Name: Anna Saunders

Your business name: Leadership Creativity

Industry: Executive & Business Coaching

Please give us a brief description of your business:
I started Leadership Creativity in 2014 with my husband, Craig Morris. We provide a range of services including Executive & Business Coaching, Leadership Masterclasses, Group Coaching & Facilitation.

What inspired you to start your business?
I was a corporate executive for over 20 years and became known for creating and leading high performing teams. As a female executive in IT, I was regularly sought out as a mentor and really enjoyed helping people learn and grow. I was engaged to coach other executives in the business I was working in which fuelled my desire to run my own coaching business. Leadership Creativity was established in line with my passion for helping others develop as leaders and people. Over time I have transitioned across to coaching in my own business full time.

What is your favourite quote?
Does coaching work? Yes. Good coaches provide a truly important service. They tell you the truth when no-one else will — Jack Welch (ex-CEO GE)

What advice would you give to others wanting to start a business?
I spent a number of years juggling a very demanding executive role while wanting to move across to my coaching business. I kept thinking that if I just completed ‘another’ year in corporate it would make the leap to my own business less risky. I ended up nearly burning out and in hindsight I should have made the call much earlier. We tend to look for the perfect time when everything is aligned to make a move, the reality is the time is right when you make the decision to just do it.

How do you market your business and what works best for you?
Marketing can be a challenge for coaches. There’s a number of coaches using social media to claim they can help ‘build a 7-figure business in a weekend with my amazing system’! This can make it challenging to cut through the noise to showcase quality coaching, so we have focused much of our marketing effort on face-to-face events. This helps to develop a relationship with our clients up-front so they can understand our depth of experience and we can ensure our approach aligns with what they are looking for.
We have engaged several clients via existing client referrals which is very satisfying as it is an indication of how much they value the work we do. We have a focus on networking events, business groups (BNI, Chamber of Commerce etc.) and also our business networks via Linked In. We are also looking to attend Business Expo’s where we can also build relationships though face-to-face discussion with potential clients.

Do you have business mentors? Who do you seek advice from? Who do you look up to in business or strive to be like?
It’s really important for anyone in business to have inspiring mentors and coaches – as a coach myself I fully appreciate the value of having a coach. A great coach helps us to step outside of ourselves and see our business from a different perspective.
One of the keys to being successful is to find someone who has walked the path before you so you can learn from their mistakes. I also read extensively across a wide range of subjects to widen my knowledge and build my capability.

What are the best and worst things about owning your own business?
The best thing is having control over my time. After 20+ years in corporate where I worked long hours and travelled constantly, I love that I can decide what I do with the hours in my day. It’s very empowering!
One thing I didn’t expect was that working for yourself can be very isolating at first. After being surrounded by people my whole career, suddenly it was just me at my desk. I realised quickly that I had to build a network, get out and talk to people other than my clients. I really enjoy heading out to meet new people.

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
The great thing about coaching is that clients consistently have breakthroughs. A small challenge or pertinent question can have a profound effect and change the direction of their business and their lives. It’s very rewarding to see other people thrive.

What are some of the biggest mistakes you have made in your business?
Thinking that being well-known in my corporate career and building a great personal brand would translate through into my own business without having to do much marketing!

What is the best book you have ever read?
The Slight Edge by Jeff Olsen. It is a very practical guide to be successful and happy by just doing things slightly better. As a high achiever, I’ve driven myself very hard to perform and was constantly looking for major improvements. Realising that I could let that go of that approach and focus on making continual small adjustments was significant for me.

What is one item on your bucket list?
If I think of something I want to do I make it happen as soon as possible! I’m a very keen scuba diver and have travelled all over the world having amazing underwater experiences. I will keep doing this in new and exciting locations.

Where do you get your inspiration?
I have realised over time that taking action (no matter how small the action is) creates forward momentum and this then creates inspiration. So now I just start and know that once I am moving that inspiration will appear.

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