The academy that’s just the business
As he approaches 50, creative entrepreneur Howard Rushfirth has gone back to school. But this time round it’s not about the three r’s, times tables and chalkboards.
After thirty-plus years in the creative sector, the last ten of which has been running his creative partnership Rushfirth Creative with his wife Kathryn, Howard reached a point in the middle of 2019 where he realised that his business needed to grow.
“For the business to grow it needed to change. And for the business to change, I needed to change first.”
That change has come about by his decision to enlist in the Elite Business Academy’s exclusive year-long coaching programme, the EBA Inner Circle. Along with a number of other entrepreneurs, creative director Howard has taken up the challenge and is totally redeveloping his business model from the ground up.
"I've been involved with the EBA (Elite Business Academy) for a few years now. From an initial recommendation and introduction from international speaker Richard McCann, Rushfirth Creative was originally brought in by founder Craig Wilkinson to transform his groundbreaking trades- orientated networking organisation Trades Hub into a multi-sector all encompassing business group."
After months of close consultation with Craig, Howard and Kathryn rebranded Trades Hub as the Elite Business Academy - or 'EBA' as it is more commonly known.
"In addition to working on the company branding, we also helped Craig put together the training material for his flagship programme: the Inner Circle. As a result I was very familiar with the course content, and when the time was right I jumped at the opportunity to participate."
The Inner Circle programme, which runs numerous staggered groups throughout the month, is a comprehensive business development course that is delivered month by month in intensive interactive one day sessions. The business-owner participants come from a diverse range of sectors and backgrounds, but they all have one thing in common - drive and commitment to drive their businesses forward, and make whatever changes necessary to make that so.
"The inner circle has changed the way I operate day to day both personally and in business and is a huge positive change." Says Wakefield based entrepreneur Duncan Garritt, of Glass & Mirror Technology.
Others also agree that it's proving to be more than worthwhile. Darren Russell, who owns and runs a boiler fitting company, travels all the way from the midlands to attend the coaching days which are held in Sheffield, concurs: "The programme has already started to transform my business and my life in general. If I were to have only invested in one thing to move my business forward, then I would whole heartedly say that this is definitely it."
Business service sectors are also taking advantage of the process. Gary Ainley who runs a successful Yorkshire based debt recovery service has been seeing a change. "The Inner Circle journey for me has transformed the way I look at my business in all aspects." says Gary. "I now realise that if all pieces of the jigsaw aren't placed together in the right order, your business cannot and will not grow. You also need a positive mindset shift."
The programme, which is for the most part conducted by Craig Wilkinson himself, covers everything from mindset to marketing, systemisation to sales. "We're not even at a midway point and I've already seen a marked difference on the way our business is going. We've vastly improved the systemisation of our processes, yet we've still only scratched the surface as these things do take time to implement and refine." says Howard. "I can't imagine what the results are going to be like once the full twelve months are up. Inner Circle groups that have run prior to ours have been mightily impressive, so my expectations are high. And it won't stop there - the stuff I'm implementing throughout this process are changing for the better what we're doing permanently, so it's something we're using as a starting point to grow the business indefinitely.