Glenn Van Ack was struggling with taking his event management company Magnetic Storm to the next level when he decided to partner with his friend and business coach Jane Stevenson.
In just 18 months, the pair increased the company’s profits by 25% and transformed it into a business group with multiple companies. So, how did they do it?
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PICK THE RIGHT PARTNER
Sometimes you're too ingrained in a situation to see a solution. Spending every day in the operations of his business, Glenn was in this position. He wanted to spend more time working on the business, not in it.
So he asked for Jane's assistance in interviewing for a general manager, but they were unable to find the right person. In the process, Glenn realized that Jane was the person he needed and asked her to join him. After many discussions and a revision of the role, they joined forces.
Jane Stevenson had run a business strategy consultancy for 16 years before being headhunted to become a director of an ad agency to strategically expand their business development across South Africa, so the creative space was a familiar territory for Jane.
Jane says, "When I came into the business, Magnetic Storm was in a variety of businesses. The Group have invested in many other business opportunities where Glenn saw the potential, but it made our brand message complicated and disjointed from the outside. So we restructured the company from the ground up and developed a new strategy and branding.”
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Glenn then introduced Jane to Roger James Hamilton and Entrepreneurs Institute, a leading entrepreneur network that provided mentoring to business owners through Roger’s Crystal Circle.
"Roger comes in from a 180-degree perspective," says Jane. "You can try to look at things differently, but you'd never be able to look at it that differently. You need someone who has no emotional attachment to it and is not afraid to challenge your mediocrity in a way that gets you excited.”
Together they joined to Wealth Dynamics Masters, a five-day entrepreneur mentoring program hosted by Roger in South Africa to craft their vision for Magnetic Storm’s future.
"On day two, we believed we had it – in our minds, we were thinking big. Then we spoke to Roger!" Jane remembered. "He saw that we were merely recreating the old business with small changes. Roger removes you from small-time thinking and gets you looking at who you are and what you want to build. He pushed us, as did all the mentors. We started all over again, stayed up all night to recraft and rework, and the next day, we introduced the “Magnetic Group."
The Magnetic Group concept allowed Jane and Glenn to create a structure for different operations by creating a holding company and setting up multiple businesses for events, training academy, or team development under its umbrella.
The Master’s programme also introduced Glenn and Jane to Roger’s Wealth Dynamics profiling system, which clarified individual strengths and optimum roles for each team member.
Glenn explained how the system helped them: “When you understand your profile, you can play to your talents. We realised how we needed to restructure our teams and change our behaviour. When you're a small business, it's easy to feel like a family, but as you grow, you've got to put processes and systems in place that people may rebel against. It's been a struggle to grow from 10 people to 45; changing habits takes focus, consistency and time,”
For the first time in 36 years, Jane and Glenn implemented a full sales team and freed up the technical staff to focus on their strengths. As a result, they've seen a 15-20% increase in turnover in the last 18 months, as well as a gross profit increase of 25%.
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TURNING CHALLENGES INTO BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES
Through the process Jane was able to work to her strengths and nurture her passion for strategy and optimisation, resulting in the creation of a new training division, “Magnetic Minds”.
"I'm passionate about developing individuals and building high-performing teams," said Jane. "We're doing it for Magnetic Storm, and we want to do that for other businesses. Magnetic Storm has become a case study on how to change a business from something that is stable and successful to something that's innovative and can adapt in the current market. So, we aim to take this to market and consult to other companies!”
For Jane, what in 2015 was going to be a general management role became a whole new position and way of looking at the business, and by the end of 2017 her skill sets and passion has grown into a company within the group.
Roger recognised Jane’s journey as a crucial lesson for entrepreneurs.
"You can be an entrepreneur without having to own your own business on your own," said Roger. “Jane came on board at Magnetic Storm to help grow and evolve the business. Her whole focus was solving things from within the job. When she came to Wealth Dynamics Masters in South Africa and received Flow Consultant training, she realised that her own brand could be of value to Magnetic Storm as well. So now, they're building a training division, Magnetic Minds, which brings all the pieces together."
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