CASE STUDY: Churchill Education
Nov 8 2016
From a desk in the corner of the bedroom to a $13 million dollar business – following the principles learnt at GBC has paid off for these hard working business owners.
Do you find yourself working long hours without seeing the results you would like?
You feel like you are doing the best you can, working as hard as you can and yet you are constantly frustrated by a lack of progress?
When I first started in business, I thought that I just needed to work hard and I would see the results in terms of business success. It wasn’t until I had a real a-ha moment that I realised I needed to do something different in order to see a different result. Working harder wasn’t necessarily the answer.
This too, happened with Tricia Velthuizen and Randall Smith from Train To Succeed (now operating as Churchill Education). Churchill Education specialises in delivering quality training qualifications across the spectrum, from Youth Work to Accounting, and everything in between.
From starting the business in 2006, Tricia and Randall had spent money on all sorts of programs designed to help them do business faster, better, stronger. But they believe nothing ever helped them feel that they were in control of the business until 2009, when they decided to invest in a different sort of program: a 3 day experience, the Global Business Camp.
Tricia and Randall arrived at their first Business Camp knowing they needed to do something – either scale the business back or ramp it up. They knew that what they couldn’t do is stay still and survive.
“In the first hour of the camp, the dust was flying! In one short, sharp dose, we were reflecting on why we were in business and what we were doing with our business. We knew in that first session on Day One that we would not be scaling back and we would not be standing still – but we would be making changes! And we knew that these three days with Global Business Camps were likely to be one of the best investments we had ever made.”
As the camp unfolded, they rang their team every day, each call with a new insight and a call to join them on the journey. Job titles were dismissed in preference to everyone being in the customer service division, the understanding of pricing in the market was under review, a 2 day planning summit was scheduled, everyone was told to start thinking about their goals and they were also told to clear their diaries for GBC the following year!
For 3 days, they worked on their business, not in their business. For 3 days, they sat side by side with their accountant and talked honestly about their strengths, their weaknesses and planned for the future. For 3 days, they learnt about business ideas and principles that excited them, stretched them and gave them confidence to build their business.
When they left the camp, Randall and Tricia knew that they had one more goal to add to their list: to be the delegates who return to the Global Business Camp the following year to share the impact the camp had on them and their business. They wanted their story, Train to Succeed’s story in 2010 to be a very different one from the one they would have told in 2009.
Moving from the ‘A-ha Moment’ to Implementation
So what happened in their business following that a-ha moment at the GBC?
They held onto the passion and excitement gained at the GBC, tipped their business on its head. They spent two days together making sure that they all had the same end in mind, and mapping out the route to get there. They took their team into their home and sat around the dining room table writing their values, core purpose and vision on giant post-it notes that were plastered around the walls of their home as they worked.
Both Randall and Tricia looked closely at their own roles and began working on the business, more so than in the business. With this new focus, they found it easier to pass the baton onto their team and were suitably impressed with their commitment.
“We’ve taken a fresh look at our team and our commitment to them. We’re getting their feedback on what we’re doing right, what we could do better and how we can work together to help them realise their dreams.
We have made a fresh commitment to serve our customers. We all talk about the jeopardy of perceived indifference and the importance of honouring our corporate values in all that we do. To this end, we’ve moved some people off the bus and rearranged some of the seats.
We’re implementing a plan to better communicate with our clients. They are not a figure that appears in our bank accounts – our clients hold vital information about our business and we want to hear what they have to say. We’re creating an atmosphere in which answering the telephone is not an inconvenience, but a chance to enjoy the ride!”
They now deliver a product that is supported by a solid business foundation. They have locked down their systems and processes, including implementing a new document management system and are aiming to reach a stage where anyone of their team can own a problem and deliver a solution.
They raised their prices in alignment with their increased service. Warren Buffet is right, the price is what you pay, but value is what you get with Train to Succeed. They also began watching their spending with more care and valued the knowledge that their accountant shared with them on a regular basis.
With the implementation of these changes, the business started to grow and Randall and Tricia employed four new staff and purchased commercial premises to house their team and their business, to better serve their customers.
Now Is The Right Time
You might think that it’s not the right time for you to leave your business or your family, perhaps next time……. But every day that you delay you are impacting on your chances of success.
Attending the GBC came at a cost for Randall and Tricia; not just financially but in juggling their family. They turned up with 4 young children (including five month old twins) and two sets of grandparents, with Tricia racing off at each break to feed the babies.
“Our investment, though, was equally matched by Global Business Camps’ investment in us. In three days, they delivered messages we needed to hear and gave us strategies to enable us to act on our desire for change. We value the impact Global Business Camps has had and continues to have on our business. We now view Global Business Camps as part of our team committed to our success. We call that outstanding customer service!”
Returning to Build On Their A-ha moment
You might think that Randall and Tricia learnt so much and implemented so much following the first GBC that they left it there and got on with business. Not so. They saw the value in expanding their knowledge, seeing it from a perspective with so much more of a foundation to build on. In 2010, Randall and Tricia took 3 of their team for the opportunity to experience the Global Business Camp for themselves. As a result they then had more people driving forward with the same passion and end goal. The team was reinvigorated and further changes were implemented as a new level of understanding was achieved.
But 3 days are just 3 days. Randall and Tricia have taken the principles imparted by the Global Business Camp and live them day to day within their business. As a result they have changed everything about how they do business: recruiting & retaining staff, recruiting & retaining customers, raising prices, tracking their figures.
“And we’ve been rewarded! Business is strong and the ride is fun!”
Last financial year saw them grow to a $13 million dollar business with 100 staff – a long way from their start up position in 2006 of a small desk in the corner of their bedroom!
“All of this takes time, and our desired end is not one that will be reached overnight. Our decision to implement the strategies from the Global Business Camp is an ongoing and challenging process. Even so, the journey has become an adventure!”
Randall and Tricia wanted to share the authentic path their business has taken, not just the highlights reel. They are embarking on a path of changes with government regulations which affects their business substantially, but they are still positive and passionate.
“We have a plan and a vision that excites us and we won’t quit. That was one of the early lessons of GBC.”
This year, they have received 8 national awards, including Tricia being named CEO of the year. At the time of writing this piece, they are finalists in 2 AHRI awards.
For the last 3 years, Tricia has been a leadership storyteller at business functions and conferences ….. you can hear some of the stories by following the links on her LinkedIn profile.
Randall has tackled Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the last year and turned an experience many are crippled by into a victory. He is currently chasing international opportunities for the business along with offering himself as a mentor for The Foothpath Library and Blue Hope.
“We’re a real story of business in Australia; not all gloss and fairy dust. But you know, that is one of the things we both love most about business – the challenge, the sharing and the opportunity to grow.”
For a lot of business owners, taking the time and the financial hit of attending a 3 day business camp is a tough ask. But how will you end up with a different result if you keep doing the same thing? You may just learn enough to take your business from what it is now and turning it into a $13 million success story like Churchill Education.
Thank you to Tricia and Randall for sharing their story with us. I hope you find it the inspiration you need to take the next step.
John Tsoulos – Global Business Camps