The simple answer to this question is because I can reach and impact more people through business coaching and mentoring, but there is a whole lot more…
I love to help people and the more the better – that’s why I have decided that my future is going to be all about helping people, avoid the mistakes that I have made and also to learn from my successes.
I started my first business at the age of nineteen and I did it because I was actually unemployable.
At the tender age of fifteen, I attended a career meeting at school where the teacher, in a very tongue-in-cheek statement, declared that there were three million unemployed people in the United Kingdom and one who is unemployable!
This lady made me what I am today and I thank her from the bottom of my heart for doing so!
I should also add at this point, that I had no financial support from my family or friends to start my first company, and also no formal business education.
In fact, I didn’t have the education that I was meant to have when I left school and it took me 3 further years to acquire what I should have acquired (educationally wise) at school.
I am clearly no academic, but I will tell you one thing – I have learned so much since leaving school and full-time education.
I read somewhere that the harder you work at school, the easier the rest of your life becomes and I have to agree – this is why I instill this into my children today.
But let’s get back to why I wanted to start career coaching and mentoring people online.
The Internet has slashed boundaries – it has created a “borderless society” at least in the sense of sharing information.
Twenty years ago we were in the first “Internet boom” and the technology didn’t take off as expected, mainly from the standpoint of trust – we knew what the Internet could bring to us, but we didn’t “trust it.”
Back in those times, the Internet was going to “disrupt” everything and it turned out to be correct – just look at the demise of the high street if you are in the UK and the sopping malls everywhere else.
Trust was the major factor for sure, but the concept would become embedded in our heads and certainly in mine.
Over the years, I have looked at every business possible and with the question as to whether or not it could be totally automated.
You should take a similar view and especially with your own business!
As human beings, we are “information sharers,” and we do this from both the perspectives of our egos (we love to show off) and to naturally help people.
I am the first to admit that my ego got the better of me at certain points in my life, but now, I simply want to share my life and entrepreneurial journey to help and inspire yours.
My friend Fernando Raymond, has a desire to get 100 million people online, through his company, Seekahost, and also to get everyone blogging, which I support fully because everyone has a story to tell and maybe to sell!
The Internet is our means to doing so and it has opened up a wealth of opportunities for you as well and you have to realize that I am fifty-five years old and have seen this technology develop and change lives.
In fact, my company provided a serious amount of talent to the companies that enabled Internet technology and mobile communications, so I know this from a personal and business standpoint.
So now you have the background and the “enabler” and now we can get into the detail.
Help, I need somebody!
Even if you have never heard of the famous Liverpool-born band, the Beatles, you will understand the word “help.”
I did and there were very few people around at the time who would give me unconditional help and even paying for help was not easy, as there was not really an open market for it!
This is precisely why I volunteered to help Business Wales, mentor entrepreneurs.
Now I can’t get into specifics as to the people and companies that I help, but I can tell you that it was one of the most satisfying experiences of my life – considering that there is no financial reward for doing so.
I live my life based upon what drives me deep inside and also my passions.
I love to help and coach people and right now, my children are my focus.
My two boys are aspiring professional footballers and my daughter wants to be the next Katherine Jenkins, the lovely classical singer from my Mother’s homeland and where I live now, in South Wales.
Who am I to squash their dreams?
I will give my all to help and inspire them all the way and to be truthful; it is easy because I repeatedly tell them to do the opposite of what I have done!
In all seriousness, we never learn in times of success, as there really is nothing to learn when we hit those “euphoric” moments, simply because we are immersed in them.
Rather, we learn in times of trouble, not that we see them as learning experiences!
I have my own mentors in life and there are many, but one who stands head and shoulders above the crowd is Stephen Chang, a Malaysian national and who has lived in the UK for many years.
Stephen has always provided a dose of reality and coupled with a razor-sharp brain, he is able to very quickly get to the heart of any problem and provide solutions. He is an accountant by trade, but the term would do him a massive injustice as his skills go far beyond the ability to crunch a few numbers and just recently, he has helped a couple of friends of mine to get the financial compensation they deserve from their former employers.
I need mentors and that is purely to provide me with a “sanity check” at worst and at best, to give me the confidence that I am making the right decisions and they are worth their weight in gold, many times over.
You hear this phrase so often and I now have to use it myself, but in the correct use of the term according to me:
I want to give back to business because business has been good to me and I craved and needed help that was not there when I started my business career.
No that I have got that out of the way we can move on and genuinely, I want to give back.
Sometimes those cliché statements are true!
My delivery system if I were to choose it correctly, and here I am talking about giving business and personal advice would be on a 1 to 1 basis.
You cannot beat the interaction.
But is that practical in today’s world and if I am in the UK and I have someone in the US who needs help, would it be practical to meet?
Well, the answer would, of course, be “yes” in the sense of doing the “best” for the person, but “no” because of the travel and surely with today’s technology, we can facilitate this meeting remotely.
We can of course and as long as someone is able to look and hear the emotion when I am talking, then they will understand my feeling behind that emotion and be able to take on board what I am saying.
Business Coaching And Mentoring
They are two different roles in my opinion, but closely aligned.
A mentor can “mentor” you because he or she can relate to the position you are in, as they have “been in your shoes,” so to speak.
A coach is someone who can take you from where you are, to where you want to be and I often hear that the best coaches are the ones who have been in business themselves (I am talking specifically about business coaching here) as they can relate to the obstacles and challenges you will or say face.
Now I agree with this, but I must also point out that there are many great coaches who have had limited experience in their field of coaching – take the late Angelo Dundee for example and he was not a boxer as such, but it didn’t stop him from coaching Muhammad Ali!
There is also the great football coach Jose Mourinho, who did not have a startling football career, but is an excellent coach and this is the point – a good coach can see, feel and relate to things far better than the participant and this is where their true value lies.
Now would Angelo Dundee and Jose Mourinho be better coaches if they had been involved in their respective sports to a much higher level and degree?
Probably, but who knows?
I believe that as a business coach, you must have at least, been in business and for me, I survived in a very rough sea because the world of business is not for the faint-hearted.
I passionately want to help the people I coach and mentor and on many occasions, I forget my role as a coach and mentor and want to “roll up my sleeves” and build the business for them, but I realize it is not “the way,” as they must learn for themselves.
But it is in my nature so to speak, as I am an entrepreneur at heart.
My Business Philosophy
I believe that first and foremost, business is extremely simple, it’s just the people who complicate it.
And of course, that sounds like an oversimplification and it is!
A genius is someone who can simplify the most complex of things and I also love to “reverse engineer” everything.
Working “backwards” is a fantastic way to look at things and also, if you want to solve a problem, sometimes you need to reverse it!
This is of course, counter intuitive and if you combine counter intuition with a disruptive and not destructive nature, you will be on the right track.
I have been fortunate enough to work with and meet some great people and from all walks of life – for me, my acceptance of you will be totally based on the fact that we can “get on” and has no bearing on your financial state, your personal network or social status.
I am also no judge – believing that we are all free to make our own choices, but in the same light, I do believe in “Karma.”
I have no scientific evidence for this as you would expect, but the concept resonates with me, as it may do with you.
My mentor Stephen Chang told me just before I was about to receive my first-born into this world – “treat everyone how you would expect your Sons or Daughters to be treated.”
I also believe that every business MUST have a clear and succinct business message that must be relevant to the audience it is serving and yes we are serving people!
Also, that message must be the product of detailed and deep research that will power every aspect and function of the business.
It is a never-ending cycle and it forms a nice “loop:”
- Research and Development
- Optimization and Enhancement
- And back to Planning!
Each of these macro component parts are interconnected and seamlessly.
Focusing on one without the interconnection to the rest will only prove detrimental in the long run.
Many companies and including my own back in the day, focus on the wrong things and at the wrong times simply because we think that we can “beat the laws of business” and just like gravity, we cannot!
Here is one summation of m philosophy:
“Eighty percent of the business is in the mind and twenty percent is execution, but you must spend one hundred percent of your time in that execution!”
What do I do as a business coach and mentor?
I very quickly get to the heart of the person, no matter what the business is or involves.
There is a person(s) behind every business and it is vital to understand the “drivers” behind that person and also, of course, their goals and ambitions.
I mentioned the “laws of business” and these are cast in stone – just look at any balance sheet of any company and you will have a snapshot of the health of that company.
So when a coach talks about a “specialty” for example, ask them how their specialty affects the balance sheet of the company and also what other areas of the balance sheet their specialty affects.
Remember, everything is interconnected, and ignore any connection, at the peril of the others, and trust me, I am speaking here from experience!
It is vital that any business coach is experienced enough to understand the “knock-on” effect of doing any one thing in relation to the entire business.
Once I have understood the individual, I will look at the overall picture of the company and form an opinion – here I am looking to identify problems and I do not need to be “told.”
Be wary of any coach who asks you a series of questions that they should already know the answers to.
My initial telephone conversations, especially the free ones are intense – because I want to get to the heart of the problem and with my experience, I am able to do so rapidly.
I “get it” and very quickly – more importantly if I do not, I will walk away there and then, explaining that I couldn’t quickly get to the heart of the company and would simply be taking your cash, for the sake of doing so.
I have worked hard to build my thirty-five-year-old business reputation and fifty-five years of life and I am not going to lose it for anyone client, no matter what they would pay me!
Most importantly, I am passionate about what I do.
When I launched my technology staffing business in 1994, I told the world that I had “officially retired.”
That was because I viewed that what I was doing, was far removed from “work.”
The term “work” for me would be like having to cut down a tree – I would find the quickest and most simple way of doing so to get the task out of the way and to go back to doing what I really enjoyed, which in my case was business.
The intensity of thinking, strategizing and implementing the ideas completely consumed me when I was growing my business and very few people could understand or match it.
I am a believer in doing something to the best of your ability or not doing it at all!
You should do the same – work with an intensity that your competition can never dream of and then look back at them as you have surpassed their success, but please don’t do it for the money!
This is another counter-intuitive statement, as you would think you are in business for the money and you are to an extent.
But you are not – you are here to serve and delight your customers and trust me again, the money will follow.
I started my first business simply because I wanted to make money and it failed.
People can see straight through you if that is your “driver,” but what they will embrace wholeheartedly, is your passion and enthusiasm.
This article is about telling you why I decided to start a coaching and mentoring business online, but I cannot help myself by talking about my passion as hopefully, you can feel.
I will get back on track.
I want to help people learn from my life and entrepreneurial experiences as I have stated, but I must also state that over the years, I have developed and refined my coaching methods completely, but always with the same underlying sentiment and I am still doing so today.
There are no “quick fixes” in business, no “secrets to success” and it all boils down to hard work and dedication.
For now, forget and ignore those people who tell you it is about “smart work” because I can assure you that it is not.
The “smart” part of work comes later and you only get to access this component when you have “put in the hours” and worked your “fingers to the bone.”
Please don’t let anyone tell you any different and just look at any profession if you need further clarification.
I love to work with people 1 on 1, but I know that there are many alternatives thanks to the Internet economy and as long as I reach people, with my tone of voice and convey the emotion, I will take any route that enables me to do so.
There is not much to summarize as the sentiment of my coaching and mentoring services have their roots in helping other people and companies through my own life and entrepreneurial experiences.
The Internet is simply a delivery mechanism and technology is the “gateway drug,” to put it another way.
The world of business will change without a doubt, but the laws of business will remain constant.
I see myself as someone who can communicate those laws from the perspective of reality and also from being at the right and wrong end of those laws which has seen my survive three recessions.
Personally, I love the “hybrid” model of having my information accessible to anyone online, but keeping the all-important personal or “human touch” in an increasing era of automation.
Will we live in a fully automated world?
The answer from me is a resounding “yes,” but of course I cannot say when, but I will simply look at life today as a “transition period” and one I have to accept and make the most of.
Go out there and make the most of today, is my simple advice!
Neil Franklin is an award-winning entrepreneur in the United Kingdom. “Neil is a twice winner of the Sunday Times “Virgin Atlantic” Fast Track 100, fastest growing UK businesses in 2000 and 2001. To date, Neil is the only person to achieve this “double.” Neil is also a High-Performance Business And Career Coach, helping new business startups grow fast profitably.