The rest of the story… Regaining lost freedomJul 06, 2021
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2015, I was at a low point in my personal and professional freedom, and not very happy.
But I was determined to make changes to my business that would allow me to regain the level of freedom I had 10 years earlier, before the great recession had stolen it away.
Ever since starting my small business back in 1999, I had been a student of business: best practices, tips, tricks and the advice of experts on how to make companies run more efficiently, be more productive, and how to manage people better.
But studying is one thing. Implementing is another, and I had failed time and time again to implement the many things learned over all those years of study. Why?
My excuses were many:
Not enough time,
Too busy doing more pressing things,
Not enough money (to get help),
Things were working "good enough",
The things I studied probably wouldn’t work for me,
and the worst excuse...
Things will be better eventually, once we…. (fill in the blank)… land a new contract, add a new line of service, get to a certain revenue goal, hire a few more people, etc.
Any of these sound familiar?
As you can imagine, things didn’t get better, and “eventually” never came.
This reality hit me square in the face, and the excuses finally ended, in December of 2015!
The Foundation of Every Business is People
I needed to rebuild my foundation, starting with the people on my team.
There were many great people on the team. Some had been with me for a long time. But change required the “right” people, not just any people. So, I considered...
Who would be on board for the changes we were about to make?
Who would stand in the way?
We started by reminding ourselves what we believed in, what we cared about most, by following a deliberate process for discovering what our core values were.
Once we had them, the core values weren't just hung in a picture frame on the wall. We constantly emphasized them in everything we did, and we made them absolutely clear to everyone, both inside and outside the company.
Next, we determined what our vision for the future was. Where we were headed.
It was critically important that everyone understood how the work they did each day fit into a larger picture and future.
The vision we established gave everyone something to look forward to, to get excited about, and to strive towards together. Along with our core values, we had clearly established a larger purpose for the company!
Lastly, I completely re-wrote our hiring and employee review process. Doing so was the only way we were going to find the “right” people, and keep them.
I admittedly geeked out about “human resources.”
Pretty nuts, huh? Who looks forward to the hiring process?
Prior to the rebuild of D.R. Wastchak, it most definitely wasn’t me.
However, I came to actually love and look forward to finding new people, and the new process worked!
Over the course of the next 12 months, we brought on board excellent people, the “right” people. At the same time, those who were not aligned with our core values and vision for the future, slowly but surely went away.
Some were let go, but most left on their own because with core values and vision constantly emphasized, they felt out of place, like a square peg in a round hole. They magically found another job.
With the shift in personnel over time, the organization gradually got better and better.
My personal and professional freedom started to return to what it had been so many years before, but much more stable because it was built on a foundation of people….the “right” people.
Everyone on the team, in their own ways large and small, was helping me to run and grow the business, to make it better. I no longer felt like I had to do it alone, or that I was the only one who really cared. We ALL cared.
How well did the hiring process really work?
Two of the three people who eventually purchased the company were hired using the new process. They were aligned with our core values and the vision for the future, and had made it their own.
Their confidence in themselves and how to operate the business was high enough that along with a third member of our Leadership Team, they decided they didn’t need me anymore. They could run the business just fine without me.
Three months later, they were the owners of D.R. Wastchak, LLC (now JKP Energy Inspections), my personal and professional freedom had been restored, and I established a new vision for the future...
Every small business owner running a Freedom Focused business where their personal and professional freedom are maximized.
The new process I developed, and that worked so well for me, is now what I teach small business owners so they are more Freedom Focused. Click here if you want to learn more.
Implementation Takes Commitment
As you can imagine, people are not the only ingredient necessary to becoming Freedom Focused.
Having the greatest team in the world can be like owning a Ferrari, but if you have no clue how to drive it, you might as well be driving a Chevy.
In my next email, I’m going to share with you how to “drive a Ferrari”, so to speak. How to make the most of the “Dream Team” you’ve built.
Simply said, to do so takes commitment. Commitment to a few tried-and-true strategies that have worked to make small businesses successful for ages.
Strategies that too few small businesses take the time, and/or make the effort to implement.
I look forward to sharing these strategies with you next time.
Until then, stay focused on your freedom!