David Waudby is a Business Advisor, who provides trusted advice to small business and through the NSW Government Business Connect program, David has achieved significant results with Busyslim.
David relates his very personal journey with Busyslim. How the advisor became the client.
Assisting business to thrive is the goal and aspiration of the Business Connect program. Our vibrant growth centre of Macarthur provides exceptional opportunities for small operations to start, establish and mature into sustainable businesses. Growth is a challenge in itself.
But while NSW might be ranked as Australia’s number one performing economy, not all business operators build and grow their business that well, in fact dare I say, many struggle to do it really well.
As Business Advisors, we see many businesses at the full range of success. Owners typically with both strengths and weaknesses in varying degrees but rarely if ever, do we find operators with all the necessary capabilities to achieve success. What differentiates them is that the good ones understand their limitations and seek assistance in the areas they recognise as their weaknesses.
Macarthur-based, lifestyle program Busyslim, is a great example of such a business. A business that has achieved a reasonable level of success but still suffers from many of the typical performance issues we see in small businesses.
Through the Business Connect program, I had the pleasure of meeting Tanisha Tottman, owner and operator of Busyslim, in mid-2017 as part of our client engagement activity. While I was impressed with what Tanisha had achieved through working with Bill Parker and the previous NSW State Government program Small Business Connect, I also recognised further potential for improvement.
It became apparent that Tanisha’s strengths were her qualifications, program development, clarity and knowledge of her offer in terms a great customer service focus.
Equally apparent were her weaknesses, as Tanisha suffered from the major battle being waged between her ambition and financial capability.
“I created my company because I love helping people and like many small business owners have big dreams,” Tanisha Tottman said. “I thought I knew some things about running a business but my first year stepping up from being a sole trader to creating the company, Busyslim was a very steep learning curve.”
Tanisha acknowledged that she made mistakes and had some tough moments, but she also made some good decisions and one of those was acquiring my assistance.
“I want to be successful so I need to trust in good advice from the right people,” Tanisha said. “David provides a lot of business knowledge as well as contacts with other local businesses and services who can do the things for me that are not my areas of strength. I see him as an important member of my team.”
Through Tanisha’s investment in the Xero Accounting software she maintained accurate financial records, which assisted her to identify what the business needed to achieve in terms of a break-even level. This also brought into focus the clear reality that her plans of greatness were clearly premature.
“It really brought things into reality and as a result my plans changed. By understanding the financial requirements of the business, I have a greater understanding of my priorities and focus. This has been a significant step forward for me and Busyslim,” Tanisha explained.
An Authentic Way to Get Feedback
After a number of sessions of financial and operational discussions, Tanisha made me an offer I couldn’t and definitely shouldn’t have refused. An offer for me to actually do her 12 week program to get a hands-on understanding of Busyslim and provide feedback.
So rather than being the advisor, I was suddenly, the client.
After being initially wary of ‘yet another weight loss program’, it wasn’t long into the first night when I realized this was very different. The focus is on education and re-designing your eating by making the best decisions in those critical ‘standing in front of the fridge or pantry’ moments.
Understanding the triggers of eating – smell, sight, feeling down – and then selecting the right options and feeling good about your decisions. I quickly identified that Busyslim is not a weight loss program, but a lifestyle program that results in losing weight and this is the USP (unique selling proposition) this business offers.
My feedback to Tanisha after following her program was that the educational aspect of the program was well structured, association with other participants was excellent and has real value.
Assessment of the service delivery including the 12 week program, personal training and boot camp assured Tanisha that the structure of the service offering was not just a total package but an enjoyable experience for the client.
The When and Where of Your Business
We then addressed other issues of her operation and like many small business owners, Tanisha was running the business from home.
So I questioned whether or not she experienced an authentic ‘going to/leaving work’ feeling.
She admitted that she never seemed to be away from work and found herself working longer hours than necessary as it was easy for clients to ‘drop in’ for a chat.
Tanisha has now moved her ‘corporate location’ to the Smart Work Hub at Oran Park, a change which gives her a professional presence.
Another aspect Tanisha and I discussed was her marketing activity. In particular, the return on investment, not just in financial terms but also time, on social media, trade fairs, networking etc.
With recent changes to Facebook, her strategy on social media was not effective so Tanisha engaged with a professional social media provider and is now getting results!
So at this stage, Tanisha has a better understanding of her financial position, especially in regard to break even; she has goals and milestones to initiate growth options; she appreciates the value and effectiveness in her service delivery, value added options, seasonality and programs to ‘level out’ cash flow; identifies opportunities to grow the business with a ‘hands off’ mentality and is transforming her operation into a ‘business working for you’ rather than a ‘you working for the business’ methodology.
Overall, I find the benefits of these advisory sessions that I have with business owners like Tanisha, are not just in the assessment of what you are doing and what you could be doing, but extend beyond to focusing ‘on the business’ over a longer period of time, which allows ideas and concepts to organically emerge.
While more and more business operators are looking to online business solutions, there is nothing like face-toface interaction when it comes to valuable advice on your business.
With the experience of many interactions with many different types of businesses, a knowledgeable business advisor can identify critical opportunities to grow your business into a sustainable operation that provides both income and lifestyle.
The end of the journey – Busyslim works! I’ve lost 10kg with still more coming off.