I grew up in Flint, Michigan. If anyone understands the working man’s mentality, it's me. I was immersed in blue collar my entire life, union culture was around every corner and in almost every home. After all, Flint is the birthplace of General Motors, and just down the road is Detroit - the Motor City.
Do I have anything against a job well done? NO.
Do I support off-shoring jobs and breaking the unions? NO.
Do I support helping small business guys with the wrong mentality? YES!
I read a lot. I read posts on Facebook groups, the forums, industry magazines, and anything else that pertains to my niche. In doing so, I have noticed an interesting trend. The large majority of people are obsessed with technical perfection. Please do not misinterpret me, I support professional competency and the training needed to attain it. However, what I am referring to goes far beyond that.
Like a badge of honor guys talk about the technical side of their small business. The PSI, GPM, TDS, chemical breakdowns, wicking (carpet cleaning reference) and about 100 other acronyms get name dropped over and over again, all day long. I doubt this trend is specific to our industry, and I can tell you with 100% certainty that this type of focus is directly related to the fact that most of these companies do not achieve the level of success the founder originally wanted.
“But Josh, being a true ‘pro’ means being an expert at every facet of the trade!”
False! Being a “pro” is only defined in that way if your goal is to be a professional technician. I, on the other hand, want to help people become CEO’s and professional business people and that is never accomplished by being obsessed with technical perfection. So many people fall into this trap because they take a lot of pride in what they do. I understand and respect that, but unfortunately it is not the answer to building a sustainable business. You are at a crossroads and you need to make a decision right now…. Are you trying to become an expert tradesman or build a business? If you chose the later, I can help.
Step 1: Humble Yourself
The egos I see online are sad and they are the result of incorrect focus. Rather than trying to master cleaning, you need to master being in business. For many people, this is way outside of their comfort zone. They shy away from pursuing it while slowly sliding back into the comfy embrace of the shop with the other employees. Break this cycle through education, new friends, and humility!
Step 2: Put Yourself Last
Putting yourself last may seem counter-intuitive to someone stuck in the technical perfection deception, but please let me explain. Becoming the CEO of your small business requires you to put your employees and your customer ahead of yourself. Leading as a servant is by far the most effective way to build a long term viable asset. You are no longer the quarterback, now you are the coach; you eat after everyone else has eaten. The more people you help achieve their goals, employees and customers, the better off you will do in the long run.
Step 3: Learn the Language
Rather than reading every technical spec on the latest piece of industry equipment, you need to shift your learning to things like leadership, finance, sales, and system building. Turn your PSI into CAC (customer acquisition cost) and your TDS into KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators). Doing this will cause major discomfort if you are new to the topic, but take courage as many have come before you and achieved success. Those people are not smarter than you, they simply learned the subject matter and then executed on it.
To summarize, you need to have professional competency to safely do your job and I understand that, but try to be careful not to take it too far. If you know more about your equipment than you do about your finances, you may have problem. If you have your truck perfectly organized but no written business plan or business goals, you are probably focused too heavily on technical perfection.
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