Case Study – Ellen Long

‘Ash gets me out of my comfort zone — sometimes I don’t know how he does it’

 

Business: Wiser Interiors
Owner: Ellen Long

 

Wiser Interiors is a long-established family business based in Leatherhead, Surrey.

The company specialises in quality blinds, shutters, and awnings, supplying both B2B and B2C clients across the south-east of England.

The company is owned by Ellen Long who has been working 1-2-1 with Ash Taylor since 2016.

Why Ash?

Ellen had worked with a coach before, mainly as a member of a mastermind group with some 1-2-1 sessions. ‘We had all done the Cranfield Business Growth Programme, a very expensive mini-MBA for business owners,’ she said.

‘The group was supposed to continue the learning and implementation after the course. But I stopped attending because the coach seemed just to focus on what she believed was a priority. She wasn’t interested in my personal goals or in holding me to account.

‘These group sessions ended up being no more than a nice lunch and chance to catch up with friends who were also in business.’

Ellen had met Ash while a member of the Entrepreneurs Circle, which she joined after leaving the Cranfield group. ‘After about five years in the Entrepreneurs Circle, I was getting frustrated. I was still learning useful marketing tactics but making no progress in my personal career goals.

‘I wanted someone who would be friendly but could be blunt when required. I’d by now spoken to Ash a few times and just felt we could work together.’

That was when a friend who was already working with Ash pointed Ellen in his direction. ‘He came highly recommended,’ she said.

How was the business performing before joining forces with Ash?

Wiser Interiors was already turning over £1 million when Ellen began working 1-2-1 with Ash. ‘The business was in good shape, but not achieving growth beyond that £1 million mark,’ she said.

‘I knew I’d become mired in the details and was acting like an employee, not the owner. There was a lack of clarity around what we were doing and where we were going.’

Was this the biggest challenge?

‘Yes. I wasn’t disciplined in either my thinking or my behaviour. This meant there was no way I could free up the time needed to explore fresh opportunities.

‘I needed to find a way to do things differently, to stop repeating the old patterns and getting the same results.’

How did Ash help?

Ash began by providing Ellen with tactics to prioritise tasks and better manage her time. For example, he suggested she colour code her activities into black, blue and red, and create 90-day plans.

‘I also time chunk and front load the week with specific start and end times,’ said Ellen.

‘He guides me to make my own decisions and set goals that will stretch me. We have worked a lot on moving me from unconsciously incompetent to consciously competent.

‘He provides me with a safe space to vent, to be my worst self, to explore my fears.

‘Ash helps me get out of my comfort zone — sometimes I don’t know how he does it! It’s like magic!’

What difference has resolving that challenge made?

‘The business is much more focused,’ said Ellen. ‘We’re more sophisticated and we’re growing.’

She has a target for 2027, as well as a three-year picture and a one-year plan. ‘At the end of 2021 we are aiming to have a £2.3 million turnover, but most importantly we aim to have 10% profit.

‘I  have so much clarity — I feel like the owner now, and not an employee.’

What are Ash’s strongest qualities as a coach?

‘Ash has an analogy for every scenario, he’s widely read, and his extensive knowledge means he can suggest many different approaches.

‘He is encouraging and always reminds you of how far you have come. He has helped me see the value in my business, so that I fully appreciate it and will stay motivated to keep fighting for it in tough times.’


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