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Case study


My board opened up opportunities and helped me become a better leader

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Support from board members allowed Janine Esbrand to become a better business leader, and also opened up doors to countless new opportunities.

In 2016, Janine Esbrand started a part-time coaching business alongside her day job as a lawyer. A few years later, with her business growing steadily, Janine faced a predicament: go back to being a full-time lawyer, or focus all her time on the business?

Janine eventually decided to go with the latter. But a year down the line, she could feel herself struggling with the best direction for her business. It was at this moment that she decided to seek out support from Be the Business.

“I had lots of clients and was doing lots of things and feeling very busy, but also feeling a bit out of sorts in terms of where I’m going and what I’m building. It was at that point that I thought it would be really helpful to have an outside perspective, because it's just been me and my team doing this.

“To have a Be the Business board and have people with different perspectives look at my business and give me guidance was really, really helpful to figure all that out.”

Support for founders is limited – Be the Business bridges that gap

When Janine first started her business, she wasn’t aware that schemes like the Be the Business Strive Boards programme existed. She had undergone courses and coaching programmes but felt like she needed additional support to help her business grow.

Then, when she came across Be the Business on social media, Janine knew that the programme was something she wanted to get involved in.

“It's been very much like a breadcrumb-type situation in terms of figuring out what help is actually out there. It's only through Be the Business that I realised there's local support that I can actually access and learn from.”

“I'd invested in coaches and coaching programmes, but that's a very different perspective. And a board member, having that advisory element, is what I felt like was missing.”

Recognising that actually stepping out of things that I don't need to be involved in has meant that we've been able to be more efficient and consistent as a whole.

Learning to be a better leader

One of the most common problems that business owners face is learning to be the best leader they can be. Founders often caught up in the short-term, day-to-day responsibilities in their business, rather than spending time on “big picture” strategic thinking.

This is a problem that Janine knows all too well. She often found herself trying to offload tasks to other people, but struggled to give up the reins and hand over full responsibility. As she was still signing off tasks, Janine ended up not gaining that much time back, and ultimately made business processes inefficient and clunky.

But, with the guidance and support of her board members, she learnt to see her business as something she’s building rather than something she simply enjoys – and now knows how to be the best leader she can be.

“Before I was delegating, but not properly. I was giving my assistant something to do, but part of a process was that they came back to me, which wasn’t really freeing up my time,” Janine reflects.

“Now, people on my team actually have responsibilities – they know what they're supposed to do, and check in with me, but I'm not involved so much. Recognising that actually stepping out of things that I don't need to be involved in has meant that we've been able to be more efficient and consistent as a whole.”

There's no reason why you shouldn't and all the reasons why you should. Because the perspective that you're going to gain – that insight is priceless.

Opening doors to countless opportunities

Another great outcome that Janine experienced from working with her board was all the new and exciting opportunities that emerged. This reason alone is why Janine thinks everyone should take advantage of the programme.

“There's no reason why you shouldn't and all the reasons why you should. Because the perspective that you're going to gain – that insight is priceless. It's going to open the door to so many opportunities – for example, one of the board members invited me to go and speak at NatWest for one of their events,” she said.

The influx of new opportunities meant that Janine was able to become a much more accomplished and confident business owner. Over the course of a year, Janine notes that she “grew from a baby business owner to being the CEO of a successful business”, and that the advice she received from her board was a huge part of that.

Have a question about your business that you want answered? The Be the Business board programme may be perfect for you – learn more about it here.

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