“Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” That was told to me by a very smart contractor who had reached the end of his career and was lamenting how he had wasted so many business opportunities.
What he was speaking to is what he felt he learned all too late and that is…just because you, the owner or manager, CAN do something it doesn’t mean you SHOULD or that you’re the right one to be doing it.
It’s a fact that most of us owners and managers started as Techs and it was our ability to do pretty much any tough job they could throw at us that helped us rise through the ranks. It’s also what enabled us to believe we could succeed when we chose to open our own business.
Unfortunately, your ability to do everything is a double-edge sword. In fact, this skillset and mind set may well be what stymies the growth of your business. Because if you’re always the best choice to do it all then you better figure out how to clone yourself. The reason is you’re going to run out of both time and energy and then opportunities will be squandered.
When I have phone consultations, one of the first questions I ask contractors is how old they are. (Once I volunteer how old I am!) The reason I do that is so I can ask (depending on what age they tell me) “Can you do at 30 years of age all of what you could do at age 20? Can you do as a 40-year-old what you could do at a 30? Can you do 50 what you could do at 40?” And so on depending on their age. And the only answer I ever get is, “No!”
They, like you and me, are trapped by the laws of time and diminishing energy.
So, the skills (and in particular the “do it all yourself” work that got you to this point) aren’t necessarily the skills you need to get to and maintain the next level and the next level beyond. What you’re seeking is to run a successful type of business, a business that isn’t stifled because everything must either be done by you or under your direct scrutiny.
I tell owners and managers who are stuck on this crazy treadmill, “Are you running out of hours in a day, days in a week, weeks in a month and months in a year? Because, I bet you are. And nothing will change until you learn that what you can do is not nearly as important as what you teach and empower others at your company to do.”
And that takes documenting in writing how your company does business.
My mantra is “If it’s not written, it’s not real.”
Even if you’re lucky enough to have talented employees, they can’t help you in the way they’re capable of because you have unwittingly sabotaged them. By leaving them to guess at what you want them to do and how you want them to do it means (unless they’re great at mind reading) that everyone is handcuffed.
Worse yet, if you stay on this path you risk burning yourself out as well as your staff because the frustration of dealing with the things that should be easily repeatable elude you and your team. And it always will until you pull together and create the systems it takes to run your company and everyone knows the rules that you’re playing by.
Operating Manuals that document these policies and procedures in plain-English and cover all the boxes of the Organizational Chart is what you so desperately need. This is where the journey starts when it comes to breaking the cycle and mind set of “Doing it All Yourself”.
Many companies know they need to create these manuals. They just don’t know how and don’t know when they’ll find the time to do it. I know because for years I struggled to get this done at my company. Which is why I finally hired a professional industry writer to take my outline of all the tasks it took to run my company at every position.
I had spent ONE year just creating the outline. And after spending what is about $153,000.00 in today’s money we emerged with Operating Manuals. Looking back, they’re a paltry comparison to the ones I have today and use with my 1-to-1 clients and in my group program called Build Your Operating Manuals. But, we paid it off in two-years in decreased callbacks, decreased insurance claims, increased productivity and the ability to put more well-trained Techs to work in the field.
The manuals give you the platform to train others at all the positions at your company, not just Technicians. You really don’t have to do it all yourself because others will be empowered to help.
So, what’s holding you back?
Sometimes, you love the myth that only you can do it right. And even if it’s true you can only do so much in any given day. Plus, you’ve limited the growth that you, as a leader, must exhibit and you’ve cut off the opportunities to grow and be profitable which benefits everyone, not just you.
If you’re willing to address the 80% of what goes on day-after-day and let go of the offbeat 20% and the misguided demand of perfection, you can do great things.
What I tell those who work with me is, “Your car in the garage that you’re constantly tinkering with so it will be perfect someday, is going to lose the race to my car that is already flying down the highway with success.”
Al Levi teaches contractors how to run their businesses with “Less stress and more success,” and he’s on a mission to help 30 contracting firms create and implement operating manuals in 2017. To see if your business qualifies for his upcoming 7-Power Contractor Build Your Operating Manuals Program, visit 7powercontractor.com/byom7PC today.