If you haven’t heard the story made famous by Zig Ziglar about training fleas, it’s one of my favorite lessons. If you put fleas in a jar, you can watch them jump and hit the lid, jump and hit the lid, over and over again. After some head-banging training, wishing to avoid pain, the fleas will reduce their potential and jump just high enough that they don’t bang their head on the lid. If you remove the lid, these fleas will forever remain trapped in that jar, because they now have self-imposed limits on how high they can jump.
Contractors have been trained, over and over, to believe that they can’t jump outside the jar. They may start out looking to be the biggest, but when it doesn’t happen, they place self-imposed limits on themselves that hinder their growth.
You might ask, “How do I stay motivated to keep jumping, when I keep hitting a ceiling?” Let’s answer that question. My gift to you is the solution on how to rapidly double the size of your business.
STEP ONE: DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT
Sit down with a blank sheet of paper and decide what you want. What is important to you? In five years, how much income do you want to be making annually? What home do you want to live in? What family vacations do you want to take? What vehicle do want to be driving? What type of education do you want to provide your kids? Write down on this paper the answers to these questions. Now that you know what you want, answer the major question.
STEP TWO: WHAT MUST MY BUSINESS LOOK LIKE?
What does your business need to look like to provide what you need in order to live your desired lifestyle?
Once you know what your business must look like, you can set realistic, attainable goals to build the necessary business to provide you the lifestyle that you desire.
For example, let’s say it has taken you 10 years to build your business into a
$3 million/year business, but now that you’ve decided to achieve your personal objectives, your business must be producing $6 million annually.
If it’s taken you 10 years to build a $3 million business, it’s probably unrealistic to expect that you are going to produce $6 million in revenue next year. Setting that type of expectation would just be setting yourself up for failure. You’d just be “hitting your head on the lid” again. A more realistic approach might be to build a plan to become a $6 million business with a “believable to you” annual percentage growth plan. For example, let’s hypothetically say that 20 percent annual growth is realistic to you. That would equate to:
Year one: $3,600,000
Year two: $4,320,000
Year three: $5,184,000
Year four: $6,220,800
Wow! In four years, you could have a business that would provide you everything you ever wanted in life. Now you have the motivation to fuel your success!
STEP THREE: CREATE THE PLAN
When I first developed my plan for growth, I determined that substantial growth could come from answering the phones 24 hours a day. As my company grew, how the phones were answered evolved. Initially, when the office closed at 5 p.m., the phones were transferred to my cell phone, and I personally answered the calls between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. Growth allowed me to have a person in the office answering phones until 8 p.m., and then they transferred to me. Then our office hours expanded from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
I answered every call between 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. until we were an $8 million company. Today, my phones are answered 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by people in my office. I believe this strategy has contributed to the growth of our company.
What’s your plan for your 20 percent annual growth? Are you going to extend your hours, increase your average invoice, or increase your closing rate? As an individual who mentors contractors all across North America, many of my clients are far exceeding 20 percent growth annually by applying the lessons I provide them on how to improve their operational excellence without running any more calls.
STEP FOUR: CREATE AN ORGANIZATIONAL CHART
The next step is to create an organizational chart showing what your business will look like for this $6 million business. Then work it backwards for each year until you have your organizational chart developed for next year’s 20 percent growth. What staffing positions will you need to hire? Technicians, salespeople, administrative, managers? You don’t want to be understaffed and overwhelmed, but you also don’t want to be overstaffed and lose money because of overhead.
In summary, I’d like to encourage you to jump outside of your jar and your self-imposed limits. Follow this four-step process and you will achieve rapid, systematic growth. It worked for me, and I promise you, follow this process and you will have a super fantastic business!
See more articles from this issue here!