Hindsight is pretty clear, isn’t it?
How many times have you said “Let’s not do that again.”
I can think of a few dozen examples in my own life.
“Don’t go to a small town with your buddies and try to pick up the local girls.” That was a lesson learned many years ago as an 18 year old Tom. The last thing I saw before I blacked out was the number 13 on the bottom of a boot.
When your wife spends several hours getting ready for a fancy dinner date with you..you know..hair, make up, fancy dress..the works…and then emerges from the bedroom ready to go and asks you “How do I look?” The wrong answer is “fine.”
It’s amazing how clearly we can see when we look back. Today I want to share 3 things that I believe will help you build a strong business. These thoughts come from not only looking back on my own businesses, but also from years of working with small business owners like you. Hopefully, you’ll be able to put your eyes on these 3 things now and enjoy the results instead of looking back and wishing you’d done things differently.
So much has been written about mindset by all the motivational gurus. If you want success in anything you need to get your head right. Here’s the mindset stuff in the most simplest form I can think of:
- Know what you want and focus on it. Ignore the voices that say it won’t work or can’t be done. Ignore those who tell you that you’re too old, ugly, stupid, tattooed, poor or whatever else they throw at you. You become what you think. Create your own mantra.
- Go toe to toe with your fear. The longer you avoid it the stronger it gets. 96% of what we fear or get anxious about doesn’t happen anyway. I took the short bus for two years in grade school and feared I was stupid for most of my life. Then, I went toe to toe with that fear and everything changed.
- Hang with winners. Motivational Speaker Jim Rohn said “You become the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Winners set goals, don’t complain and look for the positive in things. Is it time to get a new five in your life?
- Embrace resistance. Challenges are coming. Weightlifters grow stronger by picking things up today that are heavier than what they lifted yesterday. Don’t be afraid to take on the ‘heavy things’ in your life or business. You’ll be forced to get stronger as a leader. “You’ll never become the leader you’re meant to be until you have your nose bloodied a few times.”
Many business owners are terrified of math. Here’s the scoop: You will not grow a strong business unless you know your numbers. Don’t dish it off on your accountant or your bookkeeper. Years ago, when I was learning the math of my business, I carried a calculator with me almost 24/7. I became THE expert on MY company’s math.
“No more excuses on not knowing your overhead, break-even point or what your costs are.”
Being strong in your math will enable you to make better decisions for your business. Far too many contractors I meet have no clue what their numbers are. This is pathetic. You’re running a business not an intramural sport. The contractors that I hear whining about money and how bad things are for them are usually the one’s who ignore the math.
Jeremy is a client of mine who runs a small HVAC company that’s about 18 months old. He decided to get clear on his math from day one. He runs his business like a business and makes more money than people that have been in the game for 15 years. He has no debt, pays himself consistently, has plenty of work and has built his own line of credit by putting almost 8 months of operating expenses in the bank. He pre-job costs every project to make sure he’s gonna make what he needs to make and he says “no” a lot to projects that don’t align with his budget.
Math is your friend. Make a promise right now to never allow anyone know your businesses math better than you.
Everything you do and don’t do is marketing. How you answer the phone, schedule jobs and clean up…all marketing. Everything matters. Marketing is way more than having some company throw together a mailer for you.
Side Note: If you’re website sucks then please don’t spend any money on anything else until it is clean, up to date and a solid representation of who you are as a company (visually and content). And, please don’t hire your cousins kid to do it. Hire a pro (it’s what you tell your clients, right?).
Take time to learn who your ideal client is, where they hang out and how to connect with them. Create content that will attract them. Think through all the different phases of the experience they have with you. How can you make it better.
For example, Mary Doe has you come for a bid and you get the job. Great! She liked and trusts you enough to roll the dice and hire you.
What’s next? She just moved from “I’m not sure who to hire because I’m confused by all the choices,” to “I sure hope this was the right choice.”
How will you put her at ease and continue to show her she made the right choice. I recently spoke to a client who sold a $3,000 job to a homeowner. He said they gave him the go ahead 2 weeks ago. I asked, “What’s happened since you got the green light?” He replied, “Nothing. I just need to schedule them and let them know.”
How do think that client feels now? If I’m the client I’m thinking, “Typical contractor.”
Do you want to be the “typical contractor” or the one who redefines the entire industry by providing the absolute best experience that client has ever had with any kind of service company?
I understand there are other things to running a strong business. Things like the administrative and operations roles. These are equally important. But, if your mindset, math and marketing are all messed up you won’t need admin or operations. Having your head on right, solid lead flow and money in the bank make everything else much easier.
Where are you with the 3 M’s? I’d love to hear where you’re strong and where you’re struggling.