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No one builds a meaningful career alone.
It’s so easy to forget this when you are the sole owner of your business. You are the one with the most to lose if your business fails and the most to gain if it succeeds. Your company exists because you dreamed it up and you created it. You are the one working late hours, and it’s you who ends up trying to manage the problems no one else can solve.
But if you think this means you are an island, you’re wrong.
From your technicians to your office staff, your colleagues to your mentors, you are surrounded by people who have the potential to challenge you, inspire you towards growth, and complement your strengths with their own. The truth is, you could never execute your ideas to their full potential without these people . . . no matter how much natural talent you have.
There is no question about it: you need other people.
But how do you find the right people?
Ask yourself these three questions:
Question 1: What Talent Gaps Do You Need to Fill?
None of us is truly the total package. You have both strengths and weaknesses. If you want to build a truly powerful company, your best plan of action is to double down on your strengths and partner with professionals who excel in those areas where you fall short.
This can be a struggle for some entrepreneurs. When you choose to work with people who have talents you do not have, there will be times when you’re not the one who “knows best.” You have to make space to be wrong and be open to learning . . . sometimes learning from those who rank well beneath you.
It can be uncomfortable at times. But it is more than worth it.
As an example, my strengths are in sales, marketing, and establishing a mission. I’m good at dreaming up new ideas and innovating our services. I know how to unite a team, inspire my staff, and keep everyone moving together toward a shared vision.
However, execution and operations are not my strong suit. Sure, I can get organized and create a practical game plan when I have to. But I learned very early on that if I wanted to grow my company quickly and in meaningful ways, I needed someone on my team who had a talent for project management . . . someone who could take my vision and break those big ideas into small, practical steps.
Surrounding myself with people who had that skill set meant the difference between dreaming big dreams and actually making those dreams a reality.
I am confident in my abilities as a leader and an entrepreneur. And yet, I am just as certain that 911 Restoration would not be the company it is if I had not chosen to surround myself with people who pick up where my weaknesses leave off.
Take a moment to ask yourself:
- Where are the gaps in your skill set?
- Is there someone on your team who can fill those gaps?
- If not, how will you find someone who offers that particular strength?
- If so, how can you nurture that employee to double down on that strength and further your shared mission?
Question 2: How Can You Create a United Team Culture?
If all you want as a home services professional is to book a few jobs and keep your head above water, you may be able to get by with a few competent technicians and decent office support.
But if your goal is to build a thriving business that provides a meaningful service to your community, then you need a dedicated team who shares your vision, mission, and passion.
It’s not enough to have trained technicians. You need techs who understand the deeper service you hope to provide for your customers . . . whether that means operating with a sense of urgency, keeping property owners calm in a crisis, or educating customers so they can care for their homes better after the crew is gone.
Don’t settle for an office manager who’s just “experienced.” Find a leader who meshes with your company culture, maintains focus on brand messaging, and keeps your office staff focused on the mission.
In other words, create a team of professionals who share your desire to provide a valuable service and grow the business.
Feel like your team is just running out the clock so they can snag a paycheck? A transformation in attitude is possible, and that transformation begins with you. It is your responsibility as a leader to generate a spirit of curiosity, enthusiasm, and creativity. You define your company culture, and that culture influences the way your staff approaches their work.
Here are a few changes that helped me increase engagement and unlock my employees’ true potential:
- Conducting one-on-one meetings to better understand each individual’s unique interests, skills, and long-term goals.
- Using staff meetings to clarify our company mission and philosophy.
- Recognizing each employee’s strengths and looking for opportunities to request their input.
- Repeatedly emphasizing the deeper service we provide beyond cleanup and restoration.
Help your staff find purpose in their work, and you’ll see faster growth and innovation.
Question 3: Who Will Tell Me I’m Being Stupid?
You need a mentor . . . someone who has been where you are trying to go. This person should actively care about your success. They should treat you with respect and love.
But they should also be willing to dish out the hard truths.
You’ll find that the more you succeed in your career, the less willing others are to call you out or put you in your place. For the most part, your team and colleagues will tell you how great you are . . . tell you that your ideas are exceptional and your execution is perfect. Now, there is definitely value in recognizing your own talents and celebrating your successes.
Nevertheless, if you’re only getting positive feedback, you’re not growing. If you’re not growing, your business isn’t growing.
Seek out a mentor, and make sure your mentor is someone bold enough to challenge you. This person should be willing to:
- Show you your weaknesses.
- Call out flaws in your strategies.
- Make you own up to your mistakes.
- Force you to confront your own destructive thinking and habits.
A great mentor isn’t afraid to make you angry today, because they know you’ll be grateful tomorrow.
I recommend finding multiple mentors so you have an expert to turn to in any situation. Find a mentor in financial matters, marketing, personal growth, team management, and whatever else you might need.
The success of your company is not just a reflection of your own talent and drive. It reflects the strength of the community you have designed for yourself—from the employees who execute your vision to the mentors who challenge you to grow.
Take time today to look at the network you’ve created for yourself. How can you build it further? How can you nurture your support system?
How can you turn this community into an unstoppable machine?