My Greatest Success ~ Coaching Alessandra Ruocco
Large Losses To Good Profit in Just 5 Months
It is May 2015 and I am having lunch in a nice fish restaurant on the harbourside in Torquay with Alessandra Ruocco. ‘Sasse’, as she is known to her friends and associates, is telling me about her vision, strategy and thoughts for her business Devon Cair Ltd.
As I listen, I cannot help thinking how far this clever, smart lady had come on her business journey and how she had become the strong, mature, confident and competent business lady that I viewed across the restaurant table. Sasse is now one of the 10% most successful business people in the UK., who I talk about much on www.robertviney.com.
But the journey had been hard and long.
Devon Cair Ltd Is A Leader In Its Market
Devon Cair Ltd is the leading supplier of high quality care to the disabled and elderly in their own homes in Torbay, Devon. The success of the business is testament to Sasse and her determination and drive, but it was not always that way.
But It Was Not Always That Way
In 2009, Sasse invited me to help her rescue the business after her business partner had walked out leaving her ‘high and dry’ – her ex partner had founded and started Devon Cair Ltd but, following a catalogue of bad business decisions, had brought the fledgling business to the edge of financial collapse; the business was losing money heavily and it urgently needed saving.
There Were Two Big Mistakes
Two BIG mistakes were made initially:-
- Grow The Business Too Quickly
- Trade In Too Large A Geographical Area
These were deliberate strategies, but they both created huge operating costs, particularly employment costs that were just not sustainable.
I very quickly identified the problems and suggested a strategy for turning the business around and Sasse wasted no time in implementing the plan.
Her quick and decisive implementation of the plan was key to the success of what we did – every day delayed was more money wasted and the outflow of money had to be stemmed quickly.
There Were Three Main Recommendations
The main recommendations were as follows:-
- To reduce and consolidate the trading area to just serve clients in Torbay only, shrinking the trading area to just 5 miles from the company’s office from 15 miles previously
- To make drastic changes to staff rotas and to reduce the employee working hours so that the employment costs were directly related the revenue generated.
- To slow down the rate of growth for the business
Initially the number of clients and revenue were both reduced, but the costs attributed to serving the clients were reduced by a far greater amount, thus increasing the gross profit margin significantly.
A Profit Was Achieved After Just 5 Months
Within five months, the initial changes were complete and the business moved from a high loss into a good sustainable profit. From this position, Sasse then moved to consolidate the business and the net profit, further, and to gain growth by acquiring new clients within her new Torbay only trading area
Since then, some seven years later, Sasse has resisted the temptation to extend her trading area beyond Torbay but, instead, to consolidate and establish her company’s position as the premier provider of home care in Torbay.
The business now boasts an army of very happy and loyal clients and an army of equally happy employees serving these clients. The business is very sound financially and is now a great success.
Sasse Needs Little Marketing
One big indicator of her success is the amount of effort she puts into marketing her business – in short, she devotes very little of her recourses to marketing.
The quality of her service is so great, that reputation and ‘word of mouth’ constantly create new clients for Devon Cair Ltd.. Competitors are continually seen spending large sums on advertising and that illustrates the large gulf between her and the rest. Devon Cair Ltd do not have to advertise and so do not have this cost and, obviously, this elevates her margin.
Businesses That Create Word Of Mouth Always Do Better
Businesses that can create ‘word of mouth’ and harness it to grow, always do much better.
Historically, ‘word of mouth’ has been a major contributor to the success of my own businesses and I coach businesses to set this as a definite strategy for growing a business.
Such A Strategy Creates a Superb Product & Customer Satisfaction
Sasse has achieved ‘word of mouth’ by creating superb care for her customers and a high degree of customer satisfaction.
A combination of a superb product and a high degree of customer satisfaction will always achieve ‘word of mouth’ and, through that, growth.
Businesses Think That They Can Grow By Extended Their Geographical Boundaries
So many businesses think that they have to extend their geographical boundaries in order to secure new customers in order to grow their revenues and this invariably leads to financial weakness and failure.
The smart way, often, is to do as Sasse has done and to restrict the trading area, but to totally focus efforts on securing a high number of clients within that trading area, exclusively.
Such a strategy minimises the cost of gaining and serving new customers and Sasse proves that this can be a very successful strategy.
What We Achieved Was Spectacular
When Sasse and I started working together, the problems within the business were immense and it is was an awesome achievement to turn the business around in such a short period of time – many businesses can literally take years to turn around.
Our achievement was immense and is something that is very rare in business.
Business Coaching Can Be Hugely Successful When The Advice Is Fully Used
But this is only possible, when the advice of a good business coach with a wealth of experience and knowledge is incorporated fully by a business owner. Sasse never questioned my suggestions and she implemented them fully without hesitation, delay or procrastination.
I am sure there were times when she did not quite understand parts of the plan, but she trusted me. I am also equally sure that once the results of the changes were evident, her understanding grew and became complete.
Sasse is my greatest business coaching success because she implemented everything that I suggested and, as a result, she was a ‘dream’ to coach.
When I coach others, less success has been possible because business owners question my suggestions and ‘cherry pick’ my recommendations – the result is always not so good.
I now avoid coaching any business owner who refuses to take all my recommendations.
It Was Not Just Strategy
It was not just strategy that I showed Sasse – I also worked to strengthen her attitude and her business mind. When questioned, the most successful 10% in business say that a strong positive attitude and an open mindset is more important than strategy in the attainment of their success.
Sasse already had a good positive attitude but I created a belief in her mind that she could make the changes and create success out of a bad situation.
So many business coaches ignore the importance of a strong business mind and mindset when coaching their clients.
I Showed Sasse To Think Differently & More Smartly
I also showed Sasse how to think differently and more smartly about her business – by doing so, it ensured that all her business decisions and actions were also smart but, importantly, it ensured that all her decisions and actions were right for her business, too.
One example was to ‘think money’ – I said that she should ‘think money’ in every decision. Sasse typically embraced this fully and even wrote ‘think money’ in very big letters on her office files to remind her constantly.
You can emulate Sasse and her success, too, but you have to be prepared to work with a successful business coach and to do everything that the business coach recommends without delay, procrastination or cherry picking.
And, I mean EVERYTHING!
Business failure is currently running at more than 50%, but the above scenario can achieve 100% success, which must be something that every business owner must want.
The 10% Club
Alessandra Ruocco is a member of the ‘10% CLUB’ – the club that includes the most successful business people in the U.K..
You can be the same, if you copy what she did.
Alessandra Ruocco Is Managing Director Of Devon Cair Ltd.
Alessandra Ruocco is Managing Director of Devon Cair Ltd, Paignton Devon and is a member of the ‘10% CLUB’.
Find out more about her business at www.devoncair.com
If You Wish To Discuss This More Fully With Me, Please Contact Me
If YOU wish to discuss this more fully with me, then please email me at Robert@prestigebusinesscoaching.co.uk
Or please leave me a comment below.
REMEMBER – SMART BUSINESS THINKING AND SMART BUSINESS COACHING