You’re on a road trip with the family. It seems like you should have arrived at your destination by now. The kids are asking, “Are we there yet?” and your wife gently suggests that you might be lost. What’s your reaction? “I’m not lost, we will arrive soon.” Twenty minutes later your wife asks you to pull into the next service station to ask for directions. You become a bit irritated, and continue driving. Another 30 minutes pass and the kids are getting impatient while your wife is getting angrier and angrier. With tempers getting shorter as the road trip gets longer, you finally pull over and ask for directions. Ten minutes later you arrive at your destination … late and frustrated.
What just happened? One word: Pride. There was no way anybody was going to tell you what to do. Was it worth the price? You could have saved valuable time. The kids wouldn’t have been upset, and the “I told you so,” look on your wife’s face would never have occurred. If you had simply swallowed your pride and admitted you were lost and pulled over to ask for directions an hour ago, it all could have been avoided. The fruit of pride is expensive!
There is a Proverb you might be familiar with. It says “Pride goes before a fall.” In essence it means being self-centered, while refusing to ask for help, will cost you. The cost on the above road trip was time and bruised relationships.
What about your business? Are you making a profit? Do you have problems with technician productivity? Are you getting the reports you need to manage your business? Perhaps some of your employees aren’t coming to work on time or aren’t filling out their paperwork properly. How well do you handle customer complaints? Does your total marketing program still solely rely on your large yellow page ad that isn’t producing quality leads? Chances are you are dealing with at least one of these issues. Now before we address the core problem let’s talk about a related topic.
Do you know why trades companies are called independent contractors? The answer is right in the name; we are called independent contractors because we are independent! As problems occur within our businesses, our thinking tends to go something like this: “I’ll bet I am the only contractor that struggles in this area. I’m not going to ask for help because people will laugh at me for not knowing the answer. I will work through it … eventually.” That is called pride! The reality is that there is nothing new under the sun. Every problem you currently have, or will ever have, has been experienced by almost every other contractor within the trades industry.
So what’s the solution? Ask for help. If you need help with marketing, attend a marketing class. If you want to understand the business-side of your business better then think about attending our two-day Planning for Profit class. If you need help creating a Company Policy Manual, do a Google search and look for sources that can help you. If your techs struggle when it comes to customer service, provide some training. If your closing rate is low when it comes to your sales, then join your fellow contractors in a sales training class.
Swallow your pride and get some help. When you do attend a class, a light bulb will be turned on in lots of ways. First of all you will find a room full of contractors struggling with the same issues you are dealing with. As information is presented in class, and discussed between attendees, you will find answers to your questions. Best of all you will make new friends, usually in non-competing territories, that you can begin to network with. Next time you face a “new” problem you can call Jim, Sally or William to see if they can offer some input. Again, the reality is that every contractor has either faced the problem you are facing, is currently going through the problem or will be facing it before long.
Too many quality contractors go out of business each year because of pride! Remember our road trip? Asking for directions when you first became lost would have saved time and preserved family relationships. The same principle applies within your business, but the consequences are far greater than strained relationships. When it comes to pride within your business you are opening the door to failure. If pride continues it could even put you out of business!