Sarah’s one of many inspirational female entrepreneurs I know, and it’s been enlightening to work with her as her business coach over the past couple of years.
She owns and manages a beautiful interior design shop in Malton, North Yorkshire, from where Sarah and her team create bespoke interiors and furnishings, and sell a variety of lifestyle gifts and accessories.
The business was first formed in 2006, and the Interiors at Nine to Eleven showroom was subsequently launched in 2011. Ever since, Sarah has worked tirelessly to grow her interior design business.
Here’s Sarah’s success story so far.
“Life was all work”.
“The main problem was time”. Sarah felt she never had enough time for anything, was always working, taking work home and running out of time. Juggling family life, clients, running a business that had reached a 10-year milestone and trying to tick off daily tasks was a difficult balancing act that was going to topple at any time.
Many business owners I work with have the same challenge. There’s a lot to do, and it never feels like there’s enough space in the day for anything else.
On top of that, Sarah was always questioning: “Why am I working so hard? What am I doing wrong?” and says she “thought it would be easier by now”.
“I recognised the need to change. I didn’t want to go into another year the same way. Something had to give”, she says.
What’s more, Sarah wanted to push the business forward from its adolescent stage into maturity. However, because she felt time was always running out, she couldn’t envisage how to get it there.
“Ros makes you read yourself. She listens. Prompts. Listens. Probes. And really drills down into the problems”.
I began working with Sarah through one-to-one business coaching sessions once she was ready to begin the programme.
We focused on creating her Vision. Mission. Culture (VMC), which would be fundamental in running every aspect of her business.
Above all, we shifted the focus on to Sarah.
“I saw clarity immediately”, she says. “Instead, I began questioning: ‘how can I change?’ It was amazing. I was ready. You have to look at yourself and be willing”.
For business coaching to be effective, you have to open yourself up, really pay attention to what needs to change at every stage and adapt to those changes.
“The right people weren’t doing the right tasks”, she also found out.
By changing her focus and analysing absolutely everything in the business, Sarah realised it wasn’t time that was the problem, but how tasks were delegated amongst her team. This is something she might not have found out if she hadn’t started her business coaching sessions.
Meanwhile, we continued developing her VMC over the long-term, and in her second year of coaching we added group training sessions for the wider team, too.
“I don’t see me not ever having Ros. She’s part of the team”.
“It’s a constant journey”, says Sarah. “I question everything now. Even down to the stock we take. I now ask: ‘Is it who we are?’”
Through developing her VMC, Sarah has gained clarity over every aspect of the business. What’s more, her team is now included in her mission too. “Everybody is aware. Nobody takes it for granted. It’s our business”.
This has meant her team has changed, expanded and, most importantly, now includes more specialists in different areas of interior design.
Therefore, the right people are now doing the right tasks, which in turn has created more time. Before, Sarah felt tasks would often come back round to her to finish, but with the right team beside her, this is no longer the case.
“We go through the tasks of the day, every day, and delegate them according to each member’s strength”, she says.
Sarah even uses her VMC when recruiting new staff members, so that only people who are fully on board with it come to work at Interiors at Nine to Eleven. This has been fundamental in creating a positive team work ethic – everyone supports one another and understands what task they have to do.
As a result, Sarah has seen revenue grow, and her stress levels decrease.
“Everyone will tell you how different I am to how I was two years ago”.
Looking to the future
Sarah has great plans for the future of Interiors at Nine to Eleven.
She wants to:
- Open a centre of teaching to help people learn about the craft from members of her team.
- Hire more local apprentices and younger people, and give them a unique opportunity that would ordinarily only be afforded to those who live in big cities.
- Create a hub for creativity in her showrooms.
I look forward to being alongside her as she brings these plans to fruition, and continuing to support her as a business confidant and coach.
Do you own a business and feel like you never have enough time? Or is the business taking over every aspect of your life? Take charge like Sarah did, and book a place at one of our workshops or get in touch and see how a business coach can help.