Management

I Want To Run My Business, Not Have It Run Me

August 3, 2011
What is that first thought you have when you wake up in the morning? “I can’t wait to get to work, I am loving this.”? Or has come to, “How did I get myself into this mess?"



What is that first thought you have when you wake up in the morning? “I can’t wait to get to work, I am loving this.” “I hope that the phone rings today and I get a few jobs on the books.” Or has come to, “How did I get myself into this mess? I thought I was going to have financial freedom and I am imprisoned in my own company. Help!”

Having traveled the country and spoken to many carpet cleaners, I am afraid these statements and many more like them are the stark reality for hundreds and thousands of business owners. It does not have to be and actually it can be quite different.

We are very fortunate to be in an industry that can have very high profit margins, fairly quick training periods, a high per-hour price rate and marketing costs that, if done right, can be fairly inexpensive. We are in an industry where you can make lots of money and have a turn-key business in a relatively short period of time. In short, we are in a great industry and there is no reason to be imprisoned.

I would like to give you a blueprint for turning your business into a wildly successful turn-key business. I do know a thing or two about this subject; I have a turn-key business in Pensacola, Fla. that does over $1 million in sales and has a great profit margin and I only need to be there a few hours a week. My staff runs the show; my job is to be the visionary, look at the numbers and keep a pulse on things. Oh yes, and have a lot of fun!

Have Only Great People Work For You

Certainly you need systems and I will mention that in a minute but great people are the key. You can have some good people but why not have the best and definitely don’t have any low performers. Don’t be afraid to let people go or, better yet, as my friend Howard Partridge says, “Help them to quit!”

Attract great people by being great yourself and having high standards. Believe that great people will come to you, pay them well and treat them well. Exceptional employees are out there, find them and give them responsibilities. Let go and let them.

Incorporate Systems Into Your Company

Have a comprehensive policy and procedure manual along with job descriptions and host of other written documents. Take the time to write out as much as you can about what goes on in your business and learn from other businesses, classes and seminars. How do you rate yourself when it comes to systems? Quite telling, isn’t it?

Plan, plan and plan some more. Here is where most businesses fall short. You should spend at least 10% of your business work time in planning. That’s right, 10%! It may sound like a lot of time but you can’t go wrong, writing out your strategies and vision for your company.

Much has been written about dreams, goals and planning and you should read, study and incorporate those concepts. A business should have an exit strategy, five-year, one-year, quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily goals. Do you? All business owners must have a daily to do list to keep the owner focused and accountable. Without, you will be lost and spin your wheels.

Go Fast, and Get Outside Your Comfort Zone

Don’t waste time and utilize slow times to go out and market your services. If things are slow, rejoice, and appreciate the fact that you now have time to meet clients, referral sources, commercial clients and do your marketing and work on systems.

Have a Winning, Dog-On-a-Bone Attitude

If you think you can, you can and if you think you can’t, that’s right, you can’t. Attitude is everything and if you really want to have it all and achieve a turn-key business, you must believe in yourself and that you can pull it off. Confidence comes from victories and planning. No one ever accomplished anything without believing in themselves.

Have a Compelling Marketing Message

Why should customers use your services instead of the other guys? How do you stand out from the crowd? Are your technicians uniformed, neat, courteous, good up-sellers, able to communicate with your customers? Is your marketing message well thought out and do you use the famous radio station, WIIFM, What’s In It For Me, as the basis of how you market to clients?

Get the Right Support Put in Place

Nearly all successful people and organizations have plenty of people to lend support, give advice and add to the overall strategy. Your team ought to include your web designer, office manager, operations manager, technicians, sales people and outside sources of help. When you have a technical problem can you turn to an industry expert?

Do you have marketing experts to help guide your marketing efforts? Are your books clean, clear and precise and able to give you valuable information? Is your office staff able to communicate with clients in a professional manner and do they keep you in contact with your past clients? Is your printer part of the team, giving you a quality product at a fair price? Take some time to think about who is on your team and think about if you can improve your team in any way.

Grow Yourself

A business is truly a reflection of the owner. If you are constantly reading great motivational books, you will probably be inspired. If you take the time to attend industry conventions and meet with other business leaders, you will probably be on the cutting edge of the business world. If you want to have a fabulous business, you will have to be a fabulous leader, so do what it takes to make yourself someone who is admired by their employees. Be friendly, a good listener and as kind as possible while still maintaining a productive workplace.

Make Mistakes and Fail

Well, that is quite a funny way to end the article and tell everyone how to be successful. Have you lost your marbles, Dave?

Actually, what I am saying, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, is to try lots of things and put in plenty of effort. The most successful people are the ones with the most failures, too. Take a look at the life of Thomas Edison. Losers are too scared to try anything, while winners have the guts to step out into the unknown and sometimes fall flat on their faces.

I could safely say that the folks who will be the most successful in this industry will also be the ones with the most mistakes. At my company I lost around $90,000 getting into the air duct business and failing in it. Why? Well, that’s another story. At the same time, though, I also launched out into the deep into the natural stone polishing and water damage businesses. These two have been extremely successful, so two out of three ain’t bad. Many people have not tried any of these options. A successful turn-key business owner is willing to step out of the comfort zone and take chances.

At the end of the day, simply ask yourself, “Is the risk in the opportunity larger than the opportunity in the risk?” You are in the right industry, so go ahead and stake your claim for freedom and wealth and get to work with the right attitude. It is well worth it.

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