Whether written or not, everyone has a bucket list of the things he wants to do before he kicks the bucket. Do you have one for your business? Here are eight items you might include.
1. Attaining a size or profitability. I once had a goal of building my company to $1 million. It didn’t happen easily, but once it was attained, I very quickly added a zero. I wanted to get from one to 10. While still not easy, it happened a lot faster than getting to the first million.
Why is it important to build a company to a certain size? It’s a milestone and a personal measure of success. Your goal might be $1 million in sales or maybe $1 million in profitability. It doesn’t matter if the guy next to you has a bigger goal, though it might inspire you.
I remember a conversation between some of the Australian plumbers in the Service Nation Alliance. One casually remarked, “One million a year is all I want.”
I looked at him funny because I knew he was doing well over $1 million in sales, then he continued, “I just want to pay myself one million dollars a year.”
After that, I wondered if I was thinking too small.
2. Buying a building. Do you own or lease your shop? There are numerous tax advantages to buying real estate and then, leasing it to your company. What kind of shop do you want? How about one on a busy street with a showroom?
3. Adding an expertise. Is there a product or service area you would like to add to your portfolio? How about sewer pipe relining? Maybe it’s solar thermal. It could be HVAC. What would you like to do down the road?
4. Winning an award. Is there an award you want for yourself or your company? Do you want to be the contractor of the year? Sheepishly, I admit that I used to think it would be great to be named to the Contracting Business Hall of Fame, but I didn’t hold out much hope I would ever join this elite group. Then, to my surprise, I was inducted. I don’t feel I was inducted because of anything I had done, but rather, what the team I had assembled did. Any award you receive will likewise, probably result from the team you build.
5. Speaking in public. Super plumber Jeff Gamblin put speaking to a group of contractors at a national conference on his bucket list. He got the opportunity at a Spring International Roundtable, discussing how to build a business that runs itself. He did a great job and has been requested several times afterward, but feels no urgency to seek the podium again. He says it was one more thing he checked off his bucket list.
6. Hiring people. Early in their journey, all entrepreneurs go through a period where they do it all. Usually, each business owner envisions a day when he can off-load the stuff he hates to someone else, like bookkeeping. Then, it’s hiring people to make things run smoother, like the first service manager. These are bucket list hires. Some of mine included hiring a marketing VP (even though I like marketing), a videographer, an accountant, and so on. Make enough bucket list hires and you can come to work and focus on the things you are really good at and enjoy doing.
7. Adding benefits. Do you provide good benefits for your team? Do you want to? I didn’t always provide good benefits, but the desire was there. My business bucket list included health care, dental care, disability, retirement help, and even vacation assistance. Over time, all were provided. What do you want to provide?
8. Creating an exit. Every business owner should have an exit strategy. After all, you will exit your business one day and the only question is whether you will exit living or dead. Do you plan to pass the business along to heirs, sell to outsiders, or close the doors and walk away? What do you see for your business bucket list?
An interesting thing happens when you create a bucket list and write it down. You discover that you start achieving it. If, in the midst of achieving your business bucket list, you discover you need help, that’s part of the process. Find it. The plumbing industry is filled with solid consultants and great organizations like the Service Roundtable, Nexstar Network, Quality Service Contractors, and the Service Nation Alliance. Seek one of them out.
Matt Michel is the CEO of the Service Roundtable. For help making your plumbing company more professional, visit www.serviceroundtable.com.