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Building A Dream Machine January 2014 Newsletter

Building a Dream Machine (Part 1)
By Leslie Morrow, B.A. SPHR, MTC, Goldmarc Consulting, LLC

Building a Dream Machine By Leslie Morrow, Goldmarc Consulting, LLCMany of us can remember when we purchased that first van or that first piece of equipment. These purchases were more than just tools of our trade. They were conduits to a bright and promising future; the very instruments we would use to gain wealth. With our work van and wand, we would live the lifestyle we always dreamed of.

That was then. What about now? Do you still consider your van a “Dream Machine?” If not, you might find the following five tips helpful.

Reason # 1: Lack of Organization
Oftentimes, when we venture out on our quest to build a highly profitable and effective Dream Machine, we can forget to lay the proper foundation. More often than not, we have the best intentions when it comes to running an organized operation. Unfortunately, many of us allow the months and years to go by without taking the steps necessary to create the organization we want. Our excuse is typically due to a perceived lack of time. After all, we’re too busy making money to make sure our business is properly organized, right?

The truth is that we can’t afford not to be well organized. Disorganization can cause you to lose productivity and profitability. In addition, it is virtually impossible to run an efficient operation without having a well-organized company. Disorganization can also be a poor reflection on your management of your business. In short, being disorganized can cause you to lose your most important assets: people (good employees and customers), profits and productivity.

Taking the appropriate corrective action to address disorganization is essential to realizing your dreams. Take a step back and look at your business objectively and consider taking actions that will bring you closer to your dream.

Action #1
Taking time to follow best practices will almost always ensure that you are running a smooth operation. Here are just a few guidelines you can follow to ensure your organization is well organized:

  1. Form a legal entity to protect your personal assets. Many of us generally run our carpet cleaning business as sole proprietors. However, you might find that forming a Limited Liability Company (LLC) makes better sense. With an LLC, you may be able to protect yourself from certain liabilities associated with operating a business.

    Whether you decide to form an LLC or incorporate, make sure you weigh all the pros and cons associated with each option. Operating as a sole proprietor is not your only option and in the final analysis, it may not be the least expensive option either.
  2. Create a business plan. Many owner-operators we have consulted are reluctant to create a business plan. However, a business plan can be critical to the success of your business. Your business plan will help you to understand your business objectives, to know who your customers are, how you can best reach them and to project future goals for your business.
  3. Make a budget. If you are operating without a budget, you probably have no idea how much you are spending on product in a year, quarter or even in a given month. You may not understand how your key performance indicators (KPI) or revenue per hour (RPH) will impact your bottom line and the areas you need to focus on to improve your operations. This bowl of alphabet soup may sound unimportant to you; however, if you want to compete on a higher level or expand into a multi-truck operation, KPIs and RPH are acronyms you should know to gauge your company’s performance.

Reason # 2: Ineffective People Management
As a senior professional in Human Resources, I firmly believe that employees are key to the success of any organization.

Even if you are a single-truck operator, understanding employee relations is vital to the growth of your business. In truth, if you think like a single-truck operator who doesn’t have employees, you will more than likely remain a single-truck operator without employees. However, if you are interested in building a Dream Machine, your mindset must be programmed to accept the inclusion of employees as you expand your business.

Action #2
Your business plan should include expansion which will ultimately involve the recruitment, hiring and on-boarding of employees. You may begin by hiring and training a customer service associate (CSA) who can effectively answer your phone and set appointments. Your CSA may also handle dispatching duties until you find the need to hire someone else for this role. Eventually, additional technicians will be required and you may find yourself in the office running your business while your crew supervisor manages your technician team in the field.

What is most important to remember is that you follow all federal and local employment laws and that you create an environment that will attract and retain quality employees. Ensure that your employees are paid an appropriate wage. You may also consider perks, sales spiff incentives and other initiatives to inspire employees to represent your business well in the office and in the field. Happy and contented employees are more apt to remain with you and grow with your business.

Remember that it takes time and resources to attract, hire and train qualified employees. Don’t lose the goodwill you have created by mismanaging or undervaluing your employees. In our next newsletter I will share three more helpful tips you can use to make your Certified Firm a Dream Machine.

Leslie is an approved IICRC instructor in the areas of Carpet Cleaning Technician, Upholstery and Fabric Cleaning Technician and Color Repair Technician. She is a Senior Professional in Human Resources and the co-owner of Goldmarc Consulting, LLC d.b.a. Relationship Building Academy. Leslie Morrow consults cleaning businesses on employee relations, regulatory compliance and business operations.

*For more helpful tips and resources to market your business, visit the Certified Firm only section of the IICRC website. If you don’t have your login information, enter your Certified Firm number as your username and the last four digits of your primary business phone number on record with the IICRC as your password. Please email if you need more information.

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