Keeping my business on track – unlocking the key to success

by Mike Burge, Certified Best Year Yet Program Leader, Executive Coach and Publishing Consultant

‘You know, Mike,’ a client said to me recently,  ‘I now insist that anyone I deal with on a professional basis in business, is at least aware of the Best Year Yet system, and what its PRO (Producing Results Online) component can do.’ He owns a number of very successful businesses, as well as being a sought after business mentor.

I asked him why, and his answer was filled with the sincerity and transparency that only comes through the tough real world experience of setting up a business, being close to the edge of disaster, only to come through it having learned life’s lessons – both personally and professionally. He continues to thrive from the learning. I will share his lessons, which I use in my business, in a moment.  First, a sporting metaphor…

I remember reading about Sir Jackie Stewart telling Nigel Mansell — the 3 times Formula One World Motor Racing Champion, but who at that time had yet to win a Grand Prix  – that the secret to winning a Grand Prix was a bit like having this massive bunch of keys in your hand, and only one of them unlocked the door to success – in this case, victory. Nigel went on to 31 victories, including a World Championship, and the Indy car World Championship.

Sir Jackie Stewart continued by saying that you keep trying, but you needed to keep learning the lessons, and know that if one key didn’t work, remember it and choose another. Eventually, if you had faith in your own ability and the wisdom to learn from your experience, you’d unlock the key to success. You just had to keep learning and keep taking action.

Nigel did find success. I was thrilled to be at Brands Hatch in 1985 when he found the right key to success and won his first Grand Prix. What’s interesting to note is that having found the ‘magic key’, he then put it to good use by winning the next Grand Prix in Kyalami two weeks later. Success breeds success.

Back to my client, mentor and friend – and his words of wisdom and my words of experience.

Firstly, he said, ‘what a successful business needs are the following’:

  1. Offerings or services that fulfil a genuine need in your market place or niche.
  2. Offerings that are priced appropriately for both your customers and you. Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity, and cash is reality!
  3. Offerings and services that are targeted, marketed, promoted and publicized to your market such that they are authentically acknowledged as being at the very least good, if not great, value for money, and hence their reputation is high.
  4. Offerings that are easy to purchase, be it an online or offline offering or service.

To manage a business successfully so you can focus on managing the business and using your unique strengths, you need, he continues to say, good and timely management information, regular reviews, and focused meetings with your key people. You need lagging and leading indicators to show you what needs to happen now and in the future to ensure key targets or goals are met. He then shared that a guided missile or space rocket is never on the direct straight line between its launch and its destination. It has built-in lagging and leading indicators that are constantly making minor adjustments to keep it on course.

“I’ve learned that running a business,” he told me, “is just the same. Just as that space rocket has its ‘Intel Inside’ making those corrections, Best Year Yet’s Producing Results Online (PRO) software has exactly the same. Work with the finance department or your bookkeeper/accountant to supply you with the hard facts. But use PRO to make any corrective course changes, to recognize them, and then track that they do!  Instead of policing people (or myself) – it liberates both them and me.

Last year in a relatively short space of time, I lost some very dear friends who had made a real difference and enhanced my life and my business, especially in my early career. The impact of these losses began to make itself felt on my business. But I learned that there are times in life when you just have to allow yourself the time and space to mourn and grieve.

Soon my friends and my coach, helped me through the tough patch and by reconnecting with one of my Best Year Yet Guidelines, ‘Ask for help’, I was able to get back into the frame of mind to start taking corrective action, and get my business and myself back on track.

A short postscript. Nigel Mansell and I share the same birthday. I haven’t brought so much pleasure to so many – nor made his millions yet! However, the lessons I’ve learned from so many and the Best Year Yet PRO App and all the resources it contains, helps me to find that ‘magic key’ again and again.

Here’s to your success!

Mike has over 1000 hours of successfully coaching senior managers and executives up to board level in the private and public sectors. His area of specialism include such topics as developing team and individual performance, supporting clients to have their best year yet by bridging the gap between strategy and actual performance, and enabling them to become masters at producing results. He is a business owner, entrepreneur and has held non-executive directorships in other companies in the SME sector.

Mike graduated with an Honors degree in Economics, and by 28 was the youngest director of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, working closely with authors such as Jeffrey Archer, John Le Carre, Delia Smith, and Stephen King. He has 18 years of success working in book publishing at director or a senior level.

He has managed turnaround situations for organizations and teams both in the UK and overseas, helping to make previously unprofitable businesses profitable for the first time, as well as managing teams internationally to perform at their highest level of expertise.

He has over 15 years experience in coaching and consultancy and has worked with such blue chip clients as Asda, GlaxoSmithKline, BP, ChevronTexaco, BOC, SG Hambros, Intel, Honda, Balfour Beatty, EDF Energy, SSK Smurfit Kappa UK and BAA’s London Heathrow’s Terminal 5 project. He has also worked extensively in the SME sector.

Mike offers great experience of multinational business development, sales and marketing management experience at plc and senior director level. During his career, Mike has worked in a variety of business sectors as well as the public sector and is very conversant with the challenges that face leaders as well as senior managers.

He is a fully accredited coach, an accredited NLP Practitioner and holds various diplomas in Business and Performance Coaching. Additionally, he is a fully accredited international Best Year Yet Program Leader and Coach.

He has also in his consulting career been part of the team that won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade in 2004.

For more information, his contact details are~



Phone:  +44 (0)7968 970826