warren rutherfordWarren Rutherford is the owner of The Executive Suite, President of Rutherford Advisors Inc and Director of Coaching programs at Innermetrix. An impressive CV, I’m sure you’ll agree. With such a wealth of experience I knew that an interview with Warren would uncover a minefield of great information that all companies, bosses, employees and entrepreneurs would find useful.

He explains how he manages his time, where he got his experience to become a coach, provides franchise and start-up advice and tells me about his blogging activities too.

Looking at your LinkedIn profile you have a varied list of services. Which do you prefer?

Our job placement services are regional and our staff fulfills that service. I focus most of my efforts on leadership coaching and training, franchise coaching, and One Page Business Plans as that is where there is the most demand. Human resource and straight-up management consulting usually occurs on an as-needed basis. I prefer leadership coaching, training managers and owners to lead and manage, and helping clients prepare actionable business plans. Franchise coaching is an outgrowth of job placement activity and management consulting.

How do you manage your time to fit everything in?

Good time management. I’m used to running small to large organizations and prioritize well. As the owner I set aside time weekly for administration, marketing, and service delivery. I’ve also learned to shut the lights out at the office when I go home. Most of my writing occurs while I’m relaxing in the evening.

What did you do before you decided to be a Coach?

I started out as a Manpower Planner for a regional employment firm so we could help unemployed people find work. I was then a City Manager for many years. After moving away from government management I found clients asking for advice to lead and manage. I had not given much thought to coaching up to that point but realized that my natural talent was managing, leading, and coaching others to do the same. So, as I looked back on my career I realized that was the role I always had fulfilled in business, so I simply hung out the shingle and started coaching.

Why did you make the decision to become a Leadership Coach?

Except for solopreneurs, every company has employees; employees who have a need to build and serve. I’ve always thought it important that owners learn how to lead and manage those with whom they work so that each person can prosper in an environment where their talents are maximized. Understanding that I did just that for 20 years before I started coaching, I knew it could be done and that there were common sense ways to do so.

I’ve dedicated my coaching efforts to help others understand the how, what, and why. Learning to lead and manage is not difficult if you can help others understand how their professional expertise, talents, values, and behavioral preferences can influence that learning effort.

What is it about Franchising that makes you specialize in it?

Part of my coaching and business consulting involved working with clients who had no business owning and running a business. They had no systems or procedures for administration, finance, operations, marketing, sales, advertising, or other essential business functions. They were failing when I started working with them and the best I could do for them was help them shut the doors.

As a franchise coach, I help professionals decide what type of business suits them best, if any, and then help them through the decision process. There are many who are not suited to owning a business and the franchise coaching process helps them understand that – and they don’t purchase a franchise. Those that decide to purchase know that they are buying into a proven business with established business systems.

Can you suggest 5 bullet points of advice you would give to a start-up business?

  • Write a plan – set specific, measurable, achievable goals that are tied to your vision.
  • Do a budget for the first 18 months, and make sure you have enough working capital to make it through those first 18 months if your plans suffer setbacks.
  • Research your target market – understand very well their buying habits and preferences.
  • Develop a marketing and sales plan; implement it and be willing to modify it if it’s not working.
  • Measure, evaluate, fine tune, and talk with your staff and customers to make modifications to your plan, budget, and marketing and sales plan.
  • Here’s a sixth – make sure you are passionate about your business and have fun.

I know you through your wonderful blog post for Tweak your Biz. Do you enjoy writing and sharing your knowledge and who else do you write for?

I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing and like to share my point of view with the hope that others can help improve their own perspective. I write on my own blog, www.TheExecutiveSuite.com/blog, and Cape and Plymouth Business magazine.

What is next on the agenda for The Executive Suite?

The new economy that is emerging from the global recession will continue to test business owners’ abilities to lead and manage increasingly diverse and talented workforces. Companies will need to ensure that they are fully aligned with customer requirements, which are continually evolving, employee requirements, and financial requirements. I believe it’s imperative that I help owners to accomplish this alignment with my unique combination of business planning, leadership coaching and training, and franchise coaching. That’s enough to keep me busy and out trouble, I hope.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this interview as much as me and if you have any questions for Warren I’m sure he will answer them below.