Well, okay, apart from marriage and kids!
Following an almost two-decade-long career in the corporate world, Scotsman Alan Smith wanted to get out of the rat race and try his hand at business ownership.
What was once a nagging thought at the back of his mind quickly became reality when he launched his ActionCOACH business in 2014. Seven years on from starting his franchise, Alan reflects on his career change:
“All I can say is joining ActionCOACH was the best decision of my life - well, okay, apart from marriage and kids! For those in search of a meaningful way to spend the rest of your life, you’ll do a lot worse than having a look at ActionCOACH. The best part of it all is knowing I’m helping business owners.”
Alan enjoyed a good corporate career with PepsiCo, Cadbury and Mondelez International. However, there was a constant desire to go it alone and start his own business.
To satisfy his curiosity, Alan attended an event for entrepreneurs on how to set up a business. He considered going into food retailing, being able to use his experience in the industry to help, but nothing seemed to resonate. There was one brand that created a good first impression though - the event sponsor, ActionCOACH.
In his previous roles, Alan had his own executive coach, which enabled him to understand the benefits. It immediately struck a chord with him and he decided this was the path he was destined to take when he left his corporate career behind.
“The more I looked into ActionCOACH, the more it appealed,” Alan says. “It’s a professional services business with a focus on giving back to other people.
“From my exposure to coaching, I could see how rewarding this would be - not just financially, but personally too. On top of that, I don’t think I was brave enough to start a business from scratch, so franchising was the middle ground. I’d have a business to call my own, with the support of the network behind me.
“ActionCOACH’s 14 Points of Culture had a huge impact on my decision. They are the core values that a franchise partner lives by, but I quickly came to realise they’re not just a set of words on paper. During my due diligence process, they really proved themselves, as everyone I spoke with echoed the same culture.”
Learning the ropes
Alan’s 10 days at ActionCOACH University was his first proper exposure to the business coaching franchise in real depth, an experience he hails as life changing.
“The training was intense, yet extremely comprehensive,” Alan says. “I don’t think there was any aspect of business not covered and it’s something I look back on fondly now.
“It didn’t just teach me how to do business or be a business coach, it helped me learn how to become a better person. It encouraged me to look at things from a different perspective and I noticed there was a whole world outside of corporate waiting for me.”
Alan understood the first year of his business would be tough, but he also accepts it as a critical part of his development as a business coach.
When he returned home to Scotland, he spent much of his time learning. Thankfully, due to the extensive knowledge library available from ActionCOACH, Alan could get up to speed with various disciplines to help bring in his first clients.
“I’m extremely grateful for what I went through in those first 18 months, as it was a great learning curve,” he says.
“Going from training and having to put things into practice can be difficult, but the franchise provided a buffer. I would be busy networking and becoming familiar with the skills to market my business, while a support team member did a wonderful job of attracting prospects. Before long, I felt confident in my abilities and it’s only got better since then.”
Moving on up
Back to the present day and Alan has well and truly found his stride. As the challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic threatened his clients’ businesses, he was available to offer support and advice. And the results speak for themselves, banking an average of £22,000 a month of client income and increasing his revenue by 18 per cent in 2020.
“The situation illustrated how much people needed me,” Alan says. “It felt great to be the beacon of hope for many business owners, as they couldn’t quite see what the future looked like. As a community, we worked together on the solution, which was amazing.”
Finding a happy work-life balance
He adds: “I’ve currently got 23 clients and I know how many I can handle at one time.
“There’s an opportunity to grow, but I never want to lose my consistency of delivery for my clients. ActionCOACH commits to providing quality over quantity and I’m excited to continue being a good coach for the benefit of my clients - their success makes all this worth it.
“On a personal level, I’m focused on creating an even bigger asset for my young family. My children, Finlay and Freya, are teenagers and I want to demonstrate how hard work can pay off. I’m adopting similar attitudes with my children as I would with my clients and I hope it’s something they can appreciate in the future.
“My wife, Mhairi, has been able to leave her employed role and start her own furniture upcycling business. To allow her to have that freedom is extremely rewarding.
“ActionCOACH hasn’t just allowed me to have the business I craved but has also helped us all to achieve a positive lifestyle. I can continue marathon running, for both social and health reasons, and we can all enjoy Finlay’s football and Freya’s diving passions.”
At a glance
1993 in Australia. 2001 in UK
Number of franchised outlets:
200-plus in the UK
Location of units:
Minimum required capital:
If you want to be influential in helping business owners transform both their lives and businesses and you’re the kind of person who:
A. Loves learning and helping people;
B. Has enjoyed success in your career, business or a sport; and
C. Is willing to invest if you see substantial returns can be made…
Then find out more by watching the overview video at actioncoach.co.uk/overview