The year started off just like any other year: goal setting and lots of expectations for my business. However, in February, a friend of our family left this world way too soon and that made me evaluate what was important in life.

In a matter of months, my wife and I decided to sell our condo in Boston, MA and we moved to Tampa, FL. We chose to keep our business running in Boston because we had the right person for the job.

Once we arrived in Tampa, we replicated our business model and within less than three weeks I was invoicing our first client in Florida.

Obviously, it sounds easier than it was. For one, I had to develop a system to run my operation in Boston remotely. Something that I never gave a second thought to before.

Additionally, when I was setting up my new van, I couldn’t just go to Home Depot and buy the same tools as I had up north. I had to research all my options, brands, new products, good and bad experiences from previous jobs before I could put a list together of the tools that made the most sense.

Yesterday during my monthly call with my bookkeeper, I learned that my company in Tampa made $40k in profit in the first six months of operation.

In comparison, it took me more than two years to become profitable in Boston when I started there 18 years ago.

What changed between the first location and the new addition? It is what we refer to in our industry as ‘School Of Hard Knocks’! In other words: lots of mistakes and experiences learned the hard way – on my own and also from others – that helped me avoid costly mistakes now.

When you learn from previous experiences, the water does not look as rough and sailing is way more pleasant.

Here are some takeaways that may help you in planning your goals for the coming year.
  • Limitation – you can only do so much when you work alone. I was running on fumes for the first 15 years of my business. I had to meet clients, do the work, do the paperwork, attend trainings and seminars, and make time for family and friends. After a while, it is really hard to keep all the plates spinning. Eventually, something is going to give. Adding help was the best thing I did. Yes, scary and frightening at first but necessary to build a solid business.
  • Systems – ask yourself: can your company survive if you are out of the picture for a few days? Imagine it for a few months…If you were to sell your company to someone outside of our industry, could they figure out your business quickly or does all the information about your company reside in your brain and your brain only? If the answer is the latter, it is time for you to start writing down your systems.
  • Focus – does it make sense for you to do the books for your company? Does it make sense for you to build your own website? Do you write your own social media posts? Do you install your own projects? Here’s the answer: your job as the president of your company is to bring the big bucks! Instead of having you spending your CEO hours doing the books, website, social media or holding the drill yourself, hire the professionals for a lot less money. They are also going to be way more efficient than you because that’s what they do for a living. These professionals know the ins and outs of their trades.

My biggest goal for 2024 is to help dealers and workrooms to create and expand their installation teams. I will train and develop systems for them and assist their installers with tools and van organization while the company as a whole is focused on the bigger picture: bringing in the big dollars.

What about you? What’s on your mind for the coming year? Let’s chat.