Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Personal Responsibility

I find it remarkable to hear people that are dependent on the one government program or another that will solve their problem or make their lives better.  Many have unreasonable expectations of our government leaders. It is not my intention to comment on policy or programs, rather some people’s response and your role as a leader in creating a culture of personal accountability.  I do think that it is good that people feel hope - we need that now.  I just hope that it doesn’t lead to hopelessness.
As an entrepreneur it is your job to provide for the employees of your company and in turn they should reciprocate and provide service and performance that helps your company excel.  If you are determined and disciplined you will be successful as an entrepreneur.  It is your job to understand the current business and regulatory environment and to craft and effective business strategy to meet these conditions.

As a student of the industry I have watched several iterations of creative destruction.  Like the real estate market and stock market there have been bubbles in restoration that prove that easy money is not an effective business strategy.  Several years ago there was a massive expansion of large loss contractors in response to several good hurricane years followed by a bust.  Many of the high profile large loss contractors during the peak of this trend are no longer in business.  The same thing happened during the height of mold boom in the early part of last decade. Many of the success stories are no longer in business or are much smaller today.  We saw this boom and bust play out again  around ten ago as restorers were doing much work for new homebuilders.  These homebuilders were under so much pressure to complete houses that it created a lot of work and profits for restoration companies.  Companies making, sometimes millions of dollars in net profit, are now struggling or out of business. 

There are several lessons to be learned if you take a look at the similarities in each of these situations. The first thing is that you need to take a long-term look at your business.  Realize that short-term profits are just that.  There is no magic potion to a successful business.  Know that doing the right thing over a long period of time will help create a successful company.  You should work to achieve balance in your company and the work mix.  You should put yourself in a position where it is not detrimental to your company to lose your largest client. This is difficult and often cannot be accomplished in several months and often not even in a year.  Set a goal to have no more than 20% of your work from any single source 5 years years from now.  This is an achievable and realistic goal. Finally it is important for you to take a long-term approach to your business.  You can capture short-term profits, but don’t make dependence on these profits part of your business strategy.

You are in control of your destiny, not politicians or government programs.  Sometimes it may be difficult and other times much easier.  The first step is to know that you are first and foremost responsible for your success.  You also need to be aware that this responsibility and culture of personal accountability and responsibility will permeate your company.  Create a company full of people that provide exceptional service and value – if you do this you will find long-term success. 

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