1. Explain what you do/your company does in 15 seconds
I’m a chiropractor enabling people to get their lives back, be free of pain and regain their full health potential. To do this I use my 30 or more years of experience with over 15,000 patients to free their spine of nerve interference.
2. What made you decide to join F12? What were you looking for?
We’d already been having one on one coaching with Paul for about a year when we came to a decision that now would be a good time to address quite a few of our most difficult concerns. It was time to move on to participating in a group. One of the main reasons we made the decision to join F12 was the fact that it was a mastermind group and that there would be other people there with their own business challenges. We would be joining something that was outside of our normal spheres and so get different viewpoints rather than only having other chiropractors telling us what you can and can’t do. We wanted to be in a situation where there would be people other than chiropractors coming up with innovative ideas for what you might do. Chiropractors can be quite insular and tend to set themselves apart from other businesses not realising that actually their practice and other chiropractors have to function like a business. It’s really great to get a variety of businesses points of view and to see what they are doing outside of the chiropractic.
3. What were the 3 biggest challenges in your business prior to joining F12?
We’d had some difficulty both business wise and personally prior to joining F12 which was a huge challenge. These challenges affected our mind-set about our business and led to a downward spiral in terms of the business. So I would say that our mind-set was a big problem and not unsurprisingly the fact that our business was actually decreasing year on year, in no small part due to our mind-set. On top of that we lacked direction and focus. We couldn’t see where we were going; we just knew that we were going down and that there was so much to do. Being in the F12 group with coaching from Paul told us what we needed to do first.
4. What specifically has changed in your business or yourself as a result of F12?
We’ve totally changed the people in our team and as a result of this we now have a really good team who are 100% behind what we do. I think this is specifically to do with our ability to be able to match people to their abilities and styles. We’ve learnt how to be able to profile people using Talent Dynamics which Paul introduced to us. The ability of being able to choose who you need in your team and what type of person is a skill we didn’t have before F12. I would say that’s the first thing that’s changed in our business. Our mind-set has also very much changed and we are definitely on the way up so our business is going upwards rather than downwards.
5. How would you describe the group to non-members (who may never have experienced something like this before)?
We would describe it as an eclectic group of businesses that all form together to become over time like one very supportive family. The group has such a lot of knowledge between them, led by Paul who has even more knowledge than all of us put together. You get to hear a variation of ideas, some new and some things that are just coming on line that you wouldn’t normally hear about. It’s a very supportive, warm, knowledgeable, inspiring and encouraging environment to be in. Very definitely if you’re having problems one month there are people there who will pull out all the stops to help you whether that be emotional support or in some cases financial support. You don’t feel alone anymore in business. You could describe it as being like that the Virgin Atlantic advert where people sort of fall into a cloud to sleep, it’s a little bit like that. We just feel that we have a really lovely cloud to fall into rather than just hitting the floor with a thud. You know that if you have a challenge in business there’ll be somebody there who’s encountered that and has some good advice. There are so many different strands to different businesses all of which have different ways of viewing things. You find yourself thinking that someone’s idea is a really good one. If you’re falling there’s someone there to catch you.
6. How does F12 differ to networking clubs or breakfast club type group?
I (Neil) did go to a BNI networking group once or twice but the difference between BNI and F12 is like the difference between chalk and cheese. They’re really totally different because with a networking group or BNI you get the feeling that everyone has just gone there with a load of business cards to hand them out to everyone else to try and pick up business for themselves. You don’t know who these people are and you don’t get to know them which creating a totally different scenario to spending a day with people once a month and actually getting down to the nitty-gritty. The BNI type breakfast club thing can be very superficial. They might show you how to compose a letter but it doesn’t really address anything. The F12 group is very personal and you get time for one on one talk. What you gain from Paul and the interaction with other people is just a world apart from anything like breakfast club or anything like that. You can’t compare the two.
7. What have been the 3 biggest breakthroughs/a-ha moments since joining F12?
I would say that one of the biggest breakthroughs for me was the realisation that everyone (Rosemary) has challenges and that you’re not alone. I realised that it wasn’t just us that struggled with various things or felt that we couldn’t do or didn’t know how to do something and that there is no such thing as failure. As well as that my eyes were opened to the fact that there’s really no shortage of money, there’s only a shortage of creativity. I now believe that if you needed to get hold of £100k you could and I would never have even thought that before. Another major breakthrough was the learning we were exposed to at F12, about who you are (Neil) and your particular talents. We really understood our roles. Understanding what our particular talents were was a really big shift for us.
8. How would you sum up the tangible benefits to you/your business since joining F12?
In year 1 the most significant tangible benefit was our turnover went up by 25% on the financial year. We were 8% down the previous year and heading downwards and to go from 8% down to 25% up in the space of one year is a pretty consistent result. In year 2 our profits are up 100% and that’s huge focus. The change of team has been another tangible benefit. We now work with a power team. We no longer have to search outside for people we don’t know where we have no idea what credentials they have and how good or trustworthy they are. We’re now working alongside people we know and trust and have some measure of and also that speak the same language as us. They’ve either been on F12 or are on F12. As another aside we’ve started our art collection as a result of F12! We are also utilising some of the other people in F12. We’ve now joined up with a marketing team, the CEO being one of the F12 group and we’ve also changed our accountant to one of the F12 Members.
9. How would you sum up the intangible benefits to you/your business since joining F12?
One of the positive benefits of joining F12 is that our headspace is much more positive. We feel that we’re part of something and this feeling of not being alone can’t be underestimated. Whatever challenges we’re facing we know that there are other people that have their challenges too. We realised that businesses face the same frustrations and challenges even if they are turning over 4m be it staff issues or financial problems or whatever. It’s good to be connecting with people and to realise that you’re not alone. We’re all struggling with the same things. On the other hand it also helps you to see what you’re doing right. Somebody will be facing a particular challenge and you realise that you know how to address that specific issue.
10. What value do you feel Paul brings to the Mastermind?
It’s difficult to know where to begin; the value he brings is just enormous. Without Paul the group could exchange ideas, have a good time and learn a few things I think, but Paul brings a lot of knowledge, a lot of which is cutting edge knowledge that isn’t even on the horizon of other businesses or other people’s thinking. He definitely gets information that’s way ahead of the time. Sometimes you can be sort of floundering around and he will simply say it’s a tetrahedron or it’s this, this and this. He brings focus, energy, clarity, support and integrity to the group. Integrity is very important to us and he has that in buckets. We’ve had coaching before and been part of mentorship programs both within Chiropractic and at seminars with marketing or business gurus and none of them have the same sort of honesty, integrity and caring about your well-being that Paul has.
11. Some might perceive F12 as being a significant expense – What would you say to that?
It’s not whether you can afford to do it; it’s whether you can afford not to do it. If you apply the information, get fully involved and give your all then your return on investment will be worth way, way more than anything you put into it. I think this sort of question stems from not knowing what the group does, whether it can be trusted or what it can do for them. It’s that or they have a small myopic view; it’s not expenditure, it’s an investment. It’s very important to spend money on your business but also to spend money on yourself and your mind-set. It’s one day a month when you go out and you think about your business and you work on it rather than in it. Otherwise if you’re not careful you can end up rather like a hamster on a wheel if you work all the time and don’t actually take some time out to work on your business and yourself.
12. What would be your message to entrepreneurs considering joining F12?
Our message would be the same as the Nike advert – ‘Just do it’. You have to be prepared to put in the effort required which means blocking out the time for the meetings and being absolutely decided about going on a regular basis. We travel 120 miles or so and sometimes this means a very early start and a late finish. Despite this we would say it’s a no brainer as far as we’re concerned. It definitely helps with both our mind-set and in our case literally financial bottom line.
13. What is the one thing you would share (or have shared) with the F12 Group which you believe is the most useful piece of advice you have given/could give?
We would say that getting our team right and having a team that’s like a power force behind us has been vital to our success. In our office we don’t have office politics. I walk into the office and I get hugs from each team member. Recently the team had decided that they were going to have a little tea party; they’d actually done a little invitation to invite us to the tea party at the practise at a certain day and time. This was something that they organised themselves completely. The revelation that you can actually have a team behind you that really want you to succeed and to succeed themselves that are excited by their work is a big one for us. I think quite a lot of even quite small companies can’t envisage having a team that’s so powerful behind them and so loyal and creative as well. Also because we know how to find and choose people for our team we don’t feel beholden to them, in other words, although we think our present team is wonderful, and that they are absolutely adorable, we’re not panicking about any of them leaving. That has been one of the big fears in the past. We know how to find who we need now. We also don’t have any power struggles in our office. If there’s an issue we know how to face it and we have an expression in our practice that we do it with love so there’s no nastiness. We’re not bosses perhaps in the typical way that people seem to think of them; in other words we’re collaborative not authoritative.
14. Anything else you’d like to add?
We can’t ever envisage a time that we wouldn’t want to be part of an F12 group. Paul may not want to hear this but we feel it’s for life. We can’t imagine not being part of the F12 family or Mastermind family that associates with Paul. I don’t want to be in any old Mastermind group. You are treated well and you’re looked after as part of the group. Both Paul and his team care about you and the rest of the group. Being part of the group is really not a chore; it’s not boring and stuffy, it’s actually really good fun. We quite look forward to going to the F12 days; it’s a really good day out for us and we’re working on our business and thinking and learning stuff at the same time; it ticks all the boxes. There’s a culture of caring; when you’re cared for then you care for others. For example we care for our team because we want to but also because they care for our patients. If our team weren’t cared for how could we expect them to care for our patients? So we think it works from the top down; Paul, Sue, Lesley and the team care for the people in F12 and then that gets passed down because we feel nurtured. You can’t nurture others if you don’t feel nurtured. That’s our whole focus really; our customer service and caring for our patients is one of the things we do really well and we have a laugh. That’s why we’ve just rejoined for year 3!!