BUILD THE BUSINESS YOU WANT

KATE COOPER

Kate Cooper
"In the 12 months since getting started with BBB, I’ve gone from 1 employee to 10 and I’ve doubled my turnover in that time"

ABSOLUTE ARCHITECTURE

www.absolute-architecture.co.uk

Absolute Architecture is a highly respected home architecture practice serving Berkshire, Hampshire, Wiltshire and Oxfordshire.

Absolute Architecture form close partnerships with homeowners and with local suppliers and experts. They are highly experienced, involved and present in seeing the homes through from inception to completion.

KATE COOPER

Kate started Absolute Architecture in 2008, she has over 25 years of specialist experience in the architecture and planning industry.

Kate had been living and working in London for well regarded architectural firms. She decided to move back to the Newbury area when her daughter was born and had been doing some contracting work. When the recession hit that work dried up and she set up her own company as there weren't any local companies that she wanted to work for. There was no masterplan, having just taken on a big mortgage she just wanted to cover the income she had previously had being employed.

Kate decided to focus on residential work and stay fairly local to the Newbury area so that she could juggle business and family life.

THE CHALLENGE

Kate was faced with a tough decision when Covid hit, she wasn't sure whether to scale back or grow the business alone.

"The business has been busy since day 1. I set up a decent website, was receiving good levels of inbound enquiries and I had a great connection with a local building contact. We ticked over nicely and gradually increased quality and quantity and I had 1 member of staff onboard for support.

In 2017, I was joined by another architect who also took on a consultative/strategic senior role in the business and we built the team to 4 and took on office space for the growing business.

Then Covid hit and the other senior person in the business decided to explore other avenues so I then had a tough decision to make. I was at a place where I couldn’t decide whether to scale back, keep it simple or to go for it and try to grow the business alone. All the while I wasn’t making this decision I was operating in a kind of halfway space.

I was then introduced to George, initially I worked with George in a 121 coaching capacity, I needed someone to talk through all the options and then work through the decision I made which was to go for it and grow my company.

This wasn’t an easy time to do this, the 2 employees I had were both on furlough and so initially it was just me in the business covering the work of 3 people and there was still new work coming in.

The sessions I had with George gave me the head space and thinking time to reflect and get clarity. We talked through the structure of what the business could be and where I could take it."

Having trained as an architect but not as a business owner, Kate soon realised she needed more strategy and joined BBB in September 2020.

"I wanted to make a strong goal led commitment and actually make it happen. The goal setting really appealed and it forces you to sit back and really think about what you want. I’d taken my business from something that created some income while I juggled the kids to a business that was growing and becoming bigger. It was time to manage the balance and be much more strategic and figure out how a bigger business could still work for me. I liked how BBB encouraged me to have business and well as personal goals to ensure that I kept this in balance."

THE RESULT

Kate has embraced the BBB group environment which has given her great exposure on how other businesses run and what is relevant to her.

"You don’t know what you don’t know until you put yourself in the right environment for someone to be able to tell you, you learn so much from exposing yourself to businesses of different sizes outside your own industry.

The BBB community is great fun and there’s a camaraderie in sharing the ups and downs and learning new ways to problem solve.

The new people I’ve bought into my team are not just about recruiting numbers of people, they are really strategic recruitment placements which drive my longer term vision and enable me to hit my goals. I wouldn’t have made these decisions without BBB and the invaluable advice I continue to receive.

With the team I have built I feel like others are now doing the heavy lifting on the delivery, so much so that I managed to have an incredible long summer break and it all worked without me!"

Kate's business is thriving now that she has implemented new strategies and continues to set ambitious goals. She is really confident about the future and enjoying the business again.

"Joining BBB is a no brainer, it gives a real sense of perspective and tons of strategic help which has transformed my business.

The coaching and expert advice is phenomenal. George and Tracey have really helped me get clarity on what I'm doing and why I'm doing it which gives me the focus to keep going and achieve my goals.

It’s great feeling part of a wider group when you’re a business owner as it can be quite an isolating place. There’s loads of support with the right level of accountability and sometimes you get to do really fun bonkers stuff too like the Tough Mudder some of the BBB members did this year!"

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