Matt Michel: 7 reasons why you should grow
Growing is like winning; winning is fun.
It is no surprise that most plumbing companies are small. What is surprising is the number of plumbing company owners who are content to stay small. If that includes you, here are seven reasons you should consider growing.
1. IT’S MORE FUN
There is something energizing about a growing business. There is an energy and excitement you can feel. A growing business is like a winning sports team. In fact, growing is like winning. It is winning in the marketplace. Just like winning is fun, growing is fun.
Moreover, a growing business attracts winning people. Beyond fun, a business that grows is more fulfilling. There is more of an opportunity to positively affect the community and to change people’s lives inside and outside of the company.
2. IT’S MORE SECURE
When a plumber quits a two- or three-truck company, it is devastating for the company. In a 10- to 20-truck operation, the departure of a plumber for greener pastures is merely irritating. Accordingly, the large company is less likely to be held hostage by a prima donna plumber.
Not only is the company protected from the departure of personnel, but the owner and his family are projected from an injury or health problem affecting the owner. The company still works when the owner cannot.
When the economy hits a rough patch, a larger company is better able to weather the storm. While the company may take a hit, it is unlikely to be sunk. In addition, larger companies are better known with stronger brands that are perceived to be safer by consumers. In a business downturn, bigger companies get more than their share of calls.
3. IT’S MORE FLEXIBLE
With more people, it becomes possible to stagger shifts to offer standard service across more hours and days. This improves service for customers and allows employees the potential for more favorable work schedules.
4. IT’S BETTER STUFF
Since overhead is spread across more sales, a larger company is better able spread the cost of the latest and greatest jetters, cameras and other plumbing technology. Larger companies can afford better software, better computers, better trucks, better facilities, better training and so on.
5. IT’S BETTER PAY AND BENEFITS
Owners of larger companies make more money than the owners of small companies. They can also pay people more and offer better benefits.
6. IT’S POSSIBLE TO DELEGATE
Eventually, a company will reach the point where the owner can hire people to do the things he dislikes. Then, the owner works on what he wants to work on. Everything else is delegated. The only way a business owner gets to quit wearing multiple hats is growing so that there are sufficient employees to wear all of the hats.
7. IT’S POSSIBLE TO SELL
Every company owner will eventually exit the business. Some will do it on their feet. Some will do it from six feet under. If a company is large enough, profitable and growing, it is possible to exit by selling the business and getting enough money to enjoy life without being condemned to walk the concrete floor of a big box in order to supplement meager retirement savings and social security.
WHEN YOU SHOULD GET HELP
For most plumbing company owners, growth requires stepping outside of the comfort zone. It will require stretching, changing and learning new skills. Struggling on his own, an owner might question whether it is worth it. This is when he should get help from one of the industry’s consultants or by joining one of the industry’s business alliances.
In the evolution of a company, there are times when growth does not seem worth it. Employees are a problem. Get-ting business is a problem. Managing everything is a problem. This is when an alliance is especially valuable. The alliances provide coaching and the support of peers who have faced the same obstacles and busted through them.
Others have been there, understand the challenges and can help company owners work through the barriers. The goal is to reach the other side, where the company grows to the point that the owner can delegate the things he dislikes and work on the things he finds interesting.
WHEN YOU SHOULD GIVE UP AND GET A JOB
If a company owner concludes that it is better to be small, it means he has given up on the idea of building a business and settled for owning a job. He should get a better job, one with better pay, less paperwork and government reports and benefits. There is no shame in working for someone else, especially if the company is growing. After all, it is more fun to grow.