Suzzanne Laidlaw What's Your Plan Interview

Suzzanne Laidlaw What's Your Plan Interview

Shortly after the start of her marriage, Suzzanne Laidlaw's life changed forever. Awaking one night to her home in flames, she saved her husband David's life by pulling him from their burning home. With a long recovery process ahead of them, a newborn baby and a recession, they were unemployable and had no other option but to start their own business. They challenged themselves to never give up in pursuit of their dreams, learn from others and create effective strategies in order to create a thriving business that worked for them. Suzzanne has since become one of Australia's most sought-after business coaches.

In the new book, What's Your Plan?, Suzzanne combines her powerful personal story with practical business lessons and draws on decades of experience as a business owner and coach to provide a step-by-step guide to planning a successful business model. Suzzanne understands the struggle many businesses are going through as they navigate the challenges of COVID-19 and offers solid 'no-nonsense' advice to help you develop a profitable, successful and resilient business to support your life and your dreams. This book is for those who:
• Want more out of your life and business
• Are ready to learn and grow
• Need to follow through with your actions and goals
• Are looking for greater inspiration and insight
• Have reached your breaking point and need a better way to move forward

Whether you're thinking of starting a business or already run one, What's Your Plan? is an inspiring story of overcoming adversity and the importance of never giving up.

About the author:
Suzzanne Laidlaw is an internationally accredited and award-winning business coach, passionate about supporting business owners to achieve their dreams. Recognised as a global leader in business planning, Suzzanne has an established career in educating others on the importance of planning which has landed her the affectionate nickname, "The Business Planning Queen." As an elite athlete, having represented Australia multiple times in the sport of Triathlon, she is familiar with hard work, tenacity, grit and determination in pursuit of her goals. Combined with over 25 years in key business management roles, Suzzanne knows what it takes to overcome adversity and function at the top level to achieve extraordinary results. What's Your Plan? is her first book.

Interview with Suzzanne Laidlaw

Question: What originally inspired the idea of What's Your Plan?

Suzzanne Laidlaw: Originally I wrote a memoir for my husband many decades ago, sharing from my perspective our triumphs and tribulations and as a reminder that no matter what, we'd weather the storm of our life together and keep going when the going got tough. Many family and friends who knew our story encouraged me to share our journey with the world, to inspire and motivate others. Over time, through my business coaching journey and through meeting people I helped by sharing my stories with them, I decided to create a unique business memoir book that paralleled my challenges in life with my business learnings to help a myriad of people to learn from what I've been through and use that knowledge to create their own best life – whether in business, through their career, or otherwise.

Question: Who do you hope reads What's Your Plan?

Suzzanne Laidlaw: The main target for my book is business owners, CEO's, managers, aspiring business owners and people who are involved in leadership roles in an organisation, who want to learn and develop their skills for greater success – whatever that means for them! However, the way I carefully crafted my book lends itself to a far wider audience, as my personal insights into what I have been through in my life (health, relationships, sport, family, death) and how I have overcome adversity in pursuit of my life dreams, means that anyone can pick up the book and gain some insight or inspiration to make positive changes in their life, whether or not they are in business.

Question: What did you learn, about yourself, whilst writing What's Your Plan?

Suzzanne Laidlaw: Through being vulnerable and sharing the challenges I have faced in my adult life – from the failures to the success and all the learning that came out of that – that I can help other people to connect with each other, acknowledge that we're all facing or likely to face a hurdle in our life that we have to (and can!) get through, and that it's possible to learn from others to do better than you would otherwise do without that learning. The experience has also been a humble reminder to myself that I have made my own mistakes, and I can learn from my experiences to always strive to be better and continue to grow as a person.

Question: Was it difficult reliving certain aspects/times of your life, whilst writing What's Your Plan?

Suzzanne Laidlaw: Yes, absolutely. Every time I read through the opening chapter about the horrific fire accident, or when I was given 5 years to live, I shed tears and feel a pain deep in my heart. It's been an incredible rollercoaster of a journey from experiencing what I experienced, to being able to put it all down on paper, to weaving it into a story that reaches others and ultimately draws them to make little changes in their business and life for greater happiness.

Question: What's the main message you hope readers take from What's Your Plan?

Suzzanne Laidlaw: Face your fears and your challenges head on, create a vision of what you would like that future to look like and use that guiding light to help pull you through with every decision you make. Whether it's in business, a relationship, your environment, your health – whatever it is – you've got to have a picture of what success looks like for you first, then create a plan from where you are now to where you want to be. It's also important to note that it's never too late to make changes, and that in the meantime a positive growth mindset and practicing gratitude daily, can dramatically you're your outcomes.

Question: Can you share some tips with us, featured in the book?

Suzzanne Laidlaw: If you're not clear on what success looks like and haven't spent the time to create that picture, it's going to be a lot harder to actually get to where you want to be. The process of planning is beneficial for getting laser-focused clarity on what strategies you need to implement in your business, and why. Where are the gaps, and what learning is required? Once you have created a comprehensive business plan, you'll have a blueprint for achieving success. I then recommend checking in with how you're tracking to your plan, at the very minimum once a quarter, so that your plans are always up to date and you and your team members can adjust strategies as required. Planning and tracking your progress is a continual journey, and is often the key factor that sets apart highly successful entrepreneurs to those business owners who are just 'getting by.'

Question: What or who inspired your love of reading/writing?

Suzzanne Laidlaw: My heart has always yearned to leave a legacy that will last longer than my lifetime, so writing a book for me was the best way I thought I could do that. Over the last 3 decades, every time I experienced a challenging situation, I was inspired by an author who shared their own journey and helped me in one way or another to overcome the obstacle I faced. I wanted to be able to do the same, and my lifelong dream of being a published author still feels somewhat surreal. It's a privilege and honour and I just hope that my story can touch others.

Question: What book are you reading, right now?

Suzzanne Laidlaw: The Dalai Lama's Cat by David Michie. I'm thoroughly enjoying it. Through the cat's eye, the Dalai Lama and his philosophies and teachings are shared. It's an interesting read. I am always regularly developing my skills through reading – from paperbacks, to online articles and publications, and attending webinars and workshops. Depending on what I am going through at any given time, my reading is inspired by what I'm eager to learn or what I know I need to improve my skills in.

Question: What's next, for you?

Suzzanne Laidlaw: My aim is to expand my business globally to inspire people across the globe to plan their life and their business for greater happiness and success. Now more than ever, people need support and coaching and mentoring, and I'm determined to help as many people as possible (my personal plight in life is to be a millionaire of hearts – inspiring one million people before I die!). With the technology available to us in this day and age, I'm looking to expand my offerings online through my various business planning and business courses, as well as open up more opportunities to work with me locally. I want to be able to help every single person that reaches out to me, in whatever capacity they can commit to working on themselves or their business. "It all starts with a plan," I say, so that's my message to the world… "What's Your Plan?"

Interview by Gwen van Montfort