The Garrards Blog




1 – Don’t be afraid to try it

Just because you try it doesn’t mean you can’t go back if it’s not for you.

2 – Set aside a little nest egg

The first thing you must do is set aside a good portion of income to make sure you have something put away so you can enjoy the process of business-building, meeting people and doing the work. You need to have yourself well resourced because you are starting a business! The money is excellent in running your own business independently, but it may take a few months for it to be regular. Set aside a good portion of income so that you can enjoy the breaks and enjoy the process of business-building, meeting people and doing rewarding work.

3 – Define your specialty

When you start on your own as an independent business owner, you have to define what you’re going to be known for. This doesn’t have to occur from the start, you can build this focus over a number of projects. Even if you start as a generalist, look to specialise in something and do it really well.

4 – Manage your time and workflow

In the beginning I took on too many projects, I think partly because I didn’t want to turn down work, but also because I hadn’t quite worked out how busy I would be. In the past year, I’ve learned a lot about how to balance my workflow and manage my time. I still have deadlines to meet but I do have the flexibility to determine how many projects I’m working on and can decide my own downtime. 

5 – Take the time to develop your own brand

When you’re an independent business owner, you use similar skills as well as leverage the experience you had in a firm, if you’re a beginner my recommendation is to chose same minded coach or mentor for yourself, but you also have to ensure you focus on building your own reputation. It’s really important that in the back of your mind you have an “I can do it, I will do it, it must succeed” mindset – because it’s your reputation on the line. In the end, you must always remember that business owner is a customer service industry

6 – Be strict with yourself

To help ensure I meet my Customer Service commitments while also maximizing family time, I find it useful to stick to a schedule. In the morning, up until 7.30am it’s my family time and I make sure I’m home or finished work by 6.15pm. The rest of the evening is then spent playing with my Son and daughters, making dinner and spending time with my partner.

7 – Take advantage of the slow times

One of the hardest things to get used to when first becoming independent is the downtime. You panic and get worried that you won’t find another project. Don’t! In the time I’ve been working independently I’ve seen that you definitely go through cycles and you do in fact create your own cycles, so don’t be afraid if things get slow. Things pick up again so take advantage of those times and enjoy them. Use this time to focus on what’s coming next and taking a well-earned break.

8 – Do it for the right reasons

If you’re going to go owning your business independently, you have to do it for the right reasons. You’ll probably end up making more money but don’t let that be the deciding factor. Do it because it cultivates something that you want in your life, whether that be greater flexibility, more autonomy or managing your own clients. Do it for one of those reasons, for me it was the variety and lifestyle.

9 – It’s what you make of it

The freedom you have as an independent business owner can be both challenging and rewarding, because you’re responsible for your own success. This responsibility and ownership is something that is to be embraced, and I find it one of the absolute joys of this experience. It gives me the freedom of choice, the ability to choose when and where I work and I’m now always able to make family commitments easily. And being solely responsible for clients is professionally, personally and financially very rewarding.

10 – If we can do it, so can you!


1.Management 2. Market 3. Model (Business) 4. Money 5. Momentum

These are in no particular order (except that “management” always comes first)…

#1 Management

An “A grade” team with a “B grade” idea can make it work. They can take a good idea and make it great. How? Through having the right combination of skillsets, knowledge, drive, passion, and just plain, old fashioned hard work, grit, and determination.

However, a “B grade” team with an “A grade” idea just won’t work. An idea, no matter how great it is, just won’t become a viable and successful business venture without the right people behind it. The team is key.

The calibre of a team is usually dependent on what stage of growth a business is at. For example, a business looking to raise funding in a Proof of Concept (POC) round probably won’t have more than one person on their “team”, as it is one of the first stages of growth; in fact, at that stage, the business can even be considered pre-growth. However, a more established team, who have been operational for more than 2 years, will have built up a fantastic team: both internally and externally. All skillsets should be covered as quickly and effectively as possible.

As part of the work we do with entrepreneurs who come to list on the Garrards Coaching & Mentoring, we help them to understand the necessity of building a strong team. From highlighting potential gaps in skillsets and team members, to considering the most appropriate choices for board members and advisors.

As well as this, we ask how and when these gaps can be filled either with the budget the business has currently, or following a successful funding round. Investors want to know how the investment will be used in terms of building the best team possible. They want to know that their investment will be put towards giving the business the best chance of succeeding.

Looking at a team from your perspective, as a potential investor, how strong a sense of entrepreneurial spirit do you get? If that often indescribable “vision” or creative spark is missing, it may or may not be a warning sign that the entrepreneur doesn’t have the ability to execute the plan and make the business a success. You need to pick investment opportunities that give you confidence in the business owners’ ability and drive to succeed.

#2 Market

Before investing in a potential start up, early stage, or established business opportunity, you need to look at a number of things, including the sector they operate in and their competition. This should give you a better understanding of how the business could perform in current climates, as well as the market demand for such a business. If there is a large demand, then the business has more high-growth potential.

There are two types of investment strategy: Top-Down and Bottom-Up. Both approaches are ways of investigating the marketplace in order to determine where investments should be made. Which approach do you use?


This is where the investor looks at everything, including GDP(Gross Domestic Product), exchange and interest rates, and inflation. From this, sector, sales, and competitor analyses are carried out, which gives the investor a clearer understanding of which industries are likely to outperform others in the near future. After narrowing the field down to specific sectors, in this manner, the investor is then able to identify the most promising prospects and then look more closely into individual businesses.


As the name suggests, is the opposite approach to Top-Down. Whereas Top-Down starts with considering macroeconomic factors, Bottom-Up ignores these completely and focuses instead on the qualities of individual businesses. This approach relies on the personal choice of the investor, who often believes that an individual business can thrive, regardless of outside factors and the performance of similar businesses at that time.

Both approaches offer benefits in choosing where to invest, but since no one can accurately predict the future, there is no sure fire way to choose the “right” business. Investing in start up, early stage, and established businesses is high risk and as such, an investment portfolio should be diverse in order to mitigate the associated risk. Therefore, it is up to you as the investor, to decide which investment strategy you are most comfortable using. That way, you have more chance of becoming an “expert” at looking for warning signs, good or bad, as well as growing confidence in choosing businesses with high-growth potential for your investment portfolio.

Whichever approach you use, make sure you learn everything you can about the size of the relevant market, as well as the current market trend; is it growing, in a bubble, or the next big thing? A bubble refers to a “boom” period which is then followed by a “crash” or “bubble burst” and is therefore, usually only conclusively identified, retrospectively.

Let’s take a look at the Fintech sector; this is the sector that GrowthFunders operates in. Fintech is an exciting marketplace and currently has a lot of buzz going on around it. In an article written for Forbes, David Prosser writes that fintech investment in UK venture is now growing more quickly that in any other market in the world”. The last few years (from 2008 until present) of growth in the Fintech sector would suggest that the market is possibly on its way towards being the “next big thing”.

#3 Model

A business model is the outline of how the start up, early stage, or established business intends to acquire, service, and retain customers. It is often condensed down from the company’s business plan and can give you, the investor, an indication of how the entrepreneur will establish and grow their business. Some examples of business models are: franchise, advertising, subscription, and direct sales.

The business model of the investee company needs to show that it is innovative or disruptive. If not, then it probably doesn’t have anything special to offer, no unique selling point (USP), setting them apart from existing competition. Although no one can predict the future, this would seem to indicate that there is no growth in the business; other people are already occupying the exact space, offering the same thing, and have history and gravitas behind them.

#4 Money

Although the majority of crowdfunded businesses are in the start up and early stages of growth, in the next few years, as online equity crowdfunding gains even more popularity, there will be an increase in the number of more established businesses using crowdfunding platforms to raise money.

How does the business/investment opportunity intend to monetise? Below is a list of some of the most popular revenue models. Obviously, businesses with recurring revenues are often the most attractive prospects because they show more potential for a steady turnover.

Retail and e-tail (off and online commerce)








#5 Momentum

Momentum is where you check out the customer interest surrounding the investee  company and sector. If it sounds like it’s linked quite closely to the research you will have undertaken in the market, that’s because it is. It’s worth asking yourself whether or not you believe that the business solves a genuine problem in the marketplace. If the answer is yes, then that’s a good start. Then you need to see how many people need that genuine problem solving; this will indicate either actual or potential customer interest. Look at the traction the investee company has in the marketplace. Does the business idea resonate with a lot of people? Does it resonate with you? Do you believe in the business model, the revenue model, the sector, the potential to succeed, the team?

…that’s right, we’re back to the start: the team. Are they that “A grade” team, and do they have the momentum to build their business and take it to the top of their sector? If all the evidence indicates that the answer is “yes”, as well as your due diligence, and your gut instinct, then you may just have found one investment opportunity for you.


Reality of a Business Owner The Statistics

Over 80% of businesses shut down within the first 5 Years!

Of the remaining 20% only 10% survive beyond 10 Years!

Only 2 out of 100 generate a return on investment!!

We asked the logical question –

WHY do so many businesses FAIL so quickly?

So we found out WHY –

Research shows business failure is due to ….

  1. A staggering 61% of business failure is due to the inability to manage costs
  2. 50% poorly designed business models or no business plans.
  3. 49% insufficient capital.
  4. 37% Poor or insufficient marketing.
  5. 26% failure to seek professional advice.
  6. 50% of businesses fail because of inexperienced management










Start up Investors Exit Succession Advisory & Mentoring & Coaching


This program is designed to energise individuals with a clear purpose. The program helps people set goals and plan for a rewarding career. This program quickly and effectively delivers on a core fundamental of motivation theory.

The 3-Meeting Program

Delivered by our principal Steven Kakoliris is a skilled and talented coach, with an outstanding background and qualifications to deliver this program.

Step 1

Attend a structured interview where the consultant gathers key data on your career history and major influences. At the end of the meeting further assessments are required to be completed before the next meeting. These assessments In between Step1 and Step 2 you are sent a link to complete the scientifically valid Business Health check Method Assessment, it can help you to identify work settings or styles that will meet your needs, keep you motivated and reduce stress.

Step 2

In the second session the consultant will interpret all the results including The Business Health Test, the Career Manual and discuss the results with you – this interpretation of the results is a valuable part of the process, but not everything. This session runs for 1-2 hours and is a comprehensive analysis of what makes you tick. This session delivers amazing insight that allows you to identify key drivers that will naturally motivate and excite you.

Step 3

A key session that brings it altogether. Its great to have lots of test results, but you need a practical plan that is achievable and consistent with your results. We have developed a unique method of delivering this session that really allows clients to take action and move towards an outstanding strategy that inspires them with purpose and passion.

This information is a brief overview, please feel free to call to discuss your specific requirements on 0439 964 020

Garrards Million Dollar best kept secrets – How serious are you building your business – Then contact the man behind the talent

Of all businesses, it’s assumed retail might be the most basic, well so you thought.  Retail is one of the most enjoyable, yet one of the most challenging.  Abiding by  fundamental retail and business principals, creating a unique selling point, establishing your brand and values, marketing and managing staff.  Retail is the final link in a supply chain that gets a product or service to a customer. 

Why choose Garrards London as your retail consultant?  We tackle strategic, operational, financial, product, marketing and organisation issues.  Our success lies with our experience and expertise, Garrards retail portfolio spans more than thirty years, operating large scale retail department stores, property development and merchandise branding.  Garrards London have a hands on approach and get to know all facets of the business to deliver cost savings through operational improvements, providing training and facilitating exclusive to your needs. Garrards offer Business Solution, whether your business is big or small, new or old, we provide and deliver service and solutions to all facets of business. Our varied skills and services are incorporated from experience through businesses of our own.   

How do you increase profits, attract new customers, market you business and build a brand? Is one landlord of a shopping centre right for you or is shopping street focussing on providing a out standing experience more appropriate for your business.

Understanding and focusing on some of the fundamentals you need to know, Garrards London can direct you with.

– Management  – Market  – Money  – Momentum

– Product  – Price  – Place  – Promotion

These very old principles still have validity.  These retail principles will help you understand the overall foundations of a retail business and are basic foundations of a successful retail business.  Retailers who don’t keep up, or work too hard in the business rather than on it, get pushed out of the way. 

Steven offers tailored coaching and consulting as a professional Principal. Steven has a proven program to help with business owners and career direction. He uses outstanding assessment and within 3 meetings a full comprehensive career plan with short and long term options is created.

Contact us today to kick-start your retail business.