18s: Carlos Horner, are you a business guru? Someone who is on top of their game and owners/business people would come to you for advice and your experience. I am someone who is extremely interested in how businesses are run and especially in business growth.
1min 30s: How did you get to where you are now? I was born in Germany, brought up in Yorkshire. My mother’s Chilean and father’s Mancunian. I left Yorkshire after university to the city and fell into a stockbroking firm. Did that for 20 years and went on to doing research notes for companies going to market.
4min 40s: Which sectors were you operating in? Smaller companies – those with a few £100 million – have big challenges because investors have minimum investments. I moved onto investments and became popular with other investors because I made them money.
8min 16s: The city gets bad rap, isn’t that just what turbo-capitalism is? At one time, people were conservatively paid but banks were opened up to outside ownership etc so the dynamic changed. People getting paid too much is a problem.
9mins 23s: So then you left? After the investment job, I became director of sales & marketing for a firm, going round the world raising money for investors. I did that for a few years but I had a young family and got tired of London so I relocated up North in 2013.
10mins 52s: So then I went into property development not knowing the property world and realised you have to spend a lot of time in there before you start throwing your money around.
11mins 38s: What did you decide to do? I loved strategy and looking at businesses and trying to help them progress. I started advising businesses on strategy (where we met!) I took a year out to work on methodology. Businesses don’t have a way to get clients. Looking after clients and getting referrals is important but they didn’t have a way to have predictability from revenue
13mins 53s: The elements in building consistency of revenue: sales skills, structure, accountability and positioning. No one is doing it as a method. I launched my product at the beginning of this year.
15mins 1s: What’s beta testing? The company is Refine Business Developments and the product is refine business generator which is the pilot process which is an acronym for the five steps. Beta testing is where you have an idea and you go and test it on a market. The results are fantastic.
15mins 26s: Who did you test it on? I met people along my journey and I’ve worked with clients in London and Yorkshire. They helped me shape it. I believe in the progress of the product so it’s always developing. Change is the key word.
18mins 14s: Where are the clients you’re looking for? IT, tech and engineering with over £1 million turnover and over 10 staff. They have to be ambitious, open to change and have an idea of process. The most successful businesses know what they’ll be earning in a year’s time. Without processes, they’re reliant on individuals which is dangerous because they leave and you can’t replicate what they do.
20mins 17s: Are businesses in this area as open minded for what you offer as they are in London? They know they need to develop their business but where do they go? Why is business and development training seen as a cost?
23mins 13s: Do Harrogate businesses do worse or better than others in other parts of the country/world? Social media selling will become bigger.
25mins 23s: Are you a coach? No, I’m definitely not a qualified coach. They should be available for every member of staff in all businesses.
28mins 20s: Networking is the best way for you to develop your business but it’s seen as selling. You should be engaging with people you can help/can help you. Once a month we have the Harrogate Social which is a drinks event where you can have a drink and a chat. It’s important but it’s not done well. It can have a profound effect on your business if you do it consistently and well.
31mins 28s: Is it not good for shy people? We find them and introduce them. Reach out to other businesses and go for a coffee with someone once a week – again consistency. The challenge of networking is that if you meet people, you have to follow up with them.
35mins 4s: Can you do it too much? Yes. You need to define what things you need to do to get clients. Step 2 is infrastructure so you need to build a framework for getting new clients. There are two types, one being outbound (known as interrupting eg cold calls or networking) and over time you get a conversion rate. Anybody can do it.
37mins 44s: Businesses should grow if they want to remain the same. It isn’t to do with growth, you need to get new clients to stand still. You lose clients so you need to replace them. You don’t have to grow, it’s about successful businesses, security over growth.
39mins 31s: Are there any business leaders you admire? E-myth is a great book by Michael Gerber. Processes will set you free. Your service has got to be always good. Great to look at champions but does it mean anything to us? We should decide what is valuable. Learning should start with yourself. Try different things, see what works and take the best from different people.
45mins 54s: Do you have a morning routine? Yes. First, because I do lots of sport, I am achy and have some injuries from sport so I stretch. I wake up at 6am and listen to a 10min podcast, I don’t have a particular one. I also do my journal in the morning, I like the reinforcement of gratitude. Then, I get the kids ready and get them to school. I have a list of work to do e.g. calling clients, writing blogs. i use a virtual PA.
50mins 20s: What else should I have asked you? Maybe, have you done a good day’s work today? E.g. if I have done 80% of my list, then I’ve done a good job if 80% was my bottom parameter for success. Staff will have their KPI’s etc.
51mins 52s: How can people contact you? Visit my website www.refinebd.com there is a quiz on there if you are a business owner as well as blogs and videos.