Blogcast #38: Live & Linking – Ashley Leeds Interviews Rebecca Bonnington

Live & Linking: Ashely Leeds Interviews our Rebecca Bonnington

Ashley: Oh my goodness. Here we are live and linking with Rebecca Bonnington. Oh my goodness. Hello, Rebecca. How are you?

Rebecca: Splendid. How are you, Ashley?

Ashley: I’m really feeling low and fed up. As you can see, you’ve changed my life, so thank you for that. But for those people that don’t know you, let’s have a little bit about who you are, where you are, what you do.

Rebecca: Okay. So I’m Rebecca Bonnington. I have founded or co-founded Tricres with my older brother Nick, and I am the creator of the Kick-ass Culture Coach and Consultant Programme. We train people to be business coaches and consultants using our Kick Ass  culture methodology.

Ashley: Boom. That is brilliant. So you are the coach’s coach?

Rebecca: Yeah, I am indeed.

Ashley: Absolutely. Super. That’s good because that’s what I called you on the publicity for all of that. So brilliant. So what is Tricres?

Rebecca: Yeah, everybody says, well, first of all, well done for saying it correctly. And everybody says, well, where did you get the name? So try three is a really sound number, really solid in numerology in science, mathematics, spirituality. It’s a really cool number. And Cress is short for crescendo, which is Latin for growth. So we’re in the business of growing companies and my brother and I have all these materials and we went, well, why don’t we put it out there, put it on a learning platform so we can train all the business consultants and coaches to do what we do with their clients and enjoy the kind of lifestyle that we have as coaches and consultants. I’ve just come back from the hairdressers. It’s Tuesday morning, I can go and get my hair done. And that’s the kind of life you want to lead.

Ashley: Yeah. But you do know that if people are listening on the podcast, they’re not going to get the benefit of your beautiful hair this morning.

Rebecca: That’s okay. They can just imagine.

Ashley: And how glorious it looks as well. But if you are listening on the podcast, we do this live every single Tuesday, and you can go back and watch the recording on YouTube. Okay. That’s a great name for a company coaching, coaching. Some people think it’s a little bit woowoo. What’s your answer to that, Rebecca?

Rebecca: Well, that just means they’ve not experienced high quality coaching. I am a huge believer. I call myself a hippie capitalist Ashley,

And I take that into businesses. So I balance culture and commerce. You have to have a balance. You’ve got to get the people and culture piece and make profit. And the best way to do that is to have somebody by your side. It could be a non-exec director, it could be the chairperson, it could be a mentor, it could be a coach, it could just be a wise old friend. But you need somebody by your side to sense check, to be accountable, to offload, to while you are growing and developing a business. Athletes have coaches, golfers have coaches. Anybody who wants to be the best that they can be has at least one coach. When you want to learn how to do anything better, you have help and support in doing that. You don’t do it on your own. And that’s what coaches are there for. We come in many shapes and sizes and there are coaches that specialise in woo woo stuff, and some of that stuff is amazing if that’s what you’re into. A business coach though focuses on you in the business and growing both at the same time.

Ashley: Yeah, no, absolutely. You said about athletes and what have you, so I wrote a post today about coaching. There’s some great comments on there as well, and I just did a little bit of research. So I asked Chad, GPT, who the world’s best tennis player is. It reckons Novak Djokovich, but he’s got five coaches. So obviously Goran Ivanisevic, who we all know, the amazing tennis player, but he’s got a nutritional coach and a diet coach and all the other little bits that when you’re a world-class tennis player, you don’t know about or don’t care about. And I think that’s the thing is, so when you’re watching him play tennis, you think it’s just one guy. He’s part of a huge team.

Rebecca: Absolutely, absolutely. And business owners need that team around them because as you and I both know, it’s hard running a business even if it’s just you let alone thousands of people. It’s hard and you need that external input. So there’s things that I can see or coaches can see that you can’t see because you’re too close. You know them. When we did that coaching session last week, Ashley, I didn’t actually say anything to you that you didn’t already know.

Ashley: And this is the funny thing, is I took loads of notes and I held up the piece of paper and shoved it back in your face like this and said, look, I know this.

Rebecca: What am I playing at?

Ashley: And I think that’s the other thing is when you are in your business are in it and you don’t see the wood for the trees, and then you come along with a totally different lens on and it’s like, well, those are the trees. That’s the word. And you’ve told me you’re trying to do this, so why are you doing that?

Rebecca: Yeah, yeah. Plus I have the benefit of seeing other businesses with different business models, different approaches, different sizes, different industries, and that information is stuff that you might get it because you do the podcast and things like that, Ashley, and because of the nature of your work, but a lot of business owners are just in law or just in accounting or just in manufacturing, and they don’t often get to see outside of that sector. Or you can learn a tonne of stuff from other sectors and adopt things that work over there into your business us. And that can be transformational, but as a leader, you don’t have time to go off and do that. And coaches are really good for doing that.

Ashley: Yeah, no, absolutely. We’ve got Pav watching this afternoon. Good afternoon. Pav two coaches in the programme today. Look at that double bubble twice value for your money. Right. Okay. So I’d love to talk about what we did last week because it was revolutionary. I’ve been running my business for nearly three years or just over three years, and I’m fixated on helping people. I’m fixated on helping people with LinkedIn, fixated on helping people with my LinkedIn training workshops and stuff like that. And can you remember some of the questions you asked me?

Rebecca: Yeah. So you are a classic coach. Coaches come to this, they want to help people and that’s why I do it. That’s why you do it. And we want to help people in as many ways as possible. So you see all the mistakes that we make on LinkedIn. So the temptation is to solve all of those problems for everybody. And we can’t do that. And by the way, when I’m saying this, I’m the same for small to medium sized businesses. I just want to solve all their problems. So what I’ve learned over the years, and this is what we teach our coaches, and this is what I talk to you about, is look, just focus on three core things. Nobody can remember anything more than three. And as you know, my business name includes three for that reason. Because otherwise people get really confused about what you’re offering. And so one of the things that I did was say to you, show me all the courses you’re offering. Well, you show me all the courses. And I went, oh Jesus, I feel a bit sick. There’s really many, I can’t actually read all of those. And research tells us that when we’re offered too much choice, we make no choice.

Ashley: Yeah, absolutely. Is this why Woolworths went bust?

Rebecca: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Because it’s too much choice. People go in and go, I don’t know what I want. And Primark works. It’s cheap clothes and makeup. It is the cheap version of Marks and Spencer’s and everybody knows that. And that’s what you go for. You don’t go there to have a personal shopper. And browse selectively, you know what you’re going for when coaching, because we’re offering something that is an experience, people want to understand what that experience might be. And they can’t possibly do that if you’re offering them 25 options, if you offer them three options, small, medium, large, alright, cheaper, mid range price, expensive. People go, okay, I get that. And then they can try you out with the low entry cost thing and see if they like you and see if you’re any good. And you’ve got to make that low risk. And that’s what we talked about.

And then you’ve got a medium-sized thing, and then you’ve got a high-end thing that people pay into the thousands for and you decide what you charge for that. And the questions I asked you were right, well, what’s working? Where do you make your money? Where do you want to be and what kind of money do you want to be making? And what’s the easiest route to get there? We all want to make the most money that’s suitable for us, the easiest way possible. And you just ask a few, well-placed questions, and then you get the answer.

Ashley: Absolutely brilliant. It wasn’t 25 options, but it wasn’t far off there. But now there’s just, well, there’s four at the moment because I’m doing this thing on Thursday, but as soon as that’s gone, that will just be the three things. And it does make so much sense. There’s, there’s a commercial that Mercedes run every now and again, and it’s a guy going into a coffee shop and he looks at the menu and there’s like millions of different coffees, but then all the letters fall off and it just says cappuccino. And it just emphasises that you walk into a car showroom, there’s so many options. If you go into a Mercedes dealership will help you. And it’s that sort of thing. And that’s what we need to do when we’re selling anything, not just coaching, but selling everything. And for those of you that dunno who Woolworths are, Woolworths were a bit of everything. So you could buy just about anything that you could buy clothes, you could buy your records, you could buy home bits for your home. And obviously everybody knows this next one. Pick and mix.

Rebecca: Yeah.

Ashley: There’s people out there that really don’t know what Woollies are, isn’t it? And I think they left us in about 2007, 2008, because when I moved back to Sidmouth here, there was a Woollies. And it’s funny, isn’t it?

Rebecca: Yeah. Well, Wilko took that space and now they’ve gone bust.

Ashley: Yeah. I wonder why, Rebecca, they obviously haven’t spoken to you.

Rebecca: Yeah, well when you, okay, and here’s something for the coaches and any other business that’s listening now, if you’re a small to medium sized enterprise, do not sit in the middle ground because the only people who sit in the middle ground are Tesco, Amazon, Primark have mentioned, and Walmart. So if you want to get mass market penetration in the middle ground, you have to have scale. Okay? That’s the only way to do it. You can’t do it any other way. So Wilko and Woolworths too small, they can’t compete with Amazon is too big, or Walmart for that matter. So what you have to do, and this is why I bang on constantly about finding your niche, is that you get really, really good at something very specific and nail that market. And then other markets will cotton onto you and seek you out, and you get referrals and recommendations. And that takes a while. When I say all these things, I’ve made all these mistakes, which is why I’m able to talk to you about them. I try to be all things to all people, all things to all SMEs, cover everything. It doesn’t work. You have to niche down and find your niche and get really good at it. And that could be geography, specialism, tech, it could be any kind of niche, it could be age, it could be demographic, anything. It doesn’t matter, but find it and really go for it.

Ashley: And I think there’s a big worry with niching because if I just turn around and say, I’m just going to look after whatever. So there’s social media gurus out there that will do Instagram. I’ve got to remember them on there. They only do LinkedIn, but they do LinkedIn, they do Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat and all the others, and they’ll do it for everybody. And then here I am, just LinkedIn just for accountants and bookkeepers. So that is a niche within a niche, isn’t it?

Rebecca: It is. It really is.

Ashley: But that’s why I was asked to host the LinkedIn stand at the Accountex. And so they didn’t pick on the person that was good at social media in, I don’t know, manufacturing. They picked on the guy that was good in the accounting space on LinkedIn. And that’s the bottom line. So what would you say to somebody that says, I don’t want to niche down or I can’t find my niche, Rebecca?

Rebecca: So as part of our training, we help our coaches find their niche. We have a bonus course that they get access to, and they sign up and we ask them a series of questions. And it’s that intersection between what you love doing. And what I would say to you is think about your best clients that you’ve had in the past three years, the ones that you’ve had the best successes for, really enjoyed working with, and they’re probably still with you. And as a result, you probably made the most profit out of them. So start there and then think about if those were the clients that you loved working with, think about what it was about them that you loved. Was it, I don’t know their purpose of their business? Was it the sector they were in? Was it your geographical area? The fact that you didn’t have to travel very far? Think about that. And that will give you an indication of the sort of niche you need to go into and also the type of work you did with them. And that’s what to focus on. Because if you’re good at it and you love it and you get paid well for it, then all you need to do is scale that.

Ashley: Yeah. And you’ll never work another day in your whole life.

Rebecca: Pretty much.

Ashley: That’s the thing. That’s the thing. Got a great question from Pavel for the last decade. We’re seeing Bemo venturing. Indonesia is good example. It’s a premier in opening. Bete Butte is a small holiday seaside town, north Cornwall. We are seeing that trend. So my question is how do we differentiate and withstand the pressure of the big capital?

Rebecca: It’s all about the personality. So Premier Inn, you know exactly what you’re going to get, exactly what it’s going to look like, feel like, sound like it is a transactional product. They have no interest whatsoever in your kids, your family, your pets, your hobbies. They don’t care. It’s a transaction. They’re very good at what they do in the services. You are usually good. You differentiate yourself by being a service, by taking an interest in your audience, whoever they are, by getting to know them really well, by responding to those things. It is really simple things like sending a card, sending a note, sending a message, giving them a small gift. If you run a little hotel or guest house, it’s the easiest thing in the world to write a personal postcard and give a little bag. I don’t know, of homemade fudge or whatever, or local biscuits or jams. So it’s the small things. And I think a lot of businesses make the mistake of going, oh, we’ve got to do a grand gesture. No. It’s the small things that will differentiate yourselves from the big corporates.

Ashley: I love how you bought up the Bete thing because my uncle and my granny used to run a hotel in Bete and then Tintagel.

Rebecca: Okay,

Ashley: So literally just down the road, and they would’ve charged more than you would’ve paid a Premier Inn, I’m guessing, I’m not sure.

But they had, I don’t know, 80, 90% repeat business because everybody loved my granny. They love my uncle because of this and because of that, you say it is the people, and Pavo just says, real hospitality is being a host and helping people real, real hospitality is actually a dying thing because like you say, it’s all transactional. And then I guess, and we’re seeing this with small shops popping up and out doing Amazon and Tesco, but we’re also seeing that in all other kinds of industries where people want, like you say, the experience they do. And it’s sort of like, yeah, I want to work with this person because I know them. They like them, I trust them, but they’ll do this extra little thing

Rebecca: And they know who I am, and we’ll have a conversation and it’ll be lovely and it’ll feel nice, and I’m very welcomed and And that goes for business as well as hospitality. The thing is, Ashley, there’s room for everything. And I know you have an abundance mindset, and I do too, is that there is absolutely room for all of these models across all sectors, and you just have to think about it and make a bit of an effort. Nothing frustrates me more than seeing little cafes and stuff like that that just haven’t made the effort in the right way, or they don’t open at regular times. And it’s like, come on. You can’t run a business if you’re not there. Or you can’t run a business if you don’t take the time to do those extra little things. You do have to work harder at it, definitely. But there’s space for everybody.

Ashley: Yeah, absolutely. And again, I live in a small seaside town, and in the winter there’s not a need for all of the cafes and places to open every single day. So a lot of them shut Sundays and Mondays or Mondays and Tuesdays. But we know that,

Rebecca: Yes,

Ashley: Whereas the cafe that failed, they came in in the morning and didn’t look as if it was going to be busy. So they went home and then we forget to go there. That’s the thing, isn’t it?

Rebecca: Instead of thinking, I know, how do I make my cafe busy? They went home great,

Ashley: But isn’t that what a lot of businesses do?

Rebecca: Well, seemingly. But do you know personally, I’ve got bills to pay, so I don’t have that luxury.

Ashley: So tell us a little bit about the mistakes that coaches are making then, because obviously you’re working with quite a few. What’s the obvious mistakes that they’re making?

Rebecca: The biggest one that keeps most of them poor is charging based on their time. If you are charging per hour, you are leaving a tonne of cash on the table and you’re probably working too many hours. You have to charge for value. Alright? That’s the key message we hammer home to our coaches and consultants is you charge per project. And we built our materials that we teach our coaches and consultants how to do that so that you’re taking a business through a process. And because all businesses are different, you have no idea how long that’s going to take, when they’re going to be ready, whether you’re going to have to put it on pause or go faster or whatever. So you charge per project, you take a rough estimate of how many months that project’s going to take. 1, 2, 3, 6 months, whatever. And I work it on roughly about a day, a month, roughly.

And then I add it up and then I divide it, say, I think it’s going to take six months to deliver this. I divide it by six and I charge them a monthly retainer. Okay. What that does, Ashley, it means that you set up your repeating invoice on zero, so you forget about it. That’s less admin to do. Your client pays it automatically. You never have to talk about money ever again. Nobody’s measuring hours. All you’re doing is working on progress and output. So you might turn up for two hours one month because the month before you maybe did, I don’t know, more than a day’s work, but the stage they’re at in the project means the next month you only have to check in for a couple of hours. So that’s the way to charge as a business coach and consultant, drop the day rate, drop, the hourly rate charge per project.

Ashley: Brilliant. I love that. Absolutely superb, right? You’ve got a book coming out, is that right?

Rebecca: Yes. I don’t know when it’s coming out. So I’ve got really good news on Friday. A publisher that I sent my book proposal to has accepted it. I sent the contract out hopefully today or tomorrow. And yeah, it’s our online course. This is the kind of user’s guide, but I’ve written it in such a way that anybody who’s a business coaching consultant can buy it. They’ll be able to buy it on Amazon and use the content and materials in their own coaching practise. So it’s getting that stuff out there to an even wider audience. Yeah.

Ashley: Wow. That’s brilliant. But that’s not your first book, is it? You’ve already written some before, haven’t you?

Rebecca: Yeah, I’ve got it on my knee. So I wrote this 2014 for a long time ago now, Ashley. Yeah. And I wrote it from the point of view of somebody who wants to climb the career ladder, or somebody who wants to grow a business, develop their career in some way. And it came from the fact it’s got ladders on it because came from the fact so many people put their ladder against the wrong wall behind that instead of climbing the right ladder. So it depends, if you’re a bit lost at the moment and you’re not sure what direction to go in, get this book, it is on Amazon, because that will give you clarity of direction and what’s important to you and what your values are.

Ashley: Fantastic. So we’ve pretty much ran out of time. Someone’s listening to this and they’re thinking, right, I need to sort out my coaching, I need to join Tricres. What do they get? How does it work? How do we get in touch with you? Let us know.

Rebecca: Yeah. So if you go to, which is, there’s a button on the front page, which is our 12 week Kickass Culture Coach Programme. Click that button, read the information there, and if you are really interested, join us at our next Escape the 9 to 5 event. I think the next one’s tomorrow, actually, at five o’clock you can register. It’s free to attend. And Nick and I, that’s our brother who founded it, or me and Tammy, who’s our American partner, we go through exactly what’s involved, what you get. You end up with a CPD accreditation, which is an internationally recognised accreditation, what it costs and what happens once you’re qualified. A lot of people, once they’re qualified, join us as a Tricres coach, use all our branding or materials so they don’t have to pay for any of that and set themselves up as coaches.

Ashley: Oh, that sounds absolutely fantastic. So if I’m an accountant or a bookkeeper watching this, and I need a little bit more of a hand, because they would make great coaches, wouldn’t they? Rebecca,

Rebecca: I hope and pray accountants and bookkeepers who are listening to this will join us and use our materials with their clients. The industry, as you all know, is changing so quickly. You need to have a value add offering, and this is the easiest way to do that. We give you all the tools, all the skills you’re going to need to use these tools with your clients so that you become a business advisor and coach to your client instead of just doing the numbers. And that’s the way you’re going to add value to your client. And we’ve got one lady who’s done this, and I just wish more accountants and bookkeepers would do it because it would bring so much more to their practise, and they’re already in a really trusted position. They already know the numbers. This is the cherry on top of the icing on the cake,

Ashley: The cherry. I love it. I love it. What a great way to end the show with the cherry. I’ve got one more question for you, but before I ask you that, I’m just going to quickly nip into next week, because I don’t know how this happens. It’s like buses. So next week I’ve got another coaching specialist coming in to have a chat with me. Yeah, but look, we all need coaches, and like you say, we’ve all got an abundance mindset. So it’d be interesting to hear. I didn’t even say her name. Angela is in with me next week, so be having a chat with Angela next week. So I’m getting all coached out.

Rebecca: Yeah, well, it’s good. Well, we train coaches. There’s room for everybody. There’s nearly 9 billion people on the planet. There’s a lot of billions and millions of businesses.

Ashley: A billion of those people are on LinkedIn. So you’re going to find your next client there. Anyway. So Rebecca, my question to you is what advice would you give your 16-year-old self?

Rebecca: You’re smarter than you think you are. I used to think everybody else was so much cleverer than me and really, really, really intelligent. And I thought I was probably a bit thick. And that turns out not to be the case. And yeah, just there’s more to me at 16 than I knew there was at the time. But I think that’s the case for a lot of teenagers, isn’t it? I see it in my kids. Yeah. Yeah,

Ashley: Absolutely.

Rebecca: You have no idea how amazing you are.

Ashley: Yeah, you don’t do you. Well, it is taken me this long. I’m a little bit older than 16 to realise how amazing I am, but thank you very much for helping me. No, that’s all right.

Rebecca: Good. We all get there in the end, Ashley,

Ashley: Eventually. Eventually. Rebecca, thank you so much for being on my show today. Thank you to Pavo for all his comments. If you’ve got any questions you want to know more, then just have a look at the show notes. Thanks very much, Rebecca. Cheerio,

Rebecca: Actually, it’s been a blast. Thank you.

Ashley: Thank you. Bye-Bye.