James Circus liked the service so much he bought the franchise
Estuary Logistics is a global supplier of logistics and freight forwarding. Based in Essex, the company was started by James Circus and handles high-volume, time-sensitive shipments, collecting from anywhere in the world via any means of transport.
“In summer 2012, the business was a year old and we’d achieved £2 million turnover but less than £50,000 was profit. I was working so many hours and had nothing but problems – cash flow, staff, customer complaints. It was a Friday afternoon and I went back to my home office and Googled “business help”. I saw ActionCOACH listed in the results and found my local Action Coach in Essex, Lucas Vigilante. I gave him a call and we met up that afternoon for a coffee.
“From a moment of desperation, where I felt everything was on my shoulders, I had found someone who I could turn to. Lucas and I had our first meeting the following week where he began to steer me in the right direction – and that is what coaching really is, a steer to solutions.
“Initially, we worked on the vision and mission for the company and myself. It became evident that I wanted to sell the business as my end game and so I needed to work with the exit in mind. We decided on a three to five-year plan to achieve this.
“It was also clear that I couldn’t continue working 60-80 hours a week. I was chief accountant, in charge of operations, sales and everything else in the business! The business was my life. I’d let everything else go including my hobbies and quality time with my family. I set a personal goal with Lucas that I’d make time for two family holidays a year. Lucas also suggested that I should think of a personal reward should I meet my long-term objective of selling the business. I’ve never been interested in flashy cars but I have always loved Bentleys so I humoured Lucas and said that would be my reward.
“The biggest initial change came as we developed systems into the business. In just a few months they made a difference to the hours all of us were working. Improving the team dynamic was also a key part of the process. We’ve attended ActionCOACH’s Business Excellence Forums for the last four years. The world-class speakers invigorate the team and set us on a growth path together.
“Our three to five-year plan progressed well. Four years in and Estuary Logistics is turning over £10 million with net profit of £500,000. We’ve grown from six difficult to manage staff to a great team of 40 with key roles maintaining the business on a day-to-day basis so that I’m not required. The business will sell for £multi-millions and I’ll remain as the Managing Director of this larger international organisation to push growth further.
Why James bought the franchise
“In 12-18 months I began to have so much more free time that I looked at other business opportunities to invest in and grow – in fact, I regularly work only 15-20 hours a week. In October 2014, Brad Sugars, the global founder of the business coaching profession, toured the UK. I had heard him speak before but this time he said that he was looking for more Action Coaches. I love what the service has done for my business, my time and my family and, so, I discussed buying the franchise when I had dinner with Lucas that night. I was in training to be an Action Coach within 5 weeks! I’ve chosen this as a part-time addition to my career and only coach four business owners at one time. I love going in to other people’s businesses and helping them the way that Lucas does for me.
“But I haven’t just spent my free time on a new business venture. I now spend so much more time with my wife, Laura, and our two daughters. I get to pick the girls up from school and we enjoy five or six holidays a year, not just the two I had originally planned. And, yes, I will have bought myself my dream Bentley by the time you read this!”
What does James’ business coach think?
Lucas Vigilante invested in the ActionCOACH franchise at the start of 2011 and now helps 17 business owners achieve life-changing results, as well as helping new team mates get going with their franchise in his spare time.
“It became clear, very early on, James never wanted to work in that business, he always wanted to build it to sell it on. So, we started with the end in mind. We were smart with recruitment and the development of systems and processes to ensure he wouldn’t need to be involved in the day-to-day running. It took a shift in his thinking but he soon realised if he had a great team, he could drastically reduce the hours he was working in the business.
“Of course, it didn’t just happen overnight. James was open to try anything new that might further the business and prepared to read up on anything that may improve it. It’s about marginal gains. Just like when we hear how the GB Cycling Team win at the Olympics by taking their own mattresses to Rio; making small changes across the business helped James win gold and now he’s helping other business owners as an Action Coach.”
Would you enjoy helping business owners achieve life-changing results like Lucas and James? You can find out more by watching the ActionCOACH overview video at actioncoach.co.uk