Sandra Larner, The Accounts Place Ltd.
If you’re at all sceptical about how business mentoring works, and what sort of trials you’ll have to endure, continue reading Sandra’s story. You’ll soon see that not all business mentors are built the same!
Sandra has been a business mentoring client for over a year now, initially looking for a way to escape the day-to-day trap of working in her business rather than on it. We now have an on-going relationship for planning, focus and accountability, where I also act as a sounding board for her and her business partner, Anna.
Sandra caught up with one of my team members to tell her story.
Tell me about your business and how it’s changed for you over the years – what’s your story?
“Anna Davies and I set up The Accounts Place in 2015, working in practice together. We’d noticed a gap in the market for really good quality bookkeeping. Once set up, we grew through word of mouth and website enquiries. Now, with 11 in the team, most work part time and hybrid, to suit our lives outside of the office, whilst still providing and excellent service to our clients.
Interestingly, we’d always done hybrid working, so the pandemic didn’t impact us in that respect. We did lose the odd client, and some scaled down, but we’ve still been quite busy and even picked up new clients as they’ve streamlined their own activities in their business.
We’re now moving away from calling ourselves bookkeepers and beginning to make a name as a virtual accounts department.”
How did you feel about the prospect of looking for help, and how did that change once you’d started working Mike?
“I was already working with a business coach, but she was more of a personal/mental health coach. That was when Anna and I decided we needed someone to help us pushforward with the business. And Melanie Greene of Inspire Transformation recommended Mike.
I was sceptical at first, thinking we would have ‘homework’ to do and wondered how I would manage to get that done on top of everything else, but Mike doesn’t actually work like that at all.
I was really quite nervous. When we met, he explained there was no homework and there would be no admonishment for not doing the work we had agreed on.
Some coaches don’t seem to understand that we’re busy, but Mike not only understood, it was obvious to him.
Mike helped us understand where our time was spent and how we thought we could alleviate that load. He helped us identify the gaps in our team and the activities we could be spending less of our time on.
It also helped that Mike ran his own bookkeeping business, so we knew he understood us.
So, what sort of work did Mike set you to help you make the changes in your business?
We started with a conversation around where we were and where we wanted to get to. He identified what we were missing and broke down the steps to get there into smaller steps to make them manageable. We had 30-day actions or focus points, and 90-day focus points. Even if we couldn’t achieve them all we just talked through what we had achieved, or what prevented us and re-assessed our situation to see if our goals had actually changed. Anna and I set our own tasks according to what our workload and desires looked like.
Our ultimate goal has always been the same but the way of getting their often changes because there’s so many pathways.
And you got to where you wanted to be! But you still see Mike, why is that?
We are still on our journey but so much closer to where we want to be! The Accounts Place is no longer ‘just a bookkeeping business’, but a premium service that becomes part of your business to support with everything from entering accounts payable invoices through to preparing multi-divisional budgets and five-year plans.
We still see Mike every month for a two or three hour phone call with 30-minute catch ups in between, just in case we need support, or something changes within our team.
And finally, Sandra, can you summarise how Mike has been the biggest help in your business?
We’ve talked a lot about buying new software for storing our processes, as we write processes for everything we do, but we struggle to implement new clients and their own processes at the same time. Mike has taught us that beating yourself up doesn’t get you anywhere. We now recognise that moment, look back at our successes to see how we can adapt them to our current issues and then acknowledge how far we’ve come.
For anyone who works on their own I think it’s quite important to be able to bounce your ideas off someone who is not too close to you and your business. The fact that Mike has so much knowledge of different sectors and departments within a business is an obvious bonus.
Thank you, Sandra. I always like to finish with a question about reading. Do you have any books that you’d like to recommend?
Well yes, actually. Melanie Greene’s book, Mastering Your Inner Critic has been very helpful for me. Going back to that likelihood of beating myself up over a mistake, this book also helps me to move on.
Ask for a complimentary mentoring session
Sandra and I work together on making step changes in her business to give her time to grow, and remembering to celebrate her successes.
If you still think a business mentor will give you more work to do on top of what you already have, I offer a free one-hour session that will show you otherwise. Simply click the button and select a date and time that suits you.
If you’d like to get in touch with Sandra Larner, to talk about accounts, bookkeeping or anything related to your banking processes and software, connect with her on LinkedIn, and visit The Accounts Place online.