Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Ian Richardson of Fox and Crow Group: Business Journey & Challenges

In this exclusive interview, Jesse Samberg sits down with Ian Richardson, the founder of Fox and Crow Group, to discuss his journey in the world of IT consulting and strategic business planning. From overcoming communication challenges to navigating the feast and famine sales cycle, Ian shares valuable insights and lessons learned along the way. Join us as we delve into Ian’s unforgettable client success stories, his plans for retirement, and the hurdles he’s faced in areas like sales and marketing. Get ready to be inspired by Ian’s entrepreneurial spirit and resilience in the face of business challenges.

Interviewee Name: Ian Richardson

Company: Fox and Crow Group

Intervirew Host: Jesse Samberg

The Interview

Let’s get started. First, we’d like to know more about how you started your business journey

Ian Richardson : I started my IT consulting business part time while completing night school for my computer engineering degree. I launched my full
time managed IT business in 2014, specializing in IT support for medical practices. I successfully exited from that business in 2021. In 2022, I started a strategic business planning consultancy with my wife who sold her marketing agency around the same
time.

Reflecting on your business history, what stands out as the single greatest challenge you’ve successfully navigated, and how did you overcome it?

Ian Richardson : Reflecting on my business history,
communication was the greatest challenge I navigated in my business. It impacted client relationships, employee relationships and personal relationships. One of the things that helped me become a better communicator was taking the Eagle Center for Leadership’s “Making A Difference”
program. If was so impactful I certified on the IP, making me the first independent consultant in the US certified to deliver that program for business owners. Working with my clients and their teams requires excellent communication, and that requires an understanding of how to communicate with people who don’t think or act like I do.

Businesses often face ongoing challenges. What does your business consistently grapple with, and how do you tackle these challenges head-on?

Ian Richardson : Most consulting businesses consistently grapple with a feast and famine sales cycle. You’re delivering for clients and business development suffers. You focus on business development inconsistently and your pipeline dries up. My business partner focuses only on prospecting and marketing, I focus on client work. That balance gives us predictable revenue – we can easily adjust activity around capacity.

Can you share with us the most unforgettable story involving a customer or client? What made it memorable, and what lessons did you draw from the experience?

Ian Richardson : Absolutely! Recently I worked with a client who came to us because they wanted to sell their business. They had received a valuation and knew they could not retire at that number. They worked with me for a year
and sold the business for more than 3x their original valuation. It was especially rewarding as the couple who owned the business had been hoping to retire in five years. They’ll retire this year. Lessons: always get a second opinion on a valuation, and be honest with yourself when you’ve reached your “sell by” date as a business owner. If you’re done, there’s a deal out there for you and anything can happen in one to two years. Don’t spend any more time than necessary in a business that you no longer love running. Burnout is real and often irreversible! You don’t have to make your “number” in one big transaction. There are many ways to get to retirement.

Looking ahead, what are your current plans for your business when you retire?

Ian Richardson : Our strategy for retirement is turn off the lights and leave. We’ve both run small businesses with teams to support, and we’re not interested in doing that again. Consulting allows for flexibility. We already travel a lot in our off-grid #vanlife campervan, we work remotely, we don’t have business “emergencies” or clients that require or expect after-hours support. I’m not yet 40, so I have a lot of time to choose a different path if the universe leads me towards one.

Navigating the small business landscape can be both challenging and rewarding. Can you share a bit about the specific hurdles you’ve encountered in areas like sales, marketing, and adapting to changing customer trends?

Ian Richardson : Sales discovery was where I fell down in my IT business. I didn’t ask enough questions, I spent a lot of time writing proposals for unqualified prospects. I spent a lot of time with a sales
coach learning how to do a proper sales discovery – now I very rarely lose an opportunity. Never underestimate the power of a good coach. I wish I had been more open to hiring experts in the earlier phase of my first business.

Leaders Perception magazine would like to thank Ian Richardson and “Fox and Crow Group” for the time dedicated to completing this interview and sharing their valuable insights with our readers!

Interested in connecting with the host of this interview series? Feel free to reach out to Jesse Samberg on LinkedIn: Jesse Samberg’s LinkedIn Profile

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