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Are you working ON your business or IN your business July 9, 2010

Posted by truenorthtrainingsolutions in business, Professional, success.

Or is there even a Difference

It’s a well known business corollary that any plumber who owns his own plumbing business and continues to be a plumber all day, will in fact continue to be a plumber for the rest of his life! Sounds reasonable right? No? Well let me explain.

If I ask you what you do for a living and you tell me you’re a plumber than guess what, you will never grow you plumbing business large enough that you can one day hang up your wrench. Ok so if I don’t want you to be a plumber what DO I want you to do?

Be a BUSINESS owner that’s what! See a business owner, who knows HOW to be a plumber will always have the ability to go out in the field in a pitch and help “catch up” on work. But a Plumber who owns a plumbing business and spends all his time out in the field practicing as a plumber, will never have enough business to allow him to move inside and start to generate MORE business. Because he’s the one who is always on the job site acting the part of the plumber, he won’t ever create the opportunity to spend time to drum up MORE business.

Someone who knows HOW to be a plumber, well enough to DO the job, is the PERFECT person to be in the office, mining referrals and calling clients back, scoping out jobs and doing all the things needed to develop his business. Now I will be the first one to admit that everything that I know about plumbing came from a Time-Life book, but when it comes to promoting a business and working customer service and handling customer contacts and call backs, THAT I know how to do and how to do well! However, in the Training Business if I’m the ONLY one who knows how to train folks, then I am at a severe disadvantage. After all how often can I be in the classroom teaching AND be in the office promoting, at the same time? Obviously never, but that’s what NEEDS to be happening, or one will suffer and eventually there wont be any more classes to teach!

So once you decide that you’re going to work ON your business, what is it that you’re going to do? Well we’ve already talked about promotion and marketing. But let’s look at the business itself and see if we can wrap this up ion the 3 P’s of business.

P (1) – PLAN – You need a business plan. I don’t necessarily mean one of those 200 page documents that MBA’s and Bankers love so much, although its never a bad idea, but more of a where are you, where are you going and how do you expect to get there. For example, let’s take our plumber. Let’s say that he wants to have 10 more trucks on the road, with an annual income (gross) of $1M a year. Well 10 trucks into one million means that each truck should be generating $100,000 a year, break that down by month, taking into account holidays and downtime, and you need each truck to earn $10,000 a month or $2500 a week, So there you have it, THAT is your PLAN. Of course NOW you need to GET 10 trucks. You have 1 that you work out of, now you hire an assistant, if it takes HIM 90 days to reach the point where you feel you could trust him with his own truck you now know that during your FIRST year, you could end up with 5 trucks and you could MAX out at $500,000 during your 1st year, assuming a stead rate of hiring and training with no attrition. This of course assumes an IDEAL world, which of course we know were not in, so the plan won’t follow EXACTLY, but at least you have a PLAN!

P(2) – PROCEDURE – if you have EVER worked for a large corporation you will probably have come to HATE procedures (and yes the US military counts!), but you also have to admit that in MANY cases procedures are the ONLY way to get anything done.  For example in today’s litigious society I can not tell you how many managers I run into who all have one or two folks on their teams that have been there “forever” yet are just not performing up to par. Why do you keep them? I ask, typically the response is something akin to “: terminating them is too hard.” There are too many folks in mid level management who feel that you must catch a cold blooded murder (or sex act) on video tape, in front of a minor in order to have sufficient reason to terminate someone. POPPYCOCK! What you NEED is one good procedure on HOW to fore someone! For example, in one company I worked for you had to be late 3 times in one week in order to be given a verbal, 3 verbal’s in one quarter and you got a written 3 writ tens in one year and you COULD be terminated. Are we following the math here? That means that not only are you ALLOWED being late no MORE than 26 times a YEAR with no issues, BUT those tardies have to fall within the same week! Late twice 1 week and twice the next? Nope you’re good. But at LEAST they had a procedure that the managers could follow! Now the MOST interesting thing about this whole thing was that once you passed a certain pay grade, you could and often WERE terminated for almost ANY reason (apparently it was in the contract), but I saw Senior Managers ($125k + folks) get turned over 3 or 4 times a YEAR! At that rate they actually ran out of qualified internal candidates and were FORCED to develop an internal breeding ground for management trainees. Which of course brought its OWN issues when they found that some folks wanted the money, but NOT the responsibility? That’s a whole nether problem. So while you’re inside planning make some tome for procedures, you will NOT regret it.

P(3) – Policies – These tend to go hand in hand with procedures, to the point that many people fee; they are interchangeable, but they are not. Policies and Procedures should be very distinct and critical components which should act as the glue that holds everything together! The Procedures will step you through HOW to do something, the Policies will give you the WHY of what you’re going to do! Let’s go back to our plumber from our previous example. While he is inside drawing up the plans for his expansion he had BETTER also be developing both his Procedures and his Policies. For example in his initial plan he talked about hiring and training new plumbers and having them up to speed where they could take over their own truck once they had been there for 90 days. Well I can tell you from years of practical experience that no matter how GOOD your training plan is, you’re going to have some guys that are ready to take over a truck in 6 weeks and some won’t be ready to take over their own truck no matter how much time you give them! So what are you going to do with then? Well your policies will dictate exactly what it is that you will do. For example, will the plumber have some type of a ‘testing’ scenario with a non subjective grade that he can base his decisions on, or will he go strictly off his own feelings? Well if he has a policy developed for HOW he selects when his folks are ready to represent his business on his time then it will be simple. But even if he goes “with his gut” a policy for termination can save him MANY headaches down the road. For example, let’s say that the plumber you just put out on the truck is a GREAT plumber, just a LOUSY people person. Well you know what; maybe that’s why he became a plumber so he wouldn’t have to deal with people. That’s fine by you, but if your policy states that 3 complaints in any 1 30 day period is enough to put him on suspension, well now your customers’ are the ones doing all the dirty work. You’re just enforcing it! I won’t try and convince you that writing policies is a simple task, but THAT’S why you need to be able to have time free to work ON your business!

Work ON the Business not just IN the business.

So many business owner get so involved in just doing what they need to do to be the best “Plumber/Carpenter/ etc” that they never spend the time they need to develop the business itself.

Now you’re ONLY challenge is ENFORCING your policies and procedures. Remember if you identify dead weight in your organization and you have developed the policies and procedures needed to deal with such things the ONLY reason that you should still have dead weight, is because there is something about them that is worth MORE to you than the business to you! That’s a decision that only YOU can make, but it is one that you will have to make. No one can enforce these ideas but YOU!

You have just seen the 4 steps that YOU need to take in order to guarantee that you may NEVER have to make another ‘cold’ call ever again! Are these the only things? Not by a long shot, but I can tell you from personal experience, you can make a HIGH 5 figure income with EVER touching any of these ideas. But if you want to cross that chasm, make that leap take that step into the 6 and 7 figure business developments you find yourself working on one or all of these processes throughout your career. I have been rich and I have bee poor, trust me Rich is better!



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