A Little Leaguer works hard to develop the skills to make him or her a good player.
He or she does not mind the toils of fielding, batting practice, or running in the outfield to develop the best skills available.
Because of love for the game, the player does not feel that skill development is anything like work.
One day, the player is noticed by the local Pony League coach.
The coach says, “I could use a player like that on my team.”
We complete the same process in business startup.
We begin to “play” at running a business and everything is a new and fun adventure.
We stretch ourselves and are amazed at the accomplishments we can achieve.
Nothing actually appears to be “work.”
We jump out of bed in the morning and can’t wait to get to the office.
We are excited about our new skills and show them off at any event we can.
As the company grows, new challenges begin to appear on the horizon.
New skill sets need to be developed by the owner to understand how to position the company in a good light to potential investors or the banking community.
In other words, it starts to become a little more difficult, but still fun.
What the player soon learns is that to be considered a “good player” at this new level he/she must increase their level of skill.
Now, the skill development also starts to include the mental aspect of the game.
The player needs to think positively in order to increase the chance for success.
He or she starts to realize that even the best player in the game was only successful in roughly three out of 10 chances.
There is more of a demand for the player to produce in pressure situations.
The player may also realize that failure to produce can mean replacement in the lineup.
As the skill level increases, so does the pressure.
Employees want to work for a successful business.
After all, you started the business and functioned as the only employee for a length of time.
Now the real challenges begin.
Your skills are tested by the human resources function — a combination of psychological issues, negotiation skills, and baby-sitting techniques.
This area can prove to be quite difficult to the uninformed.
Many employees are now out in the service area as extensions of you and your company.
You feel the need to monitor their actions and control areas of customer interface.
However, they interact in many other areas of the community.
They are driving your company van, wearing your company name on their uniform, in addition to interacting with your valuable customers.
In short, they are building the brand of your company.
Now you, the owner, need to acquire additional skills, go to classes, and learn the techniques to build a program for training your employees to function efficiently, courteously, and professionally in your trade area.
This can become less fun for you or you may choose to ignore the potential problems because you just do not have time to deal with those issues.
You can, at this point, start to wake up in the middle of the night worrying about things happening at your company.
We stay at the office a little longer each day and begin to notice that we are called “moody” by family members.
As we look to bring the business to a new level, it appears to us to become more difficult.
But, we thought the longer we were in business, the easier it would become.
This discussion will continue next month, with part two.
Dane Gregory is a business consultant and trainer specializing in working with companies in the professional cleaning industry. He currently trains technicians in the use of cleaning protocols for stone, tile, and masonry surfaces for IICRC certification. He also presents a business opportunity for newcomers in the cleaning industry in the care of ceramic tile, stone and grout, with a full equipment and training package. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
, or contacted at www.tilecarebusiness.com