Updated: Sep 17, 2020
Iliana Rocha is a senior business leader with extensive consulting and coaching experience in all things business. Iliana has been working hand-in-hand with businesses in optimizing their strategy and operations, and is now President & Lead Coach at Clubnet Solutions Inc. Her focus is on working with entrepreneurs and small business owners on scaling and transforming their businesses profitably.
Can you tell our readers more about your mission, purpose, and the work that you do?
Our mission at Clubnet Solutions is to be a partner of leaders looking to transform and scale their businesses profitably. This encompasses many areas – from improving one’s own leadership skills, to managing team performance, to purposefully designing the next stages of the business to ensure it continues to thrive and mature. We know what is required to effectively and efficiently run a company and partner with leaders to develop action plans to scale and transform their businesses.
We work with entrepreneurs a lot and have found that many organizations get stuck before exponential growth because their leaders don’t know how to plan ahead. Whether they are looking to grow the business scale in a manner that allows them to retain control, get access to capital, or get acquired, it is important to optimize their strategy and operations. For a company to truly take off, a leader needs to lay the groundwork and put in place the building blocks that are required for long-term success.
That’s where we come in. Planning for business growth cohesively allows leaders to make sure that each and every decision and change supports and re-enforces the rest. I have observed the successes and, more often, failures of large and small organizations alike and have developed a system of best practices for ensuring that all parts of a business work well together. Once the day-to-day business management is taking care of itself, leaders can go back to doing the things they are best at – being the visionary and focusing on the problems and challenges only they are uniquely equipped to handle.
We also consciously focus on helping small to mid-sized businesses. We truly believe that small businesses have the potential to contribute to society and their communities tremendously. Time and time again, small businesses behave more responsibly than large ones. They treat their employees better and tend to retain them even in difficult times; they create jobs and therefore sustain local economies. The list goes on: when the middle class and small to mid-sized businesses thrive, so do economies and communities.
Are there common challenges that your customers experience?
Absolutely! Although each business is unique, it’s common for leaders to experience feelings of being stuck or overwhelmed. It’s human nature - we tend to get cozy and comfortable with where we are and accept firefighting as a way of life. However, by getting stuck, leaders miss the opportunities of how to unlock change and capitalize on the company’s growth potential. No one has ever grown by keeping things status quo since it is difficult for the status quo and exponential growth to coexist. When you experience new, more complicated problems, that is a sign of progress! But first, you have to get over your everyday challenges.
We often find that leaders come to us with what appears to be a unique problem that they just can’t seem to address. The commonality, however, is that these leaders are focusing on symptoms rather than root causes. So, we help them identify what is truly at the core of their challenges. That’s when you can pin-point what organizational framework, leadership coaching, or team development activity will solve that problem. The symptoms are diverse, but the root causes can usually be boiled down to pretty standard business challenges. That’s good news because it means those are easier to solve and the solutions are long-term. They enable streamlining within the organization, removing roadblocks and freeing up leader and team time to focus on higher-value items.
You have a wide knowledge of business and leadership principles. What do you enjoy helping people with the most?
That’s an interesting question because I don’t have a favorite business or leadership area I like to focus on; I’m more interested in the lasting impact I have on these organizations. About ten years ago, my husband and I went on vacation with some really driven and capable people. When we came back home, he was feeling very motivated and said something along the lines of: I wish I could bottle up this feeling and leverage it on my off days. That stayed with me. It took me a decade to figure out how to do that for others, but when I did, it became the basis for what Clubnet Solutions stands for. We focus on not just solving problems for our customers and partners, but also on ensuring they maintain momentum and increase their own capabilities so that they need less external support in the future.
Many people find it odd, but we truly believe we are doing a good job when we manage to talk ourselves out of a job. That means that whatever it was we were doing as part of an engagement, we’ve now equipped the team or company to do that themselves.
That’s why we favor coaching over consulting. As much as we enjoy solving business problems, we are much more satisfied when we’ve equipped an organization and its talent to continue to grow and thrive on its own.
Business Excellence is something Clubnet Solutions stands for. If you could give 3-5 tips on how to achieve Business Excellence, what would that be?
I just published my first book: Level Up! Low hanging fruit to instantly improve your small business (you can get it on Amazon). Through years of coaching and consulting in large organizations, I have developed a system of best practices built on the 6 pillars of business excellence success. This is the framework we use as part of our Clubnet Solutions engagements. The book expands on each of the pillars: purpose-driven business, authentic leadership, talent focus, strategic planning, operational excellence, and performance management. There is a lot of information, but if I had to summarize some key takeaways, they would be:
You can’t expect everyone to strive for excellence or the business to grow if you aren’t willing to invest in your own leadership skills. When you focus on continuously improving yourself, you set an example for your team and weave continuous improvements in your company’s DNA. That is a recipe for growth!
Hire and grow a high-performance team. I talk a lot about how to identify top performers and how to manage and grow them so that they remain loyal to your organization. Many leaders seem to think that if you really invest in your people, they’ll take the learnings and go to greener pastures. That’s not the case – high performers value how they are managed over pay-based incentives. I encourage business owners to identify and grow the future leaders of their companies. That way, when the organization scales, they have the right people to help manage the more complex structure.
The last takeaway I’ll include is around performance managing your organization. A lot of leaders either don’t keep a pulse on how the internal and external environments are changing, or simply report on these changes but don’t adjust their course of action. That is a mistake. The organizations that do the best are the ones that, at any given point, know where they stand and have contingencies in place to adapt to whatever changes in the environment happen. That may be recognizing changes in leading indicators and engaging in preventative action, or it could be understanding that the environment is more favorable than anticipated and truly leveraging that opportunity. One way or another, adaptability is key!
Finally, what do you have in front of you, and what’s your next big goal or project?
We continuously try to create or evolve our offerings as we look for new ways to support leaders and business owners. We’ve realized that nothing is as lonely as trying to run a business by yourself. So we’ve been looking for ways to give business owners some of the support that large organizations get, but smaller businesses can’t afford.
At Clubnet Solutions, we believe that it takes a village to build a business. So we’ve introduced the concept of advisory boards. A mix of a mastermind and an executive board, an advisory board, is where you can get perspectives from other leaders to test new ideas, create accountability, increase sales, and find camaraderie within a like-minded community.
We have defined the concept and the offering and are now looking for the best way to reach business owners who could benefit from a Clubnet Solutions advisory board. So, if you are reading this and are interested, just visit us at https://clubnet.ca/business-management-services/advisory-boards/