Cleaning & Restoration Association News

The Gadget Man: Business Gadgets That Make You Rich

August 1, 2006
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Early on, one of my life long goals was to become rich. When I was starting my career in the cleaning and restoration industry 32 short years ago, I remember the day I had just cleaned five apartments and grossed a whopping $100.

As I was driving home and counting the big bucks in my head I started thinking about multiplying my newfound wealth by hiring people to do the work with the results being 10 or 20 apartments a day and all the excess money flowing my way. Dreaming is often the first step to reality. In this particular case it didn't happen just as I had dreamed - thank goodness - but it did help me on my way to a fairly successful career.

Now that I've been in this life for 54 years, and have perhaps gained a touch of wisdom and perspective, I have redefined what I consider rich, which is good because by worldly benchmarks I don't think I could make it. To me, being rich is having a life devoted to family, faith, financial security and perhaps best of all, four grandkids all 3 years old and under. Today, let's concentrate on financial security, how it relates to your business, and identify a few business gadgets to help you achieve it.

The Phone

This is pretty simple. Use the phone to get and keep customers. If you do not abide by these two simple phone rules, your business, and thus your future financial security will be severely affected.
  • Get Customers - No matter your marketing methods, virtually everyone will phone you to schedule the work. Do your absolute best to be able to help them with their first phone call. Answer with a live person who can answer questions, talk intelligently, informatively and book the job. Voicemail will lose you customers.
  • Keep Customers - Phone your customers the day after the job to make sure they are happy. Be willing a ready to remedy any problem they may have. The customer satisfaction phone call will do more to keep your customers and build your business than thousands of dollars spent in additional marketing designed to get new customers.


The Organizer

This could be your paper planner, PDA, pocket PC, paper scheduler and calendar, smart phone or simply an index card in your pocket. This is also a simple tool. Use your organizer to keep commitments and follow through with your plans or task list.

Most businesses fail, or fail to be successful, not because they lacked dreams and goals but because they failed to follow through on the tough little details to bring those dreams and goals to fruition. Let's get really simple - When you tell someone (including yourself) that you will do something, do it within the time given. When you say to your customer, "I will call you back tomorrow with a price on that," you have a promise that you should view as a blood oath. Do it or die!

Your Financial Statement

Those many years ago as I started my carpet cleaning business I started looking for tools to measure my success. I found a book, somewhat designed like we would set up a spread sheet today, called "Beat Yesterday." This book allowed me to write in amounts by revenue sources like carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning, carpet protector, and water restoration in one column, and my daily totals of these sources in other columns. At the end of each day I would fill in my totals, measuring my progress in my important revenue areas. I could compare today against yesterday or this week against last week. My month-to-month growth grew into comparing my year-to-year growth, and what started with my simple "Beat Yesterday" book carried me through to understanding and using real financial statements.

Don't be fooled into thinking that gross sales records are enough. How much you gross has nothing to do with how much you earn. How much you take home to buy groceries and make the house payment also has little to do with how much you earn. Uncle Sam and your accountant will tell you what your income is - don't let it come as a surprise at year's end.

It's Pretty Simple

  • Track on a daily basis your sales on the important revenue sources for your company. Set goals to beat yesterday, last month or last year.
  • Calculate your break-even so you will know how much you have to gross every month before you can start buying groceries. Hint: sell more protector. You will reach your break-even point much quicker.
  • Keep accurate books and get a monthly financial statement - and learn how to read it.
  • Make excess money and invest it where it can get the best return. It may be back into your business, stocks, real estate, or a lemonade stand. You decide your financial future; don't let it decide for you.

I love inventing and bringing new tools to the market. Gadgets that help you perform your work more efficiently will always be in demand. In order to afford them and apply them, make sure you have a business that lasts. Don't wait; apply these business tools today.

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