As ActionCOACH Ignite turns nine, Darryn le Grange shares his journey and its top nine lessons.
Hi, my name is Darryn and I am a business coach. I am also a husband, father and business owner. Nine years ago, I stood on the precipice of change. I did what many before me have done. Although being a risk averse person, I left the safety of my job to start my own business.
Many people said I was absolutely crazy to leave the security of my position as Managing Director of Blue Security and risk it all – however, I had a superpower. Only those close to me knew about it. It is self-belief. I am eternally grateful to my parents who instilled this in me from a young age. I believe I can achieve anything I set my mind to. For years I had this strong entrepreneurial flameburning inside me. So, when I heard about an ActionCOACH Business Coaching franchise being available in the Upper Highway area, it felt like it was the perfect fit. Why perfect? Because I love business, and I love people. In our coaching business, I get to help people with their businesses – it’s a match made in heaven.
Was the timing right? Far from it! My wife was very supportive of the decision, however we had just had our second child, so it was a time of change within our family. But often with big decisions – like starting your own business – I don’t think the timing ever feels right. I am a firm believer in there is “no time like the present” – so I took the plunge into the unknown.
My humble start included a 12 square metre office (which is very tiny for a big guy like myself) in a shared services building. No additional staff. Just me, my desk, a chair and a laptop. Oh, and of course my coffee machine. My first job each morning was always to wash the previous day’s coffee cups.
I had a nightmare start. My first two clients who signed up with me cancelled within 24 hours, after experiencing “buyer’s remorse” overnight. I do remember thinking to myself: “Darryn – what have you done?” But I kept the faith. I was expectantly waiting for the third sign-up to cancel – but thankfully they didn’t. And are still my longest-standing client, nine years later.
Looking back now, I realise how small I used to think. My sole purpose back then was to just replace my salary – then I could be happy. When I first started the business, I did some calculations and determined I could take on 14 clients and then I would pretty much be at capacity. Fast forward nine years, and today we have 103 clients and I have a team of six – including four business coaches, an office manager and a business development manager. My team and I have won over 20 local awards and two international awards. We have created a great business, we have the most awesome clients, and we have lots of fun!
Here are my top nine lessons from this journey thus far:
1. Building a business is extremely hard. It takes discipline, commitment, and perseverance. However, struggling from month to month, bungling along or being poor is also hard! Choose your hard.
2. Invest in yourself by growing your knowledge. You may think you know it all, but you certainly don’t. I have become an avid reader, and so have my clients, because you cannot grow your business unless you grow yourself.
3. It takes emotional resilience to build a business. There will be lots of ups and downs, but emotional resilience will get you through the downs.
4. Be intentional when building your team. I see team members like marriage partners. You don’t just marry the first person who comes along – so don’t just take the first person who comes along. To get a job in our business, potential staff will go through a minimum of five interviews.
5. Understand that marketing is the key to business growth and success. Ensure you have a robust marketing plan that delivers qualified leads to your business. The best type of marketing is consistent marketing.
6. Know your numbers! While you may have a bookkeeper or accountant who captures and prepares your financials, you cannot outsource the responsibility of reviewing and understanding these. Ignore this point at your peril.
7. Realise that there are no shortcutsto success. Success takes hard work, but it takes the right work. Build your business with intelligence by implementing best practice. There is a big difference between having 20 years’ experience versus one year’s experience repeated 20 times.
8. Don’t neglect your family or loved ones while building your business. Make time to spend quality time with them. Don’t have regrets about this later in life.
9. Get a business coach or mentor to be the voice of reason, a shoulder to cry on and the person to hold the mirror up to you. There is sometimes a big difference between the truth and what you believe to be true.
WANT TO TAKE YOUR BUSINESS TO THE NEXT LEVEL?
Send Darryn an email on firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how! Your business will thank you.
FOR MORE INFO:
- Fairway Green Office Park, Units 1 & 2 Gardenia Building, 3 Abrey Road, Kloof
- Office: +27 81 231 2270
- Cell: +27 83 703 5235