In my talks with snow industry business owners, I gain insight into their core business issues and why they are either successful, struggling, or both.
As small business owners, you deal with all aspects of running a company. Many of you got into this industry because of your love for the work, and snow and ice management is the easy part. Very few got into the business because they were great financial managers, sales wizards, leadership gurus, or great at creating culture in an organization.
The fact is everyone has weaknesses. And at times, these weaknesses create issues that prohibit growth and strangle the bottom line.
I’ve found the industry’s most successful companies have several things in common. One is the fact that every single one of them uses some sort of consultant. In fact, some enlist different consultants for different business areas.
I challenge you to look deep into your business and identify the one area where you are struggling the most. Then go out and find an expert in that area who can evaluate that part of your business. Listen to them and see if you only require a one-time meeting, or if you need something more in depth and work with them long term. There are all kinds of consultants. Those from inside the snow and ice management industry have real-world business experience, and this intimate knowledge is valuable in helping you overcome specific obstacles. Even those consultants from outside the industry, such as a sales coach or financial consultant, may have worked with other snow and ice management companies and are familiar with the problems that are holding you back.
I can recall two conversations in the past year where a company owner brought in a consultant and, as a result, their business is thriving today. They were awash in red ink and now have 20 percent net profits. Or, they were working in their business so much the company couldn’t grow. In both scenarios a consultant came in and help them get to where they needed to be. And as a result, both owners are much happier today. In fact, I know of companies that consult with one type of a business coach on a monthly basis.
You only know what you know, and for the rest let a consult come in and fill in the blanks. So this offseason, explore where you most need a knowledge boost and give a consultant a call. Not only will your company be better off, but as a business leader you will benefit greatly from the experience.
Kevin Gilbride is Executive Director of the Accredited Snow Contractors Association (ASCA). You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.