So many times, a business owner wallows within the inner machinery of his or her business. As a long-term strategy, it’s a huge error. But in getting a confused business straightened out, it’s the mandatory first step.
I own a telephone answering service – we handle after-hours urgent calls for our wide assortment of clients – and for this essay, I’m especially thinking about HVAC operations (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning companies).
In an HVAC operation there are multitudes of wheels spinning. By this, I mean that for the operation to be successful there must be a dozens and dozens of sub-systems in constant operation. There are the marketing efforts, the vehicles, tools and equipment, the trained personnel, the billing department, payables, complaint resolution, compliance issues and so on. That machinery can’t be eliminated, but what can change is the owner’s perception of all those wheels.
In your HVAC, for instance, do you pride yourself in understanding every single nuance of the operation? Do you know your business in such detail that no one could ever take your place? Are you the one who solves multitudes of problems, one after another, all day long?
If so, you are making the classic mistake of confusing pride with proper management. Think about it: if you mentally rise above your business and look down at it, do you see yourself in every corner of it? Or, do you look down and NOT see yourself in every nook and cranny? If it’s the latter, you own a true business. If it’s the former, you have a job…and a nightmarish job at that.
Get above things, look down, and if you see yourself down there inserted into every phase of the operation, then reconsider your fundamental viewpoint.
Start thinking about your business as a separate entity from you.
When you can see yourself within the inner workings of your business and then mentally extract yourself so you can see it down there, outside of you, you are taking the first step towards extracting yourself physically from your business. The successful business owners of the world have done just that…they don’t work “in” their businesses. They work “on” their businesses!
In our answering service operation that serves nearly 1,500 businesses, we constantly see owners working their tails off to make their businesses survive. And, we constantly see other owners standing outside their operations, watching things unfold before them, yet actively reaching in when necessary in order to manipulate their machinery; to make each machine operate independently. Their mantra? “Automate, Delegate or Discard.” It’s what they do from outside their businesses, all day long, in order to preserve their sanity…and to preserve their businesses.
The smooth operator makes a small tweak in the perception of his business, and then extracts himself from the machinery of it.
Note: Centratel CEO and international business consultant Sam Carpenter has written extensively on the concepts of system improvement and the systems mindset. Centratel’s HVAC Answering Service assists hundreds of heating, ventilation and air conditioning businesses during and after-hours, throughout the United States and is, by a variety of statistics, the highest quality answering service available among the approximately 1,500 services nationwide.