however until I retrained as an Allied Health provider, I had mostly worked in management. I had not owned my own business until 2014, when, after retraining as an Accredited Exercise Physiologist, I began providing services as a sole trader. For the first 18 months I operated my business from home and various rented consulting rooms, but soon found a space to offer both consulting and exercise options. After being quite successful at building a strong client base, I needed to employ people to help and my business grew quickly, until I both doubled the business floor space, and increased staffing to suit.
I found it difficult to find peer support, or small business support in the allied health area in the initial stages of running the business. I attended a series of workshops which supported allied health professionals who were running their own businesses, and at one of the sessions, Duncan spoke about mentoring / coaching for people in the position I was in. He offered a free initial session which I took up, and I then engaged him formally and we met a couple of times per year from that point on.
I felt I was capable of running the business – I knew how to set up the premises, what equipment was needed, what staff would be required – how to find them and employ them – but needed someone to work with to look at the big picture, so that I could be clear on my purpose for continuing in the business, and how to manage expansion. I spent many hours each week on running the business and working as a clinician, and had very little time or energy left to think about the overall business direction.
Engaging Duncan as a business coach meant that I set aside dedicated time for big picture thinking. During our sessions we discussed the ‘why’ of what I was doing, and what my short and longer term goals were. Duncan was very good at challenging me to look at the business picture differently, and to do some self analysis that helped me gain perspective. He also has extensive knowledge of how to set up a management structure that meant I was able to delegate better, and lighten my personal workload.
Although most of the time Duncan helped me with clarity about my own work and life goals, he also was able to recommend external supports that could make managing a business easier, and internal structural changes that would also enhance my day to day worklife. He enabled me to confidently make decisions that were to my benefit. As part of this decision making process I came to understand that even though I had created something positive for both myself and the community, it didn’t mean I had to stick at it forever – that handing it on to new owners was a legitimate outcome.
I recommend Duncan highly as a coach and mentor, particularly for small business owners.”