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E156 | Scaling Up Expert Dominic Monkhouse on Sparks by Ignium Podcast

In this special episode, the shoe is on the other foot as our illustrious host, Dominic Monkhouse, finds himself on the other side of the microphone, being questioned by long time friend and fellow coach, the brilliant podcast host, Phil Rose, of Sparks by Ignium. 

Dom and Phil have worked together for years and their conversation in this episode is jam packed full of advice that you can take away and put into practice in your business today. 

Of particular note is how Dom helps CEOs and business leaders take the mystery out of business growth, and why 7s (either customers or employees) can kill your business and what to do about them. 

This is a really fantastic conversation and we would love to hear what you think. We really hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as we did. 

On today’s podcast:

  • Taking the mystery out of business growth
  • Being a coach not a consultant
  • Adding value through learning
  • Leadership needs leaders 
  • 7s kill your business


Taking the Mystery out of Business Growth & Why 7s Kill your Business with Scaling Up Expert, Dominic Monkhouse 

This week’s episode of The Melting Pot is a little different because it features Dom being interviewed by long time friend and fellow coach, host of the Sparks by Ignium podcast, Phil Rose. 

“Scaling up expert Dom Monkhouse describes himself as a business coach, an author and a podcast host. And the key for Dom is actually he works with CEOs to take the mystery out of business growth.”

Taking the mystery out of business growth

“I found myself running two companies that we got to £30 million in five years. And there were some tools that were introduced to me along the way, some challenges that we had, and the reason I did it more than once is I wanted to prove to myself that I hadn’t just got really lucky.”

Dom shares the 5 principles and 10 things you need to do to scale your business in his first book, Plan B. He loves to share his knowledge that he’s accumulated over the years, through his books, his podcast, his weekly blog and his coaching. 

“There’s a limit to how many people you can reach if you’re coaching one to one, but the resources that I’m hopefully sharing with people weren’t there when I did it.”

And the majority of what he does is help people adjust their mindset, to overcome the challenges that would make them fail.

Being a coach not a consultant

“I started off thinking I was a consultant and not a coach because I thought coach sounded a bit soft.”

But he quickly realised that his skills didn’t lie in doing the work for clients, it was in being able to see the bigger picture and discern which ideas are good, and then galvanise people around those ideas, getting them excited. 

So just what do clients come to Dom for help with? 

He finds a lot of the time, clients come to him with a problem, but on closer inspection, that problem isn’t THE problem. 

“So they’re thinking about a specific challenge, actually, in my experience, very rarely is it just a sales and marketing problem, it’s actually a strategy problem.”

Often clients don’t know who their core customer is and why they’re buying from them. They don’t know why they win or lose against competitors. 

“People don’t know what their customers are hiring them to do in the first place. So there’s something there about just not understanding the market, you think you’re selling something, but actually what the customer is buying is something different.”

Adding value through learning

“Having clients with problems actually gives me a purpose for learning. So quite often, a client will have a challenge to which I’m sure there’s an answer, but I don’t know what it is.”

Dom listens to two books a week, and lots of podcasts, trying to follow the 80/20 rule. 

“I’m always looking for that point of leverage, which is: what is the minimum effective dose to apply? What’s the 20% that I need to do that gets me 80% of the result?”

What is the thing he sees companies needing from him most at the moment? How is he enabling them to use his knowledge in the best way?

Most of the time, what founders think are the problems, aren’t the actual problem. Most of the time their problem actually lies in their strategy, or lack thereof. 

“Every client will say, we have a business plan. And I’ll say, Okay, show it to me, and what I get sent is an Excel spreadsheet. That’s not a business plan. That’s an Excel spreadsheet.”

And they’re looking for a sustainable business model that will take them from where they are now to a destination they have in their mind. But the excel spreadsheet shows numbers, not a route to their end goal. 

So often Dom finds businesses operate because they’ve bolted a series of tactics together, they’ve responded to something, they’ve changed some operational effectiveness drivers. And they are where they are. But they didn’t do that with intent.

Or when asked who their core customer is, they say they have X number of revenue streams, or they are where they are because they grew organically, or through acquisition, and they don’t have a strategy. 

“So I go back and say, let’s do some strategy. Let’s agree, where we’re going, and how we’re going to get there. And then once we got that, we can say, Okay, let’s look at the people. Let’s look at the culture. If that’s the strategy, what culture do we need to enable the strategy? And then let’s look at execution.”


Leaders need to work on the business, rather than in the business, says Dom. A lot of people set up a business because they know how to do it, technically, but they’ve not thought about the leadership to help them get there.

Which is where Dom can help. 

He’s accumulated 20+ years of leadership experience and knowledge through his reading, his podcast, through doing the job. He’s seen how it’s done and that a lot of people need the type of knowledge he has. Yet they never consider reaching out to someone like him, to help them acquire the knowledge that he has on how to lead, how to run a business, how to be a CEO. 

For so many people, success is built on doing the job. They keep on doing the job. And what that does is the team ends up having a learned helplessness. But you can’t grow the business if you’re in the weeds. The CEO can’t be executing strategy if they’re doing the work themselves. 

7s kill your business

Employees can be rated between one and 10, says Dom. No business owner has a problem getting rid of somebody who is nice or horrible, whose performances are 1-5. It’s easy to spot and get rid of them. 

But a 7, they’re OK some of the time, some of the time they’re great, some of the time they’re not. So many businesses think if they’ve got a few good people, a few great people and the rest are a bit rubbish, that that’s normal. And actually, A-player’s i.e. the top 10% of available talent for a given job in a given location will get your business over time to 90%. A-player’s are five to 10 times more productive than a B player. 

An employee rated 8, 9 or 10 is five to 10 times more productive than a 6 or a 7. They don’t cost you any more money. They take no extra management time. That’s how you get your time back to run the business, says Dom – surround yourself with better people.

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