The Secrets to a Happy Exit

Recently I have been involved in a lot of conversations with my clients about either selling their business or buying another business. Selling your business is a stressful and emotional process and should not be based on someone walking in and making an offer to buy your business. There are several considerations, and the first one is to consider “Why are you selling your business?” That is the question that seems to not be fully considered by the business owner.

I would like to recommend a great book, “The Art of Selling Your Business” by John Warrillow. John’s book guides a business owner by selling their business to avoid costs and the steps to allow one to prepare to travel this confusing and emotional journey.

In Section One, Chapter Two, the question is asked, “What is driving your decision to consider selling?”  Let us consider the answers: “I want to retire,” “I am tired,” “Bored,” “Burnt Out,” “Sick of dealing with employees.” Does this sound familiar?  All of these are legitimate, but if these are the only reasons, you may regret selling your business. Business owners find reason and purpose in their businesses. It takes hard work and a lot of sacrifices to build a business, but we know that every journey ends.

Do not let the things that are frustrating you “push” you out of the business, rather getting clear on the “pull” factors that excite you. You want to be looking back on owning your business with fond memories and have no regrets.

I listened to a podcast interview with Bo Burlingham about his book, “Finish Big”, he defines there are five good qualities of a good exit:

  • At the end of the process, a business owner feels they have been fairly treated and appropriately rewarded for all the hard work of building a business.
  • A seller can look back with a sense of pride in what they did as a business owner.
  • The seller has peace of mind about what happens to those people who were part of the business and their continued success.
  • One finds a sense of purpose outside of owning a business.
  • In some cases, it is important to continue to see the business thrive without the owner.

Even though the financial part of selling a business is very important, the emotional part is equally important. Usually, does not raise its head until after the transaction has been done. Burlingham states, “50% of the sellers are happy, but 50% of the sellers are miserable.”

A business owner needs to begin their exit strategy early in the business forming years. Before you sell your business, begin to understand how, why, and when is right for you.

Lynn Wise is the Founder and CEO of Contractor in Charge.

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area.

Luck in Business

As a lifelong Chicago White Sox fan, I paced my living room floor on April 14th of this year, watching the 9th inning of the Cleveland Indians vs. the White Sox. The Sox were winning 8 – 0, so what’s the big deal? Why was I so nervous? It’s just the 9th inning of a regular-season game with an eight-run lead. Well, Carlos Rodón was pitching for the White Sox with a perfect game going into the 9th inning. With another three up and three down inning, Rodón would go into the record books as one of the few pitchers in baseball history who pitched a perfect game.

What made this even more exciting and special was that Rodón suffered from shoulder and elbow injuries, and in May of 2019, he underwent Tommy John surgery. He’s pitched just 42 innings the past two years and wasn’t even guaranteed a spot in the White Sox rotation this season.

I can’t do justice to the play-by-play, so if any baseball fans want to watch the exciting last inning, here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxDQocUOvk8

Meanwhile, the first out was an exciting play at first where the batter was out by a fraction of an inch, only confirmed by slow-motion replay. The second Cleveland batter went to a 0 – 2 count, then Rodón hit him with a pitch! There goes the perfect game! Rodón then got the next two batters out and finished the game with a no-hitter.

Was this luck? Obviously not. Luck is winning the lottery. Pitching a perfect game or a no-hitter in the MLB takes years of practice, dedication, and challenges to meet along the way to realize that dream.

I would suggest that the same goes for us in the contracting business. Successful contractors don’t get there by luck. It’s their hard work, dedication, and passion. And after over 30 years of partnering with, training, and consulting with contractors, I have observed several common denominators that most successful contractors have.

 

  • They have a dream and realize it. These contractors have a vision of where they want to be, the type of company culture they want to build and realize it by taking action to make it happen.
  • They have challenges and meet them head-on. Just because you dream, it doesn’t mean that you will not run into challenges along the way. They don’t ignore these challenges and hope they go away. They meet challenges and focus on solutions so they can continue the journey of realizing their goals.
  • They act when opportunities are presented and benefit from them. When an opportunity presents itself to improve or expand the business, they turn that opportunity into a business reality. There isn’t any coulda, shoulda, woulda going on here.
  • They stand by their promises. When they enter into agreements or partnerships with staff, suppliers, or any business relationship, they always fulfill these promises. If circumstances arise that challenge the stipulations of the promise, successful contractors always discuss it openly with the parties involved to arrive at a mutually beneficial solution.
  • They look at business as an adventure. It’s not just a job, rather an adventure that they dare to take. They know they will have struggles, yet they accept this, and it doesn’t deter them from their mission.
  • They are strategic. Successful contractors have a plan and execute it every day. They avoid knee-jerk reactions by having a business plan and make decisions based on set goals and a mission statement. Risk-taking comes into play here, but with full awareness of the likely consequences.
  • They are honest and ethical. Fair and honest decisions are made based on their plan. They treat their employees and customers like family by running their business with a code of ethics that all employees are aware of and are expected to follow.
  • They WOW their customers. They create a company culture where everybody is involved in servicing the customer to exceed all expectations. From the CSRs to the service call and from curb to collect, a first-class customer experience is delivered by all team members.
  • They don’t go it alone. Successful contractors surround themselves with people who are better at specific tasks and duties than they may be. They get the right people on the bus, in the right positions, motivate them, and hold them accountable.
  • They have Faith. And speaking of not going it alone, they have faith in themselves, their team, and God. They prayerfully seek guidance, give thanks, and utilize their God-given talents and tools for the service of others.

 

I’m sure you can add to this list based on your personal experience or from your observations of other successful people that you know. But I would venture to say that “Luck in Business” isn’t on your list either.

Meanwhile, back to baseball. In the movie A League of Their Own, manager Jimmy Dugan, played by Tom Hanks, has that famous (or infamous) line, “There’s no crying in baseball!” Well, while there may be some trials, tribulations, and tears along the way, “There’s no luck in business!” Luck is an abstract concept that can become a physical reality with hard work, determination, passion, and a plan. You must make luck happen; it’s not a given.

Good Luck!

 

Steve Mores is the Vice President of Training and Sales at Dynamic Air Quality Solutions.

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area.

Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

Listen Here

Applying Microlearning to Technician Training

Even before the pandemic, remote and online education and training methods had begun to make huge strides and increase in popularity. So, it came as no surprise that 2020 caused the adoption of online learning platforms and materials to skyrocket as the pandemic halted most in-person activities.

With this rise in remote online education, microlearning emerged as a highly effective teaching method in both learning and business environments. As a result, the adoption of microlearning training techniques has grown in popularity across many industries, and the trades are no exception.

 

So, What the Heck is Microlearning?

While you won’t find a formal definition for microlearning in the dictionary, the term has become widely popular in schools and businesses alike. Microlearning refers to consuming small “bite-sized” amounts of content that are ideally suited for skills training. The goal is to deliver brief, instructional pieces of training material that a learner can easily retain and consume at their convenience.

 

Common Forms of Microlearning

These bite-sized chunks of learning material can be delivered in several forms, but a few reign supreme.

  1. Simple, concise text (a few short sentences)
  2. Instructional pictures/photos
  3. Quick video snippets
  4. Recorded audio
  5. Learning activities/games

 

Numbers Don’t Lie

So, why is microlearning so popular? Because it’s proven to be more effective for today’s learners. This style of training and learning continues to grow in popularity as studies show that both students and employees are more receptive and likely to retain shorter, more concise educational and training materials. The stats:

  1. A recent study by the Journal of Applied Psychology found that microlearning makes the transfer of learning 17% more efficient.
  2. A report by Software Advice found that microlearning can increase employee engagement with learning tools by more than 50%.
  3. A study out of the University of California-Irvine found that learning in stretches of three to seven minutes matches the working memory capacity and attention spans of humans.

 

How Does This Apply to the Trades?

It’s no secret that the trade industry is facing a knowledge and skill gap. The BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook tells a scary story of upcoming shortages in skilled tradespeople through the year 2028. But, while the growing number of job vacancies in the trades may look grim, the good news is that help is in the pipeline.

The New York State Department of Labor projects significant growth in high-paying skilled occupations through 2024. Another report found that California is expected to spend more than $200 million a year creating and improving career technical education programs to meet the state’s need for trades workers.

As the skilled trade industry begins to attract a new and younger generation of workers, we’ll have to turn to new and innovative methods to educate and train this fresh crop of young technicians.

Cue microlearning.

 

Microlearning – Your Techs’ New Best Friend

The trades are the perfect setting for microlearning – both in terms of process training and equipment education. Microlearning is geared toward skill training. It breaks down the procedures that a technician should follow while on the job into short, easily digestible chunks of content that can help them develop their skills more quickly.

Now, we’re not saying to replace formal technician training with YouTube videos. Instead, we suggest incorporating certain aspects of microlearning into your regular training and on-the-job procedures.

 

Example One – Equipment Training

When training a technician on a complex piece of equipment, you probably don’t expect them to master and understand the specifics of servicing the unit in one go. That amount of technical training and information would likely go over any new tech’s head.

Instead, more efficient use of time is to divide training on that unit into smaller segmented sections. These sections can be made up of in-person training sessions, instructional videos, written materials, etc., that can be delivered over a specific period of time or accessed at the technician’s convenience. This allows the technician to quickly master a smaller component or procedure for this piece of equipment then move on until they master the entire unit or repair.

 

Example Two – Process Training

The goal of any service company is to provide quality service on every job. Creating and ensuring a high standard of service is the best way for service companies to differentiate their business and retain and attract customers.

Quality control is key, and technology can be a huge asset to service providers looking to ensure and monitor the quality of work their technicians provide. For example, implementing a technology solution that arms technicians with automated step-by-step checklists of the processes they are required to follow on the job ensures that each completed job meets the same standards.

Microlearning can be incorporated into these step-by-step checklists or workflows through the addition of instructional text, videos, photos, etc. By including bite-sized instructions to each step, you can ensure that each technician completes and documents every step properly.

 

Example Three – Collaborating Outside Your Organization

Whether you work with one or multiple tiers across an organization, utilizing technology to create a ‘partner network’ can extend the process standardization and microlearning capabilities outlined in Example Two to the organizations, affiliations, and groups you and your techs work with together.

Multi-channel workflows allow you to share processes, content, training tips, and best practices with any OEMs, distributors, peer groups, dealers, technicians, and subcontractors you may work with. Because this extends the step-by step-checklists from Example Two outside of your organization, the microlearning instructional bits of content become exponentially more important in explaining and ensuring everyone understands the processes they must follow.

 

Example Four – Technician Support & Troubleshooting

Too often, when a technician runs into a problem in the field or a job ends up being outside their skill set, they are forced to call in backup, resulting in a second truck roll. This scenario is inconvenient for everyone as it costs the provider more time and money.

Technology and microlearning can help service providers avoid second truck rolls in a couple of different ways.

  • Reference job history – Allows the tech to easily reference past jobs on a specific or similar unit, reviewing any notes, photos, and even videos previous technicians may have left.
  • Easily searchable knowledge base – Technology arms the tech with a growing library of relevant equipment information, diagrams, manuals, training videos, and wireframes. From there, the tech can easily search for a specific unit or problem type to help them learn while on the job.
  • Remote video training & troubleshooting – Real-time remote video calling allows the tech to reach a more experienced technician for a quick and remote training and troubleshooting session. This helps avoid a second truck roll and helps the technician learn while on the job.

 

Keep Things Short & Simple

The key trend with microlearning is keeping learning sessions and training materials brief and easily digestible. For greener technicians in the field and office, this type of bite-sized training and learning is perfect as it can tailor it to their specific learning and working needs.

 

Cydney Myers is the Marketing Manager for XOi Technologies.

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area.