In my line of work, I meet many entrepreneurs who are at different stages of their business journey. Some people who are running their first startup, through to serial entrepreneurs on to their next business venture.
For this article I have taken a step back from technology, and focused on sharing a story of an entrepreneur. I am always fascinated learning about how and why a person has established a successful business, and I hope this is of interest to you as well.
I am also in the business of empowering other people to achieve their goals. It is very rewarding to support our customers in expanding their business.
The purpose behind this is to empower other small business and entrepreneurs to follow their passion and dreams. Although I am in the business of providing and supporting technology, I am also in the business of empowering other people to achieve their goals. It is very rewarding to support our customers in expanding their business.
I recently had the pleasure of meeting Scott Miller. Scott established a financial planning business in 2013, and has successfully grown the business to where it is today with two staff working alongside him.
First, let me give you some of Scott’s background; Scott was raised in a country town within NSW. At the age of 17 he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and has had many trips in and out of hospital battling this condition. His determination and the support of family and friends got him through some difficult times on his personal journey. Through Scott’s determination, he completed his degree in Bachelor Business and Commerce (Banking and Finance), and excelled in his financial planning studies through AMP.
I asked Scott a number of questions around personal and business life, his response is below.
1. What was your primary driver for starting your own business?
The primary driver was to deliver a service and business ethics that were different from the existing market. The goals of the big players may be to deliver their product as a solution, but I wanted to deliver a solution independent of products.
2. What do you wish you knew before you started your first business?
Focus on your strengths and build a team around you who will compliment you. It may be daunting to employ someone early on, but having a team with the same work ethics, drive, complimentary skills and personalities is essential to the growth of your business. If I had have known about the importance of seeking financial advice, my family and I may have been able to minimise the financial impact during the first few years of my diagnosis.
3. What lesson/s did you take away from your biggest challenge?
Find your purpose. Do what you love as that will be the fuel to propel you forward when you fall upon hard times. This was the advice my partner Sharon gave me having seen firsthand the challenges I faced with health while building my business.
4. What was the best piece of advice you ever got? The worst?
You can’t help everyone. You have to detach yourself from taking it personally; otherwise you will lose sleep at night and that in turn will affect your performance and eventually the business outcomes. It’s a snowball effect and it can affect your mentality.
The worst piece of advice I ever got was from a manager at a previous company. It was to simply put my head down, and do the standard amount of years (which was 3-5 years) before you can progress in your career. This advice was the worst I have ever received. When I went to AMP the managers said “You get out, what you put in”. If you want to succeed it’s up to you and they supported me the whole way.
I am able to spend more time on a personal level with my clients and build long-lasting relationships.
5. How has your business impacted your life, and the people around you?
In the beginning it absorbed my life. I was working seven days a week, 10+ hour days. This was because I knew, that if I put in the hard yards in the beginning it would pay off in the future. Now I am three years down the track and I can gladly say it has paid off. I am able to spend more time on a personal level with my clients and build long-lasting relationships. That has been the driving force of my business, to build a deeper trusting relationship with my clients. Now, I have established my business to run efficiently which means more down time with my family and friends.
6. What’s your favourite quote?
“When I feel sad, I stop being sad and be awesome instead” – Barney Stinson, How I Met Your Mother.
7. Has technology helped you get to where you are today? If so, how?
Yes, definitely. I utilise efficient and effective programs to deliver advice promptly to my clients. This includes client portals for them to access information and tools as part of the advice process, to streamline and improve business efficiency. Being able to deal with clients electronically and work from a distance is both a convenience for my business and equally beneficial for the client. It means they can complete any necessary documentation without having to take time away from their family or work, leaving face-to-face contact only for the first and final meetings. It also helps the environment through a reduction in wastage which is an added bonus.
8. What is one of your primary business goals over the next five years?
Over the next five years, I plan to bring in nine more advisers and ten associates, including five support staff to operate the practice. I am currently on track and most recently hired a new associate who was my Uber driver (you never know who you will meet!). We will build the practice solely on holistic advice and work closely with our clients to reach their goals over the long term. I am very positive we will achieve this and our clients will see the benefits.
9. How do you balance business and personal life?
In the first two years, it was all business and no personal life. I am lucky that I have a partner who travels as part of her job as a professional dancer. This freed up a lot of time for me to focus on growing my business. She understood that it’s something we had to invest in, to build a solid foundation. I found that good friends and a great partner are key to balancing business. My family and friends believed in me from the beginning and I feel very lucky to have their trust. It’s been rewarding to have those people close to me. They are my motivation.
10. What is your advice to someone out there who is looking to start a new business for the first time?
a. Don’t listen to anyone who says you can’t do this or do that, they are only saying that because they themselves cannot. If you want it, go for it, that’s it.
b. Build a process and follow your business plan; this is so important. I have seen so many businesses attempt to do too many things at once and their main business has suffered, particularly in client service and profitability. Stay focused on one task, become great at it and make it sustainable and efficient before moving on.
c. Hire people who want to be part of your business, not people who just want to work within your business.
I hope reading about Scott’s journey has given you motivation to follow your career goals. If you work hard, stay focused and balance the important things in life such as family and friends, then you are well on your way to success. For more information on Scott click here.