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Hi i'm Dan Holloway,
I have been driving growth and scale within venture capital and private equity-backed businesses for over 20 years. Focusing heavily on Business Operations, Tech and Entrepreneurship. I will give you an insight into my story below (maybe grab a coffee!)
You see, I learned how to start, grow and scale businesses... But that learning came with a price and it's a price I don't want other Entrepreneurs (or Intrapreneurs) to suffer, as I did...!
The honest truth is that life is too short to sacrifice more than you need to. And I see budding entrepreneurs sacrificing far far too much in their pursuit of success...
I have made both a career and an entrepreneurial journey, from simply cutting BS!
Every business I have ever worked in, whether my own ventures or those owned by clients... Some of the biggest wins have come from simplification. And simplification almost always came about by cutting out stuff that didn't need to be there. Stuff, AKA, 'the bullsh*t'.
Sacrifice without purpose is insanity!
Sacrificing for the sake of it is obviously not healthy. Far from it... Nor does it doesn't make you a hero!
This idea of 'hustle culture' is reaching dangerous levels.
Now I'm not saying you don't need to work hard to see results...
You do need to work hard. But you need to work smart!
And it's exactly that which has been my mission for my career to date.
To help Entrepreneurs and Intrapreneurs succeed in business while minimising the pain.
Notice how I said 'minimising'. Because anyone who tells you "Growing a Business is easy", frankly, is either too inexperienced to know better, flat out lying to you, or they have been exceptionally lucky (and is highly unlikely to ever recreate that luck again)!
You see, the truth is. Business is actually very easy, yes. But people. We lovely, complex humans. We are not easy. Far from it in fact...
It's we lovely, complicated humans, who make business harder than it has to be!
I see so many entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs alike, stressed, unhealthy and burnt out.
Usually telling themselves all sorts of stories as to why it's justified. But usually, stories they look back on and regret.
I was called a liar in a job interview...
I had a job interview many years ago where the first thing the interviewer said was:
"You are only here because I hate liars. So I want you to sit here and explain to me, why you think it is ok to lie on your CV to get an interview."
Suffice to say, I was a little confused by that statement!
And I remember thinking at the time, how this guy must be somewhat narcissistic to work for... But I was curious so went with it, asking him to explain.
Turns out, he didn't believe I had achieved the things I had, in a fraction of the time it had taken him to do so.
He was the Managing Director of a firm looking to hire an interim COO. The role of COO was one he had, until recently been performing himself. It had taken him many years to become a COO, working his way up through that same company for most of that time.
If I recall, it was somewhere in the region of 20yrs. And prior to that, he had studied business at university and then went on to do an MBA as a post-grad.
It quickly became apparent that he was judging me, using his own career trajectory as a comparison.
I'll try to remember as much of the conversation as I can. It went pretty much like this:
That conversation was interesting for me for a number of reasons.
Topics for other content another time, for sure!
But since that interview I have worked a number of consultancy and interim roles. COO of a Crypto business. CMO of a martech business and so on.
I have also worked with a number of clients of my own.
When I look back, I realise quite how much I achieved in quite a small amount of time.
And I haven't even talked about how I am a certified lie detector (yes, really. And YES, that's a thing!).
My experiences have led me to what I now love to do.
Consulting & Fractional COO engagements
I have been consulting since 2013. Helping entrepreneurs start, grow and scale their businesses... I always have a strategy in my mind. And a tactical plan by which to reach the goals that strategy is targeted towards.
In my experience, there is a hell of a lot of wasted time within businesses. Even more so in corporations or public sector organisations.
The path I take is, as much as possible, to maximise efficiency, minimise complications, lessen stress and, most importantly, to cut the bullsh*t!
Speaking of which... If you want to read about my views on using profanity in business meetings, I wrote a post on that very topic.
I work in interim roles if there are synergies between myself at the client. Something I have come to feel is best described as a Fractional COO.
So how do I help clients as a Fractional COO?
That's really rather simple. You need to get your bases covered!
Business Operations as I see it is the glue that holds all parts of the business together.
Sales will say there is no business without landing the deals.
Marketing will say there is no business without the world knowing what it is you sell.
Tech will say there is no business unless the systems work and enable the staff to function.
But the truth is all departments are important. All are crucial to success.
And it is the Operations Team who hold it all together.
When looking at the bigger picture, the following core components need to be nailed for a business to be successful.
And it's done with: No spam. No snake oil. No lies. No crypto scams. No bullying. No sketchy MLM’s. No promises of 6-figure businesses in 90 days. And definitely no selling pieces of your soul!
Step 1) Actually SOLVE a problem for your audience!
It's amazing how many entrepreneurs set up their business for themselves, not their audience... Then are surprised why their audience doesn't seem too interested in buying.
"It's not about you. It's about them..."
Step 2) Create an 'OFFER' so enticing, your audience will kick themselves if they don't buy it there and then!
Your business is made (or broken) on the power of this one core 'offer'.
Get it right and your business will skyrocket! Get it wrong and it'll barely get off the ground...
Step 3) The sale is just the beginning... Your business needs to 'WOW' your customers every step of the way!
Every piece of content. Every deliverable. Every interaction. They all need to remind the customer why they love working with you...
If they feel great. They'll tell their friends... When they tell their friends. You have the cheapest source of scale there is!
Step 4) "GROWTH comes from work. Scale comes from Operations" - (Write that down!)
The greatest increase in profits your business will ever see... Comes not from sales. But from the 'unsexy work' that no one will ever see!
Systems, Processes, Tools, Automation... That is Operations. And it's crucial!
Want to learn more about how to work with me?:
I'm the Founder of Operational Voodoo
What is Operational Voodoo, I hear you ask...?
Great question. And it's a project I have been wanting to start for a while now.
When people think of 'Business Consultancy'. These days, they often think:
- "I need to get a mentor"
- "I need to find a Business Coach"
- "I need some kind of Business Consultant, but not the kind of Management Consultant you'd expect from some Accountancy firm"
- "I want more than an Interim Operational person, who may or may not actually do what I need them to do"
All of these have problems:
- A Mentor is more of a guide. They don't get roll up their sleeves. Nor are they necessarily as experienced as many will want you to believe.
- Don't even get me started about the 'Coaching Pandemic'. It was a problem before COVID, but since then... My oh my!!!!
- Accountancy firms love to install graduates into businesses and call them management consultants. When they usually have barely a clue what that even means.
- Interim Operational roles as such a mixed bag. Some are fantastic. Some are really not. And if you pick the wrong one, the cost to the business can be apocalyptic!
My answer to this problem is Operational Voodoo.
I have long seen Business Operations as the glue that holds the various facets of a business together...!
But it is also somewhat of a dark art. Hence the 'voodoo'.
My aim is this:
I want to build a Business Operations Agency, to help small-medium businesses grow and scale.
Focusing on being that stepping stone between those too small for a heavy-hitting COO. But too big to 'figure it out on the go'.