Archives for October 2020

Handling Unresolved Conflict

By Dave Ramsey

CEO of Ramsey Solutions

Most leaders don’t realize that unresolved conflicts are destroying their businesses. Some don’t even know about the conflicts that exist. That’s a result of poor communication. There are other leaders who avoid confrontation. That’s called denial. Either way, your team and your company lose.

Communication is the key to fighting this enemy of team unity. For my team, the basis of that communication comes through weekly reports. Each week, every team member emails a report to his or her leader. All the leaders read their team members’ weekly reports, and pass along any issues or concerns to me. That way, leadership from all levels is involved with the day-to-day activities of the company.

In addition, in the weekly report team members report their progress on their assigned tasks, and relate their high and low points of the week. This is where dissatisfaction and disagreements tend to be revealed, directly or indirectly. When a leader believes that one team member may be upset with another at work, or has a problem with an assignment or a process, the leader gets the involved parties together and straightens things out.

My advice for handling conflict? Deal with it like you would deal with a splinter—pull it out right away, even if it hurts. Don’t leave it until it’s infected and causing even greater pain. Immediate confrontation and discussion can address the issues at hand, wash out the wound quickly, and allow everyone to go forward in a spirit of unity.

Leaders lead best when they pull out that splinter. Sometimes it’s messy, and sometimes it doesn’t work out perfectly. The alternative, however, is to let the problem fester and walk around pretending nothing’s wrong. That’s a bad plan for the parties involved, the leaders, and the company. Still, it’s what many so-called leaders do. Then, they wonder why there seems to be so much conflict and so little unity.

Avoiding conflict is what normal companies do. My advice is to be weird! Normal companies have employees, and I’ve never wanted that. From the very beginning, I wanted hard-working, talented, loyal team members, who were all focused on the same goal. That’s not always an easy thing to achieve, and it can take time. But wouldn’t you rather put in the work it takes to avoid having a company full of ordinary employees who are burdened with unresolved conflict?

* Leadership and small business expert Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored numerous best-selling books, including EntreLeadership. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by 16 million listeners each week on more than 600 radio stations and multiple digital platforms.

Food For Thought

By Tom Grandy, Founder

A great quote from Thomas Jefferson – If you want something you’ve never had, you must do something you have never done.”  What are your hopes and dreams, at least when it comes to your job?  Do you want to be the best tech the world has ever seen?  Are you working towards becoming the Service Manager one day?  Perhaps your dream is to become an entrepreneur, owning your own small business…

No matter what your dream is, it’s not going to just happen.  Perseverance, hard work and a willingness to exceed others expectations of you will be necessary.  In short, you will have to do something you are not currently doing.  Take a good look at the other techs you are working with.  Do you stand out in any way?  Do you show up for work on time, every time?  How about your uniform, is it always clean?  Do you work overtime with thanksgiving for a job?  When on call, do you grumble and complain?  Are you kind to all your customers, even the grumpy ones?

In summary, what areas do you need to improve in?  What areas do you need to excel in?  Bottom line, what have you never done (or perhaps just not done well) that need/can to be improved upon.  Doing something different in a good way will shorten the path to accomplishing your dreams. 

Grandy & Associates has two great Website Specials that might must help you reach your goals.  The first is our Why Do We Need To Charge So Much? streaming version.  This is a wonderful way to better understand why the company needs to charge what it charges.  It normally costs $114.95 but this month it’s only $99.95Order today!

The other featured product is the streaming version of our popular two-day Planning For Profit program.  If you are interested in learning the business side of the business, this program is for you.  The streaming version is normally $1,496.  This month however, the streaming version is only $1,295.  This offer will not come around often.  Order today!

Shark Tank Lesson: Don’t Be A Know-It-All

By Tom Grandy, Founder

Most reading this article are familiar with the TV show called “Shark Tank”.  It features five self-made multi-millionaires (some billionaires) that listen to individuals pitch their products in quest of receiving funding for their business for a portion of ownership.  If a Shark makes an offer and the entrepreneur accepts it, the individual also receives personal guidance from the same Shark.  However, between the individual’s presentation and the possible acceptance of funds, the process can be brutal.  Questions are coming in rapid fire procession from all of the Sharks.  They question everything from how/why they developed the product, to challenging them on their business plans and how they would utilize the requested funds.  If you are a business owner the show can be both entertaining and informative.

A specific segment of the show I want to focus on involved two Harvard graduates who believed they had created the world’s best underwear.  Their presentation was excellent.  Their product was well accepted with amazing sales.  When they described their marketing program, it was both unique and effective.  What did the bottom-line net profit look like?  Again, outstanding.  They earned an A+ for presentation, products, marketing and profits.  It was seemingly the perfect company for one of the Sharks to invest in.

Now it was time for the young entrepreneurs to be questioned by the Sharks.  It was ugly.  Every time one of the Sharks asked a question our two “prideful” Harvard graduates snapped back with responses of how great “they were”.  The “we are the best” attitude came through loud and clear, no matter the question.

After the frustrated Sharks listened for a while, each one verbally told the two entrepreneurs that they were not willing to invest in their company, each for a variety of surface reasons.  Finally, the two Harvard graduates left the stage without an offer.  The Sharks then explained, in private, their REAL reason for not investing.  The unanimous bottom line was clear.  The two young entrepreneurs were arrogant and unwilling to listen to anyone’s advice, even when it was coming from men and women who had “been there and done that”.  All Sharks are multi-millionaires.  They explained how they had been open to suggestions throughout their careers which was partially why they were so successful. 

What’s the point?  The point is that few contractors within the Trades industry know it all, especially from the “business” side of the business.  Let’s face it, most company owners used to be a technician, not a business person.  There is no shame in that statement, it is simply who we are as an industry.  However, armed with that knowledge, I want to strongly encourage you to join a mixed group.  A mixed group is composed of 5-10 contractors that do similar types of work, but are in non-completing geographic territories.  Like being on Shark Tank, the process can sometimes be a bit brutal, but if you have thick skin it is well worth the temporary pain.  If you are interested in finding out more about the details of how mixed groups are formed, structured, the KPI’s that are reviewed and the potential investment, I have a suggestion.  Check the November Profit University Audio Series program entitled Benefits of a Peer Group”.  You can purchase this month’s featured program for $9.95

Each of my three daughters played tennis in high school.  I always encouraged them to practice and play against more skilled players.  They normally got beat but an amazing thing was happening in the midst of the stiffer competition.  My daughters were not only getting better at tennis each week, they also learned to be a bit more humble. Joining a mixed group will accomplish the same objectives.

Grandy & Associates has two great Website Specials this month.  The first is our Why Do We Need To Charge So Much? streaming version.  This is a wonderful way to help all employees (including techs) understand why the company needs to charge what it charges.  It normally costs $114.95 but this month it’s only $99.95Order today!

The other featured product is the streaming version of our popular two-day Planning For Profit program.  If you are interested in learning the business side of the business, this program is for you.  The live, in person, course is $2,650.  The streaming version is normally $1,496.  This month, however, the streaming version is only $1,295.  This offer will not come around often.  Order today!

Look Before You Leap

By Tom Grandy, Founder

“Look before you leap” is a pretty common phrase.  Translated, it means count the cost before moving forward.  Here is a quick question.  “What do most new trades company owners do before they start their own company?”  Obviously, within the trades industry at least, most current company owners used to be a tech working for someone else.  Many reading this article will make that transition, from tech to entrepreneur, over the next several years.  Below are just a few things to think about BEFORE you make that final decision.

  • Business Expenses – It costs a lot of money to run a company. Those costs are called business expenses or overhead.  Basic costs include vehicle loans, insurance (liability, Workers’ Compensation, health, etc.) office expenses, office staff, and vehicle gas and maintenance, just to list a few.
  •  
  • Hours Worked – As a technician, most work 40+ hours a week and some on-call time. As an owner, you best be prepared to physically work 60+ hours a week.  Mentally, there will be no breaks. You will be thinking about the business 24/7/365.  Vacations and family time will be limited at best, and non-existent for most, for at least the first few years.
  •  
  • Cash Flow – It takes a lot of “cash” to run a business. You will need cash for payroll, to buy parts and equipment, to fund inventory, and yes, receivables.  Wakeup call!  Everyone will not pay on time but you will still need to meet payroll and pay your suppliers.  How much cash does the average company typically start off with?  Normally, somewhere between zero and being in debt for the initial needed vehicle.

 

The above items are literally just the tip of the iceberg.  You will be responsible for taxes (company matching taxes, employee withholding taxes and your personal taxes), hiring and firing, keeping customers happy, and creating sales to keep the techs busy, just to mention a few.  That new boat you envisioned at the weekend cabin at the lake may come but likely it won’t happen nearly as quickly as you might have imagined.  Oh, one last thing to keep in the back of your mind.  Statistically, 50% of all new business fail the first year!

With all that said, being an entrepreneur has lots of benefits.  The point is simple.  Count the cost before you move forward.  The grass may seem greener on the other side of the road…but it still needs to be mowed.

As a new entrepreneur you will also need to create company policies and convey them to your employees. The good news is that this month’s Website Special features our industry acclaimed, Company Policy Manual.  It is very specific in terms of company policies.  The great news in that it comes as a Microsoft Word document which allows the user to add, change, modify or delete anything they wish.  This customizable Company Policy Manual is normally $134.95 but this month you can purchase it for only $99.95Order today!

As you move from tech to company owner you are going to have to have a pretty good understanding of the numbers.  When it comes to online, self-paced, programs you will not want to miss out on our new Money Matters course.  It’s like getting a PHD in business, at home.  It’s easy to understand and presented in a way every individual can easily understand.  The course is normally $159.00 but this month it’s only $139.00Order today!

Adapt or Die

By Tom Grandy, Founder

If you have never read the book Who Moved the Cheese”, you should.  It’s a classic, especially in our current pandemic environment.  The book relates the experiences of several mice that one day realize the cheese they had been provided every day is suddenly gone.  Some waited for things to simply return to the way they were but it never happened.  Others adapted in multiple ways.  The message is clear.  Adapt or die.

One does not need to drive too far down the street to realize the effects of the pandemic.  Small, locally owned, businesses are boarded up along with many familiar national brands.  The real eye opener however, is how restaurants have or have not reacted.

There is a Golden Corral in our small town.  It had a sign out front that said “Temporarily Closed”.  It was there for months until one day the sign was gone and the building was up for sale.   Everyone knows you can’t run a buffet restaurant in the middle of a pandemic, right?  Wrong!  One of our more local restaurants is famous for its terrific salad bar.  They printed a list of all the salad bar ingredients on a piece of paper and placed a copy at each patron’s seat.  The customer simply checked off what they wanted, and the waitress made the salad for them.  They are doing just fine. 

People drive from far and wide to eat at the Moonlite-Bar-B-Q buffet.  They adapted by servicing cafeteria style.  I am guessing that move not only saved their business but also suspect it greatly reduced the past waste when hungry customers overfilled their plates and left large portions of food that later had to be thrown away.

Texas Roadhouse wasted no time providing drive though service, even selling raw steaks so customers could take them home and cook whenever they wished.  That became so popular they had to discontinue it because they couldn’t fill the needs of their carry out customers.

Then there is Chick-Fil-A.  You have to love and appreciate them.  They have ALWAYS been busy.  In case you are unaware of it, Chick-Fil-A has the highest annual gross sales per location of any fast-food franchise, by far.  That is pretty amazing when you consider they are closed 14% of the time (closed on Sunday’s).  Is it because they honor the Sabbath?  Another discussion, for another time.

They adapted too.  Initially they had a person walking along the drive through to take your order.  Before long, at least at our Chick-Fil-A, they had three people walking along taking orders.  Initially you paid when you got to the window.  Not anymore.  They added a person (again walking along the pickup line) to take credit cards and ANOTHER person that accepted cash payments, while giving change!  The line continues to wrap around the building but now it nearly never stops.  It’s kind of like watching a slow-motion movie.  By the time the customer reaches the pickup window everything has been taken care of.  The customer is simply handed their bag of food, with a smile and a kind word and off they go!

I think the point is clear – adapt or die.  Our friendly mouse, that waited for the cheese to return, ended up very disappointed.  What have you changed in your business since the pandemic began?  With the right adjustments, you will not only survive the pandemic – you will prosper.  If you are dying anyway, try something different.  It might just change your business and perhaps your life.!

New employees need to adapt to the company policies, but without specific written instructions it’s hard to do that.  The good news is that this month’s Website Special features our industry acclaimed, 96-page, Company Policy Manual.  It is very specific in terms of company policies.  The great news in that it comes as a Microsoft Word document which allows the user to add, change, modify or delete anything they wish.  This customizable Company Policy Manual is normally $134.95 but this month you can purchase it for only $99.95 Order today!

When it comes to online, self-paced, programs you will not want to miss out on our new Money Matters course.  It’s like getting a PHD in business, at home.  It’s easy to understand and presented in a way every individual can easily understand.  The course is normally $159.00 but this month it’s only $139.00Order today!

Free Resource

Knowing how to keep your business profitable is more important than ever.

Download our FREE e-book today and learn how you can keep your business running well for years to come, even when other businesses fail.