I met Chris when I attended a seminar he was presenting at, and I could see straight away that what he was saying made a lot of sense. And it struck a chord for me and my business. I’d been running my business for several years without having any controls in place, and also no focus or direction to it. I needed to change things.
Chris has worked with me on my structure and cash flow, as well as many other aspects of my business, so that I am getting controls in place and am setting a clear direction and targets for the business. I have taken on a part-time administrator to free up my time, so that I can focus my attention on growing the business. I’m now feeling very positive about the future and just wish I’d met Chris a lot sooner.
Stuart Simpson– Stuart Simpson Specialist Joinery
I had used a coach in the past and was unsure whether to use one again, but once I’d met Chris I immediately felt that his approach was much more in tune with the way I work, holding me accountable but being flexible when needed. I’ve now been working with Chris since April 2015 and we have moved things forward significantly, meaning I have more time and freedom for my personal life. We’re not completely there yet, with some issues still to be resolved, but I have found that Chris’ advice in all of this invaluable.
Daryl Littlejohn– Romstor
I am the owner of a small electrical business, Ambrose Electrical, which has been floundering along for the last couple of years without clear direction or purpose. I met Chris around 6 months ago having gone through a tricky patch with my business. I had made the decision that I really needed to work hard on my business to make it a success, but didn’t really know where to start. As Chris explained to me, like many business owners, I am very good at the technical side of things, but have little knowledge and control over other aspects of the business. I assumed I was making money because I could pay myself, but other than that had little understanding of the income and outgoings, and it is probably more by luck than judgement that I was still doing OK. Since working with Chris he has ensured that I now have a cash flow in place, so I know where I am financially, and I know what my monthly break-even is. I have taken on a part time admin person/bookkeeper who has taken a lot of the day to day time consuming tasks off my hands, and I have linked in with a sub-contractor so I can take on a whole lot more contracts so I can expand the business. These are exciting times, and Chris keeps me on top of the actions I need to take and pushes me all the time so I don’t let things drift. I now have a new focus on my goals, and am sure that I will achieve these thanks to Chris’s input.
Ian Ambrose– Ambrose Electrical Ltd
C.J. Harbidge and Son Ltd is a very successful haulage company, which has been growing steadily over the years, but with rapid future growth predicted in particular due to its investment in specialist container lift equipment. As with most haulage companies, a recession hits hard, and more often than not this sector is the first to feel the effects of an economic slowdown. However, because we have always been a small, family run company who values our customers and provides a high level of service, we have been able not only to maintain our levels of business, but even increase them a little during this period. We pride ourselves on the personal touch, and we encourage all our drivers to be courteous and polite, which sets us apart from our competition. Whilst we are based in East Anglia we cover the whole country, and always do what we say we will do. We are committed to helping our customers and solving their problems wherever possible. Just over two years ago, at the depth of the recession, we decided we needed to become more professional in a number of aspects, so we engaged Chris Crace of Business Life Ltd as our business coach. As he said to us from the start, he assumed that we understood our business and what we should be doing, but he helped to set us a clear plan of action, so we knew what needed to be done, and in which order, and then he held us accountable to ensure that the actions were carried out. However, although he was keen for us to change things as quickly as possible, he was also sensitive to our needs and ways of doing things, so he was careful not to push us too hard when he realised we simply couldn’t do things at his speed. All in all this way of coaching suited us well and has resulted in significant positive and permanent changes. We are now in the process of employing more people to help us free up time to concentrate on further strategic growth and investment, to ultimately allow us to reach the personal goals we have set ourselves. We can highly recommend Chris Crace as a business coach, and would suggest that any business which has lost its way or needs a boost can benefit from his impact.
James Harbidge – C J Harbidge and Son Ltd
My relationship with Chris Crace and Business Life has benefited me and my partner Alasdair Hodgkins company, Sarala Computers beyond expectation. Chris, Alasdair and myself have met regularly over the last 12 months – and during this time, he has helped transform our ‘company objectives’ from a series of haphazard tactics to a unified, recurring plan. These objectives covered areas such as ‘company structure, profit and loss, marketing, prioritising, delegating, managing, growth etc. Chris was patient when I was overwhelmed, yet he was the ‘taskmaster’ that I needed to keep me on track. He helped me with insight into our business, especially what makes us unique. For me, this process went beyond just how to make our company more effective, but also ‘dipped’ into my personal life by helping me to make some essential changes in order to bring about a better quality of life all round. Today I’m living the benefits. I have a clearer vision of who we are and what we offer. I am confident that we are moving in the right direction and our company is developing in leaps and bounds. We have recently moved to larger premises, our client data base is increasing and we hope to recruit over the next 12 months. Many thanks Chris to you and your team at Business Life. I look forward to continuing to share our company success stories with you.
Elizabeth Holmes – Sarala Computers
Countrywide South East offers clients a full and professional advice service in all aspects of Estate Planning and Administration, including Wills, Trusts, Deeds of Variation, Business Succession Strategies and Lasting Powers of Attorney. Protecting a client’s wealth is central to our advice and recommendation and 2013 has been a record year for us in the number of clients we have been able to assist. As a result of the volume of legal documents we have been required to draft, we have had to expand rapidly. Being a key member of the sales team, as well as being the director of the company, has meant that my focus and efforts have been directed towards customer service and satisfaction, rather than budgeting and cash flow. Working with Chris Crace has ensured that due attention has been given to this essential aspect of running a successful business. I am now have a full understanding of our Turnover and Profit, together with a full budget plan for 2014 that caters for further expansion in both sales and service.
Chris’s skill lies in being able to draw my attention to the fundamentals of successful business practice in a way that is both relevant and empowering. The success that we have experienced in 2013 has been built on a foundation of sound business practices that will enable me to achieve in excess of my goals for the company.
Nicola Sunderland – Countrywide South East LLP
I have worked with Chris on and off for about four years now and I can honestly say that his input has made a very positive difference to my business and my enjoyment of it. He was quick to grasp what I do and offered some extremely valuable advice on how to get the most out of myself and my business. Like many business owners I guess, I am not the most organised or interested when it comes to some of the ‘detail’ and, as with a lot of these things, knowing you need to do them is one thing but when you work for yourself it is only too easy to choose to do something else first. Chris reminded me how important it is to put foundations in place and set things up properly. He introduced me to some very efficient methods and then he held me to account to ensure things were done. Sometimes not necessarily what I really wanted to do but always what I knew I should do. Those foundations that have made a big difference and enabled me to do much more of the stuff I like and am best at – which is working on my business rather than being buried in it! Interestingly, they have probably been even more valuable in the challenging economic climate of today than they were when business was booming.
Tony Hawes – Hanbury Property (UK) Limited
Irrespective of how long any company has been established, business changes at a rapid rate and even the most hardy require a bit of advice from time to time. Which is where the expeertise of Business Life can be invaluable. Business Life has helped to transform Sharon Lee into an almost unrecognisable company, helping us to formulate procedures and plans that otherwise would never have happened. It has been an absolute pleasure to work with them and we look forward to working with Business Life for many years to come.
Toby Pache – Managing Director, Sharon Lee Ltd
Just a quick note to thank you for your mentoring over the last few years. Your quiet but persistent overseeing of my role as MD has resulted in a clearly defined business strategy and organisation, that has, without a doubt, lead to Hayden’s having their best year ever in 2011/12, and has created the platform for further expansion in the future. More importantly it has enabled me to concentrate on managing the business as opposed to it managing me!
Stephen Hayden – Managing Director, Hayden’s Arboricultural Consultantants
I have been working with Chris as my coach for the last two years, and I have found him of invaluable benefit to the business. Although it has sometimes taken me a while to implement the ideas and actions that I have agreed with Chris, bit by bit he has helped me to change my outlook on my business, and ultimately made me see the importance of setting clear goals and targets, which will allow me to finance and support the things I would like in my personal life. Chris always keeps me on my toes, doesn’t allow me to make excuses to myself or him, and always holds me accountable to do the things I say I will do. Hugh Randall – Streetwork Solutions
Just wanted to say thanks very much for the afternoon coaching sessions over the last few months. As you know, I initially found it difficult to justify further costs in these hard times, and did need a bit of your gentle persuasion! It has helped me a great deal, (personally and business wise), to create a goal, and plan towards it step by step. Dealing with one area at a time and taking action on each of them, makes it all much more manageable. Although you were working to an agenda, I appreciated you picking up on the areas that I found most challenging and spending a bit more time to help with them. I plan to keep you up to date from time to time, and am sure I will be giving you positive news each time!! Thanks again.
Mark Leigh – Alresford Garage Ltd
We have used Chris Crace of Business Life to provide sales training to members of our staff who deal directly with customers. Although there was a range of experience and ability within the group Chris ably managed to keep everyone fully engaged and interested. In my initial brief to Chris I was particularly keen to ensure that the training would be specifically relevant to our sector of business. I was impressed how well he had researched the subject and ‘tailor made’ the training to that end. Chris is thoroughly professional, and is an important contact for our business.
Phil Spencer – Managing Director, Fieldfare Amenity
Six years down the line and we were in the doldrums with our business. What had started as a retirement project had grown rather haphazardly and had become a bit of a millstone. We were not coping and needed advice! Chris Crace, with his sunny disposition and enthusiasm, was able to re-motivate us. He encouraged us to think more seriously about growing the business, and about the financial implications of expansion. With Chris’ help we have recruited a new assistant, so our own time is freed up to plan and manage. We are no longer bogged down with day to day tasks. As well as helping us focus on our roles and responsibilities at work and those of our team, he helped us think about what we wanted outside work. So we have been able to adjust our work/life balance. We have yet to complete all the tasks on his follow up report (it wasn’t all easy!), but we do feel confident that Chris has shown us a way forward, and we know we can call on him should we have any problems..”
Christine Farmer – Farmers Ales.
We have recently completed a number of training sessions with Business Life, and were fortunate to get the government grant ‘train to gain’ with them. For a moderately small and busy family company it is always difficult to take a step forward with training, so taking the time to learn new techniques and systems has been really worthwhile. Chris Crace from Business Life has helped to develop and improve our company in many areas, these developments within the company will help enable us to reach our goals sooner and keep the company moving forward.
The Business Life Ltd team are very passionate about their work, and great to work with. They have experience and expert knowledge, which makes a significant difference. We only wish we had started sooner, and have already decided to continue our training with Business Life on a regular basis.
Will Reber – Crystal Clear Products Ltd
When I first met Chris, I knew I was in need of a change, but wasn’t quite sure of the direction, or how to get started. I felt I needed greater control over my finances, but perhaps more importantly, to make sure that I had a strong team, all pulling in the same direction. Although my business was generally working quite well, Chris opened my eyes into new ways of looking at it, and gave me new ideas about controls, which would help to improve things. Probably the biggest achievement I have made so far is to write out an organizational structure, which has really helped in clarifying roles, responsibilities and accountabilities.
I would recommend Chris to anybody, even if they think they don’t have the time, as he can help you find time through his methods and persistent support.
Lawrence Motts – Company Director, Motts Body Repair Ltd