Recently, our cleaning business had its biggest month ever. We finished our 28th year in business and each year our goal is to have record sales and profits. In last month’s article, I asked these questions: Why is it that some companies are having record sales and profits while others are struggling? Why does one person in a community thrive, while the next in the same community barely survives? Why does this happen when they both have access to the same resources and opportunities?
I shared that across the world, cleaners are experiencing record sales and profits and shared that in my experience, there are three steps that will determine whether you will be in that category or not:
Your mindset - how you think about money, success and the possibilities.
Your skill - what you know and understand about business skills.
Your habits - what you actually do with those skills.
Last month I talked about your “money mindset.” This month, I want to talk about your skill. Bill McBean, one of the owners of Netclaims Now, happens to have an impressive business background - and his first business book The Facts of Business Life (endorsed by Steve Forbes) was just published by one of the largest business publishers in the country.
Fact No. 7 in his book is “You Don’t Just Have to Know the Business You’re In, You Have to Know Business.” You can know everything there is to know about the technical aspects of cleaning and restoration and be broke! Why is it that we focus so much on technical and we don’t take the time to learn business? (By the way, congratulations on actually reading this - it shows that you understand the need to learn the business side).
Why are we more interested in the best pre-spray than making a profit to feed our family? Why are we willing to work 24/7 and not make much money because we put all our time, energy and money on the biggest, baddest truckmount? Don’t get me wrong, the technical is important. My goal is to be the best technically and the best in business.
Obviously, there is much to learn about business. I never wanted to be a businessman. I just wanted to make my customers happy and call it a day. I didn’t want to be seen as a business guy. Yuck! A business guy to me was a cold-hearted person that wears a suit. I didn’t want to study sales because I didn’t want to look like a used car salesman. And I certainly didn’t want to know anything about accounting!
But I had a problem. I also wanted to grow. I didn’t want to clean carpet every day. I was tired of being the only one that could solve problems in my business. So, in order to grow, I had to learn business. I had to learn the secrets of a phenomenal business.
I learned how to market. I learned how to sell. I learned how to serve. I learned how to track. And I learned how to lead. If you want to grow, you must learn business.
“So, how do you learn business?”
First, you aren’t going to learn unless you want to learn. Your quest for learning business must have a big “why” behind it. Why did you start your business? What are your goals? Are you frustrated because you aren’t making enough money? Do you have bigger dreams in life? Do you have a burning desire to grow?
If you don’t, you won’t learn. The only reason your business exists is to help you achieve your life goals. If you don’t have a compelling vision for your life, you won’t implement the hard things in your business. Yes I said “hard.” When you don’t know business, and you don’t have capital, it isn’t going to be easy. Fortunately, there are some easy things you can do right now to double your sales and profits. But as the late Jim Rohn said: “It’s even easier not to do them!” So, being consistent and building habits is the harder part (which I will get into next month).
3 Steps to Learning
Get Information: I have been writing on business for ICS for over 5 years. I have been teaching in this industry for over 20 years. Be careful who you get information from. If they haven’t built a successful cleaning and restoration company, how are they going to tell you how to do it? My philosophy (and what I do) is to learn from people who have already done what I want to do that also have the same values I have. There are some people that are getting results, but I don’t agree with their values. It doesn’t mean I don’t learn from them, but I don’t want to be associated with them. Bad company corrupts good morals. Also, I don’t want to validate their values. Learn by reading, listening to CDs and going to seminars. You must learn it before you can do it.
Practice What You Learn: Implement the marketing concept you learned. Implement some new sales processes. Implement different ways of communicating with your staff. You’ve got to practice. Keep what works, tweak what doesn’t and keep implementing.
Get Feedback. I believe in coaching. To this day I have mentors, coaches and consultants that help me see what I am doing right and what I need to improve on. It gives me focus, encouragement and accountability. Humans are designed to need each other. We all need someone to hold us accountable and to encourage us. I am so grateful for those who have not only taught me (information), and those I have been able to practice with, but especially the mentors, coaches and consultants that have encouraged me, kept me accountable and brought specialized information and skills that I don’t have.
Teachers are people who relay information to you. I am grateful to John Maxwell, Zig Ziglar and Michael Gerber for all the great books they have written.
Instructors are those who help you develop a skill. A few years ago, I spent a week in Costa Rica with my good friend and marketing genius David Frey and his family. After spending the day having fun, he showed me how to do things each night. I practiced with him watching over my shoulder.
Mentors are seasoned with experience and give you guidance. I think of my early spiritual mentors that I could pour out my woes to and they would gently tap on the root, revealing the real issue.
Coaches are those who help you discover and pull out what is already on the inside of you. I am grateful for people like Mark Ehrlich (a man who worked with Michael Gerber since 1977!). He helped me find my gift and calling. How huge is it to discover your purpose in life?
Consultants bring specialized skills to be implemented in your business. I am grateful for people like Ellen Rohr who specializes in helping companies become more profitable by creating proper financial tracking systems. I shudder to think where I would be without her phenomenal work.
Learning doesn’t happen by accident. You must be intentional and strategic about learning. And learning isn’t just information. It’s also practicing, getting feeback, discovering, testing and fleshing it out. It’s also knowing that you can’t be the best at everything, so you need to bring in people who have the skills and experience you don’t.
Bottom line: You can know everything there is about the technical part of your business and be broke! You must also know business. It’s a fact of business life!
Next month, I’ll bring you Part III. Until then...
Dedicated to helping you build a phenomenal business, so you can have a phenomenal L.I.F.E. (Living In Freedom Everyday).