24 Apr Building an Independent Company
As an entrepreneur, it can be difficult to let go of tasks and allow others to perform them. Many business owners truly believe that they can do the job better than others. This is not always true and if they continue to do all the tasks themselves, they will run out of hours in the day, add to their stress, and limit your company’s ability to grow and become independent. This may sound corny, but growing a company is a lot like raising a child, you do everything to give them the tools to be independent and if all goes as planned, they successfully strike out on their own. This is the life of a business owner: you grow your company, put all the processes in place, then, if you have done it well, the company will flourish without you.
There are many things that I have done over the years to help me grow personally and succeed in my business. There is still much to be done and my company and I are still a work in progress and always will be. A few of the things I have learned either from personal experience or from the wise counsel of other mentors are as follows:
Read – Read every day, to learn and/or relax. So much helpful information is written by those who have gone before us. A wise man once told me “an education is no burden to carry”, so take the responsibility to educate yourself, be a life long student. This does not mean only formal education. Reading is the easiest way to educate yourself and it is free!
Failures – Failing is not a bad thing unless you fail to learn from the situation you went through. Some of my greatest lessons have been costly in time and/or money and I will not repeat or forget them any time soon. “The only people without scars are those who have never been in a battle”, own your mistakes, share them with others to help, it demonstrates that we are human and thus we make mistakes.
Trust your gut – As we all grow and gain experience our instincts become more reliable, use that knowledge to help make decisions. If a situation or person doesn’t “feel right” or something is “too good to be true”, that is your gut telling you, based on past experiences or maybe just evolution, that you should reconsider. Never underestimate your gut instincts.
Honesty – Always tell the truth, because you will always remember the truth and it will be respected by everyone. The truth has details that remain the same regardless of the situation. People respect honesty and they want to trust you. The easiest way to earn trust is to always be honest, and remember to be kind with your honesty, not hurtful.
Relationship – Relationships are critical to a happy and successful life and business. No matter how large your company or successful you become, even the smallest relationships matter. Take an interest in people, ask questions and get to know them. As people we crave relationship, we want to know people, look no further than “Facebook” for evidence of this need.
Trust – Surround yourself with people who you trust and respect, because life is too short to do otherwise. I do something I call “catch and release”, when someone isn’t trustworthy or respectful, I must release the relationship completely. It helps to end relationships that are not positive or, in some cases, poison to my future growth. With staff and coworkers, I use the process of “trust and verify”, which mean, I trust and then put processes in place to verify that task and responsibilities are being completed as they should. Blind trust can be naive and dangerous in business relationships.
Love, Passion, Inspiration – Love what you do and do it well. To many people give life half an effort, if you’re going to run the race, you might as well run your best. Don’t mess around doing something that doesn’t fuel your fire and certainly doesn’t give half an effort. Be a true master of your craft, making effort to be better every day. There is no substitute for practice and hard work, so get started today being the best you can be.
I truly love being an entrepreneur and renovation contractor. Every day, I do things that are difficult and challenging, some things that don’t inspire, but I always keep the client, crews, company, and family in focus, which allows me to work: even when I’m tired; be kind, even when I’m not very happy and be honest, when it would be easier to lie. Loving what you do and building something that is more than you are wonderful things. I applaud all the entrepreneurs and anyone who gives everything they have to their calling in life.
I hope this article gave a few nuggets of knowledge that can help you as you move forward with your passion.
Dan Monk, P.Eng.
Owner / Civil Engineer / Red Seal Carpenter