We’ve all heard the adage, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” Wouldn’t it be great to have 5, 15 or 100 of you out and about working for your business? That way you’d know at all times things were getting done, and up to your standards. Why not clone yourself? Oh the stir that was caused back ’96 when the first animal — Dolly the sheep — was cloned. Whatever happened to Dolly? Well, she died after nearly a 7-yr. lifespan. More importantly, ethical concerns have prompted several nations to pass laws regarding human cloning and its legality. I guess that’s out of the question.
Sure, you are confident in your skill set as a tradesperson but what about all the other ingredients it takes to be a successful businessperson? Are you a great salesman? Are you a people person? Are you organized?
As an owner of a smaller business, you realistically need to incorporate all the needed traits to operate successfully. So while cloning yourself may not be an option, having the proper assets in place, whether it is employees tasked to certain jobs that reflect their strengths or possessing the following attributes can help your business run smoother:
Sales — One of the biggest aspects of running a business, whether you’d like to think so or not, is that it is imperative you be a salesman first then a technician. The feeling of a successful bid can be great, and knowing that you are armed with the proper technique is even better. Know the customer, their challenges and know your skill set so you can be confident in making the sale.
Marketing — The ability to foresee where your company is going and how to create new business by the art of promoting your brand is important — whether it is online, through social media, word of mouth, your overall image — to your trucks, your clothing and your appearance and demeanor.
Training & Education — The willingness to learn everyday, adapt to new technology, and keep up to date on your product training is critical. There are plenty of training opportunities out there whether it is through a manufacturer, trade school or an association such as the RPA, MCAA, ASHRAE, PHCC, etc., to keep you ahead of the curve.
Organization — According to Investopedia.com, organization will help you complete tasks and stay on top of things to be done. A good way to do this is to create a to-do list each day — as you complete each item, check it off your list. This will ensure that you’re not forgetting anything and you’re completing all the tasks that are essential to the survival of your business. From dispatching to invoicing, proper attention to detail is key.
Your Competition — According to Forbes, don’t dismiss your competitors as being poor or unworthy. If they are still in business, they must be doing at least something right. Also, putting down competition could hurt your credibility.
Financials — It should go without saying that having a good grasp on the money is paramount. I’ve often overheard when companies go out of business it’s because of bad management. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy states that about half of all new businesses survive five years or more and about one-third survive 10 years or more. The probability of survival increases with the firm’s age.
Controlling costs, minimizing overhead, purchasing, etc. has a profound effect on the health of your business. According to Bright Hub Inc., remaining aware of the financial heath of the business requires patience and discipline. Too often ignored in favor of the operational components, embracing financials can help the contractor make crucial decisions relating to growth, expansion and cash flow management.
Full implementation of technology can provide detailed financial information with a minimal time investment. Unfortunately, contractor friendly features in popular programs such as Quickbooks are underutilized, ignoring important options for budgeting, forecasting, job costing, cash flow and purchasing.
So cloning may be out of the question, but always striving to a better businessperson isn’t.