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Why being business brave can help you succeed

Hi its Scott from Scott Partners and today we have Maureen Pound. Maureen discusses how he helps business people to recognise what things they do well and they want to continue doing versus the things they are just doing out of habit for all these years that maybe you might need to change.

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SCOTT: Hi, and welcome to the Small Business Heroes show, the show that’s all about and for small business. I’m Scott Trevethan, your host from Scott Partners and Go Global Bookkeeping. Today I’m talking with Maureen Pound.

Maureen, 9 years ago, was a very bored but very well-educated employee. Today, she is a very successful owner of two businesses, three investment properties, and has traveled to over 40 countries throughout the world – and done all this on less than 20 hours’ worth of work per week. She’s done all that without financial support of a partner as well.

Well done on that, Maureen, and welcome to the Small Business Heroes show.

MAUREEN: Thanks, Scott.

SCOTT: So tell me, your business is called Business Coach for the Brave; that sounds like a bit of a scary thing for us people. Why is it called Business Coach for the Brave, and tell us a little bit about what it does?

MAUREEN: Sure. The business is actually Maureen Pound Coaching. My tagline or catch cry is “Business Coach for the Brave” because I came up with it after many years of people just referring to me as brave. “Oh my goodness, you’re brave. You started a business on your own, you’ve started another business, you’ve had two IVF kids on your own.” That’s how I knew that I was seen, and that’s how I had so much success. So I’m really about helping other people have success as well by being brave.

A typical client for me would be someone who’d been in business for quite a few years, but is just frustrated because they’re either attracting the wrong sort of clients or it’s stagnated and there’s not enough growth for them. So it’s really about supporting those people to work through what’s going on, work out really what they want to grow, and then go ahead and grow it.

SCOTT: That sounds beautiful. Do you work with any special kinds of businesses or in any particular fields?

MAUREEN: That’s a really great question, because often people will niche that way. I actually argue that you don’t have to. You don’t have to be the coach for the accountant or whatnot. My niche is usually service-based businesses, and as I said, who’ve been in business for quite a few years. Often creatives are very, very passionate about what they do. And also people who believe that business is more than just about information.

Actually, 40% of what we do is habits that were formed after all those years of doing things the same way. A habit for me is that I’m sort of a last-minute person. Like, “I’ll get it done when it needs to be done.” But sometimes in business, that hasn’t served me well, as an example.

It’s all right to say, “Yeah, change a habit in 30 days,” but it doesn’t really work like that. I help people recognize what things they do well and they want to continue doing versus the things that you’re just doing out of habit for all these years that maybe you might need to change.

SCOTT: That’s great. What sort of things would a business owner need to look for? What symptoms that things might not be going exactly right, that they might need to use a service such as your own?

MAUREEN: That’s another great question. Often they’ll see it in the bottom line. I’m working with a business now who’s been going for 20 years, and the landscape has changed. He’s a graphic designer and branding expert, and he used to just go with referrals. His business was run on referrals. Things have changed; there’s more competition, there’s different tools out there. And you realize that he was just doing things the same way, and he wasn’t getting the same results – he was getting mediocre results.

For him, it was like “Right, I know I can do this. I need to change it up,” and to sit down and spend the time with someone one-on-one to work through that stuff.

Now, I know it might actually be going against the grain of business today that everything has to go online, but I’m a bit of an old-fashioned girl, and there’s nothing like old-fashioned support – and it doesn’t necessarily have to be face-to-face; it can be Skype.

But what people think about business is, “If I’ve got enough resources or enough information, then I’m going to be successful because there’s plenty of it out there.” But you’ve got to have the combination of the resources plus you actually implementing.

Some people have habits they’ve formed and they’re doing the same way over and over again, so I help sit down with people and work through that stuff and have that one-on-one time for them to get things sorted in their head.

SCOTT: Absolutely vital. It’s that human connection that enables us to use the technology and all the information that’s out there and put it into practical use, because if you just read it and look at videos, it’s not much use unless you put it into practical form.

MAUREEN: Yeah. The thing is, I don’t want to stand on my high horse and go “Oh yes, I’m perfect and I implement.” That’s the other thing, too: I think I’m really real. To have someone say “Yes, sometimes I feel like crap and I’m having a bad day, and it’s normal, but you’ve just got to pick yourself up” – if you’ve got that person by your side who you can ring up and say “I was going to do this stuff, but it’s not happening” and have a conversation to get back on the horse rather than go and hide under a blanket because it’s all too hard.

SCOTT: Absolutely. That’s beautiful. Tell us a little bit about your process. How do you typically go about working with a client?

MAUREEN: It’s taken me years, but I’m big on saying “no” these days. The first step is to have a conversation and work out whether I’m the right person to help them or one of my coaches is the right person to help them, and we’ll get them really clear on what they want. In that process too – I think “intimate” is the wrong word, but the relationship is that you have to actually have similar values, and there’s got to be respect there for it to work in the first place. So if I don’t feel that, then in the very beginning I’ll either refer them on or just be really honest about it.

And then, if they do want to work with me or my team, then the process is that we hold their hand for at least 12 months. I’ve been doing this actually 14 years, and you can go for 3 month results, but you don’t get enough. So over that 12 months, they have coaching – and of course the information is important as well, and I have relationships with great accountants and other people so that they can get what they need from around – but I’m that person there to support them over that 12 months.

And they determine in the very beginning what they want, which is different for everyone. One person, he wanted to have the business running well enough and enough business to cycle around Cuba for a month, so he did that. Another person, we had a few conversations; she had the largest adult dance school in Australia, and she realized that what she really wanted to do was to be able to sell. As soon as she had that moment of the blinding obvious, then we could work on it. Before that, she was confused.

SCOTT: Absolutely essential. The number of clients that we work with in our accounting firm that aren’t quite sure why they’re still doing what they do – and it’s very difficult sometimes for us as accountants to get that out of them and to draw it out of them – that’s essentially what you guys do as business coaches in drawing that out, using your experience to do that.

MAUREEN: Yeah. And I’m different. There’s horses for courses. There are other business coaches out there who are more like consultants, and they will do an overview of your business and pinpoint what they think. I’ve trained coaches around the world. It’s true coaching, where it’s about you getting your head right. I can give you my opinion based on my business experience and what other clients have done, but it starts with you, because there is that old adage that “ideas are like children; we like our own the best.” Sometimes I don’t like mine that much, but I love them. I do love them. But you know what I mean?

So no matter what we tell – if we can see something and they can’t see it for themselves, then they’re not going to act on it. So it’s about giving them the time and space to actually act on it and get other professionals around them to help, like you guys. I’m not trying to be all things to all people. They need to get outside support. So that’s a big learning for me about getting support in your business.

SCOTT: I’m getting an impression that your coaching style is very much around emotionally intelligent type of working; it’s understanding the emotions, it’s understanding the person first and the business second. Whereas someone like us or accountants or other more analytical business coaches will very much take a formula-driven approach to a business without actually looking at the psyche behind what the business owner is doing and how they’re doing it.

MAUREEN: Yeah, that’s really insightful, Scott. It’s about you actually looking at your own psyche – coaching is actually based on positive psychology, so what it is, is where you are now and where you want to get to. Counseling or something like that, you’re actually looking at the past. This is like, “Okay, I’m in this situation now; where do I want to get to? I want to turn over another million dollars in the next 12 months” or whatever it is – “then how do I get there?” As you’re getting there, you find out where all the cracks are.

It’s a little bit like the footy coach. We want to win the Grand Final, we go out in the field and we start playing, and we soon found out that the teamwork’s stuffed at the moment, or whatever’s happening, that we’re a bit short in the center and we’re not getting enough…

SCOTT: Ball.

MAUREEN: Ball. My father was actually an AFL umpire. He would be horrified.

SCOTT: He would be, he would be.

MAUREEN: Anyway, that’s why I used the footy analogy, of course. But you know what I mean? By doing, then you find out where you’re stuffing up or what’s not working, and then you can tweak.

That’s been the biggest learning for me for my own business. I was at the forefront of technology years ago in terms of – we used to send out e-zines. This is like 12 years ago. Huge open rates. I did Facebook and got 21 grand from one ad that cost me a dollar. I’ve done all this great stuff, but I was a bit scared – I didn’t capitalize on it and go “What’s the learning from that? What comes next?” I’m doing that much more now, and business is much more successful. So that’s my biggest learning.

For people, it’s the same. Give it a crack, and when you do, then go back and analyze and work out what elements – what was it about that ad that made it successful? And what’s the next step? How can I do that again in an even bigger and better way?

SCOTT: That’s fantastic, Maureen. I’m sure we could explore and go into different areas all day, but for those people who are watching us today, how can they get in contact with you?

MAUREEN: You can Google “Maureen Pound.” Hopefully my SEO is pretty good and I’m on the first page.

SCOTT: Can I be honest? When I was researching for this interview – yes, I do research in the second series of Small Business Heroes – I did the “OK Google, tell me about Business Coach for the Brave,” and Google told me that “Maureen Pound is a business coach…”

MAUREEN: Oh really? That’s good.

SCOTT: SEO is second to none.

MAUREEN: Yes. And also really handy. I got on a forum years ago, someone recommended me on a forum, and it’s come up for the last 7 years. I still come up on the first page of Google for “business coach Melbourne” because it’s a forum.

SCOTT: Google loves forums.

MAUREEN: Yeah, that’s another tip. So yes, you can Google “Maureen Pound” or [email protected]

SCOTT: We’ll even put down Maureen’s address underneath this video on our landing page so that you can click on that as well.

MAUREEN: Great.

SCOTT: Telephone number to call?

MAUREEN: Sure, 04 0550 5351. That’s in Australia, but I do work with people around the world through Skype.

SCOTT: And traveling there personally, by the sound of it.

MAUREEN: Yeah, to Asia. And I’d just like to congratulate you; I think this is a fantastic initiative to share all those fantastic businesses out there.

SCOTT: We call it Small Business Heroes because we passionately believe that, like the name of your business, Business Coaching for the Brave, that anyone who’s a small business owner is a real hero in this economic environment and deserves a lot more than what they currently get. So that’s what we’re all about. Thank you very much for that.

I’m your host, Scott Trevethan, from Scott Partners Chartered Accountants and also now Go Global Bookkeeping Services. It’s been a pleasure to bring this Small Business Heroes episode to you. Thank you, Maureen, very much for coming.

MAUREEN: No worries.

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