July is usually the time (and should be) for reflection of the previous year but for whatever reason we have been solidly booked up so there has been no downtime for us . Well I’ll rephrase that, there’s a few reasons why we were booked up which I’ll go into in more details throughout this post.
The first two weeks of July saw Amy and myself in Sydney exploring the options of 1. Amy joining up to The Entourage as an ongoing member and 2. Opening up our Sydney operation. We had a game plan for while we were down in Sydney but like anything in business nothing ever goes to plan, more on that soon.
The first week went really well. We checked into our hotel and I asked the concierge what time breakfast was open from (cause I know Sydney is a late start compared to Brisbane) and he mentioned breakfast will be in a different location tomorrow morning as we have an event on. Straight away I knew but I had to ask anyways. It wouldn’t happen to be BNI would it? Of course it was! I hadn’t packed any business clothes, because I learnt from the month before that everyone wears casual clothing at The Entourage, WeWork (the co-working space we will be working from) and Pyrmont in general, so that night after the entourage event Aims and I headed to Witchery to buy some business attire.
The first two days of The Entourage event was all about marketing so both Aims and I were super keen to get stuck into it. The first day we learnt all about the Sales process, Strategic Partners and Bots. Most of these topics I had already learnt in the past so I used this day to actually implement as we listened. So at the end of day 1 I had 3 pages of notes and countless already actioned items and emails sent off! I found this to be very effective. So the next morning I rock up to BNI and as unlucky as I was it was actually a closed meeting. Being the fact I’ve been in BNI 9 years I understood that being a closed meeting meant no visitors, so I met a few guys quickly, swapped business cards and heading back to the room to catch Aims before she went for her run. I quickly threw on my running gear and we headed out for what we thought would be a nice early morning mindset and focus switch on, but ended up being a very short, get me he hell home, freezing cold 2km run! Yer we hadn’t thought that through. It’s definitely not a Brisbane winter that’s for sure.
The second day we focused on Free Media exposure through online platforms, content writing and podcasts. I had a small amount of knowledge in these areas but now I have shitloads and we are still actually implementing everything we learnt. Absolutely loved this day and both Amy and I are talking about things we learnt, a month later. The thing I learnt most about being back in amongst The Entourage crew is that you can actually take time off during the week and work on the business. Business didn’t stop, the world didn’t end. It was an awesome feeling!
Now this was the “ahh-ha” moment for both Amy and myself and this was when shit got exciting. The next day (which was a Saturday, I mention it was a weekend for a reason, we had no other distractions so we had real time to reflect on the last two days after the Entourage event, Amy and I went for a really big 8km walk, ate breakfast at a café in darling harbour and got a ferry ride over to meet a client in Manly. So this was a good solid 8 hours with just the two of us (this doesn’t happen often enough!). This is when we discovered, well Amy really discovered it so I won’t take the credit for it, is during the two days Amy couldn’t answer a lot of people at the event on what we actually provide in CROFTi Innovation Consulting and she actually started to get upset at herself and was angry she didn’t know the answers. When people asked her about Unlimited IT Support she would happily stand there and answer any questions thrown at her and would never miss a beat. She felt very confident and comfortable. This is when we realised (mind you it did take all day to work out the answer and plan for the future) that we had been crossing over and stepping on each other’s toes for all of this year and were wondering why nothing was progressing. Now we knew why. This light bulb moment will be one of the ones we will never forget. We now knew what to do. Split up the two businesses and each of us needed to own one of them and make the pure commitment not to cross the line onto the other side. So Amy took on the ownership of Unlimited IT Support and I took over CROFTi Innovation Consulting. I mentioned before that shit got exciting well this is because I’m writing this one month later and trust me it’s the best thing we have ever done!
On Saturday night our friends (John and Tessa) had organised tickets to the Opera house so we were super excited to be heading there as Aims had never been before and had always wanted to go and see a performance. We saw an aboriginal dance story which was very heart felt, emotional and amazing all together. Afterwards, we went out to dinner at a Spanish tapas restaurant which was to die for. The food was just so god damn delicious. Tots recommend it!
The next week and the final few days of The Entourage event was all about Finance, which if you are someone who knows me then you will know that numbers have never been my thing. I just don’t care about money like most people and money is always the last thing on my mind especially when it comes to business. If I could help people and their business for free then I would but alas without money we wouldn’t have a business, and so because of this mindset, I was super looking forward to these 2 days. We have grown our business to be a million dollar business this coming financial year and it all of a sudden dawned on me that’s its no longer just a little hobby and I now have responsibilities greater than myself, my people, and so I now really need to understand the numbers in my business and take it seriously. The first day we learnt about breaking down our profit and loss into easy to read formats and determine information so we can work out our future. The key learnings to this were understanding our per transaction cost is way too low and this needs to be increased asap. We are giving away too much free work and yes even though I mentioned above I would work for free if I could well it’s now time to get serious and knowing these numbers are absolutely key!
We all ventured off and headed to the casino for a big night to watch the mighty blues win the State of Origin, well we know that didn’t happen! Next year we keep saying lol (11 years on!).
The next day we started to learn about Financial KPIs for not just the business but also for our staff which I was super excited about but then we got the phone call no business wants to receive, which I stated earlier in this piece and why this month didn’t go to plan, one of our clients has gone into administration. For the entire day now Amy and I are running around with our head chopped off making phone calls and sending emails trying to figure out what to do next. This client currently owed us $15k from recently completed projects and was generating $3k a month (projected $36k). Ouch! We have no idea what this finance day was all about, sucks but hey that’s business right. We needed to get onto this straight away. Thank god for the good relationships I have built up over time, Ben Warren (our Lawyer) and Chris Baskerville (our partnered Insolvency Lawyer) were able to calm us through the situation and explain what it all meant. In the coming weeks, Chris was also kind enough to attend the creditors meeting for which we were the only creditors to turn up and help us through what we should do next. This is still ongoing and we don’t know if we will get any money back but I do know we have learnt a great deal through all of this and we have already made a commitment to get our terms updated to include the director to be personally liable. Things you learn in business right!
I will be reviewing my 2016 results in August now but these are the questions that we should all be asking ourselves, courtesy of my mentor, Bryan Worn.
Did the company achieve its goal for the year?
- If not why not?
- If it did what worked?
- What did you learn in the year?
- What do you need to learn?
- What is the goal for this year?
We have also started working our 90 day reset goals so this yearly commitment will become less of a every day thought and more focused on the next 3 months. This helps us to not just keep ourselves accountable but also our entire team.
We (entire Crofti team) attended an end of financial year event (hosted by Shane Lockland, but he couldn’t make it as he broke his arm and was in hospital) and this day was awesome right up till the end of the night where an arrogant old school business person had a massive go at Amy as she was in business and being a female she has no idea what she is doing so she should just quit! Like who do people think they are these days! It was just utterly wrong!
On a positive note Dean and I got to present to 15 accountants on what CROFTi Innovation Consulting does and since then we have had enquiries so the aim is to get more presentations like this.
We also took on another intern this month, one of our client’s nephews, Lachlan Maguire. Congrats and welcome aboard mate!
To finish off the month and EOFY we took our team and their families away for the weekend to Binna Burra Lodge, two-hour drive from Brisbane towards NSW. It was such a relaxing time and a great way to end the year.
This was also the time for Dean to start his holidays (2 weeks) so that meant myself getting back on the tools full time. The first week saw me throwing myself into work 24/7 literally to get on top of everything and getting projects moving along. Amy didn’t see me for this entire week. You don’t realise the workload until your one resource down. Trying to juggle the business, sales and project management just wasn’t easy! I’ll go into week two and the learnings from this next month!