The Challenge of Making the Leap from a Two Person Operation

The path of learning many of the trades involves two individuals: the master and the journeyman, or the journeyman and the apprentice etc. In the case of the latter example, the apprentice learns directly from the journeyman through exposure to his work product and direct one-on-one communication and interaction. Many that venture out on their own to create their business enterprise, encounter a hurdle when they realize that once their attention turns to actually running the business, the interactions they were trained with and used to train others do not work as well as they used to when they were in the field.

In the worst cases I have observed, when the “shop” grows to eight to 10 folks the owner’s frustration rises because “things” are not being done the way he or she wants. Eventually, patience runs out and the art of delegation (and it is an art) is abandoned and the owner feels the only way to fix “things” is for them to do it themselves. When this happens, the result is the enterprise that once showed so much promise has now shrunk to the comfort level ratio of one-to-one, or two people.

Putting everything on the line by starting your own business then convincing yourself to let go and delegate is difficult no matter what size your business grows to. When you start delegating limit your expectations to a satisfactory result and resist the urge to micromanage, it is very difficult. I was told or read somewhere that “Everyone works for their own unique reason.” In other words, the people that work with and for you are not you, so don’t expect them to be.

Consider this a rather long-winded introduction to a brief article focusing on a skill that we regularly need to develop and be reminded of in order to reach any level of success, DELEGATION. I hope you enjoy the read.

A Valuable Read

I am an avid reader when it comes to business and “Self Help” revolving around business habits. There was a period when my business was growing, I was taking on more employees, but wasn’t feeling like I was the best manager I could be if I wanted to bring the business to the next level. Around Thanksgiving in 2008 or 2009, in the midst of the most recent “Great Depression,” I was browsing the business section of the local book store and came across Michael E. Gerber’s “The E Myth Contractor.”. The title, “The E Myth Contractor,” caught my eye. It was a very small book, around 100 pages, so I grabbed and began reading it. I found I couldn’t put it down. It appeared to tell the story of my father, my grandfather, most importantly many of my customers.

The excerpt below (from pages 47 and 48) completely changed my understanding of how to manage and approach my business.  I highly recommend this book for contractors, both large and small, it is a must read. 

I hope you enjoy the excerpt. Bill D.

THE E MYTH CONTRACTOR

“We often hear that a good manager must be a ‘people person.’ Someone who loves to nourish, figure out, support, care for, teach, baby, monitor, mentor, direct, track, motivate and, if all else fails, threaten or beat up his or her people.”

“Don’t believe it. Because management has far less to do with people than you’ve been lead to believe.  In fact, despite what every management book written by management gurus (who seldom have managed anything) says, no one yet – besides a few tyrants – has ever learned how to manage people. And the reason is simple: People are unmanageable!”

“Yes, it’s true. People are unmanageable. They want more, are inconsistent, unpredictable, unchangeable, unrepentant, irrepressible and generally impossible.”

“Doesn’t knowing this make you feel better? Now you understand why you’ve had all those problems! Do you feel relief, the heavy stone lifted from your chest?”

“The time has come to fully understand what management is really all about. Rather than managing people, management is really all about managing a process, a step by step way of doing things, which, combined with other processes, becomes a system. For example;

  • The process for completing an estimate.
  • The process for answering the telephone.
  • The process for installing a switch plate.
  • The process for erecting a wall.

The book is available here: https://www.amazon.com/Myth-Contractor-Contractors-Businesses-About/dp/0060938463/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1547298565&sr=1-1&keywords=E+Myth+Contractors

What Crisis?

As we prepare for a potential economic slowdown, I thought this article in SUCCESS magazine was appropriate.

As a working individual and business owner or someone who counts their side work as part of their regular income, we rarely think of practicing as we did when we played sports as a kid. But the game we play now is exponentially more important than the ones we played as a kid. Practice is now preparation for a lack of work or income and preparing in advance for what now may be coming. In any downturn there are opportunities for those that are prepared, be among the prepared !

I hope you enjoy the read.  Bill D.

HOW TO EXUDE CONFIDENCE IN PERILOUS TIMES

“HE WHO SMILES IN A CRISIS HAS FOUND SOMEONE TO BLAME.”

I laughed when I came across this quote because, like anything that humors us, this saying has an element of truth to it. Sometimes the only person thinking positively about a crisis is doing so because he has figured out why it’s not his own fault. But there are many reasons to think positively in times of crisis. For one thing, within every problem we can find the seeds of opportunity. They might seem small, especially when compared with the enormity of the crisis. But opportunity exists nonetheless. Furthermore I believe great leaders can handle any crisis with confidence and grace.   

We might not feel like smiling, but we move forward with the knowledge that a solution is available and attainable. The key to managing crises with confidence is to be thoroughly prepared in order to make informed decisions. If you are a leader, you know a crisis is never far away. Use the following tips to face an upcoming crisis with the maximum amount of confidence.

To read the entire article, click here:

Efficiency

As we begin another year and make a lot of lofty commitments, like losing weight, stopping smoking, and exercising daily, it’s good to be reminded of things you could do to work differently so you actually have time to take on those New Year’s challenges.

This excellent piece in SUCCESS magazine speaks to that very point.  I hope you enjoy the read.

 Bill D.

THREE THINGS TO DO TO MAKE THIS YOUR MOST EFFICIENT YEAR EVER.

Ari Meiselgets things done-and so efficiently that if you hadn’t seen photos of him (friendly smile, lean physique) you might suspect he had 10 hands. He coaches individuals and groups on how to “make everything in life ease through a system he calls “Less Doing, More Living.” He tweets, blogs, speaks, does podcasts, And he manages all this in just six hours on an average day, leaving him plenty of time to hang out with his wife and three young children, do CrossFit work outs and whip up power meals.

As Ari explains, “I just feel like I have control of my life, my body and sort of my outcome. And that’s a really good feeling.”

To read the entire article, click here: https://www.success.com/3-things-to-do-to-make-this-your-most-efficient-year-ever/

MAXIMUM LEADERSHIP

I am currently working through the estate planning process and came across this article in SUCCESS magazine. In different stages of my life to this point I have always had an outside pressure pushing me to achieve even when I didn’t particularly feel like or know why I was doing what I do, like being able to buy an engagement ring to buying a home , saving for my kids to go to college …. And those pressures that we all face will be behind us at one point. I am now faced with questions, by consultants, like if you are hit by a bus today who will do what in your business, who will get what and basically what happens next. Essentially will what you have worked for all these years survive, continue or end with some purpose or will it become an increased source of pain for those you care about most when you are gone ?

What really stands out to me is asking yourself the question this article asks at least every one to five years and really think about it. You will find that some answers will change as they have with me. The most nagging after all the outside pressures or obligations mentioned earlier are satisfied or past, “what the hell am I doing this (what I do , running a business) for?” What is my purpose now? I found that my true passion or purpose is to create opportunity for the people I interact with, not only my family but my customers and fellow employees. If I do this money will follow and I am functioning with a purpose that drives me. This article also touches on that. If I can be a sounding board to anyone on these topics I would be happy to.

I hope you enjoy the read. Bill D.

IF YOU COULD LIVE YOUR LIFE OVER AGAIN, WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY?

Sociologist Anthony Campolo tells about a study in which 50 people over the age of 95 were asked that one question. From their answers emerged three themes:

  • If I had it to do over again, I would reflect more.
  • If I had it to do over again, I would risk more.
  • If I had it to do over again, I would do more things that would live on after I’m dead.

The bad news is we can’t go back in time and make different choices. But the good news is that, every morning, we can choose to do things that live on beyond our lives. As leaders, we have the ability every day to build a legacy that lasts and makes a difference long after we’re gone.

But how do we determine the choices that build a lasting legacy?

It starts by focusing on what’s truly important in life. Many people attempt to be remembered through goals accomplished, records set or awards won. But the principal foundation of a leader’s legacy is the people they develop rather than the things they achieve. Why? Because legacy is continued impact after you’re gone, and only people can do that. Achievements, awards and possessions don’t have that power. As an achiever, you have probably succeeded at accomplishing a lot of things. You might enjoy many of the trappings of success. But you will build your legacy only when you change your focus from pursuing personal success to developing people. Equipping your followers to grow and reach their potential is an investment that yields long-lasting rewards.

To read the entire article, click here: https://www.success.com/john-c-maxwell-3-ways-to-pursue-a-lasting-legacy/


WRITE YOUR OWN RULES

I believe that many contractors go into business for themselves so they can write their own rules.  But what I see is that many just end up working more hours and making less money.  You need to stay positive and build some new habits when starting out on your own as it is a massive task. However, it is also one that can be extremely rewarding. I came across the below article in the Winter 2018 edition of SUCCESS magazine. I hope you enjoy it. Bill D.

HOW TO SET POSITIVITY IN STONE

What personal habits would you like to change? Be they hone, work or health related. I bet you would see value in instilling some automatic practices that help you reach your goals.

Psychologists say the key to creating positive habits is to reduce your personal choices, the little excuses you make to allow yourself to wiggle out of exercise, for example, or ignore the gratitude journal you you’ve been meaning to keep. The simple workaround is to set rules for yourself, taking your own capacity to make bad decisions out of your hands. You already do this all the time, probably without realizing it. Maybe your rule is that, if you had two drinks, you don’t drive. Or that you don’t even look at your emails until 11:00am.  The results speak for themselves. In the former, you avoid making yourself a danger on the road. In the latter, you’re more productive in the morning.

To read the entire article, click here: https://www.success.com/the-key-to-creating-positive-habits/