Grab a piece of paper and
take a little test. See how you measure up in my list of 10 things that you
need to be successful in the carpet cleaning/restoration industry; it should
be a good measuring stick to see how your business is doing.
1. The Right Attitude
Nothing is more important in being a success than having a
positive, can-do attitude. Many times I have talked to my friend and mentor,
Howard Partridge, about what is the difference between those that make it and
those that don’t and it usually boils down to attitude.
you have a burning desire to be a
success and are you confident in your abilities to lead a company forward? Are
you willing to learn, be educated, read motivational books and listen to
successful people? Are you a visionary and do you look at a glass as though
it’s half full or half empty?
You are in business and not running a hobby, hopefully,
and successful businesses have plenty of capital with which to work. Sure, you
may have started out on a shoestring budget but have you grown the company so
that you have access to capital?
I started my company
twenty years ago with a Kirby vacuum cleaner that had a shampoo and door
hangers were the extent of my marketing. Certainly a low budget beginning but I
grew the company over the years and have had access to capital by being
profitable and putting money aside and obtaining lines of credit from banks.
example of why capital is important happened last year when a company that was
going out of the water damage business called me and asked if I wanted to buy
their equipment at a huge discount. I was able to because I had the capital
available and companies can grow a lot faster when they have access to ready
cash. Money is a tool.
3. Work Ethic
Obviously, you are not
going to be successful if you are unwilling to work your tail off. Bill Gates said that the key to success
is to “Be in the Right Industry at the Right Time and to Take Massive Action.”
Are you taking massive action, mediocre action or next-to-no-action? If you are
not cleaning you ought to be marketing and any business owner that is working
less than fifty hours a week is really working part-time. Unless, of course,
your company is making gobs of money and you don’t have to work much.
When I ask this question to groups of carpet cleaners
usually less than10% say they have a written
marketing plan. I am not talking about the plan that you have in your head,
but the one that is written out and you could show it to someone and explain it
very simply. I know that quite a few of the articles that I write mention this
problem but it just doesn’t seem to get resolved by most companies. Take three
to eight hours once a quarter and write out your plan. Until you do this, you
will not be successful. Period. End of story.
Once again, just like the marketing plan, this is a
matter of being proactive and taking the time to write things down. Can your
technicians refer to a procedure manual when they have a question about a
cleaning question? Does your company have a policy manual that covers sick
leave pay or vacation pay or cell phone use or waste water disposal? How about written job descriptions for
each position in the company or written scripts for the people answering the
Systems are a never ending task as new issues always
come up and need to be added to the policy and procedure manual for your
company. Do you have a policy and procedure manual and does it cover most areas
in your company?
6. Great Personnel
If your company has low
performers (you know who they are) then you need to score yourself low here.
You must get rid of the low performers as they will be a cancer to your company.
Read them the riot act and give them thirty days or less to fix their act or
ship them out. Once your company gets rid of them and has only good and great
performers, watch out, you will go places. While you’re at it, why not have all
great performers. It can be done, if you
have the right attitude!
Are you willing to take a chance? Considering going
into the Oriental rug cleaning business or wood floor resurfacing? Takes guts
to make those choices just like it takes guts to hire someone. I asked another
mentor of mine, a multi-millionaire who owns thirty different businesses,
including steel mills and plastic factories, what it takes to be a success. His
answer was, “It takes vision, capital and guts.” Loved his answer.
Sure there are a few successful folks who are
scoundrels but for the most part, successful people have great character,
morals and ethics. In our company we make every employee sign a behavior
standard form that includes signing a pledge to put the customer first, the
company second and themselves third. If you ever think about cheating a
customer or breaking something and not telling the owner for example, you will
probably never make it. As Mark Twain once said, “Always tell the truth and you
won’t have to remember what you said.”
Is there someone to whom you must explain yourself and
your company’s actions? As business owners, we can do nothing or little to
nothing and seemingly get away with it. That is not a good situation.
company has monthly management staff meetings and weekly meetings with our
sales and operational management teams. I am meeting every week with my
operational manager to help me be accountable plus I pay a business coach who I
meet with weekly. Accountability is huge so make sure that you are accountable
I heard a successful person once say that culture will
beat strategy every time and that the two together are unbeatable. Does your
company have an aura of success? Are the vans cleaned daily? Does the person
answering the phone have a pleasant voice and sound excited? Do your techs make
good money and stay with you for years and years? Is the company profitable and
growing every year? Does your company call every client after the job to ensure
There are many ways to measure culture but
you probably can grade yourself on this item through a gut feeling. How’s the
culture in your company?
If you score over ninety, wow,
you are doing great and give your self an A. If you are in the eighties, that’s
pretty good, too, but there is room for improvement. Give yourself a B.
A score in the seventies will give you a C so
that is OK but you need to work on some areas. Below seventy is not so good but
don’t fret and get to work on your weak areas.
that right attitude and be determined to improve your score every quarter until
you can honestly score your self in the nineties.