Then I talk to contractors who reach out to me, we always seem to get into a discussion about how they like to learn.

After we talk for a while, I share the three different ways through which I help contractors today, which are:

  • “The 7-Power Contractor” on paperback, e-book and audio book;
  • The “Build Your Operating Manuals” online course, which is a self-study course featuring me as a guide in video; the first, and most important, three key manuals; and the ability to purchase other operating manuals once the initial course is completed; and
  • Very exclusively and limited one-on-one consulting.

I explain that there are generally three ways to learn, and that is through self-study, where you’re required to have the discipline to apply yourself; group study, where you attend a webinar series or a seminar series or meet as a group virtually or in person (and you typically learn as a group); or a personal coach, who works one-on-one with you. I also share what their other options — besides me — might be to get the specific type of help they’re seeking.

I share with them that working on their business to get it into shape can be a lot like how someone would go about getting themselves physically fit.

One option is to watch an exercise video on a digital device and, if disciplined enough, do the push-ups and sit-ups and get into shape.

The next option is to join a fitness class and train as a group with a trainer. The trainer leads the group so they can follow along and get in shape with a customized fitness program just for them. It’s someone who can work with them to monitor results, make adjustments, provide guidance along the way, and give them the push they may need to reach their goals.

I tell them they need to know what will work best for them, and they need to know how much time, energy and money they are willing to invest, as this affects the choice made and the outcome of that choice.

Many times, which path they choose to get their business fit is based on what we’ve been discussing (such as their past experiences when it comes to learning on their own or with professional help). The other factor is what their circumstances currently are when it comes to what they have to invest in terms of time, energy and money. The more you have, the more options you have.

Some contractors actually prefer to learn on their own and at their own pace. They have no fear of going it alone when it comes to getting the information and the knowledge they desire. All they really seek is to better understand their choices, what they’ll be getting when they buy a self-study program, and what the WIIFMs — “What’s in it for me?” — are for each program.

For them, a book, e-book, audio book, binder, series of binders, series of video tutorials, seminar, webinar or another type of self-study program is what fits them best. It certainly can be a way more affordable option.

I’ve come to realize from doing consulting that more companies than not can’t afford my consulting, and there’s only one of me and a ton of contractors who need and want the systems that I provide. They can’t yet afford to leave their business and come join a group training class because of the fragility of their business and their being gone. It’s also expensive to travel. All are things that can make group learning out of reach.

It’s what has caused me to create the “Build Your Operating Manuals” online course. I’ve taken what I’ve been teaching contractors for 16 years one-to-one — and now in a group-learning class — to a self-study class. I’m still there to teach in a series of step-by-step videos, and they still end up with the operating manuals they so desperately need at their company.

The truth is so many contractors have been at this process of trying to get their business in shape, including knowing they should document their policies and procedures in writing. But, it’s just so hard. I know. I tried forever to do it until my family and I paid $150,000 in today’s money to create them with a professional writer, Dan Holohan — and a year of my life just creating the outline for all the positions at my company.

So, if they’re a small company or just at the owner-operator level, they know they need help to get from there to the next level. It’s been a ceiling they can’t break through because they lack the systems, procedures and know-how to get their company bigger and better. They have discovered there are no more hours left in the day left to do all they’re trying to do the way they’re doing it now.

And there is still another group of contractors who have grown their companies wildly, and whose growth has their company heading out of control. It’s proving to be exhausting and expensive in terms of both stress and money lost. They have arrived at a point where they need to get things under control to survive and to set the stage for what they hope will be the next level they seek which will have them thriving — not just surviving.

Any way you choose to make your company better will pay you enormous dividends. But, you must come to the process with the intent to make a change for the better — and with the will and determination to make working on the business a priority rather than only working in the business.