A Business Takes Time, Energy, and Commitment
Owning and building a business takes time, energy, and most importantly, commitment. One of my Vice Presidents likes to use the phrase – “Are you interested or committed”? In my opinion, that question pretty much sums up the short and long term success of any business. It’s easier to succeed when the general economy is booming, but it’s harder to grow and be profitable when things slow down.
Even with the changing economy sometimes luck plays a part in success. At the “ripe old age” of 24 I was given the opportunity to buy a small business. 30 years later it has grown from a single location to 60 locations throughout the USA and Canada, but it took a lot of time, energy, and commitment to get it to where it is today. Building and owning a business is not for the faint of heart.
Over my 30 year experience these are the best pieces of advice I could offer someone.
- Take opportunities as they arise. Without risk there is no reward.
- You will not always make the right decision. When you don’t, analyze it objectively and take corrective action as needed.
- Empower your employees. As a leader, you must let go and trust them to do the job they were hired to do.
- Practice “tough love” when needed.
- Firing people is part of the commitment to your company. As I tell my managers, “you don’t fire someone; they fire themselves”. I have never fired anyone that does a good job. While rough economic times may require laying someone off, that’s different than firing them. Make sure you treat them with respect and help them secure new employment when at all possible.
- Understand the diversity in your workforce and manage them accordingly. I have many people who have been with the company for over 25 years. With the influx of younger employees, my leaders need to understand how to motivate and manage the different generational needs.
- In hiring a younger workforce, we must also be prepared to train them. Succession planning is critical to our future success as we grow and some of our more senior leaders begin to retire.
- Adapt to changing environments
- 2008 brought a slowdown to every industry, but even more so the construction market. We knew we would have to do things differently and made a critical decision that would get us through the tough times. We completely altered our business model from targeting contractors for specific products to viewing it as a business development opportunity. Our new business growth contradicted the trends in the shrinking construction industry. We found a niche in the market that had not been tried and we adapted to it.
- Technology was beepers, pay phones, and no computer systems when I started this company. Today, technology is the engine that drives us forward in all we do. We need to embrace it and make it a competitive advantage in order to stay ahead of the curve.
So, while “luck” does play a part in business, implementing the strategies above were more important to our success. We have and will continue adapt to the multiple changes. This will allow us to continue growing and prospering. And, as for me? After more than 30 years I still enjoy getting up early in the morning and coming to work every day and hope to do so for many years to come. I look forward to continue building my business.
Learn more about Frank Granara in “Meet the Masterminds” to read about his expertise in the business of building a company and growing people.
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