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Reshaping your business model in 2023 with Suraya Nikwan

Running a business is a long and often exhausting journey and one of the key components to success is sustainability. In today’s episode, I am chatting with Suraya Nikwan, an accredited practising dietician and nutritionist, and the owner of The Bariatric Collective. Suraya helps her clients who’ve experienced weight regain after bariatric surgery to build an enjoyable nourished life without dieting through her one-to-one consultations, group programs, podcast and online courses.

Suraya is passionate about her mission and was working enormous hours every week to support her patients. She joined the Run Your Business Like A Boss Academy to learn how to transform her business to serve more patients, work less hours, overcome compassion fatigue and scale up.

Suraya made a breakthrough in her business when she did the online business audit in the academy and discovered that her business values didn’t align with her personal values. This realisation led her to make changes to her business model that freed her up to be available for her family while still running a very successful and fulfilling business.

One of the most important things we explore when creating a sustainable business model is finding your business North Star. This is the guiding principle that will help you to make decisions and stay focused on your goals. It’s so important to have a clear idea of what your business mission, values, and vision are so you can design your business model with these at the centre.

Suraya talks about the power of being part of a group coaching program where you can benefit from the support, accountability and community of other members. Working with others and being held accountable can help to create breakthrough moments and make positive changes that will help your business grow.

Suraya's story is a perfect example of how taking action and staying accountable can help you reach your goals. By joining a group coaching program and making the time to do the work, she was able to make positive changes in her business and create a more successful business model.

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Kristy: [00:00:00] Hello boss and welcome back to the Run Your Business Like A Boss podcast. Today I am joined by special guest Suraya Nikwan, who is a accredited practicing dietician and accredited practicing nutritionist. 

Suraya is the business owner of the Bariatric Collective and she has a huge mission to support individuals who've experienced weight regain after bariatric surgery with the goal to help them live a life without dieting, and that is huge for her patients and her clients who she serves. For many of them, they get stuck in this dieting cycle, and she wants to empower them with the right tools and knowledge so that they can make good, healthy choices.

So that they don't regain that weight and have that ups and downs or yo-yo lifestyle. Now we are talking about business transformation and more specifically, Suraya joined me for cohort number two of the Run Your Business like a Boss Academy. And Suraya had been in my ecosystem for a number of years and she touches on that in today's episode before she joined the academy.

Inside of this conversation, we talk about what it was that she was looking to achieve, how she was able to transform her business throughout the academy, and what things look like now since, I think you're going to get a lot of insight into the value of this program and how it supports the business owners who are inside of it.

Are you ready? Let's go. [00:02:00] Hello Suraya. Welcome to the Run Your Business Like a Boss podcast. I am so excited to have you here with us today.

Suraya: Thanks for having me, Kristy. I'm so excited to be here.

Kristy: Awesome. Okay, we're gonna dive right in. I would love for our listeners to learn a little bit more about you and your business. So can you provide us with a little overview of who you serve and what you do?

Suraya: Absolutely. I run a dietetic private practice. Specializing in weight loss surgery, particularly people who struggle with weight regain after bariatric surgery. So my goal is to help guide and educate and support those people who have regained weight after weight loss surgery, who often get lost in the system after their surgeons have discharged them.

And my goal for them is to help them live a nourished life through one-to-one consultations, group programs through my podcast and my online courses.

Kristy: What an incredible business you have and such amazing impact that you create for your clients. I absolutely adore what you do. Now I have had the privilege of working with you last year throughout the cohort two of the run your business like a Boss Academy.

And I'd love to spend a little bit of time today chatting about what that was like for you, but I might begin with ahead of coming into the Academy. What were some of the challenges that you were facing inside of your business?

Suraya: My biggest challenges were taking my ideas and putting them into a system that somehow worked for me. So I really need to align to that big goal that I have of working school hours.

My children are turning four and turning two. So the older one is now going to kindergarten. So working these long hours consulting and then doing everything else on top of it wasn't really working anymore. So first my big goal and my big [00:04:00] challenge was how do I align my business in the future to work those school hours that I really want to.

And secondly, it was to make my business serve more patients who are struggling with weight regain. What I really find is that those people, they get lost in the system and I really wanted to help enough people and more people considering 20,000 surgeries, bariatric surgeries are being done, in Australia each year.

That's a lot of people that may be potentially struggling with this weight regain, and no one really is there to help them. So I really wanted to help more people without that energy expense on my time and the compassionate fatigue that comes with my job. And thirdly, to design a business that I was proud of and I didn't want patients to feel like a number.

So sometimes I feel like I'm part of their extended family, so they know that they can reach out to me or they share a scenario or a situation that happened in their life and I could pull out that the reasons why that happened was because of X, Y, Z with their nutrition. And so I can really help them and overcome those really big challenges that come up after weight loss surgery, like blood sugar level control issues. The weight gain is not always the main issue. There is also the physiological aspects of the changes that happen after bariatric surgery. So being able to help more people and not having to see 40 patients a week, which was such an energy expense or a drain on my time and my personal energy as well. It just didn't align with me anymore. So those were my biggest challenges and I'm glad that we worked through them over the last 16 weeks.

Kristy: Yeah. I think what's what I really love about what you were saying, and I think that our boss who's listening today can really relate to this is that when you first start your business, you do all the things and you put it all out there. But over time it does become exhausting and we are in the long game.

When you are running a business, you are in it for the long journey, and this is where the sustainability piece comes in right. Is that you need to [00:06:00] be able to build a business model or create a business model that allows you to create that impact, which is what you are talking about, being able to serve the number of clients out there that need your support.

Without that personal drain on your time and energy. Because if you are constantly depleting that, then inevitably burnout is something that is on the cards if not has already happened. And I think that this is something that's so common for this stage of business is that you have the lessons and you've done all the things, but now it's time to really go bigger inside your business without that personal cost.

And the other piece that I really loved about what you shared is really honoring this next season in your personal life with your kids turning, two and four and your eldest going into kindergarten in 2023, means that there needs to be shifts in your business model so that that allows for you to be available for them.

We wanna be able to look back on our life and know that we've done everything that we can to live a fulfilling life whilst also growing a business that's successful. So I really value what you're saying, and I'm very confident that our boss, who's listening would relate to that as well. And compassionate fatigue. I've never heard that term before. I think that, anyone who's in that service-based business, particularly when you're holding space for others, can definitely relate to that.

Suraya: Oh yeah, it's big in, my industry cuz it's so personal. I don't think a lot of people realize that I don't just talk about food. It's your whole life. Everything. Your whole life revolves around food. And it also happens with doctors and nurses and psychologists. So the main ones that are really in someone's ecosystem, I guess trying to pull out their problems and help them through whatever struggles they are going through. It's a common problem and that's why some, I think the dietician's association is now moving towards getting people to get supervised, getting people to have mentors because it will decrease that, compassionate fatigue from being less isolated, which I think is brilliant.

Kristy: Yeah, absolutely. [00:08:00] So throughout the academy, what is it that you were hoping to achieve? So obviously we spoke about where you were at and the challenges you were facing. What were you hoping to achieve throughout our time together?

Suraya: It's a good question. To be honest, I didn't know what I really wanted to get out of it, but I knew I needed to make a change. So when I signed up, I sent you that email like I was, as I was leaving out the door to save my spot. I didn't know I was sitting on the fence for way too long. Like I've always wanted to work with you.

I think I followed you for three, four years. I don't know, it's embarrassing. But I knew that you could help me go through from A to B, and help me cut through all of the clutter that was there. And what I really was hoping was to, like we did together, was to just breakdown the business and then rebuild it. That aligned to my values. So I went through a bit of a journey in 2021 after the birth of my second daughter, and I did this exercise with the values, and what are my personal values? And then I realized that my business values didn't align to what my personal values are, which is why there's an energetic disconnect.

I kept coming back to that and I didn't know how to work through it, so that's why I decided to join the academy, and my hope was to create a business that was more sustainable than the one I had last year.

Kristy: Yeah, I think it's really common to follow someone and be sitting there and consuming their content and thinking, oh, you know, that's really great, but is it for me? And what I think is really important of what you said is, is that you knew that I could help you, but you didn't know how the program was going to actually help you.

But I think coming back to all, looping back to what you said before is that you had all the ideas, but it was really just how do you piece it together? And one of the things that we do inside of the academy is we are deconstructing your business model as it stands and to what you said a moment ago.

You're piecing it back together but in a much more intentional and informed way cuz you're taking all the lessons that you've learned over these past few years, and then you're taking in that big vision and the values and all the [00:10:00] pieces around your bedrock and then redesigning it so that it works for this next season inside of your life.

So I'd love to hear what have been your biggest breakthroughs inside of the academy, and how have you been moving your business forward since?

Suraya: Basically what's been really good about the entire academy is that realizing that I can design my week? I've had it modeled to me. I've got some very hardworking parents and hardworking people around me that modeled that whole, you have to work Monday to Friday, eight till six. And that had been modeled to me for a while, and that's what I was doing.

I was working way too much. And then when the kids came along I couldn't work that extensive amount of time and still be a present mom, which is one of my personal values, and I just couldn't cope. So that really, like after the first child, it was okay because he could go to daycare and sort of seemed like my life didn't change that much.

But after the second she was like a big, disruptive force. Not that she's a difficult child or anything, it's just that two children, I couldn't cope with the amount of expense that I was taking with the business. So if nothing changed, nothing changed, and I was honestly sick of the. Hamster wheel.

And then I started getting health issues. So my biggest breakthrough initially in the academy was when we did that online business audit and it was pages upon pages of you asking questions about the business, about what I wanted to achieve. And you could see from my answers and from just going through that process that there was a huge disconnect in what I was doing and where I needed to go.

What I found with the one-to-one consults is that they're really good and they're really powerful, but their people come back to them when they want to. It's like a discretionary expense. So what I found with the online business audit is that I can create more impact and value if I can build a business that supports them for the long term, not just when they need me.


And what that would inevitably do is that when we go through the online program together or when they go through a private one-on-one coaching package with me, I can create more value and eventually they don't actually need me anymore, which is kind of makes me feel redundant. But I've done my job. I've taught them how to read food labels.

I've taught them how to navigate tricky situations. I've taught them what do they do when they go traveling. They become more confident in their food choices, which then emulates the change in their own personal lives. So biggest breakthrough was breaking down the online business audit and then putting it all back together with that business bedrock.

I mean, I listened to that episode I think three or four times on your podcast, but I didn't know how to do it effectively. And I think just talking it through with you and the other, members of the cohort and then getting support in that regard and accountability to actually do it and now they're written down.

I now know what my business mission, my values, and my vision is, and I can always come back to that before I make a decision. So I think that's the biggest breakthrough is that now having that as my goalpost or my goal, or where the ship is steering to, will really help me not make decisions that send me back into that compassionate fatigue and that burnout that I was experiencing in the last three four years

Kristy: Yeah, I mean, there's so much in that. I think the first thing I wanted to explore is That role modeling around what working looks like. And I think that this is obviously something that we all grew up with. Like you, my, both of my parents worked full-time and the reality is and I spoke about this in an episode earlier this month in that , our world has changed. What's available to us has changed, and we don't need to do things in the way that our parents or what we even did 10 years ago. So if you really wanna take opportunity of what does online business look like and what do you want to create?

It doesn't have to be that old system that we [00:14:00] were part of in the nineties, eighties, the two thousands and whatnot. So I think that's really important for us to acknowledge as business owners that we have to unlearn that. And I think that that's such a great insight for you to take away, that you don't need to do things in the way that you've always done them or what you've experienced growing up.

And then the whole foundation of my business and my coaching philosophy is that you are the expert of your life and you are the expert of your business, but you don't know where to look, right? So my job as a coach is to ask the right questions so that you can find the answers within.

And that's what's so powerful about this business audit is that I love reading them. I loved reading yours. Is that you go, oh, I've never thought about that. I've never actually questioned that for myself. And so through that process, you can actually have deeper clarity around what the problem is and also what you are looking to move towards and what that solution is.

And then the third piece that I wanted to pull out is this business bedrock like this is such a foundational piece for you as business owners when you're really clear on that long range vision, like what do you wanna achieve? That is such a strong governance around, okay, the internet is telling me that I should do this, or my history is telling me I should do this, or my peers are doing it this way.

But actually, when you are clear on what it is that you wanna achieve, then that becomes such a great North star of going, Nope, that doesn't work for me. I'm sorry. That's a no for me. And then that mission is how you wanna live your life. That's how you wanna run your business. That's that unique essence of, how you're gonna get to that big vision.

And then your values is the piece around, well, what do I need to align to? What decisions do I wanna make? What's my conduct here? Does that work? Yes or no? There's, just so much clarity around that movement piece and what you do in your day-to-day life and your business and whatnot.

So, I really love that [00:16:00] you found that business bedrock and that then has given you clarity for not just the 16 weeks that we work together, but forevermore. It's gonna give you such a strong foundation for making daily as much as big decisions inside your business.

Suraya: Yeah, it's been brilliant. And I think just having that makes you feel less, alone because you have something to reflect and refer back to as your, like you said, north Star or guide. Because when you are a business owner, you are going through the motions and you somewhat don't know what you're doing. So it somewhat helps to sort of have some sort of task or I guess it could be like a job description, you could call it as what you are doing so you don't get lost and do things that you're not really aligned to.

Kristy: Yeah, I think that business ownership, loneliness, it's real. And the thing is, is that , in other bigger businesses there's always other people to bounce off. But when you are running your business on your own, It's so important to have support so that you are able to be honest and share, this is what I'm experiencing, this is what I want.

I'm really struggling to take that idea or that concept and break that down into something that I can actually move forward with. Because, that's not the only thing going on inside your business. You've got all these other things that you need to do. And so I think that's the power of having support.

Suraya: Yeah, definitely. it was really beneficial. The Academy just created that support.

Kristy: Absolutely, and I think that's kind of the same for you and your business, Suraya. If I'm thinking about who your ideal client is or who you are supporting is that they're also running their life and they've got all these other commitments. They're looking after family members.

They're having a career. They're having to navigate all the things. So having that person in their life to be able to help and support them is also key.

Suraya: Yeah, exactly. It just makes it easier for them and I can help wade the way I guess through the nutrition rubbish that's out there,

Kristy: Oh, and there's a lot. It's so similar to small business. There's so much [00:18:00] advice and shoulds and coulds and all the things, and it's so important to have people in your corner being able to help you navigate that just like you do with your clients. So I'm keen to know what are you most looking forward to when it comes to your business and your clients moving forward?

Suraya: Yeah, moving forward since doing the academy, I'm really looking forward to launching my first group program. So it's been in the works for a while. I've got the modules all done, this imposter syndrome somewhat quieting down a little bit. And the reason why I'm pushing forward is because people who've had weight loss surgery and then regain the weight, they're so isolated.

And so putting them in a group environment I'm working out whether I offer one-to-ones as well, which I do think there is value in the one-to-ones and the group coaching. But what I've found is that they need support groups as well. Not everyone goes through weight loss surgery.

So I think it's a brilliant way to connect people that have struggled with this weight regain, which also seems self isolating, that they have either failed or they didn't do it right. And they're alone in their journey of regaining weight, which they're not. Up to 30% do regain weight, but it's not often spoken about.

So running my first group coaching program is my big, looking forward to for the next, 12 months. And secondly is the podcast. So while we were working together I just leaped in had the podcast idea in the back of my mind for years and years. , but I just took the plunge, I think, and I think taking the plunge and acting and then just following through with that was really helpful because I've actually had some great feedback from

my patients, my clients, my patients in consults say that it's great. I had a patient reflect on some really personal topics regarding alcohol that they would never consider if they were sitting in front of me in my office. So it connects to people on a more deeper level, and it will also just be another support for my patients going forward as well with me and their ears every [00:20:00] Monday.

So yeah, that's also something that I'm looking forward to continuing in 2023

Kristy: Oh, I love that. I mean, I think that podcasting is such a powerful way to connect with your clients, with your patients and whatnot. And it is such a intimate setting just you and them. Well, you talking to them and you can get into some really nitty gritty conversations.

So I'm so excited to watch your podcast unfold. I love your podcast. It's so valuable. You've got such a beautiful demeanor on it. So congratulations on diving in and doing the thing. And I think that anyone who's listening today who's thinking, oh, you know, all these people who do the things just like I did, just like Suraya did.

It was something that sat for a while. But I think that you've dived in and you are releasing those weekly episodes and it's so exciting to see that happen. And the group coaching program again, I know this is something that you've had in bubbling in the works, but now you have a really clear view on the purpose of what it is, the transformation, and have so much clarity around most importantly, the value and the problem that you're solving for your patients and for your clients. Because one of the things that's so powerful about group coaching is that, a little bit like the business, same for your clients is that essence of being alone. And I think being in the company of people who get it, it's so powerful and I know that's gonna be so powerful for the people who go through your program to hear other people's stories and other people's journey and experiences and insights and go, I thought that was just me.

Like I thought that was just me who thought that or listening to other people's experience from the takeaways from the learning and going, oh, I actually didn't take that that way, but hey, that's a good point. That's something else for me to consider. So there's so much value in that group setting

I think that you are gonna be able to really provide such a deep support for the people going through it.

Suraya: Oh, absolutely. And I think it also again, comes with, accountability as well. Support and accountability, which a lot of people need because it's the start of the [00:22:00] year before, you know, it'll be December again.

Kristy: Absolutely. Okay, so thank you so much for sharing everything that you have shared today, Suraya. I've absolutely loved hearing what you have shared and the experience that you've had inside of the academy, and I'm more so excited. This next chapter and season for you inside your business.

As we wrap up, I'd love to hear what would you say to anybody who has been thinking about joining the academy and are sitting on the fence? What would you say to that person?

Suraya: So if you are considering the Academy, just lean into that feeling. Why do you feel like the Academy is speaking to you? Is there a change you need to make? What are the obstacles? Often we find ourselves too much doing the work, like sitting in the work or doing our business as usual, and then not making the time to actually work on the business.

And that just leads you down that hamster wheel. So if you feel like there needs to be a change, join the academy. And you might actually find that those changes and those breakthrough moments will come through throughout the academy. And making the time to do it with the other members of the cohorts, keeping you accountable has been probably more beneficial because if I knew that the modules were being released on a certain day and Kristy's going to check up on me on a certain day, you had to do the work cuz you don't wanna rock up and be the one that doesn't do the work cuz then you are not changing and you are not improving. So, I think the Academy was great to just jump in, do the work, and if you need the change but you don't know how to do it, do it for the support, the accountability, and the community because you don't know where you'll be in the next 16 weeks.

Kristy: Yeah, that's such a good advice and it reminds me of what you said at the very beginning that you knew you wanted to do it. You knew you had all the things, but you didn't know what you were even going to experience. And so that leaning into the feeling, I think is the big takeaway suraya and I wanna thank you so much for your contribution inside of the cohort. I think that the power of being in group coaching is [00:24:00] for everybody to bring the gusto into the conversations and that you most certainly did. And I've absolutely loved working with you, and I'm so excited to see what happens next for your business, but also the impact. 

The impact is the thing that I'm really excited about because you've got this group of people that you are serving that absolutely need what you are going to be putting out to the world with the podcast, with the group programs and all the things, but also honoring who you are as a mother, honoring who you are as a woman, and being able to live that life that works for you as well as the successful business. It makes me so excited.

Suraya: It makes me excited too. Can't wait to see it happen. I've just gotta do it. Tell myself every day, just do it. Sticks with with the brain.

Kristy: Exactly. I think you said once actually. You said, I, now I've got Kristy in my ears. Like I know what, what would Kristy say?

Suraya: Yes, that's right. When was thinking about Black Friday sales and I was like, what would Kristy do? And Kristy would say, no, doesn't align. So I didn't. , which is good. Keeps me on track.

Kristy: Do you know what, half of it is what would Kristy say? But also it's that reminder of Kristy's helped you to see what your vision, mission, and values are. So in some ways it's, what would Kristy say? But really it's almost, what would Suraya say?

Suraya: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. It's calling myself out.

Kristy: Absolutely. So tell us, obviously you've got the podcast. Tell us where can we find you If, if someone is wanting to work with you and learn more about what you do, where would they go to find.

Suraya: The best place to find me is on Instagram, so my handle is at the Bariatric Collective on Instagram and Facebook. And for more information or to listen to the podcast, it's on all the major podcast platforms and it's called Reverse, the Post-Op Regain.

Kristy: We will pop all of those details down into the show notes. So Boss, if that's speaking to you, go grab them. Go and check out Suraya. She's amazing. Thank you so much, Suraya, for joining us for today's conversation. I have appreciated it. I've loved every second of it.

Suraya: Thank you Kristy. I've enjoyed our time together.

Kristy: And to you Boss, thank you so [00:26:00] much for joining us for today's conversation. I do hope that you got some value of listening to Sara's story and Sara's journey. Now, if you would like to connect, With Suraya, please do go and check out her podcast, Reverse, the post op regain, and take a look at her website as well as any of the programs and services.

If any of that speaks to you, if you enjoy today's conversation, please feel free to shoot me a dm. Otherwise send this episode on to somebody that you feel would benefit from hearing from it. Again, thank you so much for listening to today's conversation, and as always, I look forward to chatting with you next week.

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About your host, Kristy

Hi, I'm Kristy, thank you for tuning in to the Run Your Business Like a Boss Podcast. My purpose for the podcast is to help Business Owner’s in the growth stage of business (messy middle) have a sustainable business, they love.


I’m an online business coach, based in Brisbane, Australia. I provide 1:1 business coaching, to Service Based Online Business Owner's and a group coaching program commencing in 2022. I believe whole heartedly that having a Business Coach is what gives you the competitive edge. As your coach I support you to overcome challenges quickly, uncover blindspots and make business decisions with confidence and clarity. All of which keeps you moving forward and maintaining momentum. 

As your Business Coach, my role is to help you organise and formulate your ideas, turn them into a goal and then into an actionable plan! All while meeting you where you're at and providing you relevant tools and support along the way.


Thank you for tuning in to the Run Your Business Like A Boss podcast!

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