Are You Thinking of Opening A Cleaning Business?
I wrote this for another website. As this site draws much more newbies maybe it is a good idea to post here as well.
Do You Have What It Takes To Be an Entrepreneur?
by Ken Fenner
The recent questions about going full time, slowing business trends, and mentions of The "E" Myth have spawned this post. I already know its not going to be short, so grab a beer and come back.
There are questions you need to ask yourself daily.
• Did I start this business for the right reasons?
• Did I develop a sound business plan that promoted growth?
• Am I sticking to that plan?
• Am I enjoying this business or am I consumed by it?
Did I start this business for the right reasons?
Did you really look at the statistics of business failure rate? Of one thousand new business owners with less than two years on their belt, 40 potentialy will remain in business in ten years. Nine hundred and sixty of you are going to fail ! (I just made a quick sign of the cross for discluding myself) These numbers reflect a national business average. I am willing to bet this profession has an even higher turnover rate.
Obviously no one goes into business to fail, but poor planning and undercapitalization are insidious destroyers of a business. What lured you in? Was it the promise of ditching the boss and working for yourself? Was it the promise of making $100/hr? Did it just look easy and like something you would enjoy? These all can play a role in getting you off the pot and making something happen but if any of those are your real reason for starting, all you really did was start your business with one foot in the grave with your other foot on a banana peel.
Did I develop a sound business plan that promoted growth?
Business plans are obviously crucial. Don't have one? I think you know which corner I am going to point you to. Please go stand with the other 960 candidates.
If you have a business plan in your head and 'wing it' as you go. Take one step closer to that morgue-bound crowd.
If you do everything you can and project profit by taking "whats left over".. shake hands with the corpse next to you.
If you plan on staying laborer, salesman, estimator, bookeeper and secretary.. there is an empty table in the autopsy room with your name on it. Of course, initially, you will have to be all these things but try sustaining that frenetic pace for a long period..won't happen.
Did you buy yourself a job? I hear many guys saying its fine to start off with a 2 gpm machine and a shoestring budget. These guys are the classic "technician" (Gerber's term). They work their asses off for mediocre pay and are worried about "screwing" people. They are classically the nicest guys you wanna meet and they work til they drop. They undersell themselves on profit, defy F.M.V of service, may have one helper and have no plans of growing beyond a comfort zone.
I am willing to bet that almost all of these same guys that give the low budget advice are still working in the field eeking out a decent living but not going anywhere (some are happy with that) If I wanted comfort and stagnation I would have stayed in the corporate world.
I am not trying to be mean or judge the way anyone runs their business. My goal is to make you ask yourself.. am I a business entrepreneur or a job owner? Entrepreuners continually seek and execute new ways to make more profit. Job owners put their time in, make their living and are uninterested in growth. The problem with a job owner is, all his eggs are in one comfortable basket. If his market sours, his business and liveliehood are in major jeopardy..
Am I sticking to the plan?
Are you faithful to the plans you have set? Do you stick to budgets or does the emotional excitement of building a new rig become your controlling source? Does your marketing effort jump haphazardly? Have you faced your weaknesses (mine is paperwork) and set about a plan to compensate for this? A bad salesman will never become a good salesman without guidance. Have you sought that guidance yet?
Have you really achieved each level of growth upon which you planned? At the same time are you dynamic enough to respond to changing markets? Can you weather adversity or again, are all your eggs in what you think is a comfortable basket?
Am I enjoying this business or Am I consumed by it?
Ahh, this one hurts. Business excites me. Sales excites me. Negotiations. Maneuvers. Markets. Numbers. Analysis. Marketing campaigns.. blah blah blah. If you want to talk any of these with me be prepared for long conversation. Sometimes it is hard for me to separate myself because business ownership does not stop at 5 pm every day. I love it. Its probably an addiction becuase it is a constant source of adrenaline.
I also face the fact that at the pace I am going right now, I am facing problems that can spiral quickly. I have tried to pull from field work. I have allotted more time with my children and Christine. Though I am enjoying what I am doing and it is for the benfit of my children and personal retirement, knowing when to unplug is the last crucial element of being a successful business owner.
This is the one upon which I have to work harder.