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What’s Finally Going to Fix Things at Your Company?

What's Finally Going to Fix Things at My Company? | Al Levi The 7-Power Contractor

What’s Finally Going to Fix Things at Your Company?

Well, let’s start with what won’t fix things at your company.

Putting out a daily fire without focusing on fire prevention is just wrong. Because that fire is bound to break out again tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow until the day you finally lock the front door of your company and say “Goodbye!”

What is going to fix things?

Becoming proactive about running your company instead of letting the company run you. That starts with putting the right tools in place to make running your company day-to-day way saner and way more sustainable.

The biggest and best tool is to document what it takes to run your company, without you having to ride your white stallion to the rescue from sun up to sundown.

That’s why I’m advocating you dedicate a portion of your week—no matter how crazy that week is—to creating a series of documents designed to keep fires from starting in the first place.

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By | April 18th, 2017|Leadership Power, Operating Power|Comments Off on What’s Finally Going to Fix Things at Your Company?

Urgent vs. Important But Not Urgent

The 7-Power Contractor

Everything in business is Important!

Not everything in business is Urgent. Thank heavens!

The trouble starts when all your focus is on fighting fires—dealing only with Urgent items—leaving no time to focus on any Important-But-Not-Urgent items.

When you’re firefighting day after day, how will you ever work on the importance of Fire Prevention?

Answer: You won’t!

This is the daily struggle we face as business owners, and even moreso as Contractors.

All of it feels like it’s urgent. This is especially true when there’s an unhappy customer yelling at you and threatening to post their unhappiness online to everyone on planet Earth.

Breathe.

Now, you and I both know that if everything is urgent, there’s no way to prioritize and maximize your and your staff’s day. You must develop the ability to separate the Important-But-Not-Urgent things that are going on at your company today, just like they did yesterday, that are likely to continue that way until the final moment you put the key in your office door.

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By | April 4th, 2017|Leadership Power, Operating Power|Comments Off on Urgent vs. Important But Not Urgent

The Secret Bonus Of Operating Manuals

The Secret Bonus of Operating Manuals | Al Levi The 7-Power Contractor

Working with consulting clients, I create the Operating Manuals early on to help them immediately minimize the daily chaos in their businesses. For fast-growing shops, it allows them to keep growing in a smarter way.

All good stuff.

But, I let them discover “The Secret Bonus” of these operating manuals, which is that they boost sales. Most owners realize this right away, because the best shops closely track sales data.

Here are the top 7 reasons why having operating manuals in place boosts sales:

The CSR Manual trains the CSRs to put Techs in front of the right customer. This frees the Tech up from wasting valuable productivity time explaining pricing and payment policies. This is learned in weekly meetings using the CSR Manual for phone role-playing.

By | March 21st, 2017|Leadership Power, Operating Power|Comments Off on The Secret Bonus Of Operating Manuals

Callbacks—They’re Déjà Vu All Over Again

Déjà Vu All Over Again (Or, How to Minimize Callbacks Once and For All) | Al Levi

“Déjà vu All Over Again” is a famous quote by the late, great Yogi Berra. I’ve lived this scenario, and I’m betting you have, too. I’m talking about callbacks--the bane of the contracting industry.

I worked in my family plumbing, heating and cooling business (today they also do electrical), so I know first-hand how demoralizing and damaging callbacks can be.

Here’s why:

1. Your customers have to needlessly take off extra time from their paying jobs to be there for your Techs again and again.

2. Callbacks rob your ability to do new service and install work because you have to redo a repair for no money.

3. They ruin your good reputation, especially today, when unhappy customers go online and tell the world.

Yikes!

By | March 7th, 2017|Leadership Power, Operating Power|Comments Off on Callbacks—They’re Déjà Vu All Over Again

How Great Techs Become Successful Owners

How Great Techs Become Successful Owners | Al Levi The 7-Power Contractor

You quit that tech job at an established plumbing, heating, cooling, and/or electrical company because you figured you could be your own boss, make your own hours and charge a little less, and the money would come flowing in.

Maybe yes. Maybe no.

If you’re reading this I’m betting you also discovered there’s so much more to running a successful business than just being a good tech. And if you’re like most, you’re probably not completely sure what all of that “more” is!

Don’t get me wrong, actually knowing technical stuff for the work you do is helpful. But, it can be a double-edged sword if you’re the only one who can run a call the right way (at least, in your mind, anyway). It automatically limits your growth.

By | February 21st, 2017|Leadership Power, Operating Power|Comments Off on How Great Techs Become Successful Owners

Are the Stings Set Up by TV Stations Fair to Contractors?

Are the Stings Set Up by TV Stations Fair to Contractors? | Al Levi The 7-Power Contractor

February may be when Valentine’s Day is, but too often there’s not a lot of love sent towards contractors in general, especially when a local news station sets up a sting operation targeting your industry!

Now a sting operation set up by a TV news station sounds like a good idea, but it’s not often fair.

Yes, there are still too many unscrupulous contractors out there who take advantage of the unsuspecting customer. But too often, the way these shows set up the problem the contractor is asked to uncover is equally unscrupulous.

For instance, the show will take a furnace that may be 25 years old or more and rig up a problem. The problem is the unit is statistically reaching the end of its useful lifetime and very unlikely to be as efficient and green as anything that’s been manufactured in the last 10 years. In that case the tech is obligated to offer both a repair and a replace option. Unless...

By | February 14th, 2017|Leadership Power, Operating Power|Comments Off on Are the Stings Set Up by TV Stations Fair to Contractors?

Don’t Have to Love It. Just Have to Do It.

Don't Have to Love It. Just Have to Do it. | Al Levi The 7-Power Contractor

There’s always a project that you know you need to do, but you always manage to put it off…don’t you? Relax, it’s human nature to procrastinate, especially on things we know we hate, or we perceive as difficult.

The great news is once you commit to getting it done, it’s rarely as hard to do and normally well worth the effort.

I know because once upon a time I was a procrastinator. I would have stayed that way if not for the help of my mom. She saw that I struggled with my homework and had bad study habits, but she coached me, “Start with a plan. Do something easy and build your confidence vs. starting with something tough and getting frustrated.”

It really works!

By | February 8th, 2017|Leadership Power, Operating Power|Comments Off on Don’t Have to Love It. Just Have to Do It.

Written Policies and Procedures Help Everyone Sleep Through the Night

Written Manuals Make Techs Better, So You Can Get Some Sleep at Night | Al Levi

I grew up in my family’s plumbing, heating, and cooling company and among my earliest memories are my Dad getting calls in the middle of the night from people with heating emergencies—a homeowner whose furnace had quit or a bakery where they needed the steam from the boilers for their baking. When this happened, rather than leave me at the house, he’d take me with him.

I remember it being fun to go on those calls. The bakers liked me and would feed me bagels, cookies, and cake while my dad toiled to get their boilers up and running. Not so much fun for my Dad, or me, later, when it was my turn to do it!

By | January 16th, 2017|Leadership Power, Operating Power|Comments Off on Written Policies and Procedures Help Everyone Sleep Through the Night

It’s Always Going to Be An Uphill Battle Without Operating Manuals

In Business, Things Are Either Getting Better or They Are Getting Worse

Businesses either get better, or they get worse. At least that’s what I finally realized at my own service contracting company years ago. It’s akin to pushing a boulder uphill. The business is either moving up, or it’s moving down. You don’t want to be caught in the path of that boulder rolling south.

Yet in so many businesses, rocks big and small are continually sliding back down to the bottom of the hill because as the owner, there’s never just one rock to push up. There are many. We dream of the day we can stop pushing, yet we can’t even keep what we have going in the right direction!

By | January 4th, 2017|Leadership Power, Operating Power|Comments Off on It’s Always Going to Be An Uphill Battle Without Operating Manuals

The Right Way to Make Time for the Holidays

The Right Way to Make Time for the Holidays at Work | Al Levi, The 7-Power Contractor

Got more time at the end of a workday than you know what to do with? Not likely.

How about finding extra time during the holidays to stop and enjoy as a team the holidays let alone finding extra time to be available for fun and family time? Not likely.

But, it doesn’t have to be this way.

How do I know? I was once a stressed-out contractor just like you. I fell in the hole of being steamrolled by the holidays every year. And it was doubly bad when it was a crazy cold winter and we were maxed out covering heating calls and attending to frozen plumbing pipes.

What changed for me and my team?

By | December 19th, 2016|Operating Power, Planning Power|Comments Off on The Right Way to Make Time for the Holidays