1620 – The Rollercoaster of Business Ownership with Action Coach Solent Kevin Stansfield

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks to the Managing Director, Business Coach & Executiveof Actioncoach Solent,Kevin Stansfield.

Do you need help building a successful and scalable business? Do you feel stuck in a rut and unsure how to move forward? You're not alone. In a recent podcast episode, business coach Kevin Stansfield shares his experience coaching business owners and helping them build better businesses.

According to Kevin, many business owners need help to build businesses that provide the life they want. Most business owners just want a good life, not necessarily to be multimillionaires. Kevin's goal is to help business owners achieve financial freedom and the ability to choose whether they work or not.

So, how can you achieve this financial freedom? Kevin emphasizes the importance of having a clear vision for success and being the person who can achieve it. He uses a “be, do, have” formula to help his clients succeed. But mastering the necessary skills such as finance, sales, marketing, and people management can take up to 50 years.

The most crucial aspect of scaling a business is building a great team. Kevin suggests that business owners develop people management skills to create a successful and scalable business. He wants business owners to treat business as a game and enjoy the process of building a successful business.


About Kevin Stansfield: 

Kevin, a highly experienced financial director, has dedicated his career to preventing entrepreneurs from becoming slaves to their businesses. After witnessing his father's business consume his life, he pledged to help others avoid the same fate. Using his expertise, he's driven significant growth in several companies, including scaling a company from £2M to £36M and aiding another in achieving a £15M sale. For the past 16 years, he has assisted over 300 business owners to improve their work-life balance while boosting profits. Stansfield is also a published author, with three books offering insights into optimal business management strategies.


About Actioncoach Solent:

ActionCOACH Solent, part of the globally renowned ActionCOACH team, is a premier business coaching firm based in South Hampshire that supports local businesses to grow profitably. With an ambitious goal to boost their clients' revenues by £50 million, profits by £10 million, and team members by 500 over the next five years, they focus on equipping business owners with necessary skills beyond their core expertise. These skills include effective team management, marketing, PR, customer service, and financial understanding. ActionCOACH also aids in strategic planning, helping business owners to envision and plan for a successful future. Their coaching methodology empowers owners to work ON their business rather than solely IN it, fostering sustainable growth, control, and balance.


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Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out Actioncoach Solent website at

Check out Actioncoach Solent on LinkedIn at

Check out Kevin Stansfield on LinkedIn at

Check out Kevin Stansfield on Facebook at

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Josh (00:00:05) - Hey, their thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant coach, or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than 10 million in revenue. Just head to up my and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget, the Thoughtful Entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my and click on podcast. We'd love to have you with us right now. Kevin Stansfield. Kevin, you are the managing director and business coach, uh, for Action Coach Soland, and you're found on the And we've got that direct link right in the show notes to our friends. Listen to our conversation right now. Kevin joining us from the uk. Thank you so much, Kevin for joining us. Great

Kevin (00:01:19) - To be on the show, Josh. Yeah, really looking forward to it.

Josh (00:01:22) - I had a wonderful conversation with you leading up to this about my attempt at, my first attempt at creating a proper English breakfast. I did. Okay. I'd say sounded like you gave me about a b .

Kevin (00:01:32) - Well, I would say it was about 7 7, 7. Seven outta 10. So, okay. I was a few, few tweaks to make it perfect. So Well,

Josh (00:01:39) - And it felt like seven outta 10 ingredients. There's a lot of little food on that plate, and you're also the author of the book, the Big Dipper, how to Survive the Roller Coaster Ride of Business Ownership. Don't I know it? Yeah. Kevin, thank you so much for being here today.

Kevin (00:01:56) - No, great. Great to be on. Good to start with an English breakfast is a great way to start the today. So

Josh (00:02:03) - I tell you, I got about one third of the way through that plate and I am full for the day. . That's

Kevin (00:02:08) - ,

Josh (00:02:09) - That's a lot of protein and fiber.

Kevin (00:02:11) - Exactly. So,

Josh (00:02:12) - Well, well take me through just a bit of like you kind of your superpowers in the world and who you work with and, and, and the kind of the challenges that, that you help folks with.

Kevin (00:02:22) - So I've been coaching business owners for some 17 years now. I was, I'm a chartered accountant, so I came from a finance background, went into industry, built some multimillion pound businesses, uh, and during that time my father's business, which he'd bought off a man in a pub as, as you do. He'd run that for 15 years and unfortunately his business had failed. So, you know, he'd gone through this rollercoaster of success, doing really well, then hit the buffers and then the recession in the mid nineties basically took him under. And, you know, a lot of people have found that journey with covid two years ago with the, you know the inflation re recession we're in at the moment, the cost of living crisis, you know, when you're in business there's always this up and down and and real frustration that, you know, why can't my business provide me the life that I wanted when I started it? Yeah. And, and that's what I do. I help those people on that rollercoaster to, to build better businesses, to grow them. Some wanna build multimillion pound businesses. Many just want a, a business that can work without them, that gives them more life and, and doesn't mean they have to be working twice as hard as they did when they had a job.

Josh (00:03:41) - Yeah. Kevin, that, that has gotta be frustrating because you know, you'd think, I think, you know, if you're new to business, the the idea here is that it's going to be rough in the beginning. It's gonna be a slow, steady grind, and then it's like you're gonna follow this linear trajectory up and then you're gonna pass this imaginary line and life is gonna be good from that point forward. That's not at all what I would say 99% of business owners would say who have been through the rollercoaster. Yeah, it is. It's more like a rollercoaster. Can you talk about why that is?

Kevin (00:04:20) - I think, I mean, I've, I've studied this, you know, cuz love what I do, but I don't just sort of teach people the theory without understanding it myself. So I looked at, in the UK we have a thing called Companies House where all companies are registered. And my study of that showed that 98% of businesses, so limited companies run by good people. 98% of those businesses never make it past a million pound turnover. So if you're over a million pound turnover, million dollar turnover, you are in the 1%, you're in such a small minority that make it through that barrier. The ones that get to pass 10 years so have been going over 10 years is now 10% of that 2%. So the, the figures of success is actually tiny. And the ones that we see that are multimillion businesses, you know, they are, they're like looking in a sports world of the Roger Federers, you know, the people that make it into the number two golfers in the world.

Kevin (00:05:29) - And, you know, while we look at those and, and they're, they're inspiring for most people starting, I wanna be like that sports person. The reality of sports people is the number of people that are playing golf or playing tennis that aren't at that level is huge. And it's those people that find it difficult to actually take it to that level. And that comes from a, it is a little formula that we use a lot, which is b you know, who do I need to be times due? What do I need to do equals have? So if you want to have something, you've got to be that person. So you have the knowledge and skills, you've got a do, you've gotta actually put into practice what you learn. Then you have a chance of succeeding it. And the big thing that I've found over the years is, is the people that succeed out of those three things that they have, you know, what they want to have is really clear.

Kevin (00:06:26) - And generally it is big. You know, they, they go after the big fish. Yeah. And therefore they be more and they do more. The majority of people in business, you know, just want a good life. You know, they don't don't want to be a multimillionaire and have all the trappings. That's not what they started, you know, there's, there'll be a reason why they did it. But unfortunately that reason often means the business doesn't need to be over a million, you know, five, 10 million to actually achieve it. So they get stuck, they get stuck in this rut that they think they've got this lifestyle business, but because it's not big enough, you know, you've got, let's say you've got 10 employees and two employees leave, that's 20% of your workforce disappears overnight. Now no organization will survive if they lost 20% of their, their workforce.

Kevin (00:07:16) - You know, you know, ICI lost 20% of its workforce overnight. It would struggle. And that's the, the challenge that you've got. And the business owner is continue to be working in the business. So they're part of the, the team. So they're not spending enough time sitting thinking, planning, strategizing, finding opportunities to grow, which is why you get the rollercoaster, you get the up, you know, when things are going well, then you're so busy working in it to deliver that you are not growing the business. So because you're not growing the business, it then takes a bit of a downturn, then you're suddenly to pedal really hardly and try and develop the business again. And then it goes up and then you're busy delivering it. And it just it becomes like Groundhog Day. And that's where my father was for, you know, five years.

Kevin (00:08:07) - It took him to build to about a million pound business, 10 years of maintaining it and not growing it. And then suddenly, you know, the 90 recession kicked in and he lost the whole thing. And, and too many people are on that surviving the business. You know, it pays the bills, it gives them a reasonable lifestyle, but you know, they're never building it to a point where they could retire, that they could turn around and, and have what I call financial freedom. The ability to choose whether you work or not. You know, most people in business are working because they have to, not because they want to, you know, like so Donald Trump, you know, Richard Branson, Alan Sugar, you know, Warren Buffet, you know, they're not working cuz they have to, you know, they're working cuz they love doing it. It yes. You know? Yes. Right. And, and that's where we want to get the business to, is we do it because we want to do it, not because we have to do it.

Josh (00:09:02) - Yeah. Well what are some maybe, I'm just, you know, extremely empathic for the business owner that is, I don't get it. Like, and, and I know why this is the case, right? When we think about the stages of business ownership I have seen, and I've heard this as well, right? That, you know, as a solopreneur, like you can get to a point where you can make a good living and you've got a great lifestyle business for you. Generally your profitability's okay. Unless you have issues with, you know, client acquisition. I mean, that can really suck. Like if you're kind of feast and famine just because you don't have enough work to do. But if your work is good and you keep focused on it, you keep doing good work, it's generally gonna lead to more referrals and you got a nice steady stream of business.

Josh (00:09:49) - But then, yeah, I think a lot of us, at least I see this a lot in the consulting, coaching and agency world, you know, B2B service providers, I see this a lot. You get to a point where you start developing the bright idea. I know, I think I'll start getting leverage here and I'll start building a team, uh, and then, you know, I can enjoy more lifestyle and less business . Yeah. And, but there's problem because now you've got overhead and you've got other people involved. And would you mind maybe talking about that inflection point that you see in business? Yeah,

Kevin (00:10:24) - Yeah. I mean, it's a, you know, consultancy businesses, but Michael Gerber called, you know, if you read Gerber's book, the Emmys, the entrepreneurial myth that businesses are started by entrepreneurs. They're not, they're started by technicians. So whether you're a plumber that starts a plumbing business or an accountant that starts an accountancy business, or a consultant that starts a consultancy business, you know, the, the big danger is you are very good at delivering the operational side of things. But when you break business down, there are four key skill sets that you need to be as successful in business. So, you're rather than learning one skill and then applying that one. So you need four key skills. So the first one is operational. You know, you've gotta understand the game that you're playing, the operational game. Now, most technicians are good at that.

Kevin (00:11:17) - The plumber's good at plumbing, the accountant's good at accountancy. So that one generally isn't the issue. The second one is finance. Okay? Is business is a numbers game. So if you, if you're not good at numbers and you don't understand your profit and loss account and your balance sheet and your cash flow and your projections and your key performance indicators, then you're gonna suffer. And that's skill, you know, I trained as an accountant probably took me about five to 10 years to master finance. So you've gotta go on that journey to master that part of the business. Then you've got sales and marketing, you know, and you could split those into two. But for this, I'd tend to put it into one. Cause they are different skillsets. You know, sales is a conversion rate, skillset, marketing is a lead generation skillset.

Kevin (00:12:06) - Now, if you talk to any salesperson and say, how long's it taking to become a great salesperson? They'll say five to 10 years, marketing, you know, and that's marketing in each discipline. So social media, you know, and online, you've got offline marketing, you've got direct sales, you know, all of those can take five to 10 years to master mm-hmm. . So there, there you've got the operational, it probably take, took you 10 years to master the operations, and it's gonna take you 10 years to master finance, and it's gonna take you 10 years to master sales and marketing, then to add it all. If you want to build a team and you want to get gain leverage, yeah. It's gonna take you five to 10 years to become a great manager of people. That, and any master in any of those disciplines will tell you, well, you never really master it in five, 10 years. Mm-hmm. , you, you get competency in it. Yes. Mastery takes a lifetime.

Josh (00:13:00) - It does. Yes. Exactly.

Kevin (00:13:02) - So that's the challenge that every business owner's got is I, yeah, I've gotta master all these skills. If you added 'em all that, that's probably 40 to 50 years to master those. Yeah. Well, I don't have time. I don't wanna take 50 years. So the key one, the one that, you know, you've gotta have an understanding of finance, you've gotta an understanding of sales and marketing. You've gotta have an understanding of operations. The one you really have to master is the people. Yeah. If you can't build a team of people to deliver what you want to do, then you'll never create a business. Mm. So, you know, even the most automated businesses, systemized businesses, you know, requires, uh, an element of the ability to build a team. Yeah. So to communicate to people, to lead people, to motivate people, to sack people, you know, that's the one that most people don't put enough effort into learning and to develop. And that's why those businesses will never scale, because you can't scale it without building great people around you.

Josh (00:14:05) - Yeah. Uh, Kevin, someone spoke a listen to our conversation, like, I want more Kevin Stansfield in my life. How do they get that ?

Kevin (00:14:14) - I mean, the best thing is reach out on LinkedIn. So, that's of all the social media platforms, that's the one I'm on the most. So yeah, I'm posting content regularly on LinkedIn. Just reach out, just put Kevin Stansfield into LinkedIn and I'll be there. If you wanna get some of my free content, then my YouTube channel, which is action Coach Solan on, YouTube or just type in my name, I'll come up on there as well. So I put a lot of my content on YouTube for free. And you know, if you, I'm more than happy to have a one-to-one with anybody. If you want my book Amazon, the Big Dipper dot, the Big Dipper book, you'll find that on Amazon and my other book, which is on Amazon, which is called The Great Game, which is looking at the similarities between the game of golf and the game of business and, and why, you know, business if you treat it as a game is a much more enjoyable thing to play.

Josh (00:15:13) - Yeah. Love it. Kevin Stansfield again, your website, it's Again, to our friend that's listening to our conversation, just click around in your podcast app. You'll see a direct link to it. But again, you serve again as the managing director and business coach with Action Coach Soland, uh, Kevin, it's been great having you. Thank you so much for the conversation.

Kevin (00:15:38) - Great. On the show, Josh, thank you very much, and good luck with the breakfast.

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