Being your own boss can be overwhelming to the point where you forget the goals you thought it would help you achieve. Take back control by using this process as a guide.
“This is stupid! I’m so frustrated! I’m just about ready to shut down my business!”
How many pumpers have thought this, in frustration, at one point or another? When you’ve been working with liquid waste all day and you have to tiptoe when you get home because your family is already asleep. You’re reheating the leftovers from supper in the microwave, knowing you have to leave early the next day before anyone wakes up. You remember that your daughter has a piano recital and you’re not sure if you can attend because of how crazy your day is.
Does that sound similar to something you’ve faced? Maybe you’re facing it now. Or maybe you haven’t faced it yet, but you will.
For pumpers who are seriously fed up and thinking about whether they should shut down their own business and just go to work for someone else, follow these six steps to take charge, reignite your passion and start growing your business again.
Step 1. Change your thinking
When you’re overwhelmed, it can be easy to think that the only solution is to get away from the craziness and shut it all down. However, this is not your only option, as I discovered when my own home service business faced a similar crisis 12 years ago. Rather than shut things down, you can step up and become better.
Why? It’s simple: The dreams and goals for why you started your septic pumping business haven’t gone away. You’re still looking for wealth, freedom and market domination. And it is still possible to achieve those. You’ve just lost control of your business, but now it’s time to wrestle it back and build it.
Step 2. Decide to step up
All change starts when you make a decision to change. So rather than letting burn-out consume you, make the decision that you will once again be in command to create your own future and change your pumping business so that it serves you instead of the other way around.
Step 3. Create a strong vision
Pumpers start their businesses because they have a vision for a brighter future and believe having their own operation will help them achieve it. But many of those same people get worn down and burned out because the problems they face on a daily basis seem stronger and more urgent than the vision of the brighter future.
The solution? Create a stronger and more compelling vision — one that you feel and see as clearly as if it is real. This may sound strange, but it’s a key step that’s often overlooked on the path to success.
Step 4. Create measurable targets
Once you’ve created a strong vision for your business, you need to add numbers to that vision so you can figure out how to grow toward it. The numbers will become measuring tools that you use to determine if you are moving toward your vision or further away from it. Consider using numbers associated with those basic dreams you thought business ownership would help you achieve: wealth (how much income and profit your business makes), freedom (how few days you work each week in your business), and market domination (your market share).
Step 5. Build a step-by-step plan
Once you have your numbers in place, build a step-by-step plan to help you take action toward those targets. If you have income numbers, for example, build marketing, sales and customer service plans to help you generate more income.
Chances are you’ll start creating a plan but run into a brick wall as you add details. This is where you also need to get more educated about how to grow your business. You’re a skilled pumper, but running a business takes a different skill set. Fortunately, you can learn it — just as you’ve mastered your pumping skills — and use that knowledge to grow.
Step 6. Take action
Plans are useless if they are not backed up by action. But if you have a strong vision, clear numbers and a step-by-step plan, it’s much easier to take the right actions to grow your business.
Thinking about shutting down? You’re not alone. But you don’t have to extinguish your dreams to go and work for someone else. Let these six steps guide you so that you can create the business — and life — you want.
About the author
Mike Agugliaro is founder of CEO Warrior, a business consulting and mentoring firm, providing tested and proven methods to defeat the roadblocks that prevent small to midsized businesses from achieving their ultimate success. He has also played a key role in building Gold Medal Service's success, as co-owner of the company. For more information about CEO Warrior, visit www.ceowarrior.com.