Friendship Marketing: Quick Way to Business

We all see those posts on chat boards about, “My phone doesn’t ring, I’m desperate, what should I do?” Even those of you who have been in business for a few years have those dry spells, don’t you? So, what do you do? You don’t throw a gazillion dollars into SEO marketing, get a new website, or get a new Facebook page. All that doesn’t help because you run out of money before it can start to work. Statistics say that you have to see an ad seven to 35 times before you call for the product or service. That’s why you see the same commercials over and over on TV. But who can afford that?

Marketing and advertising are good, of course. You need your name out there. So how do you get business fast? You must understand that we are in a very different situation today than many of us grew up with. Here’s what’s different now:

  1. Customers in most of the USA only want to know three things:
  2. Will you answer the phone?
  3. Will you show up?
  4. Will you actually do the work if I say yes?

    It’s so hard to get a contractor to do even one of those things when 30 years ago, it was a given that all three would take place. It’s not about money anymore; it’s about finding someone to do the work. As long as your price isn’t crazy, you should get the job.


  1. The number of actual companies with call takers, dispatchers, managers, and service techs is closer to 10% now, compared with 80% that was the norm 30 years ago. But Facebook advertising makes the one-truck guy often look like the big company. That means the technician is trying to fix your equipment while taking calls for three more service jobs. Not only is that not professional, it means your equipment is not getting his full attention. He is going to do a quick fix and likely still charge you as if he actually tested it completely before closing it up.


  1. The companies that do have management staff are often only concerned with sales numbers. This means they are pushing the techs to sell, sell, sell, and get done fast. This has been the worst thing for the service industry, and it is a big reason the manufacturers are going full steam into DIY equipment, like mini-splits.


  1. And here is one of the toughest changes. When you don’t have a part for your customer, whose fault is it? Today, it’s the fault of a system that has some holes in it. Here’s an example. Yesterday I got a hankering for a peach iced tea, so I stopped into one of those gas stations with the huge convenience store. Their choices were massive, but there was no Snapple Peach Tea. I finally chose some other brand of tea, but not peach. When the only cashier in this huge store finally showed up, I asked her if they normally carry Snapple products. She pointed to a cooler that was mostly empty. “That’s the Snapple area, but the distributor can’t find any drivers, so we have to wait.” Imagine that! A distributor who can’t get products delivered to them because somewhere out there, a bunch of people just don’t want to work. These are really different times.

So how do you get work today when your phones won’t ring?

In this economy, the customers are desperate, waiting days and sometimes weeks to find a skilled tradesman. They are tired of unanswered phones, broken promises, and time wasted waiting for someone to show up. So, here’s the fastest way to get business when you need it today. Get on the telephone – pole. Yes, staple your message on telephone poles in neighborhoods you want to work in. Place yard signs on corners going into neighborhoods you want to work in. Your message should be simple because it is for the frustrated people who can’t get an HVAC guy or plumber to call them back.

“We Fix Air Conditioning”

Call (number)

Simple as that.

Your yard sign can be prettier with your logo, but make sure the phone number is big. Why does it work? Because they see it seven to 35 times. And they see it when they need someone right now. So, they call.

The beginning of friendship marketing is “Get business IN the neighborhood that you want to work in!”

Now, once you start getting work and you like the neighborhood, then get something you can set on the driveway on the driver’s side. When they come home, they see it. Why is that so special? Because what do people look for when they come home today that they didn’t 30 years ago? Packages from Amazon. They are already looking for a package, so make one for them.

About the package:

  • It doesn’t have to actually look like an Amazon package. Be creative.
  • If you are a plumber, set out a plunger with your name and phone number laminated to the handle.
  • If you are not a plumber, you can still use the plunger because it’s an excellent place to zip-tie a zip lock bag with your stickers, coupons, gifts, nice stuff. Who doesn’t like gifts?
  • Inside the bag should be a magnet that says, “My Personal Cell Phone Number,” then your number.
  • Do NOT put candy in the bag because pets will think it’s for them.
  • Don’t be salesy or give out coupons like every other company. It is time for someone different. The goal is to be the neighborhood’s friend. Make a “Get out of the heat-free!” card for AC, with a line under it that says, “Free service call with repair.” That last phrase has worked for 30 years and still does.
  • If you don’t use a plunger, you can use a 2’ long pole of some kind. But if you are going to stick something in someone’s yard, you better put something nice in it.
  • You can test ads, test yard signs, test phone pole signs, test driveway gifts. Test, test, test. You will be the only one doing it.

When you have selected particular neighborhoods, your marketing can be targeted and directed to that neighborhood. This skyrockets the efficiency of your marketing dollar. Why is that so important? Because efficient marketing can be sustained, and you don’t run out of money. What else do you need to know? Getting the customers you want is spelled w-o-r-k. Here’s the good news: it’s pretty easy work, easier than crawling through attics. Ask me, I know.


Rodney Koop is the Founder and CEO of The New Flat Rate.

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 to see if there are Success Days in your area.

Battling Inventory Shortages in the Trades

Three Ways to Combat Extended Lead Times and Back-Ordered Equipment


For decades, manufacturers and developers in various industries have adopted and thrived on lean or “Just-in-Time” inventory systems. The Just-in-Time (JIT) manufacturing philosophy is defined as “the production of goods to meet customer demand exactly, in time, quality and quantity, whether the ‘customer’ is the final purchaser of the product or another process further along the production line.” The goal of this form of inventory management is to keep inventories thin and lean, allowing distributors and retailers to quickly pivot based on market demands.

This system of inventory management has been adopted by numerous industries spanning from automobiles to retail to HVAC and kitchen equipment – just to name a few. These industries have thrived for almost half a century using lean inventory systems but have recently struggled due to the impact and constraints of the ongoing pandemic.

Taking a look specifically at the field service industry, pandemic travel, labor, and shipping restrictions have caused inventory shortages across the board.

  • 94% of companies on the Fortune 1000 list have seen supply chain disruptions
  • Last February’s winter storms in TX caused a 30-50% shortage in many commonly used materials, including PVC pipe, plumbing supplies, vinyl siding, vapor barriers, geotextiles, paints, coatings, and packaging materials
  • In kitchen equipment, dealers reported doubled lead times on several products, increasing from 4 to 6 weeks lead time to 10 to 12 weeks

So, what can we do to help cope with increased lead times and back-ordered equipment and materials?

As a growing number of restaurants and facilities continue to reopen and temperatures rise going into the summer, increased demand will cause additional stress on already depleted inventories. As the industry as a whole continues to struggle and adapt to shortages in both inventory and labor, there are a few steps service providers can take to help alleviate stress and continue to serve their customers.

Increase Focus on Preventative Maintenance

With inventories scarce, replacement equipment for a specific unit may not be available for quite some time. Because of the lack of availability, service providers should increase their focus on planning and performing routine scheduled maintenance on existing units for their customers.

While maintaining and extending the lifetime of a specific piece of equipment should always be a focus, during a shortage, the importance of ensuring a unit doesn’t break down prematurely due to preventable issues increases exponentially.

Additionally, the benefits of regularly scheduled preventative maintenance plans will continue to benefit your business and your customers even after inventories level out.

Help Your Techs Make Do With What’s Available

Nothing is more frustrating to a service technician than needing a specific replacement part or unit entirely and the item(s) not being available. After all, a technician’s main goal is to complete each job correctly, ensuring that their customer is happy and satisfied with the work performed. Unfortunately, indefinite inventory shortages can throw a major wrench in a technician’s hopes of completing a job in a timely manner.

With limited resources, technicians may be forced to be flexible in the specific equipment they are required to use to complete the job at hand. As a result, the technician may have to work with a piece of equipment that they are unfamiliar with simply because it was the only thing available at the time.

Because your technicians may not have experience working with the equipment that is in stock and available, it is highly recommended to arm them with additional resources and tools to help them troubleshoot any issues they may encounter while working with an unfamiliar unit – including access to equipment manuals, diagrams, training videos, or even real-time remote virtual assistance for trickier situations.

Combat Extended Lead Times with Remote Diagnostics

When it comes to serving your customers, time is a valuable resource. With lead times for receiving specific parts and materials at an all-time high, the faster you can identify and order the parts needed to complete a job, the better.

One of the best ways to save time and complete a job faster is to perform remote diagnostics before a technician makes a trip on site. Utilizing a remote video communication tool can help counteract extended lead times by allowing you to survey a site ahead of time, diagnose any issue(s), and order the necessary part(s) and equipment sooner.

In Conclusion…

The field service industry isn’t out of the woods yet when it comes to navigating the effects of the pandemic. With inventory shortages affecting various resources throughout the trades, service providers need to take proactive measures to ensure they are able to serve their customers as efficiently and effectively as possible.


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 to see if there are Success Days in your area.

Making a Difference in Your Community: How to Build a Corporate Responsibility Strategy for Your Business

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You can measure the success of your business in numerous ways. Of course, there’s the obvious and tangible measurement: profit. But the bottom line isn’t just about making money anymore. You can also measure success by your business’s impact on your community, your employee’s happiness, the environment, and beyond.

A corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy is a comprehensive plan you can create to analyze your impact on your community and measure the success of your business in a different, meaningful way. Not sure about the fundamentals behind CSR or why it’s just important for your business? Grab a pen and a piece of paper. We’ll help you learn how to expand your definition of what success can be.

What Are Corporate Social Responsibility Strategies?

The Stanford Graduate School of Business defines Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as:

“an organization’s obligation to consider the interests of their customers, employees, shareholders, communities, and the ecology and to consider the social and environmental consequences of their business activities.”

Okay, let’s put aside the structured definition and all of its big, fancy words. CSR is your company’s responsibility to be a vessel for goodwill. Try thinking of it like this:

Your company has a brand, right? And that brand has a list of characteristics. You may consider your brand loyal to its customers, knowledgeable about its trade(s), or maybe even have a sense of humor. These are all characteristics that bring your company’s brand to life, making it a lot like a person.

Now, think of a person—it can even be yourself. Would you describe that person as caring, altruistic, passionate, or supportive of others? Many people are. So, your brand can, and should, be too.

That’s what CSR is all about. It’s about giving your brand the chance to be caring, altruistic, passionate, or supportive of others, the same way people are. You can do so through various strategies.

A few common CSR strategies include:

●    Impact on People: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Strategies for Business

Your CSR strategy should impact and guide the way you recruit and hire talent. Centering your employees’ diverse values and perspectives can serve as an effective vehicle for advancing your overall company by contributing different points of view, reducing your biases, and connecting your organization with diverse communities and new customers.

Questions you can ask yourself to help guide your CSR strategy and its impact on people include:

  • Do you consider diversity and inclusion in your people operations strategy?
  • Do you give back to your industry by investing in growth and development opportunities for potential or current employees?
  • How do you foster an open, communicative environment for your employees?

●    Impact on Economy: Community Give-Back Programs

Your CSR strategy should impact and guide how you interact with other businesses, your local economy, and your community as a whole. Investing in ethical business partner agreements, prioritizing local suppliers, and giving back to your community can benefit your company in the long run with lower operating costs, increased sales, customer loyalty, employee retention, and more.

Questions you can ask yourself to help guide your CSR strategy and its impact on your local economy include:

  • Do you conduct your business in a morally sound and ethical way?
  • Do you give back to your community?
  • Do you support local businesses in your supply chain?

●    Impact on Environment: Environmental Sustainability Strategies for Business

Your CSR strategy should impact and guide how your line of business works to minimize its effects on the environment. You can encourage your customers to be environmentally friendly by promoting and selling sustainable products and services, but you need to walk the walk as a company, too. Investing in eco-conscious business practices like reducing energy consumption, lowering your impact on climate change, and managing your waste management is more important than ever before.

Questions you can ask yourself to help guide your CSR strategy and its impact on the environment include:

  • Do you track and seek to improve your company’s carbon footprint?
  • Do you track and seek to improve your company’s water or energy consumption levels?
  • Do you invest in eco-friendly materials and seek to dispose of them sustainably?

The list certainly doesn’t stop there. There are numerous ways your company can make a difference in your community. Focus on your brand’s intentions, cater to the things your people care about, and build out a strategy that makes sense to you and your overall business goals.

Impact of Social Responsibility on Business

Being proactive and thoughtful in developing your corporate responsibility strategy takes time and effort. You’re a busy enough person as it is, so why should you put in all that extra work?

Well, with the integration of Schedule Engine’s suite of services, you’ll have a whole lot more time on your hands—time to dedicate to your CSR strategy. Plus, not only is acting on your CSR the right thing to do (morally speaking), but it also has numerous tangible benefits that come along with it.

Positive Impact of CSR

In a recent effort called Project ROI, IOSustainability and Babson College teamed up to aggregate, analyze, and report on the results of a portfolio of research projects and case studies examining the returns on investment for Corporate Social Responsibility strategies. Among the findings, the benefits of CSR that can have a positive impact on your business include:

  • Giving your brand depth and personality, therefore generating brand love, a positive brand reputation, an increase in positive press/buzz, customer loyalty, and satisfied reviews. Project ROI reports that CSR efforts can impact a potential CSR brand and reputation value of up to 11% of total company value.
  • Representing what your employees care about, therefore building a strong company culture, increasing employee satisfaction and employee retention. Project ROI reports a potential increase in worker productivity up to 13% and potential reduced turnover rate of up to 50%.
  • Impacting your financial success. Project ROI reports a possible increase in revenue and/or price premium of up to 20%.

These two benefits can then work together to bring in more business, impacting other forms of success, like your profit.

Corporate Responsibility Strategy Development Action Plan

Try not to get overwhelmed by CSR. Begin thinking long-term and view CSR as a journey, not a destination. Here is an action plan to help you get started today on making a world of difference with your business initiatives:


Define your values

What matters most to you and your business? How do you rank your values and what your company stands for? What causes and community issues keep you up at night? Go further than just thinking about it—talk about it! Schedule time to brainstorm with your teams and listen to your employees share their passionate causes. The areas that come out of these discussions can be the foundation of your corporate social responsibility strategy.


Think of ways in which your values can turn into actions

Now’s your chance to get creative! At this point, you should know what you and your employees truly care about, so how can you turn these company values into actionable initiatives? How do you include your customers in this journey?

According to a Cone Communications CSR Study, 87% of customers would purchase a product or service based on the company supporting a social or environmental issue. To figure out what your customers care about, you can look to peer groups, similar organizations, and trade associations that inspire you. (Shoutouts to a few that inspire me: ACCA, WHVACR, Tools and Tiaras, and so many others!)

Also, don’t be afraid to ask your customers directly, whether through a survey, focus group, social media engagement, or the timeless face-to-face interaction with new customers waiting to be convinced to become loyal customers.

Actionable ideas can include fundraising, social events, launching volunteer initiatives, nonprofit partnerships, and more.

Here are a few specific examples:

  • Set a target goal to lower your water or energy consumption by 2025. Incentivize your clients to do the same by offering to donate to a predefined charity on their behalf if they hit the target goals.
  • Promise to partner with an X amount of local businesses each year and allocate your budget to support smaller partners.
  • Heatwave during the summer? Have your team spend a day installing AC units for free in areas of need. Or do the same with heating units during the winter.
  • Pledge to plant a certain number of trees in the next five years
    Plan your values-to-action approach

Planning a CSR strategy takes time, effort, and buy-in from your team. Lead with empathy when pursuing your CSR strategy and think about all the moving pieces involved sooner rather than later.

Many companies opt to create a foundation linked directly to their organization, or they sign up to partner with one or more 5013c charities to support their CSR strategy. Whether you are creating a foundation, partnering with a charity, or just linking up with a local business or volunteer program, you can make a difference.

When developing action items as a part of your CSR strategy, be authentic, realistic, and follow through. According to, 65% of Americans say when a company takes a stand on an issue, they will research to see if it is authentic. That number increases to 76% when it comes to Millennials. So, did you promise to donate a percentage of your profits to a nonprofit last month? People want to see follow-through.


Execute and maintain

Once you know what you want to do and how you’re going to do it, you need to execute. Encourage teammates to take part in the strategy you have designed. As an employee, being a part of a company’s corporate social responsibility strategy should never feel like an obligation; it should feel like a reward.

Nobody likes burnout, so remind your employees of the positive impact they are creating but emphasize the importance of work-life balance: allow them to take part in CSR efforts during business hours or offer them PTO back if you ask for their personal time.

Taking these small steps will drastically improve your CSR strategy execution, help your people build an emotional attachment to the great work they’re doing, and will maintain their dedicated involvement over time.


Share your success!

Incorporating a CSR strategy into your overall business strategy helps you build brand love, improve your reputation, increase your positive press, and more. Don’t wait for your local newspaper to help you reap those benefits.

After doing some goodwill in your community, go ahead and share it with the world by posting it on your social media channels, sending out a press release, writing a blog post, or mentioning it in your email marketing campaigns.

Doing good is good for the soul AND good for business. Why wouldn’t you do it? Start planning your CSR strategy today.


Strickland Tudor is the Vice President of Schedule Engine.

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 to see if there are Success Days in your area.


Playing the Field

So, you have been approached or have decided to sell your business; what do you need to know to feel like it is the right decision? According to “The Art of Selling Your Business” by John Warrillow, there are three types of acquirers. This article will provide some highlights of what you need to understand about each type. Keep an open mind to your options and maximize your odds of creating competition for the sale of your business.


Type 1: The Individual Investor

Individual Investors are looking for smaller companies looking to replace an existing job because of being downsized or potentially having the skills to run a service company and do not want to start from scratch. A qualified Individual Investor needs to be financially established through their own funding or be able to get a loan to purchase your company. They are typically less sophisticated than a strategic buyer or a financial buyer. 

Their lack of sophistication could result in you driving a better deal with less scrutiny of your business details. Typically, they do not pay cash for an acquisition. They either borrow from a bank or ask the seller to finance. Since your loan is second in line with creditors, you need to be very careful on this key point. If they are financing through an SBA loan, make sure you understand an individual’s eligibility to use an SBA loan.

The end goal for you as the seller is to get as much cash upfront. If you are willing to finance the buyer with a loan, ensure that the upfront covers your needs and payments are “gravy,” and if the buyer fails, you are satisfied with the transaction.


Type 2: Private Equity Group

There are three types of PEG buyers:

  1. Multiple shareholders who buy, improve, and flip companies typically within five to seven years.
  2. A family or larger office interested in investing money in a sector, normally on behalf of wealthy shareholders, and their goal is to maintain their acquisitions on behalf of their portfolio.
  3. Individuals or groups of individuals who want to own a business and think they can run a business better than it is today. They are typically financially backed by their contacts to make the acquisition.

The PEG buyer’s game is to find businesses that they can scale or they are underperforming. Their approach is to ingest capital and more sophisticated management into their acquisitions. The end goal is to bring “business school rigor” to the smaller business mindset.

Since they are typically looking to apply a lot of debt to their acquisitions, they want to maximize return by using the business as collateral and pay off a bank loan with the profits from the business. Their target acquisitions are larger and more mature businesses that have a track record. They look for a relatively low valuation and will negotiate a front-end buyout and backend buyout. They add necessary systems, processes, and management to increase the backend buyout for the seller. This arrangement works well for sellers who are not necessarily ready to retire but like the satisfaction of receiving some money upfront. PEGs will take over and overrule your decisions with the goal of trying them up to industry standards.

Acquisition offers to give you leverage when negotiating, so listen and be savvy. A PEG is the business of buying low and selling high. They look for profitable companies for as little money and use a lot of debt to acquire their companies.


Type 3: Strategic Acquirer

A strategic acquirer is a company with assets that is looking to increase the value of their company by other companies. They are typically in the seller’s industry and looking to be more competitive, win more business, differentiate their services, expand into a new market, or kill off their competition. Another motivation is the ability to gain economies of scale by spreading their overhead across more revenue.

Strategic acquirers will offer a higher price and make a deal happen faster because they typically understand the businesses they are buying.   

One of the “key leverages” as a seller is to have something they may want or don’t do today. For example, maybe your service company has a niche in selling and installing water heaters. This niche could be very attractive because of your marketing, training, and processes you use today to be profitable with this service.

Keep in mind the strategic acquirer is not a person; it is a thing. It is an organization run by a CEO who reports to a board to maximize the value for their shareholders. They are in love with their company and are focused on improving their company through acquisitions.


Keep your mind open to the different types of buyers. Understand their motivations and be able to demonstrate the drivers that drive them. Your job is to ensure your business is consistently profitable, so no matter what type of buyer is interested, your company has the foundation to consider an acquisition.


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 to see if there are Success Days in your area.

10 Life Lessons from Admiral William H. McRaven

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In his 2014 commencement speech, former Navy SEAL Admiral William H. McRaven offered 10 life lessons to the University of Texas at Austin’s graduating class. Through his experience in the military and basic Navy Seal training, he developed 10 salient elements to help the graduating students understand how they can help change the world as their journey begins beyond college life.

I would encourage you all to watch his full speech. It will be 19 minutes and 26 seconds well spent!

This speech is not only profound and entertaining from a man that has accomplished much in his life, but it is also simplistic in nature. He talks about how the little things, when done well, can and will lead to changes in your life, drive your destiny, and in turn, will be a step forward in changing the world. These lessons are very humbling yet develop great character. Whether you apply these to your business, home life, or your life in general, they can have a profound effect on changing your life and the world around you.

After his introduction, he starts with the University of Texas’ motto, “What starts here changes the world.” Then he goes on to put this motto into context for his speech:

“It matters not whether you ever serve a day in uniform. It matters not your gender, your ethnic or religious background, your sexual orientation, or your social status. Our struggles in this world are similar. And the lessons to overcome those struggles, and to move forward, changing ourselves and changing the world around us, will apply equally to all.”

Then Admiral McRaven takes a deep dive into 10 drills and exercises from basic Navy Seal training, that although they may seem mundane, and at times brutal or abusive, he took a lesson out of each one and applied it to his journey through his career and life.


  1. If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.

Every morning, the drill instructor would come into the barracks for bed inspection. Every bed had to be tucked perfectly and folded a certain way. Although this seemed trivial and a mundane task, it developed a sense of accomplishment to start your day; something you can take pride in a job well done. This task is about holding yourself accountable to start your day on a positive note with a task completed perfectly. The little things do matter, so start your day with something simple with a task completed.


  1. If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle.

Divided into groups of six, students had to paddle a rubber boat through rough seas to a specific destination. Each paddler had to be synchronized with the others and work as a team with equal effort from each person in the boat. Going out of sync would cause the boat to go off course. This exercise is about having confidence in others and the importance of a team effort. You can’t do it alone. Seeking help from others, whether it’s friends, business associates, vendors, coworkers, or credible strangers, all can help guide your boat in the right direction through life.


  1. If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart, not by the size of their flippers.

Admiral McRaven recalls one boat crew made up of all little guys, 5’ 5” and smaller, and they called them The Munchkin Crew. The taller guys would always make fun of their little flippers. This incentivized the Munchkin Crew to work harder as a team, with a lot of heartfelt energy, and they would routinely outpace and outperform the taller guys. The lesson learned here is that physical stature, or any physical characteristic for that matter, does not determine one’s success. We should respect everyone’s talents no matter their size, ethnicity, race, or social standing and how they can have a positive impact.


  1. If you want to change the world, get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward.

Throughout each week during training, the drill instructor would conduct a uniform inspection. No matter how perfect the uniform was, the instructor would always find something wrong with someone’s uniform. Whoever failed the uniform inspection for any reason would have to run fully uniformed to the surf on the beach, dive in to get wet, and then roll in the sand on the beach until they were covered in sand. They called this the “Sugar Cookie” drill. Some of the students would get frustrated knowing that no matter how perfect their uniform was, the instructor would always find a flaw. The ones that couldn’t accept this fact never made it through the training. The message here is that life is not always fair. Suck it up and move on.


  1. If you want to change the world, don’t be afraid of the circus.

Every day of training was filled with physical activity. Running, swimming, calisthenics, obstacle courses, and the like. There were minimum times set to complete these exercises, and if you didn’t meet these standards, your name was put on a list to get invited to “The Circus.” This was an extra two hours’ worth of exercises designed to break you down and make you want to quit. Everyone in training made the list at one time or another, yet those that made the list consistently and didn’t quit got stronger and better. This teaches us not to be afraid to fail often, learn from it, work hard, and get better.


  1. If you want to change the world, sometimes you have to slide down the obstacle headfirst.

During training, all the students are required to complete a 25-step obstacle course. One section of the course involved using a rope attached to a 30-foot-tall tower and climbing down this rope for 200 feet until you reached the end. There was a very impressive, best record that hadn’t been touched for years until one of Admiral McRaven’s classmates decided to slide down the top of the rope headfirst. This was very dangerous because he had to balance himself to prevent falling to the ground while laying on top of the rope sliding downward. He took the risk anyway and beat the record by half. Go ahead and take calculated risks.


  1. If you want to change the world, don’t back down from the sharks.

During a section of their training, they had to swim in the water along San Clemente Island, a breeding ground for Great White sharks. The students were made aware of the presents of sharks in these waters and the different species. Night swims were also part of this drill, making it appear even more dangerous. They were told that if they encountered a shark to “stand your ground” and do not swim away or act afraid. And if the shark did get close, to kick or punch it in the head. Easier said than done, but they did it. Admiral McRaven says that we will run into a lot of sharks and bullies in the world, but we should face them down, hold our ground, and deal with them.


  1. If you want to change the world, be your very best in the darkest moments.

While training for underwater attacks against enemy ships, the students had to swim two miles underwater at night to an enemy ship with nothing but a depth gauge and a compass to get them there. There was some ambient light, but once they got close to the ship, the ship blocked the little light they had. The divers are expected to swim to find the center of the ship, known as the keel. At this depth and with the ship blocking any light, the diver can become disorientated and panicked. The divers are told to stay calm and composed at this moment and to focus on the job at hand. The lesson here is to stay calm and step up when times are the toughest.


  1. If you want to change the world, start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud.

During the 9th week of training, “Hell Week” starts. This is where the students have six days of no sleep and continuous physical activity and mental harassment. Then to top the week off, this is followed by a day in the mudflats. The students were expected to spend 15 hours in a mud swamp in freezing cold while the instructors yelled and encouraged them to quit. They were told that they could leave if only five men would quit. As they shivered from the cold, one man began to sing, and slowly the others followed. As they sang in unison, it lifted their spirits and helped them get through the drill without quitting. Life’s lesson: Lifting the oppressed and those badly treated by authority will give them hope.


  1. If you want to change the world, don’t ever, ever ring the bell.

There is a brass bell hanging in the center of the training compound, and if you want to quit, all you have to do is ring the bell. No more 5:00 am wake-up calls, brutal drills, harassment, and abuse. Some quit; others stay the course so they can change the world. The point here is that no matter how tough things get in business or life, never give up.


Our lives are not as brutal and tough as Navy Seal training, yet simple lessons can be learned from their training tactics that can change our lives and change the world. Start each day with a simple task completed. Find others to help you through life. Show respect to everyone, especially those that we consider different than us. Remember that life is not fair and that you will fail often. Take calculated risks and step up during the tough times. Facedown the bullies, lift up the oppressed, and never give up.

If we all follow Admiral McRaven’s advice and pass it along to others, we can change our business, change our lives, and change the world!


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

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