Tips on owning and operating a successful company.

So, you finally did it! You told that stupid SOB of a boss what an idiot he was and how you weren’t going to take orders from him or anyone anymore.

You probably did like many before you: You went right out and bought yourself a white van, parked it in your driveway and figured the phone would ring off the hook if you did good work and didn’t rip people off like your old boss. After all, you don’t need a lot of money since you can work cheap.

Congratulations, you’re a new business owner!

OK, how’s it going so far?

The unfortunate reality is that without a map in hand, you’re doomed to be one of the nine out of 10 small businesses that fail within the first few years. They learn a bit too late that fixing stuff is not enough. Being well-liked is not enough. Charging less than the other guy and being a bargain is not enough.

Isn’t working out quite the way you planned?

Take heart that, like you, many of the successful plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical contractors I’ve been lucky enough to work with didn’t get a business education before they went into business. But, they didn’t stay business illiterate for long.

Here’s what most of them had already learned prior to working with me. It’s very tough going it all alone. You tend to fall into a ton of holes and you spend most of your days fighting the daily fires. There’s no strategy; no time, energy or money left to build a successful and profitable business.

They come to realize before the breaking point that just like when they were techs, they were only as good as their technical knowledge and their tools. And to be a successful business owner, they’d now have to get their business education by spending their time, energy and money. They begin by reading the right business books, attending the right workshops, joining the right business trade associations and yes, hiring the right business consultants. They learn that as an owner, you're only as good as your business knowledge and your business tools.

Are you ready to see a road map?

Would you like to know what it takes to own and operate a successful company?

Road Map To Success: Here’s what I teach business owners both new and old when we work together, whether they want to grow their companies bigger or they want to manage the big company they’ve created better - you need to master the Seven Power Concepts.

The fundamentals of owning and operating any business are remarkably the same. There are seven major areas that require your attention as an owner. I call this The Power Concept.

Here’s what I want you to do. Start by reviewing each area, and then rate it on a scale of one to five to locate your company’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as your own.

The Power Concepts to go from powerless to powerful are as follows:

  • Operating Power - Create the policies and procedures for every task in every department of the company. Implement the systems to run the company systematically and automatically with or without you every day.


  • Financial Power - Generate the selling price and define how each person affects the financial success of the company. Sell people on the pricing using open book management. Decide what numbers need to be collected and trained on. Address accounts receivable, accounts payable and the credit department.


  • Selling Power - Establish how each department plays a role in the pricing and profitability in order to focus on how each employee affects the selling process. Sales meetings, role-playing and scripts all are put to work here to ensure that everyone understands they have a vested interest to sell what will benefit the customer.


  • Marketing Power - Once the price is established and the tools to sell have been given, we need to market effectively to reach the target audience; those most likely to desire what we’re selling. This includes items like advertising, joining organizations and networking in the community.


  • Staffing Power - Add people with the right attitude and develop the rest in-house. Hold people accountable for the sales, operational and technical standards you create. This will make existing staff better, or make them go away if they don’t want to play a better game. When you want to hire from other companies, have the systems to identify what they know and then train them your way. Knowing how to train is the key.

    Staffing Power is all about recruiting, hiring and training for every position at your company. Based on all of the other power concepts, you must acknowledge that training is essential to your success. Never stop training. Learn to be open to recruiting raw talent. Become excellent at training and communicating through effective meetings. This requires the development of the skills of an excellent presenter.


  • Leadership Power - Set the goal, inspire a vision or belief, and take the actions necessary to make it all a reality. To do that, you need everyone on the same page. The managers and owner need to be effectively working on the business, coaching those who need it and congratulating those who are achieving on their own. Leadership is about working on the right things, in the right order, and getting them implemented.


  • Sales Coaching Power - Have everyone who performs work for the customer use a selling system that is linked to a system for coaching sales. Using objective financial measurements, create a reward system based on a three-tier approach: 1) Do this measured minimum and you keep your job. Thanks for coming to work; 2) Do below this measured minimum for a specified amount of time and you get coached on how to improve your sales. Keep doing poorly and you’ll need to find another place to work; and 3) Do above the measured minimum and you’ve earned a bonus. Rewards are more than just financial.

    These seven Power Concepts are the foundation of a sound business plan. Once you have the goal, you need to prioritize the many projects and steps it will take to reach that goal. A plan for prioritizing and implementing projects can trigger you to assess, plan, take action and inspect those things you know you need to implement. A thorough needs assessment should do the following:

    • Learn what you’re doing right so you can do more of it.
    • Learn what you need to stop doing before you fail.
    • Learn what you need to begin doing and its potential benefits.

    Before you can get plugged into the kind of power I’m talking about, you need to make an honest assessment of where you are today - and where you want to be in the future.

    EXERCISE - Rate Your Power Rate each area in The Power Concept on a scale of one to five to locate your company’s strengths and weaknesses.

      1 = Powerless
      2 = Have some systems
      3 = Currently working on improving
      4 = Close to powerful
      5 = I’ve got the Power!

    Operating Power 1 2 3 4 5
    Financial Power 1 2 3 4 5
    Selling Power 1 2 3 4 5
    Marketing Power 1 2 3 4 5
    Staffing Power 1 2 3 4 5
    Leadership Power 1 2 3 4 5
    Sales Coaching Power 1 2 3 4 5

    Now prioritize the areas you need to work on in your company.

    Operating Power Priority #_____
    Financial Power Priority #_____
    Selling Power Priority #_____
    Marketing Power Priority #_____
    Staffing Power Priority #_____
    Leadership Power Priority #_____
    Sales Coaching Power Priority #_____

    Master these Power Concepts and you’ll be on your way to taking control of your business and your life. And nothing is more empowering than that.


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