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No one starts out hating the business they built. We build our businesses because we love our trade and we want to find freedom. Freedom from what? Being under another contractor or…? The truth is, if you have to run around putting out fires every single day, or if your week consists of five (or more) 14 hour work days, you will get burned out. You may even come to resent the business you worked so hard to build. The good news is, you can turn things around. And if you’re just starting out, you can avoid that outcome altogether.

 

Rob Matheny

Rob Matheny

Danielle Putnam sat down with contractor, consultant, author, and business coach, Rob Matheny on TNFR Podcast to discuss the million dollar question: How can you build freedom in your business? In other words, how can you build a business that makes enough money while still allowing you to take time off, to feel free, and to enjoy your job and family more?

 

 

Rob had several ideas to share. Here are three of our favorites:

Find and Hire Good People

When your service company is made up of solid employees, many problem areas will resolve themselves. Capable employees will solve technical and customer relation problems for you, freeing you up for more important matters. But here’s something we hear contractors say all the time:

“I can’t find good people.”

Rob says, “Good people are out there! How can you find them? Be proactive. Normally, we only look for a good employee when we need one, but being proactive means hiring all the time. It means actively searching out resumes and interviewing people, even when you don’t need an extra hand. If you do this, the next time someone puts in their two-weeks’ notice or you have to let someone go, you’ll already have solid candidates lined up for the job.”

Even if you don’t have a position open right away, when you stumble across an ideal employee, consider hiring them anyway. Find a place for them and make it work. Rob says, “The thing about people who are really good employees is, they’re mostly employed because they’re so good at [what they do]. So you have a choice of taking them when it’s convenient for them or trying to get lucky when it’s convenient for you.”

Business Uncensored

 

Automate Your Processes

 

Much of your day, or your employees’ day, may be wasted to inefficient processes. The first thing you need to do is take a closer look. What processes (i.e. making files, accounting procedures, invoicing) take longer than they should? When you find a pain point, or when one crops up, build an efficient process to free up your time.

Rob and his wife, Amy, used TNFR’s process writing kit to accomplish this in their business. The kit includes a clipboard and blank process templates. Any time someone approaches you with a problem or a question that should be a predetermined process, you grab the clipboard right away, come up with a process together, and write it down. You can use this system to solve all kinds of problems, including inventory issues, customer complaints, how technicians fill out paperwork, and just about anything else. (See the show notes for information on how to get your own process writing kit).   

Once a process is written, it’s important to roll it out to all employees that will have to use it and make sure to train and retrain on the process to ensure that it is implemented correctly and consistently. Keeping the documented processes organized and accessible to all of your employees will save you so much time.

 

Improve Your Communication Skills

 

Rob says great processes and great communication are the two key elements that will get your business spinning like a top. When it comes to communication, your goal should be to talk to your people in a way they can understand, to bring them to your side of the table. But we aren’t all natural-born communicators, so it may take a little work. How can you improve? Rob says there are plenty of good books on the topic, so start reading up on the topic. One of Rob’s favorite books, and a good place to start, is “Never Split the Difference” by Chris Voss. 

These three points will help you build a business that gives you freedom, but they aren’t the only things Rob shared during our chat. Listen in to our conversation to hear more about finding good people, processes, communication, plus learning to be organized and working well with others, especially when family members make up part of your team.

Show Notes:
  • Introducing Rob Matheny [1:42]
  • Finding good people [5:40]
  • Working with family members [10:07]
  • Automating processes [15:31]
  • Learning to be organized [20:05]
  • Being a good communicator [24:48]
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