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A lot of tradespeople dream of becoming successful business owners, of creating a thriving company—a legacy—that can be passed onto their children.
But when many tradespeople try to make the move from employee to business owner, they find that building a business is much harder than they imagined. If I’m describing you—if you feel stuck and you’re wondering if you made the wrong decision—let me assure you that it’s not too late to turn things around. You absolutely can be the successful entrepreneur you always dreamed of becoming.
I would know. I had that dream, too. I moved to the U.S. with only $1,500. We got jobs as carpet cleaners, then used the knowledge we gained from that experience to open our own carpet cleaning service. That humble enterprise grew to become 911 Restoration franchise now recognized by Entrepreneur as one of the best and fastest growing franchises in the United States.
So it’s safe to say that the dream is possible. But you can’t get there if you’re still stuck in a tradesperson’s mindset.
I meet a lot of business owners who struggle to keep their company afloat. Like me, they have a background in the trade itself. They know their field backwards, forwards, and inside out. They do outstanding work, but they’re not seeing the profits they want. Why not?
I’ve talked before about how struggle is a signal that something needs to change . . . a sign that you are out of alignment with the person you hope to become. If you’re a tradesperson-turned-entrepreneur, there’s probably a very good reason you’re not seeing the numbers you want in your bank account. It’s not about skill. It’s about mentality.
To succeed in business, you need a business mindset.
If you are running your own company, it’s time to stop thinking like a tradesperson.
Your hands-on knowledge about the service you provide is definitely valuable when it comes to relating to employees and upholding a high standard of service. But to rake in the cash, you must also become an expert in business.
What’s the difference between thinking like a tradesperson and thinking like an entrepreneur?
Well, there are many different aspects to the business mindset, but let’s start with the basics. To make a lasting transformation, you have to take it one step at time.
And the first, most important step?
Know your numbers.
As a tradesperson, you’ve probably measured a lot of your success by how you feel. Sure, you place value on concrete victories like a problem solved or a paycheck earned. But when it comes to the business itself, most employees get satisfaction from thoughts like:
“That customer interaction felt really positive.”
“It felt good to do such a good job.”
“I feel tired and content after a day of hard work.”
As a business owner, however, you can’t afford to judge success by how you feel, and you certainly can’t base major decisions on an inkling. You have to turn your focus to cold, hard facts. You have to set goals that can be measured with numbers, and you have to keep a close watch on the statistics that indicate how successful your efforts have been.
Step One: Start with the key metrics that have the biggest impact on business growth.
You know as well as I do that it’s easy to get into the weeds when you start going over numbers. Keep it simple for yourself by starting with the most essential metrics.
Let’s say for example that your goal is to reach $1 million in sales with a 20% profit. Start with that target and then break down the other figures necessary to reach that goal. These are your key metrics:
- Total Sales: Your goal is $1 million.
- Average Job: Let’s say you bring in $2,500/job on average.
- Number of Jobs Needed: If you divide your sales goal ($1 million) by the average transaction amount per job ($2,500), you can see how many jobs you need to do in order to reach that sales goal. In this case, the number is 400.
- Conversion Rate: To get a realistic understanding of what it takes to reach that sales goal, you need to take a look at your current conversion rate or set a goal to improve your conversion rate. Either way, let’s say you’re anticipating a CR of 50%.
- Leads: If you’re trying to reach a goal of 400 jobs with a 50% conversion rate, you then need to generate 800 leads.
- Profit: To achieve that 20% profit goal on $1 million in sales, you need to bring in $200,000 in profits.
Now you have your goals right in front of you in black and white. You know what targets to aim for and you know how to measure your growth.
Step Two: Create monthly goals.
Break these metrics into monthly goals. How many leads do you need to generate each month? How many jobs?
Make a habit of checking in with your progress constantly. These numbers tell you everything you need to know about how—and if—your best efforts are getting the results you want. If you fail to meet any of those goals, the number that’s off reveals which part of your business needs tweaking, whether it’s transaction rate, lead rate, or something else.
The biggest problem I see among business owners is that they go back to feelings and instinct when making important decisions. For example, it’s very common for new entrepreneurs to blame the marketing. They feel like business would be better if they had flashier ads or more money to pour into brand awareness. But the numbers tell a different story. Maybe the leads are coming in, but the conversion rate is down. In that case, they don’t have to worry about attracting more customers. They have to figure out why those customers aren’t converting.
When you learn to focus on the numbers and examine them critically, you start to see major changes in the success of your business.
The key is to be patient with yourself.
Many of us just somehow fall into the business we are in because a family member or good friend connected us to the industry. If you’re like a lot of entrepreneurs, you haven’t been prepping your whole life for this line of work, and you definitely didn’t train to be a business leader.
You’re learning as you go, which means you’re bound to stumble. But rest assured: you’re more than capable of growing your business into an enterprise you can pass on to your children… as long as you’re willing to learn and evolve.
Just start by making simple changes that shift you from a trade perspective to a business mindset. And for your first change, set feelings aside and focus on numbers, because that adjustment is going to have the most powerful and immediate impact on the health of your company.
You got this. I promise.
Idan Shpizear – CEO 911 Restoration Franchise