Leaders who “know it all” are not invited to read this page

This page is NOT for Managing Directors, Business Owners, or CEOs who are satisfied with their personal performance or their business’s performance.

This page is for the leader who knows they don’t have all the answers. The leader who knows they need to develop their skills and broaden their experience if they want to continue growing their business. 

What got you here won’t get you there

It's a cliché, but true nevertheless.

Most of us created our business around our specialist area of expertise.  We spotted a gap in the market that our skills and knowledge could fill and went after it.  Our specialist knowledge drove growth and built our business.

Eventually, though, that’s not enough by itself to keep the business growing and successful.

It’s like taking part in University Challenge by yourself

You’re really good at your specialist subject – no-one can beat you to the buzzer. You get a few correct in the other subjects too, but the answers to most questions remain elusive.

The other team, though, does well in every area. They’ve a wide range of expertise. They support and help each other. They bounce ideas around, sparking insights and answers.

But you’re on your own.

And when you’re on your own, you struggle.  You struggle because there’s no-one to turn to who has the leadership knowledge you need and who understands what it’s like to walk in your shoes.

Within the Aurelius Growth Circle, you’ll find your own University Challenge team.   Only, rather than three others, there’ll be ten team members helping you take your business to the next level. Each of them a business leader like you.

You’ll find resources and ideas that will help you move ahead, and progress rapidly. 

Instead of sitting on the bench by yourself, you’ll experience the satisfaction of being part of a trusted, tight-knit team helping each other be the best they can be. 

So, what is the Aurelius Growth Circle®?

Searching the Internet, buying a book, subscribing to a newsletter, watching a video, listening to podcasts, attending a talk, or chatting to your mates will not magically solve your specific business issue, nor develop the depth of skills you need to lead your business.

It may widen your knowledge but won’t provide the answers you seek nor develop the skills you need.    

“Education without application is merely entertainment”.

The Aurelius Growth Circle is where education and application come together.

It's a place for leaders to learn, develop, make friends, and think about their business in a relaxed, safe environment. 

There are ten high-performing business leaders. Each of them wanting to improve their leadership skills. Each of them searching for reliable answers to their most pressing business problems. Each of them there to help you become a better leader and build a more sustainable and successful business.

What's different about the Aurelius Growth Circle?

Within the Growth Circle, we focus on applying what we learn, and building on that knowledge over time to get ever better. 

“What did you learn today? How does that apply to your business? How will you apply it? When will that happen? Has it happened?”

Whether it’s from solving your own issue, helping another member solve a problem, a workshop with an expert, or 1-2-1 mentoring, every session is about identifying and understanding the lessons you can apply to your business.  And then holding each other to account for applying those lessons.

Like every high-performing team, you’ll help others and they’ll help you. Together you'll overcome the challenges and keep moving forward.

We call it "Applied Learning, Compounded"

It takes time to learn new skills and successfully apply them. Regular, determined practice and implementation makes the difference. 

But, over time, the Compounding effect of this Applied Learning will take you, your leadership skills and your business to a different level.

So, how does a Growth Circle® deliver the magical effects of applied learning, compounded?

Improving by just one tenth of one percent every day, compounds to a SIX FOLD performance increase in 5 years

Applied Learning, Compounded

"What we found is that the most durable results happen as a series of good decisions that accumulate one upon another over a very long period of time, that create a massive compounding effect."

Jim Collins, author of Good to Great and Built to Last

And that's what you ultimately get from being a member of a Growth Circle:

...   Good decisions 

...   Successfully implemented 

...   Accumulating month by month 

...   Compounding for you, your family and business

Or, as John Lunn describes it...

John Lunn

MD & Co-Owner 

Lunns the Jewellers

Working with Richard has led to growth and reduced levels of agonising over key decisions

My main concern, when I first began working with Richard in 2016, was would he be able to understand how our business works? Like many, we consider our business to be quite different in its culture and approach, and I didn’t want this to be lost due to misunderstanding or misalignment.

I knew that for me to develop as a leader and add more value, I knew I needed to take that leap of faith and be open to new and different ways of looking at our business. In truth, yes the first few meetings were challenging both professionally and personally, but that challenge proved to be instrumental in altering my thinking and approach as a leader.

Most significantly, it has expanded my thinking to see greater opportunities than previously, and then having the confidence to take these forward.

The key benefits for me are the continual challenge, which has led to growth, and reduced levels of agonising over key decisions.

I’d very much recommend working with Richard. For me, the key has always been the challenge as I’ve said which has brought so much learning and scope to see more potential in what we as a team are doing and the impact we can make.

The Five Elements of a Growth Circle®

Like Minded  Leaders

Over 200 years of combined business exerience to draw on to solve problems

Mastermind Sessions

With their consistent ability to get to trusted, reliable and practical answers quickly

Focused Learning with Experts

Workshops to enhance your business, leadership and decision-making skills

One to One Mentoring 

I answer your questions, question your answers and keep you on track to achieve your goals

The Community Forum

The online meeting forum and central repository for all things Growth Circle

1 – Like Minded Owners and Leaders

The most successful team in sports history, the New Zealand All Blacks, have a golden selection rule: "No Dickheads". 

In Legacy, James Kerr says “Some of New Zealand’s favourite players have never made it to All Black status because they are considered to be ‘dickheads’. Others make it but are never invited back. It’s a powerful and effective philosophy that helps maintain an exceptional environment”.

Similarly, the true source of strength for the Growth Circle® is the camaraderie and support of the members.

Our golden rule is ... “Be helpful, be kind or be gone

An old Maori proverb says: “He iti wai kowbao waka e tuburi te waki”. Which means: “a little water seeping through a small hole may swamp a canoe”. In other words, one dickhead can sink the team

Every member is resolute and caring

Everyone has a steely determination to achieve their goals and ambitions. And they care about others. About giving, helping, and supporting.

Think of a flock of geese flying in a V-shape. One bird leads. The others follow. Another takes the lead. And so it goes on, each rotating to take their position of responsibility. If a bird can’t keep up, others drop back to help until it can fly again. Each bird is determined to complete their migratory journey, but no bird gets left behind. 

That's what happens in a Growth Circle®

Each member brings something different to the group

McKinsey Consulting research shows businesses with  ethnic / cultural diversity were 33% more likely to have industry leading profitability!

Each Group is as diverse as we can make it.  People with different backgrounds, different life experiences and different perspectives. 

The more diverse the group, the better the questions. The better the questions and experiences to draw on, the better the solutions.

We bring the power of that 200+ years of collective business wisdom and experience to bear in the Facilitated Mastermind Sessions.

2 – Facilitated Mastermind Group

Imagine sitting at a round table with ten business leaders from different industries with different experiences and perspectives.

Slowly look round the table. Look each person in the eyes. Breathe deeply, relax and smile, as you realise you like and trust them all and value their opinions and insights. 

Now think of the biggest, most pressing issue in your business today. The one you lost sleep over last night, last week, or last month.

See yourself sharing that issue with this resolute and caring group.

And the group using their 200+ years of experience to help you decide the best course of action and create a practical plan to fix the problem. 

That’s a Growth Circle® Facilitated Mastermind Group Session.

Imagine 200+ years of business owner experience brought to bear on your most pressing issues.

It's hard-working, not networking

It’s not a talking shop

As the facilitator, I keeps things focused. I ensure everyone contributes and benefits, and we make best use of the time. I facilitate the issue solving process, using tried and tested techniques. (And there are many, so you’ll learn different problem-solving techniques which can be applied in your business too). 

The members dig deep to make sure they understand the real problem. The cause, rather than the symptoms. Then they set to work developing ideas and options for solving the problem.  

The issue-owner draws on the inputs, ideas, suggestions and decides what’s the best course of action. And commits to take that action. 

Whether it’s your issue, or someone else's issue, you’ll learn something new to improve your leadership and your business. 

During the following months, you get to see how well the solutions work, what didn’t work, and what was learnt from that. 

Every session is like a mini-MBA...

Case studies are the staple diet of most MBA and executive leadership programs.

The typical case study tells the (mainly) true story of a decision maker grappling with a question or problem that needs solving. The students discuss the case and the implications. They suggest solutions, and then the lecturer reveals the actual decision made and the outcomes.

It's a poweful learning techinque. But the Mastermind Sessions take it to a different level.  The issue raised isn’t a partial story from the past designed to teach a theory. It is a real issue with important consequences for the person sharing. 

And you get to see the true outcome of the decision and how it was implemented. 

... With a consistent ability to get to the right answer quickly...

... by combining four powerful elements:

  1. The combined brain power of the participants
  2. Diverse businesses and diverse business experience
  3. Expert facilitation
  4. My proprietary incisive problem-solving techniques
Together they deliver fast, effective, and efficient problem-solving, and produce practical and reliable answers you can implement immediately.

It’s Applied Learning, Compounded

Over a year, you’re exposed to more than 100 business isues. You see how they’re being solved, and how the solutions really play out.

And every time you learn something new. Maybe how to ask better questions. Maybe finding better solutions. Or maybe how to better implement decisions.

Just think of the compounding effect that has for you and your business!

MBAs also teach the theory behind disciplines, the fundamentals upon which good decisions are made. But how do you widen and deepen your own knowledge?

That’s the next part of the Growth Circle®…. Focused Learning.

The four parts working together consistently help the issue owner quickly get to the right answer for their specific challenge

3 – Focused Learning

He’s not as famous as his business partner, but Charlie Munger is the “other half” of the duo that have run Berkshire Hathaway for the last forty years.  Munger attributes his and Warren Buffet's success to their passion for life-long learning.

In his own words:

“You must know the big ideas in the big disciplines and use them routinely – all of them, not just a few. Most people are trained in one model – economics, for example – and try to solve all problems in one way. You know the old saying: To the man with a hammer, the world looks like a nail. This is a dumb way of handling problems……

....I believe in the discipline of mastering the best that other people have ever figured out. I don’t believe in just sitting down and trying to dream it all up yourself. Nobody’s that smart…”

Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett have built Berkshire Hathaway into one of the most valuable companies in the world. And Munger is still, at 96,  reading and learning every day.

Great leaders recognise they don't know it all

It might be about strategy development, sales funnels, financial management, lean manufacturing, leading successfully, or how to get the best price for your business when you sell it.

When we start our businesses, we usually draw on one or two key areas of knowledge. Those are the things that give us an edge. Help us be successful. But, as the business grows, the more we begin to recognise the gaps in our business knowledge. And the more we realise that filling those gaps is critical if we're going to succeed.

The more tools (or mental models) you have at your finger-tips, the better your decisions and the fewer your mistakes.

Go from hammer to tool-box

Renowned experts join us to give workshops and talks on a huge range of subjects. From leadership skills, to sales and marketing, value generation, personal development and decision-making.

The speakers bring their knowledge, different perspectives and powerful insights. We discuss, reflect, challenge, learn and apply.

Rather than just having the “hammer”, you develop a wide-ranging knowledge tool-kit of business, leadership and personal skills.

You gain a set of tools that help you solve more problems, more quickly, and be right more often. (And avoid costly mistakes most of the time). 

Time to move on to the fourth element of the Growth Circle. Your Mentor.

4 – One to One Mentoring

Sometimes there are things you’re not ready to share in a mastermind session. Conversations you want to have in private.  Or maybe you have questions that you feel don’t merit a Mastermind session. 

That’s where your monthly 1-2-1 with your personal mentor comes in – you can share whatever’s on your mind.

Together we work through the issue. I ask questions to help identify the real problem and causes. I answer your questions from my 30 year career in different industries and different roles. Question your answers to help you see blind spots and missed opportunities.

Helping you avoid painful mistakes

Very few business issues are truly novel. Drawing on my mistakes, and learning from others, I'll help you avoid re-inventing the wheel. 

More importantly, together we'll avoid potential disasters and make the best decision possible at the time.

I'll also hold you to account for taking action, and keep you focused on the end-game. So you achieve whatever you want for yourself, your family, and your business.

How can I help you?

Would you have your house re-wired by someone with no qualifications? Would you have your hair cut for a special event by someone who’s not a qualified hairdresser?

No. You wouldn’t. Unless you care only about the money and not the outcomes.

Avoid the traps that have caught other business owners over the years, making the experience of running your business less painful!

So, why would you want advice on running a business from someone who’s not been there and done it? Got the t-shirt, so to speak? 

I've been a strategy consultant and delivered numerous growth (and turnaround) strategy projects. But, unlike most strategy consultants, I have fourteen years experience walking in your shoes, as Managing Director of a Sales and Manufacturing business.  I'm a Chartered Director, and Fellow of the Institute of Directors. And I co-own two businesses so I know the challenges you're facing today. 

  • Leading and growing a business from £1.5m to £16m revenue in 6 years, then rebuilding to £20m after 2009 recession
  • 20+ years Board level experience from start-ups to £300m turnover (including as Non Executive Director & Chair)
  • My experience working with 30+ different sectors brings objectivity, outside-in thinking, and novel perspectives 
  • Mentoring 60+ CEOs over the last 4 years on how to deal with difficult situations and making better decisions
  • 10+ years as a strategy consultant, leading and delivering 50+ successful turnaround and growth strategy projects
  • Strategy development and implementation model proven to transform businesses and deliver results

But it's always more than just business. It's about how you choose to live your life

The mentoring builds on the mastermind sessions, the learning sessions, and the collective wisdom of the group. The final piece is how we pull that together and keep things connected, but first a testimonial from one of my mentoring clients.

I've worked with Richard for almost two years and find the process highly valuable

Covid 19 really impacted mid-March as clients began to feel direct impact to their business. Uncertainty crept in, defensive positions were taken, budgets frozen and projects were paused meaning our programme of work and revenue forecast was significantly impacted.

We’ve had to review every area of our business from new opportunities, projects in flight, team planning and client engagement and support. Our main priorities were to gain complete clarity on financial impact and forecast, securing our business and ensuring we would be in the strongest possible position coming out of the crisis.

Working with Richard is highly valuable

Whilst keeping a tight eye on cash I never considered stopping working with Richard. Sharing a fully transparent analysis of the situation and opening myself up to a rigorous challenge can be difficult, but I’ve worked with Richard for almost 2 years and find the process highly valuable.

I have a fantastic senior team who have been outstanding but as the MD, it's often difficult to get a critical analysis of the strategic plan at a macro level, rather than a specific department or functional area.

Working with Richard ensures I’m taking the right steps and not missing an opportunity. I also knew Richard had very relevant experience from previous crashes in 08 and 01 which he could quickly bring to bear. It’s akin to having an NED or board to consult – but in a rapid and cost effective way.

The process really helps my confidence

To execute on agreed plans to secure our businesses future, to drive forward on the opportunities that arise in this awful situation and to create value and growth for our clients, their customers and our own team – even now.

I’ve also benefited from years of insight across a number of sectors and tools to apply those within my business. Whether they be finance and accounting tools or concepts, client engagement strategies or just solid advice on how to step through challenging situations whilst retaining a strategic focus.

Would I recommend Richard?


If an MD / CEO doesn’t have access to a trusted, experienced, professional business leader who is accountable and committed to positive outcomes for them, their business and their team, I think they owe it to themselves to invest in one.

We all know we should surround ourselves with the best and most experienced people possible but very often we only think that about our direct reports.

I'd urge others to put support, challenge, and accountability in place for themselves. Richard’s excellently placed and committed to deliver that as a high-value add service.

STEVEN CASSIN // Managing Director & Owner

5 – The Forum

The Forum was considered the heart of ancient Rome. It was where people met and socialised. Held debates. Discussed affairs of business. Public speeches were given. Gladiator matches fought. Criminal trials held.

When you join a Growth Circle®, you immediately get access to our Forum. It too is the heart of our group. But, you'll be glad to know, it's not about public speeches (unless you want to make one and are looking for feedback), Nor Gladiator fights. Nor criminal trials. 

It's our online meeting forum and central repository for all things related to the Growth Circle®.

Single point of contact and communication for each member

The Forum removes the need for inter-group emails which get lost in the everyday noise of business communications.

It allows – in fact encourages – Circle members to communicate and share ideas, best practices and updates outside of the Mastermind and Learning Sessions. To ask questions of each other. Like a Slack for Business Owners!

Repository for all things Growth Circle® recordings

Can’t remember the exact advice one of your co- members gave you during an issue processing session? Simply go to the Forum and access the recording and transcript.

Your personal accountability documents are stored here too. Things like: Your Courageous Vision. Your Milestones for this Year. The To-Dos and Actions from Mastermind Group Sessions or Mentoring Sessions. Only accessible by you and your Mentor. But there, in black and white, to help make this year your best year ever.

It’s also where all Growth Circle® learning materials are held giving you access for as long as you're a Member.  Want a refresher on the Negotiation Skills learning session from last year? And see what else has been covered on negotiation? You’ll find them all in the Forum. 

You'll get access to the Forums through Microsoft Teams, where all your Growth Circle® Resources are safely stored and easily accessible

Access to the community forum

You’ll also become a member of the Growth Circles® Community Forum.

This s a shared forum with our Circles across the UK and Ireland. It gives you access to other Learning sessions. And you’ll be able to forge links and ask questions from a wider collection of Circle members and Mentors.

So that’s the last of the five elements of the Circle. Let’s recap below.

The Five Elements of a Growth Circle®

Like Minded Owners and Leaders

Over 200+ years of combined exerience in the group to draw on

Facilitated Mastermind Sessions

With their consistent ability to get to trusted, reliable answers quickly

Focused Learning with Experts

Enhancing your business, leadership and problem solving tool-kit

One to One Mentoring 

Answering questions, questioning your answers, holding you to account

The Forum & Community Forum

Our online meeting forum, and central repository for all things Growth Circle

What makes the difference? – Applied Learning, Compounded

"What we found is that the most durable results happen as a series of good decisions that accumulate one upon another over a very long period of time, that create a massive compounding effect."

Jim Collins, author of Good to Great and Built to Last

And that's what you ultimately get from being a member of a Growth Circle

...   Good decisions 

...   Successfully implemented 

...   Accumulating month by month 

...   Compounding for you, your family and business

Let's move on to who can join, who can't, and how you can apply to join a Growth Circle®

Who can join a Growth Circle®?

Joining is by application only and is a mutual selection process.  Mutual because we’ll assess if you’re right for a Growth Circle, and you’ll assess if a Growth Circle is right for you.

Like the All Blacks, the selection process is designed to ensure we maintain an exceptional high-performing team environment. .

Our first criterion is how well you'll fit

We only let people in who:

  • Are optimistic and positive – the glass is half-full and filling
  • Have a growth mindset – open to new ideas ^ , know what they don’t know
  • Enjoy helping others – knows that the best way to learn is to share and teach others
  • Live life to the full – knows and shows there’s so much more to life than work
  • Are 100% trustworthy – everything you say and hear will be held in the strictest confidence

And, the more diverse your background and life experiences, the better!

Allowing someone in the group who doesn't fit can destroy the team dynamics and ruin it for everyone. That's why I'm so focused on the right people

The second criterion is your ambition

  • Do you want to do something of significance (rather than be a person of significance)?
  • Do you want to grow your business to be a recognised leader in its field?
  • Do you want to build a business where your people enjoy coming to work?

If you meet those minimum criteria, read on…

Who it's not for

The obvious answer is people who don't meet the criteria above.  But let's be more specific..

A Growth Circle won’t work for you if you’re:

  • Not able to commit the time to attend every meeting (we’ve a three strikes you're out rule)
  • Don’t take 100% responsibility for your life and business (you’ll never succeed if you blame others)
  • Not willing to listen and learn from others (people stop giving when others don’t listen)
  • Won’t take difficult decisions (you’re wasting your time and ours if you don’t act)
  • Not willing to put in the work and apply yourself (there’s no short cut to success)

Still happy you’re the right person for a Growth Circle? 

The next question is can you afford it? Or perhaps more importantly, can you afford not to?

What's the commitment?

The biggest commitment is your time.  

You must commit to attending the Mentoring and Mastermind Group Sessions. Dipping in and out doesn't work. Depending on which Group you join the commitment is between 5 and 10 hours each month. 

There are three types of Mastermind Groups, each designed to fit with the challenges you face in your business today.  The level of support, type of learning, and your time commitment varies with each.  As you'd expect, the financial commitment varies depending on the Circle, starting from as little as £100 per month for the Business Bounce Back Circle up to £749 for the Virtual Powerhouse Growth Circle.

The "Right For You" Guarantee

On rare occasions, members find the Circle they’ve joined isn’t right for them. Sometimes the chemistry feels wrong. Maybe they don’t feel comfortable, or don’t enjoy the process. Whatever it is, it's just not the right Circle for them at that time.

Which is why we offer the “Right for You” Guarantee.

If, within your first six weeks, you feel it’s not working for you and no longer want to be a member, tell us. We'll cancel your contract and refund you immediately. No Questions Asked.

Can’t say fairer than that, surely?

You don't need to join a Growth Circle®

You can continue to go it alone. Feeling your way in the dark. Making mistakes others have already made. Talking to yourself. 

But consider the cost and time commitment against the potential cost of one bad decision, one mistake.  Buttons by comparison.  

Just one nugget of information, one insight, from the 200+ years of experience in the Circle will pay for your membership each year.

Not to mention the benefits of the structured learning!

Still interested? Here's what to do next... 

Get in touch for a confidential chat

You feel you’re a good fit for a Growth Circle®. 

You know a Growth Circle will help you get impartial, reliable answers to your most pressing business issues from other trusted business leaders who have your best interests at heart. 

You know it will help you to grow and develop as a leader, and widen your knowledge of running a business. Give you a better tool-kit. 

You want to be part of a community of resolute and caring leaders. A high-performing team who've got each other's back.

Your first step is to book a free thirty minute exploratory call with me. 

Book your Free Thirty Minute Call Now

We'll have a short chat about your ambition for the business, the challenges you face, and how the group works. If we both think it's a good fit for you and where you're at, we'll discuss next steps then.

Just choose a date in my diary below, answer the two background questions, and we'll have a confidential call to agree the best way forward.

Never had a mentor? Or had one that didn't work out?

One things for sure, if you get the wrong mentor you'll be wasting your money. You won’t see the value in the meetings. You won’t trust or accept their input. You'll quickly become disillusioned and frustrated, and your business won’t progress the way it should.

So, if you want help assessing a mentor, the best thing to do is to start by downloading my free guide on "How to choose the right mentor (and avoid the wrong one)”

What's in the guide?

The first section describes the different types of advisors you can retain, and explains the benefits of each so you can decide if a mentor is the right choice now.

The next section deals with the key factors to consider when choosing a mentor.  And it's not just about their business experience!

The third section describes the process: the questions you should ask, the research you should do, and then the last ‘true’ test to apply before making your selection.

And, finally, there’s a bonus in the summary – a little gift to help you evaluate your choices.

The right advisor, at the right time, will help propel your development and accelerate your business growth. The wrong advisor can do serious damage.

Get your free, no-obligation guide now

Complete the form below to get your guide on "How to Choose the Right Mentor (and Avoid the Wrong One)".  

It's free. No obligations. No selling (hard or soft!). Just straight-forward, simple advice on how to choose the best advisor for you.  The guide includes a free bonus tool you can down load to help you assess different mentors. 

Enter your name and email address below and click on the big red purple and you'll have your guide emailed to you within minutes!

After submitting the form, you'll receive a GDPR confirmation request (if you're not already a subscriber).  Please confirm your subscription so I can send you the free guide. 

You’ll also be subscribing to my “In Pursuit of Happiness and Free Cashflow” newsletter (which you can unsubscribe from at any time). In it, I share answers to questions my clients and I have struggled with over the years.  The  "How do I ...?"; "Should I...?"; "What's the best way to ....?"; "When should...?"; "What happens if...?" type of questions.   

The topics are wide ranging, but the focus is always on providing answers you can implement to improve your leadership skills and grow and develop your business.