Summertime, and the working isn’t easy

Last year, we should have maxed out August. Ended up being one of our lowest months because of vacations, one guy on light duty then didn’t come in, second guy struggling with shoulder problems. We were counting on this revenue, and now we don’t have it. Can’t let that happen again this year. What should we do?

Thoughts of the day… Make a plan for what’s expected. It’s important to know how long each job will take. Weekly calendar adjustments are essential. Have a plan for making the last hour(s) of the day productive. Make time for downtime. Work with sales to maximize profits.

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Make your business unique

We need a differentiator; as an industry we’re being commoditized. We won’t be able to stay in business forever unless things change.

Thoughts of the day: Offering something unique boosts profitability and chances for survival in any small business. Avoid price wars. Turn away some buyers in order to create value. Don’t get complacent. Be nimble.

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Digging yourself out of a financial hole

I have no more money to put into the business. Over the years the business has been good to me. It has supported lots of families — mine, as well as my employees. Right now, I need more cash to pay the bills, I can’t get a line of credit like I used to and I’m tapped out. I’m planning to sell the business in the next few years, but it’s going to take some work to get it ready for a good buyer. Have I dug a hole too deep or is there a way out?

Thoughts of the day: It’s a different financial landscape for many businesses today versus 10 years ago. Figure out what got you into trouble in the first place. Be a conservative borrower. Prove your business has high value by turning it into a money machine.

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Demotion is never easy

We’re worried about how one of our supervisors is going to react. We don’t want to lose him, but we’re going to have to bring in a manager over him. This employee is clearly our star technical person. But he doesn’t have the scope or experience to manage the department as it continues to grow.

Thoughts of the day: First and foremost, your job as CEO and owner is to do what’s best for the company. Make it clear this is a reorganization in preparation for a growth spurt. Make the changes you need to make and be prepared for all variety of outcomes.

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The challenge of changing company culture

Feels like over the last year I’ve put an extreme amount of effort in to change the company’s culture. Things are getting better, but there’s still a lot more to go. Still have people here who aren’t drinking the Kool-Aid. Suggestions?

Thoughts of the day: Getting buy-in to change can be challenging. Expose everyone to your message. Walk it, talk it, wear it — you’re the leader. Figure out where the lack of buy-in is coming from. Give people a reason to want to change.

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