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How To Scale Your Business With James Nicholson And Martin Norbury

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Jumping into Episode 16 of the RocketCast we have Mr.Scalability himself Martin Norbury, who shares with you and James Nicholson insights on how he approaches scaling your business sustainably, the strategies he implemented through his work and career – going from small to large scale and back again to small – and answering questions from the Rocket Marketing Hub community.

Looking to grow your business and take it up to the next level is always admirable, but Martin has made a career out of catching (and sometimes letting go) businesses that need a plan put into place to support their scaling – expected or unexpected.

In this RocketCast Episode:

  • Martins Story and Experience with how he’s scaled his business over his career – and why he chose to scale ‘back’.
  • We talk about Strategies and the Mentality you need to have to be successful and – most importantly – sustain your business growth so you can Exit on a High rather than Bust-Out.
  • And the overall attitude and understanding that must go into your business to Ensure you don’t Scale to Failure!
  • and much more!

Links and Resources Mentioned in this RocketCast:

My Advocate Mentor 

I don’t work Fridays – Grab a copy of the bestselling book here.

Thank You for listening in this week – we’d love to hear from with any feedback you may have. Review us on iTunes and be sure to stay tuned for further episodes!

Click Here To Listen, Subscribe & Review -The Rocket Cast On iTunes.


Transcribed Version:

Welcome to the Rocket Cast – It’s time to Blast your Sales into Orbit! Hold on Tight! Here is your host – James Nicholson!


James Nicholson: Hey, it’s James Nicholson, and I’m really excited today to have Martin Norbury who is known as ‘The Scalability Coach’ on todays Webinar and Podcast – so thank you Martin for joining us today!

Martin Norbury: Hey, Hi; Good Afternoon; Good Evening and Good Morning – whenever your watching this – Thank you so much for the invite!

JN: Do you want to tell us little about who you are what you do, because obviously ‘The Scalability Coach’ is a very Unique Job Title.

MN: Yes, it is. I think the first thing to say is that it wasn’t something I created. One of my clients actually gave me that title and when I thought about I thought ‘actually I quite like that’, and it niches me in the marketplace. As for what I’ve done I set up my business after working with an organisation – I left in a bit of a strop because I didn’t like the way they were operating; set-up my own small business – put my money where my mouth was – and did alright. We sold that business in 1996, and then re-sold it again in 1997, which I think if you can sell a business twice in two years that’s quite a good thing – and that’s part of what scaling is about – and then joined the Corporate world which was a big shock to the system, because of going from this small entrepreneur into this bureaucratic red-tape, process-driven ‘takes years to doing anything’-type mentality really did challenge what I thought business was all about.

However, the mixture between the two and since 1997 to 2010, that’s exactly what I did; growing the business I was with, and then in 2004 being headhunted to run a division in a PLC and eventually taking over that; then in 2010 exiting that after regrowing a business that was actually losing quite-a-few million up-into £160 million revenue we turned it into – and I left that in 2010 really to get back to being an entrepreneur again!

JN: Cool – nice one! *laugh*

MN: Bit of a journey, but interesting going from small business to big business back to small business again – there’s lots that both sides can learn from each other.

JN: Yeah.

MN: I mean the entrepreneur would really help the big companies out there, and the big companies out there would really help the entrepreneurs – and it’s actually what scale is about in some ways; mixing those two worlds together.

JN: Cool, okay – Do you want to tell us a little bit about your book as well you just recently launched?

MN: Yes; As you can see I’m not really okay with being called a published author or an award-winning published author – we launched the book in March and it went to the top of Amazons’ ‘Entrepreneurs and small business books’, it’s called ‘I Don’t Work Fridays’. One thing I found with my clients and people that knew me across the UK, is that whilst they knew as the Scalability Coach – they knew me more by ‘You’re the guy who doesn’t work Fridays, as well’.

I don’t work Fridays because, unfortunately we lost our daughter in 2010 – hence me leaving the corporate world – and we’re very fortunate to, within 18 months to have James and Lilly arrive which are our twins, and I just dedicated my time and said ‘actually I’m not ‘not’ going to spend time with them as they are growing’, so Jackie and myself don’t work Fridays. Now today is not a Friday, although you might be hearing this on a Friday it’s a Thursday so this is my last day of the week and it’s why I called the book I Don’t Work Fridays. It’s basically proven strategies to help you scale your business. It’s sort-of semi-biographical so it’s about my journey and how I deserved it, and the fore is by a well-known Australian called Daniel Priestley.

JN: Nice one!

MN: He’s No.3 in all-time best-sellers for Entrepreneurs.

JN: Fantastic – so have you found since you stopped working Fridays do you generally get similar amounts of work in that period of time?

MN: I know it’ll sound strange but I’d say slightly more.

JN: Really?

MN: Because you have to focused. I mean there’s 168 hours a week, and if you take your working time and sleeping time out of that there’s still 50 hours left. People generally seem to think that just because if everyday there’s another day coming they don’t look at their time as important as they should do, whereas as when you run a PLC or large business; time is absolutely critical and if you don’t respect your own then people don’t respect yours either. So for me I get everything done that I need to do – I don’t work up to 11 o’clock at night, so work to having everything done by Thursday afternoon.

JN: It’s similar to when you’re going on holiday you’re more productive that week – for those of us that do work Fridays, the day before we go on holiday we get a months-worth of work done (or at least I seem to).

MN: And why is that James? It’s because we’ve got a focus and don’t let anything get in our way – whereas generally we can all become busy-fools; where we do everything we shouldn’t do in our business. Peter Drucker says it absolutely spot-on; ‘You either being effective or efficient, which means where you either doing the stuff right or doing the right stuff.’ And for me I’d rather being coin the right stuff.

JN: Cool; Let’s jump into some questions that we’ve got from our audience here – really interesting questions. First question is from a mutual friend of ours – Neil Humphrey, who is known as the Brand Gladiator. Seems like I’m the only person who has a fairly normal name – I need to come up with something a bit more exciting, huh?

MN: Well everyone needs to claim their space!

JN: Yeah! *laugh*

MN: It’s one the first thins of sale – be identified for something!

JN: Yeah, exactly – Neil’s saying;


What is the biggest misconception when it comes to distinguishing between Scale and Growth – What’s the difference?


MN: Okay – if you look at any business – now I’m talking to your audience and not knowing the size of their businesses, but I assume anybody listening to this, whether they are a one-man operation or part of a several million pound business their ambition is to grow or scale business; so I’ll talk about the end-goal.

JN: Okay.

MN: You can grow a business but the idea to scale is that the cost-to-revenue ratio isn’t on the same curve – so if you plotted revenue and cost, as you were growing revenue you’re not growing cost. So what you’re looking for in Scale is, as you get to a certain position the business grows more revenue-wise than it costs to grow the business so it’s not a 1:1 ratio.

Scale relates to a lot of things. It’s about the customer journey – delivering what the customer wants and what they need, because that’s what you deliver over-and-over and over again. Where-as things like the finance, the marketing, the sales, the HR and the IT, well that isn’t scale – you don’t need two HR Managers if you double your business size, but you ‘do’ need more people and more systems.

The company I used to run, for instance, if we didn’t have technology, processes and systems we would have needed 2000 people – it would never have been a business at that level, so the technology helped scale that business. So my personal definition of Scaling is that I can take an average resource – and I mean that in the kindest sense – put them in the business and I can get a great result. Where as you can take an excellent resource and put them into a business that hasn’t been set-up to scale, and you’d get an average result.


JN: That makes sense, cool – Next question from Neil is;


When should a business owner start scaling their business?


JN: Obviously we’re all on different journeys – what time-scale or point on the road would you look at potentially scaling the business?

MN: Well it’s not about timing, as-such; it’s not even about how much you earn or what you’ve done in certain areas – it’s about where the business actually is. Because I know lots of businesses that I would cal in start-up that have been trading 20-years – they’re still struggling with getting customers. I saw something from Dan Bradbury in a Webinar about what Ryan Deis said that the key thing you need to scale is a repeatable way to get customers, and that is true to a certain level but that was in relation to an info-marketing business – most businesses that are looking to scale believe they’ve already got those things in place.

What they might not have the right structure, they might not have the right strategy; the right culture in their business, the right financial footing in their business; the right values portrayed in their business – the analogy I’ll give is that if you’ve got a 20-year old car that hasn’t a service for 2 years, and you put your foot down on the motorway, chances are it’s going to breakdown – and it’s the same with a business that you haven’t set-up to scale.

So our model is very-much based on the acronym of scale – S-C-A-L-E – and ’S’ is all about the Set-up; and we do with our clients we stop them where they are and we say ‘okay, you need to do certain things in your business now before you scale’ because a business that’s growing-or-scaling has this hockey stick of a revenue curve, I don’t know if I you’ve seen that before?

JN: Yeah, I’ve seen that in your stuff.

MN: So it goes up and down depending on cost, and most people plot their financials when they’re scaling as a linear thing – a million this year or 1.5 million next year or 2 and so-on. But that’s not how businesses grow or scale – they go from 100,000 to maybe 300,000 to a 1 million to 5 million to a 20 million, it really does that.

You imagine trying to – as you’re growing and scaling at this great rate – trying to stop everything and put in place all the things you need to put into place.

JN: Yeah, it’s hard.

MN: That’s why; so the time to scale a business is when you’ve got certain key things in place and those key things are – a little plug for the book, the profits of which go to charity for our daughters fund – it outlines these things on book which is on Amazon and Kindle, but it outlines what the S-C-A-L-E is about and I’m sure we’ll explore that an upcoming question.


JN: Alright – next question for you;


Have you ever advised someone to pull-the-plug on their business, or do you believe every situation can be recovered from.


JN: Obviously a lot of businesses get themselves ‘in the shit’, so to speak.

MN: Well they do, yeah, and one of the phrases we use a lot – and it wasn’t one of ours but I read it thought it was brilliant explanation – is ;companies growing broke’. Companies having, what they call, the ‘working capital’ to grow their business which is the money needed to fund the growth exceeding the margin that their business can generate – which means, the more they grow, the worse it gets.

So until you fix that you can’t scale and can’t do anything else. You can be very profitable on paper from a P&L basis, but the more they sell and the worse it gets – and I’ve seen lots of those. On the other side I’ve seen companies like Amazon – based on Jeff Bezos’ own admission through a letter to his shareholders saying ‘all profits go back into re-investment’ – hardly make a single penny in profit but generate 3 billion year, of course allow them to grow their businesses because the cash is there.

JN: Yeah.

MN: So there are some businesses, in the way they’re structured, that you can’t actually scale or grow it – it’d be very difficult.

JN: Okay – have you ever come across any businesses that you’ve told to ‘pull-the-plug’.

MN: I’ve pulled the plug on some of our clients – which is a hard thing to do – but my job is basically to protect the shareholders of a business and, for most of your clients and your audience the shareholder will be the same person as who is driving the business. But the job is to protect the shareholder, and sometimes I’ve said (different conversation) that ‘you’re M.D is not helping you’ and they look at me blankly say ‘well that’s me’ and I’ve just said ‘Yeah …’, because they way they run it they’re never ever going to grow their business.

Now we have actually stepped in and bought some of those companies; we’ve said ‘actually if we come in and help you and you do the doing and we do the running of the business, that might help you’, and we do take over businesses based on that premise. The journey of scaling a business is all about what you want to do with your life, really, and I know a lot of people who are working long hours – 60-70 hours a week – are not earning a lot of money, are unhappy with their business (they’ve fallen out of love with it) and their journey is awful for them. I say to them ‘well if you’ve got a job (because you’re a clever person), you could earn more money, you could have your holidays, you could have family time; what is this all about’, and they realise that they’re probably living someone else’s dream. Because I believe that to be an entrepreneur you have to be a very specific type of person and there are a lot of people that are entrepreneurs – as Gerper in the E-Myth (?) – that really aren’t – they are people that have either fallen on hard-times, been made redundant, put some investment in but really shouldn’t be running a business and it’s not because they haven’t got the skill set or the knowledge, it’s just because they don’t have the attitude or the aptitude to do it.

JN: Which happens, it does happen.

MN: Absolutely, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I have a clients I’ve had or a few clients still that honestly admit they are the best No.2 out there – but they need a No.1 in their business to help them run it.

JN: Exactly. Cool, alright, next question is from Siam Kidd who is known as ‘The Realistic Trader’ – yet again someone with a better name than mine! *LaughIng*

MN: *Laughing* There’s a theme here, James!

JN: Don’t worry, the next couple don’t have one –

MN: We’ll give them a name!

JN: They’ve got normal ones but we’ll make one up for them! Okay, Siam is The Realistic Trader and I hang around with him a lot. Very ambitious guy; quite keen on building a business and selling it. What Siams asking is;


What leading indicators do you look at in-terms of company numbers?


MN: What – for an Exit?

JN: Yeah I think he’s mostly talking about an Exit here, because most of the next question is focused on that.

MN: Oh, okay – so, that is the first rule of Scale, really: a businesses are meant to deliver value to their shareholders and that value can come in lots of different ways. I think that the best company out there is the one you’re about to sell. Whether you sell it or not doesn’t matter, but if it’s structured in a way to sell it that’d be really useful for the owner. Which means it has to have certain things in place – it can’t rely on the owner – so for entrepreneurs, a lot of them are concerned that they’re too involved in it. Now that doesn’t that your brand is linked to it, but when you look at selling a business you’ve got to look at it as an impartial person rather than the owner-driver. That’s the first thing – It’s got to be able to solve it’s own problems rather than you solving them for it, so you need a team around you in some ways.

Agreeing with Ryan Deiss in what was said earlier in that you need a way to get customers in all the time – I think he used the phrase ‘turning them from strangers to customers’ as part of that going forward. It’s gotta be on a consistent growth pattern, which means that it should be on it’s up all the time and the best way of proving that, is doing what we call a rolling 12-months.

So if you take 12 months, and roll it every single month – as in roll it backwards through the preceding 12 months and keep rolling it – you’ll either see your business go up, down or fluctuate – it’s got to be going up in some ways.


*Skype Breaks up*


JN: I think we’ve lost again, sorry!

MN: Yeah, I actually to said that, I was about to say ‘have I think I’ve lost you, because you’ve frozen!’ You looked very stunned at my answer.

So you’re looking at consistent growth – around 12 quarters of consistent growth. You’re looking at profitability of 15% upwards, at least. You’re looking at a business that can generate income on a regular basis – maybe have contracts, good track record. The most important thing to sell a business is that you want 2 buyers. Sounds a bit obvious, but the reason WhatsApp, for instance, sold for multiple billions –

JN: Because Google wanted it and Facebook wanted it.

MN: There you go! So, it’s an auction then. When you look to sell a business, and when I take on a business now – a company I’m working with who are planning for an Exit – we target who we’re gonna Exit on day one. It could change, but we basically start saying ‘let’s make sure they are aware of us, and what’s going on.’ We pick 2-or-3 in the market and we sell, because entrepreneurs generally selling their business think they can sell it for a million, but the market for million-pound businesses doesn’t exit, really. You’re either a huge organisation that its not worth spending time buying it, or you’re a small investor and you haven’t got the money to buy it. So you need to get it to that next stage.

What’s happening in the UK market a lot of time is these ‘Virtual Roll-Ups’, where companies like marketing companies or accountancy firms or IT companies are merging together – 4-or-5 of them – and of course that gives them the scale for economy and they can sell for a higher-ratio P.E, that’s what we’re seeing, so there’s a lot of things but the most important thing – like art – is that you’ll get what people want to pay for it.


JN: Alright, next question from Siam is;


When you’re in the stages of Exiting a company and the figures look good for the past 12-months – what’s the best place to find buyers?


MN: Well you start of your journey the day you deciding you’re going to Exit with who that’s going to be. So if that’s going to be an I.P.O – initial offering – then potentially you want to get some investors in earlier and do some seed funding, some A.B Funding, something along those lines because you want a strong board; a strong ringer going through because if you’re taking it to that level you gonna want to have that. If you’re selling to a trade, then you just start talking to the companies that you think would eventually buy you and I’ve done that quite a few times – we call it a Strategic Alignment, but actually it’s a lot more along the lines of a Exit; a planned Exit. They might not know it, but you do the same.

So my first ever business, I was a national distributor for a software company and my plan all along from the moment – I started in 1991 but I never joined them until 1993 – so for the next three years my plan was to become so important to the ‘mother-ship’ as we called it that they’d have to buy us – and of course that’s what happened.

JN: Cool.

MN: So along those lines. You can go to brokers and such – there’s some brokers that are quite useful but, generally, I find they generally know as-much as you do *laugh*. The best thing to do is find someone whose done it before and get them onboard to help you do it. There’s a guy I know – Guy Bartlett – who does this (I don’t know if you know Guy?) –

JN: I’ve heard the name.

MN: – basically he goes in and helps businesses that that are looking to Exit, and he finds them find other businesses and put them together so they can get a better ratio.

JN: Cool – Divian Mistry (who doesn’t have a grand title) he owns a property education company.

MN: Prop-Ex, yeah.

JN: He’s asking;


A fundamental part of growth is systemising and improving processes so-as to eliminate any possible surprises. When creating a process of doing something that will help grow your business, how do you define when to do it. Should you always be systemising?


MN: Yeah, yeah so anybody that read the book would realise S-C-A-L-E came from everything I ever did. One of my clients said I was ‘The Scalability Coach’ and I asked ‘what do you mean by that?’ and they said ‘Well, you’ve got this knowledge and experience in certain things that you’ve helped me to apply, and my business has scaled’ and I was like ‘Okay …’.

I was not aware of how I did that, to be honest – it was one of those things where you do something for so long it feels like a natural thing. So I looked back to find out where this came from and I realised it was hobbies I had when I was younger.

Those hobbies when you dissect them – and it’s not like a hobby where I played golf and held a 20-handicap – this was a hobby where I got to be one of the best, a world class level – going from a rank amateur to world-class, how do you do that? Because a business that goes from being basic to world-class, it’s something I want to do that again, so I dissected that and that’s where my S-C-A-L-E comes from. My first business venture, on day 01 sat there asking myself ‘okay, what do I do’, I created little booklets of each of the different processes I had there. So I was doing this with sales, for instance, and I wrote down – I was using a Sales tool, a CRM back then called Maximiser – and I wrote down exactly what I was doing.

I typed in this format, I typed in this name, I entered in this detail – so the next time I went to sell because I was a one-man-band, I just followed that process. When I knew it actually really worked – around the summer time, April ’91 – I took on a couple of university graduates and they were coming in to do selling off-the-page for me – Advert & Computer Shopper etc – and they came into help sell and I just gave them my sales manual which I created as I was learning in the business. So to me I was earning-and-learning at the same time – I was capturing all this information.

I gave them this sales manual and they didn’t need to ask me much more, they just followed it and by the end of the day we talked about and just said ‘well that didn’t quite work – alright let’s change that’ and iteration 2 and 3 came on.

JN: And with business your about to sell do you systemise absolutely everything or can that be overkill?

MN: As much as you can, yes, as much as you can – there’s processing and systemising – as I said theres’ the business I rain which was the 160 million business; everything was automated to a level where we were handling 20,000 transactions a day with just under 300 staff. So what we did is we focused on the exception rather than the rule. We systemised a customer journey from A-to-Z, for example, and it was all flowed automatically through the business without us having to touch the sides.

So the customer would come in, we created a form, the form would be sent to them, they’d fill in something and it would come back to our end; it would automatically be checked when sent back. It was only the 11% that fell outside of that that we managed. But without that, we would have had to have thousands of staff so we couldn’t of done it.

So, but the first thing to understand when you create a process in the business – the art of scaling is consistency, delivering a consistent result, time-in, time-out with an average resource. McDonalds, for instance, don’t employ Noble Prize Physicists – they employ people who have just left school and maybe don’t know what they want to do currently, on the frontline. But what those guys on the frontline know is exactly what’s expected of them, and wherever you go in the world you’ll get exactly the same taste of McDonalds – whether you like it or not – it’s the same!

JN: Yeah, exactly.

MN: That’s what Gerbophobe (?) was for and it’s the same for any business – delivering that consistent result. So my advice for all businesses is to give everyone you work with a blank book, get them to write down every day what they are doing, put that into a process, swap it with someone else and then learn it, look at it, and from there that’s your process. When you put all those together; that’s your business manual.

JN: Yeah that makes sense.

MN: And you don’t have to take any time out of the business to do it.

JN: Great – another question from Divian;


What’s the biggest mistakes people are making when they are scaling?


MN: Numbers!

JN: Not knowing the numbers?

MN: Not knowing the numbers, yeah, well there are two major things – not having an understanding of what business culture is. People go ‘I’m only a one-man-band!’, but again, when you’re scaling a business momentum takes over and you haven’t got time to stop it and redefine it. So, Day 01, describe what type of business you want – it will change – but describe it, that’s the first thing and it’s very important to do that. But the second one, and I would say 99% of all my clients I’ve ever worked with have no-idea what their business is really doing because they don’t look at the 3 fundamental score cards in their business, which are their Income Statement or Profit Loss, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow.

The fact is the Balance Sheet and Profit Loss are all fiction: they’re not true – profit is fiction: the only thing that’s true is cash. And depending on how your business is structured then if you don’t know how those numbers work then you’re on a hiding-to-nothing. I realised this when I took over a  large business and was legally liable to writing multi-million pound cheques. If I put my signature on the wrong one, I could end up in Jail.

JN: Right?

MN: That made me decided, very quickly that I’m putting my signature on the right ones; and by doing that (and I say that metaphorical because it wasn’t signatures it was only approvals and transfers) I had to understand the numbers in the business. The story I tell is that I hired a guy called Simon and I was about to go on holiday with my wife to the Maldives – it was great – and there weren’t Kindles back then: I was in Smiths’, buying my 14 books I would read on holiday (she loved going on holiday with me) – and I’d read those. Then my phone went and my Finance Director Simon called me and said we’re 80 grand down on profit.

That wasn’t 80 grand down – our profit was 80 grand ‘under’ what we forecast. My reaction to him, if you’ll excuse my language, was ‘bollocks’. It wasn’t a ‘where is it, go and find it’  this was ‘I don’t believe you because I know my numbers’.

I know exactly what our link is from our first number – our domino number which pushes everything over – to our end number. Sure enough, within the hour, he came back and said ‘You’re right and our work-in-progress was understated. We’ve taken on a new client, hadn’t looked for work-in-progress and it was understated.’

I was so confident with the numbers and I knew that by just looking and feeling about the business I knew whether we were on the right track or not.

JN: So most people aren’t do that?

MN: Well, I was really quite impressed with Dan Bradbury at his last event, where he went through an entire 90-minute session on numbers. Because it is one of the driest subjects you can have in business but the people that get it more, get it – they understand what to do with their business.

We honestly believe that the business tells you everything it needs to tell you if you just asked it the right questions, and the numbers are the questions you need to ask it.

JN: Yeah.

MN: The biggest business mistake entrepreneurs are making right now.

JN: Great advice there. Cool – last few questions here – we’ve got Pete Cann who owns a new product, The Chef Tree, and he’s asking;


What tools would you recommend for scaling your business?


JN: Any tools would you suggest for smaller-to-medium size businesses?

MN: Yeah we actually have a something that might be useful for your audience, and we have a website which has a questionnaire on there called The Exit Questionnaire and what it is is only 20 questions, but if answered truthfully, I say that, where you actually are and not where want to be, and it will give you a rating 100% on where you are on your scale journey – and linked to each of those questions is a set a tools.

Also, interestingly enough that’s  the work book that our clients get and this work book has all the tools in it – again I’m not position that as a sale because we’re over-subscribed and we’re not looking for clients; I’m doing this because I like to help businesses get a true evaluation of where they are.

But if they go to our website which is

JN: Yeah I’ll put that in a link.

MN: They can check out the books (is it books, I’ll check with my team … yes it is) the Scale-Exit Questionnaire is on there; they can download that – and what I’d say is not to disheartened by the score. None of my clients are above 80% and most start of in 20%-30%.

JN: It’s a great starting point though, isn’t it? You’ll have improved in a few months.

MN: Yeah – if you know you’re start point whether it’s good, bad – as long as you know where it is, the next time you look at it, 9 times out of 10 it’ll have improved.

JN: Cool, well that’s a good resource and I’ll ensure to get that posted around for those listening on the podcast.

MN: Well it’s a free resource so anyone can use it – they can sign up if they want for -*Skype breaks up* –

JN: You’ve broken-up there again.

MN: – I Don’t Work Fridays … did you get that?

JN: No. *laugh*

MN: Oh okay – I’ve just been corrected anyway look on the site, which stands for I Don’t Work Fridays.

JN: Okay, perfect.

MN: Just have a quick look on the website and check it out.

JN: I’ll put a link to that – alright, last question from Pete Cann;


How important is your team?


JN: You said before how McDonalds can run a huge business using people that have just set out of school and, if you have the right systems and processes you don’t need people who are as qualified as you might expect. Obviously I’d imagine, further up the chain, you do need more experienced people in place when you’re scaling – is that right?

MN: Yes, very much so. First you employ people who you can manage, but everyone on your team eventually needs to be better than you at what they do. Where a lot of people go wrong is, say, for instance, if you coming from the Sales background they always under-employed a sales person because they came from that sales background – and you should always over-employ so someone is always better than you – always.

Like when I’ve employed even admin; I employ people on the admin team I say to them ‘that’s your job role, please tell me how to do it’ because – if I have to manage you, one thing is I’m spending all my time doing that and it takes away from what I have to do, it’s just now that I’m manager and not doing what I need to – and two I can only reach the level of my glass ceiling. If this is the level of where you are, like Branson level, and I’m down here – unless I employ someone above me I’m pushing against that ceiling, my confidence or inexperience – and that’s why a lot of our clients like working with us because they don’t know what it’s like to run with a million pound business, or a ten million pond business or a hundred million pound business. Because I do understand it, I understand where some of the challenges are.

JN: They’ve pushed their ceiling up by working with you, haven’t they?

MN: Absolutely and I did that myself. My first ever business of mine was on my own, and then I sold that business to a company – learnt from them – and then they sold again and we learnt from them and until I got to the CEO level, even then we have a board of directors and non-execs and mentors – you never stop learning, but it’s all about experience. If someone can take you down a path that’s the right path rather than you having to learn from the wrong one. It’s a lot quicker, and a lot less painful and you actually might survive in situations where you sometimes might not.

Jim Collins says that, nowadays, the best businesses are the ones who assemble the team and then decide on what to do.

JN: Yeah, cool.

MN: So if you think about it, you and your business you could assemble your right team and get everyone invested into this concept, if you do that first because then everyone knows what they’re going to do, how they’re going to do, why they’re going to do it and then you’re off and running. The team is very important.

JN: Well – that’s it! Thank you very much! Great answers; I think this has been a very interesting topic to discuss – interesting for myself and the audience will find it fantastic once we put it out tomorrow. Do you want to just quickly remind us again with a bit about your book, where we can find it and if anyone wants that guide again where people can find it and give it a look?

MN: Yes, so, again, the reason I don’t apologise for that book is two reasons; one is I genuinely feel and my clients have said it helps people, and two it’s goes to our daughters charity, which is the most important part. So yeah it’s I Don’t Work Fridays, it’s on Amazon and Amazon Kindle (not on Audible yet, but we’re working on that) so you can just search ‘I Don’t Work Fridays’ and find it. The foreword is by Daniel Priestley, so we’ve got some good people behind it on that level.

JN: Yeah, yeah.

MN: Our website is, it has a bit about the book there and underneath that some information about how it can help scale your business there. If they want to leave some of their details there we can put you on our lists – we don’t overtly sell – and all of business is through referrals, so we’ve not spent a penny on marketing on that side of things. We just give out help and advice. People can also come to our Facebook page – we just like to engage with people, so if we can help people that’s our goal.

One of the biggest honours you can get is running your own business, and it’s sad to know that 97% of businesses disappear within 10 years. So if we can help people learn just one thing that helps them enjoy the journey that we enjoy in not working all the time and spending time with our kids, then that’s brilliant and that’s all we want to do.

JN: Fantastic – I highly suggest that everyone checks the book, and we’ll speak soon!

MN: Much appreciated, thanks, bye-bye!

JN: Thanks Martin, bye!


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