For many contractors, the move from the truck to the boardroom may seem like a simple one once they’ve decided to start their own company. However, the mindset needed to be a successful business owner isn’t all in what you know, but what you need to learn.
Sometimes the hardest transformation is to go from the guy working on comfort systems in peoples’ homes to working in the office and being a true business owner.
You already know you’re the expert in the field – you have done the work to prove it. Building a business, however, requires a different set of skills that you may have never used before. You need to follow a plan to keep from merely working in the business to working on the business.
Tracking and managing data on everything from how you book calls, to how you deliver, to the labor percentage and beyond can be difficult to learn in the beginning. Setting clear goals, following and delivering on a 90-day plan and learning how to delegate duties are some of the first things you need to learn in starting a successful contracting business.
As top sales training and personal success consultant Brian Tracy says, “The first million is hard, but the second million is inevitable.”
If you learn how to develop your leadership mindset, you’ll overcome the temptations to do what’s easy and fall back into the guy in the truck instead of the guy running the company.
Leadership vs. Fear
Business leaders have certain characteristics they must develop to build successful companies. In order to properly position yourself as a leader in both your organization and in the community you serve, you need to develop skills that will guide you in overcoming the roadblocks that you will encounter every day. These include:
While there are set practices and standards within the industry you’ve learned to follow as a tradesman, you develop leadership skills through practice. NBA superstar Michael Jordan didn’t win his many championships in the games, he won them because of the time he spent in practice.
Leadership is consistently challenged by your past belief system, a lack of motivation and the fear of failure. As humans, we develop a belief system as we live our lives. It comes baked in by the time we are an adult.
We also hold certain fears that challenge who we are as leaders. The fear of failure and the fear of succumbing to a lack of motivation are the two most common risks we face as entrepreneurs. The amount of risk we manage is unfathomable at times, and it’s easy to default to what’s easy.
People often want to shun challenges, but challenges are necessary for growth. Just as we learned by doing as children, we learn by doing as adults. It’s only by developing good habits and a willingness to practice management skills and follow plans that we mature into good leaders.
A Positive Attitude
Effective leaders know their goals and how to create a personal vision they must follow. To build a successful business you should:
• Create a healthy routine: This routine considers your whole day and not just your business pursuits. While you should have a routine at the office, you should also make time for your other responsibilities. Don’t deep-dive into your business while taking your family or other interests for granted.
• Celebrate moments of greatness: Not every win is a million-dollar sales contract. There are small wins throughout the day that should be celebrated. Have the attitude of gratitude.
• Stay in focus: It’s easy to get side-tracked by the shiny object, but if you’ve done your homework and have developed your 90-day plan, you can avoid distractions. Stay in focus by staying true to your plans.
• Get stuff done: Have the confidence, consistency and commitment to follow your action plan. Endurance is a key component of good leadership.
A leader can see the bigger picture and anticipate challenges because they’ve spent the time developing a positive routine to achieve their goals.
Set Realistic Goals
Leaders know they can’t achieve their goals alone, and true leaders know how to delegate their work so their time is best spent on following their plan.
But the plan can’t be unrealistic. You can’t expect to be the guy in the truck one year and the guy in the office managing 50 trucks the next. Plan your strategy by assessing your resources and creating budgets around what is realistically possible.
Create targets and crush them as you move up the ladder. Plan every day with the mindset that you will master that day’s initiatives. You stay on track by turning your mindset into mind growth.
Surround Yourself with Momentum
While motivation is necessary to get started, it is only temporary. It’s momentum that is the longer-term goal. Once you’ve set realistic goals, you have to follow them each and every day. Create layers of endurance in your day.
Momentum doesn’t just happen. Start by planning your day the night before. Have a strategy and relentlessly execute it. But don’t get sidetracked if your plans get ambushed by other events. Things look great on paper, but if you don’t continuously practice them, they will get sidetracked when events happen.
Momentum is also driven by surrounding yourself with a culture of innovation and collaboration.
Ensuring our employees have positive attitudes helps them grow within your business and helps your company breed innovation and effectiveness. Employees with positive attitudes are more willing to stay curious and bring new techniques into your company.
Just keep in mind that the greatest reward is to make a lasting difference in your community. Your success isn’t hinged only on your revenue but on how it affects and influences your family and those you surround yourself with.
Michael Disney is a co-owner and the chief operations officer for CEO Warrior, where he leads the large and growing company as a trainer and subject matter expert. CEO Warrior is a business consulting, training, and mentoring firm, providing tested and proven methods to defeat the roadblocks that prevent small to mid-sized businesses from achieving their ultimate success.