A few thoughts on successfully skippering your carpet cleaning venture …

Well, I’ve flogged this theme of viewing your cleaning business career as a “sail in the bay” pretty thoroughly over the last few weeks.  (My thanks to SFS for giving me this platform to reach out to all of you!)  Hopefully my analogy of viewing the various business models available to you as different size sailboats requiring totally different tactics has made a lot of sense.

Simply put, at the end of the day in your business, the decision to move from one sailing vessel to another or to stay on the business boat you’re currently sailing is up to you. The prizes that are won (or lost!) as you move from boat to boat are as individual as the captains who sail them.  But here are three important lessons to take away from my ramblings over the last few months:

1. Sail your boat with “balanced passion”. You won’t see a captain sailing his yacht (of whatever size) from a lounge chair. He sails with “one cheek in the chair”—always fully engaged, always anticipating the next tack or obstacle in the water. You want to do the same thing with your business. Running a business is not a lounge-chair sport! You’ll never successfully make the leap from one boat to another without passion, and you won’t get the most out of the boat you’re on if you’re not passionate about sailing it. But now for a reminder- sailing (and business) is also SUPPOSED to be FUN!  So even as you’re preparing to make the leap to a larger boat, take the time to enjoy the experience of the boat you’re currently sailing.

2. Learn to anticipate the needs of your growing company. You can sink yourself by underestimating the needs you’ll have on your next larger boat, or by trying to expand the boat you’re on rather than making the leap to a larger one. You might be tempted just to add a few planks here and there to enlarge the boat, or to get a taller mast to handle a larger sail, or to add more crew members to handle your expanded boat. In business, these things are equivalent to trying to expand your businesses with inadequate cash or profit margins, or outdated information technology or even production equipment. All of these strategies place you at serious risk of capsizing. At some point, the very survival of your restoration/cleaning company dictates you have to make the leap to a larger boat. Anticipating what you’ll need to make that leap will improve your chances of making the leap successfully.

3. EXECUTE! It’s one thing to understand on an intellectual level what you need to do to make the leap.  (Too many business owners are seasoned captains of the good ship “Someday I’m Gunna”!)  But it’s another thing altogether to actually DO the hard work.  You must a) make the tough calls that are necessary to prepare yourself, then b) make the leap, and finally c) follow through with a safe landing. The time for analysis and procrastination is over. Nobody ever made the leap from one business model to another by endlessly analyzing more spreadsheets, or rubbing the hide off a buffalo nickel, or waiting until that perfect employee comes along. It’s time to pull the trigger… OR of course you can decide to stay home. Either way is fine. But hesitating halfway through your leap will cause you to plop in the water, and as you’ll discover, “plop” is not a happy sound when it is your company sinking! (Steve Toburen has written beautifully on this concept with his “Avoiding The Road In-Between” Special Report.)

skipper-carpet-cleaning-ventureGrowing your cleaning/restoration business, just like sailing a boat, is a thrilling adventure. It can provide tremendous emotional and financial rewards both for you as well as for your crew. The waters will not always be calm, and the winds will not always be blowing in your favor. You can count on that. But you can also count on winning more sailing regattas or battles at sea when you understand how the game is played on the different boats, and by preparing yourself thoroughly.  I can’t think of a better way to prepare yourself for your business voyage than attending the Strategies for Success seminar!  As always, fair winds and safe sailing to you!

Chuck Violand (more about Chuck)
SFS Instructor
CEO Violand Management Associates

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