Kate’s Q and A | February 2015 | How much grit does it take?

Hi and welcome to Kate’s Q and A – the result  of questions from my subscribers. It’s a confidential service so I won’t be naming names but I thought this one was a goody to start with as it totally reflected where I was at, this week.

The question can be summed up by this – What does it take to achieve your goals?

This subscriber had chosen a business path to expand his business, the banks have been less than supportive, his family  un-enamoured by his ongoing obsession and his friends remember him as a dim and distant memory.

But he has a BIG goal. He has a vision and a goal backed by a plan – and he IS making it happen.  Slowly but surely.  It’s hard and it’s taking longer than he anticipated.  And he wakes up in the middle of the night worried about payroll, wondering what the difference is between people like him and the people who have succeeded.  And how much longer, how many more sacrifices, how much more effort is it going to take?

I feel for you mate, I really do.  I am going to deliver a dose of Kate medicine which is going to be as comfortable as ripping a plaster off your hairy leg.  It might smart a little!

My old mucker Winston Churchill said ‘if you are going through hell keep going’.  The success of many men and women came at the point just beyond where they thought they couldn’t take another setback – another failure – another rejection but the big thing they had was UNDYING PERSISTENCE.

I’m going to put in a proviso here – and it’s one I do regularly to reassure myself. Is your plan actually working?  Is it going to result in the outcome you want? Once you have done that – check – like checking the revenue projections (halve them) crunch the costs (add 25%) stress test the model – and if that’s all good then here’s what you need to do.

You need to hunker on down for the final push – and that needs everything you’ve got.

Here’s a little story for you….

2011  it was when I decided to radically change my business. Made decisions to say goodbye to a lucrative consultancy which would immediately leave my business and family income worse off by £100k a year.  OUCH. By April 2012 I came up with my big plan – £40m turnover and company valuation of £15m. Banks were useless. Had to sell my home to fund the first phase of the transition. Tough year.

We then had a great turnover year but a shit employee year. Piloted our first franchises – learnt a lot.  Second year super shit turnover year – with all the costs.  Money tighter than tight. Even now, I am living with workmates mid week as  I still don’t have a base in Surrey. I drive a five-year-old car.  I have just come out of six months of accounts-based hell after an accounts person managed to royally fuck up my accounts again and establishing the franchise network is not super smooth to say the very least – especially with events such as Citylink closing.

And for the first time in my business career I have understood properly that profit has near on no relation to cash flow and that has been super challenging. Oh and this week’s news? My bank managers have left the building, we’ve had a £20k surprise from the VAT man and £40k worth of bad debt.  And it’s our 23rd birthday on March 16th – and I am still working 60-hour weeks. Compadres I am feeling it with you!

Kate LesterI am not telling you any of this to make you go, ‘Poor you!’. I need you to know that there are days and weeks when we all go, ‘What the fuck am I doing?!’

It’s three whole years in April since I commenced my Big Plans. Three years of 100% focused, neglect your mates, get early nights, 3am starts, cash flow battles.  It’s tough.  It takes belief, determination and number one – consistent persistence – daily, weekly, monthly application to reach your goals.

It was at the franchise show last weekend I was reminded how far we had gone – we started franchising proper just two years ago – so we have grown from three to 23 depots in two years. Our turnover has doubled this year. We are back into profit. Our team is bloody brilliant now. We are getting there – finally.

So my advice to you my friend – at the end of your tether and wondering if its all worthwhile?

How much is it going to take? Pretty much everything you have got.

How difficult might it be? Probably more difficult than you anticipate.

How much money is it going to take? Probably about 50% more than you think it will?

Will it all be okay in the end?  I just don’t know?

But can you stop trying? No way!!

My dad always said to me. ‘Quitters never win, and winners never quit’.

It’s time to regroup. Check your numbers. Work your plan. Look at your progress. And get back to work.

It is not always smooth. It’s definitely not easy. If it were, every other bugger would be doing it. But YOU can do this – you just need to hunker down.

I hope that helps.  Speak very soon.