Last month Building Today profiled Trades Coaching New Zealand, a 100% Kiwi-owned subsidiary of Business Coaching New Zealand which has been working with New Zealand business owners for more than seven years. We spoke to Auckland RMBA president Darrell Trigg whose own company has been benefiting from their services.
BT: When and why did you begin using Terry Sage’s Trades Coaching services, and how did you first hear about him?
DT: We met Terry at a business expo in Whangarei in June 2008 and felt that he offered something we did not have — an independent ear to listen in and objectively comment and add value to our business.
We set up a meeting and engaged his services for 12 months — and we’re still using Terry today.
BT: On a practical level, how specifically has he improved your business?
DT: The best thing we found with Terry and the coaching style of business help is that it is a dynamic process.
Terry came into our business and asked us how we did things, looked at the issues and offered solutions that were tailor-made for our business. We did have to make changes to the way we did certain things, but Terry also saw value in many of the things we were doing and helped us work to improve them.
I have attended courses and read many books, but found that having a coach to call on at any time and who visits on a regular basis was the best formula for improving our business.
Often he would give us tasks to complete before the next meeting, and once he left I would get caught up in the running of the business — for instance, sorting out jobs and subbies — and wouldn’t get the tasks done until just prior to Terry’s next visit! But at least we got it done.
BT: How would you describe his style — that is, the way he went about identifying things that could be improved in your business, and the things he implemented to turn those problems around?
DT: Terry’s and his other coaches’ style is a very attentive one, with the ability to sit and listen to Marlene and I waffle on about all of the problems and issues we face running a business in the building industry in New Zealand.
He would then work with us to identify the most current or important issues, and offer practical solutions along with the tools to help us achieve the improvement.
He helped us with cashflow, identifying and reducing expenses, and implementing better back office systems.
He also helped us understand the true cost of running our business, so we could charge for our services accordingly and not rip ourselves off by undercharging for the work we undertook.
BT: Could you specify why Terry’s services could be especially applicable to businesses in the construction industry?
DT: I think that builders are practical people, and a lot don’t see the back office stuff as work — they would rather be out building on site.
You have to be very good at what you do on site or you will get no further work, but you have to be even better at running your business once you get the money in, or you will very quickly go out of business.
Understanding how much you need in your business and where all the money needs to go to maintain a reasonable profit is extremely important. Terry helped us identify all of this.
BT: So it’s clear that you would recommend his services to others in the industry?
DT: Yes. I believe having someone beside us all the way and regularly visiting us has added lots of value to our business. Surviving in business in the building industry is not for the faint hearted, but with the right assistance from a coach it becomes a lot clearer and structured.