Medico-Legal Experts Australia’s (MLEA) Founding Managing Director, Vanessa Aitken joined the EO Accelerator program during a pivotal moment in her company’s evolution. With an uncertain future ahead of her, Vanessa was at a crossroads.
MLEA provide specialist independent medical expert opinion to National Courts across Australia, the UK and Ireland. Their customer base consists of lawyers, barristers, Insurance companies and employers. Operating in such a professional environment, Vanessa felt alone and was struggling with the daily grind of managing the business. “It is very isolating at the top, and I had considered selling the business,” she said.
On a personal level, Vanessa felt she lacked the business management understanding that would see her business thrive. Vanessa said. “I felt like I was swimming in a whirlpool – not knowing what to do next. I needed direction.”
“I joined the program primarily to find some direction in growing my business. I was rethinking how the business was operating day-to-day and knew I needed guidance.” As a medically trained health professional, managing a business was entirely foreign.
Since joining the EO Accelerator program, only six months in, Vanessa says the journey has been life-changing. “Personally, I enjoy meeting with and being inspired by like-minded people, driven people. The EO members are people I can talk to, people who I can ask questions of and get direction from. Before EO I had no one.”
Vanessa says “The learning curve has been enormous for me. I have learnt about strategy, setting goals and working consciously towards those goals. I have never had functional, accountable positions within my business. Being medically trained, I was struggling to manage my business on my own without any business administration training.”
“Thinking back over the last six months I think – Wow! This has been amazing. I really have achieved a lot.”
She recalls her mentors telling her not to implement too much change all at once. However, with each new learning experience, Vanessa has implemented progressive changes; changes that have been keenly adopted by her staff.
Understanding how to measure performance against goals has provided Vanessa with the necessary tools to understand her business better. “Following People’s Day I created a functional chart, re-organised job descriptions, and set KPIs and accountability. I had never done anything like this before.”
Having developed a set of core values for the business, along with a mission and vision statement, Vanessa is embarking on a new website project. Integrating these core values into her online presence and supporting her staff through this renewed focus is the next step on her journey.
“I have recently recruited two staff members using the top-grading techniques, and I have implemented meeting rhythm following Scaling Up. I have also implemented a formal coaching framework. My staff have reacted so positively to the changes and every month my business has exceeded budget expectations. I couldn’t be happier.”
Overall, Vanessa says she has increased her confidence in both her management abilities and her business outlook. Not surprisingly, Vanessa identifies most with the EO Value – Thirst for Learning. “I am excited to learn more and have decided to set aside some time once a week to study.”
She says her next goal is to finish reading ‘Profit First’. “Rather than focusing so much on growing the business, my focus now is on improving profitability internally,” she commented.
It is hard to believe that before joining the EO Accelerator program in October 2017, Vanessa was considering selling her business. “I was overwhelmed,” she commented. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to continue my business and to be honest, I was concerned about the financial investment of joining the program.”
After speaking with Adele, Vanessa believes she made the best decision for her future. “Today I am motivated and more confident. For others in a similar position, I would tell them – don’t hesitate – Just do it! My involvement with EO has enabled me to salvage my business and turn it around.”
“I feel empowered and have recouped my financial investment in a short six months. I believe that the investment in this program will be recovered 100-fold if you are open to learning.”
With a mentor lined up for some additional one-on-one advice, Vanessa says “The biggest win for me at this point is that I am motivated. I am still learning and feel inspired to continue on my journey with the help of a supportive group of like-minded people.”