Tragic life events, hard knocks, starting from scratch without so much as a single contact in your field. None of these are requirements for a coach who truly stands out from the crowd, and gets incredible, measured results. However, if we look back at some of the most impressive coaches we have worked with (or honoured) then this is a pattern that frequently emerges. Martin Norbury is yet another example – a particularly impressive one, at that – of someone who bounced back from tremendous adversity and carved a business and lifestyle that anyone of us can aspire to.
Martin Norbury’s daughter Louise passed away in 2010. He saw this as the right time for him to step away from his successful yet hugely demanding corporate life to be with his family, and so his coaching business was born, focused on what he knew best: business performance improvement. Five short years later we were awarding him our coveted Business Mentor of the Year Award, and Martin and his business has gone from strength to strength ever since.
Read on for our exclusive interview with Martin Norbury, and learn all about his past, his present, and his incredibly bright future.
How many of you would leave a comfortable (albeit stressful!) 6 figure salaried position with a major corporation, to work for yourself as a business coach? Go on, be honest.
Well, that’s Martin Norbury’s story in a very tiny nutshell. He went from small time entrepreneur, to an SME business owner and then on to Senior Executive in a multi-million pound corporation in just ten years – without a single official business management qualification to back him up. When tragedy struck, he took everything he had picked up in his incredibly illustrous career and pledged to pass what he knew on to struggling business of all shapes and sizes. Martin now offers a unique and incredibly powerful ‘done with you’ service that enables business to get ahead of the game in a way that keeps them there, for good. And from what we can tell, it works extremely well.
But where did Martin Norbury’s story begin, and how did he build up such an effective business – entirely from scratch? Well, we asked, and he told.
How did you feel when you won the Award?
Surprised and shocked! I genuinely didn’t expect to win. As I said as part of my acceptance speech on the night, I took the opportunity of the awards dinner to have a “date night” with my wife as we both work in the business, and have young twins, so time together is precious.
Once it had time to sink in, I felt immensely proud of what we’ve achieved over the last five years since leaving the safety blanket of a six-figure salary working for a large corporate and setting up from scratch.
And very grateful. I received so many notes of congratulations from my clients and people today still congratulate me. It was overwhelming to see our clients sharing our success – it’s actually felt like receiving an award on behalf of a huge team.
Has the win had an effect on your business?
It’s had a massive effect and elevated us into a new chapter of growth. Due to my extensive networking and partnership programs with key persons of influence, I am fortunate enough to have built up a credible profile. And my reputation, and the value we offer, is built around the results we help get for our clients.
But being recognised as the Business Mentor of the Year by the coaching profession has opened the doors to new circles and we have significantly increased our client base since the Awards ceremony.
Where did all of it begin? Can you give me a brief overview of your journey?
I went from small time entrepreneur, to SME business owner and on to Senior Executive in a multi-million pound corporation in just ten years – without a single official business management qualification to my name. So I bring A LOT of lessons learnt to the table!
I set-up on my own as a “coach” five years ago after the death of our daughter. Whilst you endure the most unimaginable pain and emptiness, I do believe that every child, however briefly they might be with us, brings us something positive. I wanted to be closer to home and corporate life just didn’t offer that flexibility.
In 2011 we were blessed with twins, and thanks to taking that scary step becoming a business owner, I get to have breakfast with them, read them their favourite dinosaur bedtime story, and spend Friday’s scooting around the park with them.
Who has been the biggest influence on you?
I am a big reader and during my early corporate years had to learn the hard way through trial and error so I turned to a few business authors who I aligned myself to. People like Steven Covey, Jim Collins, Ken Blanchard and Dale Carnegie. A lot of successful coaches will also cite Anthony Robbins and I am no different after attending a UPW course in 94, it opened my eyes to the art of the possible.
What makes you and your service different?
Our approach is “done with you” not “for you”, and everything we do is focused around getting businesses to think, act and behave differently to their competitors to consistently produce superior results. And we guarantee them immunity from loneliness, fear of failure, stagnation, confusion over cash flow, perplexity over people, disorderly days and crisis in confidence.
We work with owners in translating “big business” thinking and applying it to small and medium-sized businesses. We know first-hand that advice that makes you feel uncomfortable and scares you the most is the best advice you can get, so we only get on board with business owners who are really serious about taking that next big scary step and are prepared to hold up that mirror.
In fact, clients refer to us as their business enzyme: by adding us to their mix we’ve helped them accelerate their ambitious business growth and fall deeply back in love with their business all over again.
We’re not nodding dogs, we don’t pay lip service, and we promise not to take the subject our clients understand and make it sound confusing.
We sail across a vast sea of commerce so we’re always learning and evolving. Our advantage is that we can take different success concepts from different industries (we currently cover over 25 diverse sectors) and apply them to each specific businesses.
What have your biggest challenges been?
In the early days of Set-Up it was confidence. I went from an industry I had been working in for over 20 years where I was very established, well connected and respected, to a completely new world. I didn’t know anyone, I had to get myself out there without a corporate/brand to back me, and I didn’t think people were going to value me or pay for my advice. I felt very exposed.
In 2011 financial pressure was another factor with new twins on the way and my wife on maternity leave. But I think having this pressure gives you immense focus. Plus my wife was incredibly supportive and placed a huge amount of confidence and trust in me and the business.
Did you ever feel like throwing the towel in and if so, what made you continue?
Hand on heart, no. Never. Every day I see the personal and business transformation my clients get by being their business enabler. They’re already successful entrepreneurs and experts in their field, but they just need a push to get over the line to achieve their financial or lifestyle goals whatever they maybe.
I genuinely love helping people and I’m fortunate enough to be selective in only working with people who genuinely want to make a difference and take decisions, however uncomfortable or daunting they may seem.
What do you think your clients value most about what you offer?
This is an easy one! We run our own Advocate Starter for Ten every month for our clients, a quick fire round of 10 questions and this was one of them. To summarise and speaking on behalf of my clients, this is what they value:
- Forcing them to hold up the mirror and paint a true picture of their business.
- Helping them see problems for themselves and working with them to start solving them.
- Big picture thinking & helping map out a plan.
- Providing a framework and helping implement processes.
- Giving them belief and confidence.
- Being honest (no polishing up of anything!) but supportive.
- Having someone with a lot of business experience to talk problems through with.
What new and exciting plans do you have for this year?
I’m going to be launching my first business book later this year, I don’t work Friday’s. This book is about the development of my SCALE model, and follows my personal story and the lessons I learned along the way. It takes the reader on a journey through various examples of unconsciously applying and learning the principles of SCALE and then moves into the way that these ideas and philosophies became rules and strategies. I am not really one for mystical notions on serendipity, but it was almost as if the formula was following me around waiting to be discovered!
As well as helping our clients SCALE their business, we are also scaling our own business and expanding our team.
We’re also developing our SCALE product range after launching the first SCALE 7-Pack with the Entrepreneurs Circle. And we’ll be launching a series of one day training programs that focus on business performance through people.
Can you give us one tip for standing out from the crowd as a coach?
Don’t just call yourself a coach! Define and hone in on what you’re great at offering and then own that space. I am now known as “The Saleability Coach” up and down the country thanks to my unique SCALE Model and ranges of SCALE services, products and training courses.
APCTC members like to aspire to those that are considered experts in their field. Can you share how well you’re doing in terms of:
· Client feedback and emotional rewards
We’re all about getting results. And because we work with business owners who are highly geared and motivated for growth, those results come in thick and fast. This means that we have a very high referral rate and our clients are very open and generous with sharing their testimoinals and positive feedback with communities be it via Facebook Groups, personal posts across social or through PR.
· Monetary success and business growth
Our turnover has trebled in the last year as we have grown the business through acquiring new clients. We now have a structured plan in place to grow further through new services and products, and are busy behind the scenes implementing systems and resource to support these growth plans.
· Your work-life balance
My wife and I work four days, and have a three day weekend (as the title of my upcoming book says: I don’t work Friday’s). In fact, it’s become a phrase within the sector that people use!
Thanks to putting my own SCALE system in place, we have been able to go on holiday and the business was able “to run itself”. Plus the whole team are off again in September where we can operate from Spain without being a slave to the office.
Do you have a final message for anyone who aspires to you?
I recently saw a poster of Indian businessman, investor and philanthropist Rata Tata with the words: “None can destroy iron, but its own rust can! Likewise, none can destroy a person, but his own mindset can.”I believe everyone has the chance to succeed and it is only what is in your head that STOPS you from achieving your goals.
Has Martin’s story inspired you to take a leap and start up a coaching business of your own? Then pick up your free copy of The Coaches Code. It has everything you need to build a lucrative coaching business from the ground up! Just click the image below!