In December 1984 (aged 17 years), following my final examinations at Sydney Boys High I began preparing senior students in the subjects of Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry. My peers at the time queried as to how I could start a business coaching students in the very subjects that we had just a few weeks earlier sat exams in.
The Quantum H.S.C Coaching College initially operated in a four by four meter space. My intention was to simply generate enough profits to pay my way through my Science Degree – majoring in Pure & Applied Chemistry and Physics.
Studying full time and building the business was a challenge. As the months rolled on the enrolments gradually increased to the point where we moved to larger premises. My natural inclination was to read and continuously develop. My accountant at the time recommended I read a few sales texts. So began my journey into the world of business development.
Sometimes one idea is all it takes to transform your current circumstances.
A few years in I fell upon a simple idea canvassed in Conrad Levinson’s Guerilla Marketing Series, namely in finding a way to ‘guarantee the outcomes your customer is truly seeking’. So I sat down with a few parents and came up with the notion of guaranteeing final exam results. We set the standards at a minimum of 85% for Chemistry and Physics, and 90% for Mathematics. In essence we guaranteed that our students would gain entrance into University course of choice and if not, refund the whole year’s investment.
All we had to do was deliver on our promise, and we did. As a consequence, our enrolments went up from 87 pupils all the way to 423 in one year! One piece if insight, implemented. 463% increase in revenue.
Then came the day when we were blindsided by the government. What was once our competitive advantage in integrating Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry (most of our students enrolled in multiple subjects) disappeared overnight on account of changes in the syllabus. After 16 years and assisting over 4000 students into University courses of their choice, it was time to sell.
2001 was an interesting year. I was reading Richard Koch and Tom Peters who both espoused looking at the fundamentals in business. Achieving more with less. I looked at the previous decade and a half and wondered if there could be an easier way.
The new model took the following format. No staff. No long term leases. Three hours per week for 30 weeks. More precisely I made the decision to teach Year 12 Chemistry on Saturday mornings at the University of Technology in central Sydney. Walk in. Walk out. The results? 194 students resulting in revenues of $584,000 ($3000 per student). Ninety hours face to face work between February and August producing a net profit (EBIT) of $563,000!
Busy being busy does not necessarily mean you are producing more meaningful results. Focusing on just the one subject was a more profitable enterprise than what I had achieved at Quantum with its 19 staff, 550 square meters of space, over 400 yearly enrolments, not to mention 6 days per week comprised of long and late hours. It took me 16 years to have that breakthrough. Defence (expenses) in business is just as important as offense (revenue). Allocation of resources is everything. Getting your strategy right…..gold.
The following year was a sabbatical one. During my extensive travels that year I decided to integrate all the business and personal insights I had gathered and deliver them in a short multi-day program. This coincided with enrolment into a formal MBA at the Australian Graduate School of Management. I called this program the Exponential MBA and began offering it between the two semesters of formal studies. Once again, people warned me that I was not really qualified to lead my own MBA program. I did it anyway.
Initial online interest came from Gas, Oil, and Construction executives across the Middle East, followed by Asia and then Europe. Our maiden program attracted 37 participants, becoming our go to group formula for the next five years. Small groups of no more that 50 participants committed to learning and applying business fundamentals that make a real difference.
Following the completion of my formal MBA studies I decided to field some of the requests to mentor clients on a one-to-one basis through our Advanced Business Mentoring Programs. Within this next handful of years I worked with executives across various industries between Sydney and Melbourne. The work produced marked bottom line improvements with clients who were totally committed to the process. Interestingly not all were committed despite their prevailing circumstances. Sometimes those who needed it most were least prepared to roll their sleeves up and implement the strategies we had agreed on. I made a mental note to more carefully screen future clients and limit my time to those that were truly ready to implement change.
How to serve more clients? I sat at the feet of a few peers here in Australia. Matt Church advised I focus on a couple of approaches (mentoring, speaking, writing) and provide total commitment to them.
A quick historical overview pointed to the fact that the majority of our past clients, those that had truly implemented our philosophy were surprisingly over the age of 40. Total responsibility or should I say accountability in completing what is required, stood out and remains the primary factor to the successes of all our clients.
To this end I created and continue to re-create world class programs committed to providing business leaders with deep insights that lead to sustainably profitable enterprises. Core principles around leadership, team work, strategic formulation, strategic implementation, streamlining sales, building lead generators, aligning assets to positive cash flows, strategic positioning, financial literacy, and off course financial independence.
A personal commitment to synthesizing, integrating and imparting unique principles and insights that deliver exponential improvements for those truly committed to their practice.