The Razor’s Edge

If you’re a fan of the television show “The Big Bang Theory”, then it’s quite likely that you’ve heard Dr. Sheldon Cooper utter the phrase “Ockham’s razor” before. If you’re like most people, that phrase simply joins the rest of the scientific jargon that theoretical physicist Sheldon spouts on the show. Most of it goes right over our heads, but it’s not necessary for us to understand everything he says to be able to laugh at and enjoy the show. It’s one of the main premises of the program: Sheldon’s dialogue is often funny, even when he’s not trying to be.

Running your home inspection business on the razor's edge

You may be wondering exactly what Ockham’s razor has to do with the home inspection business. Have I gone off the deep end and, like Dr. Cooper, started spitting out technical terms simply for your amusement?

Well, no. Unless you found that funny, then yes.

Ockham’s razor is a principle that, roughly translated, means that the simplest answer is usually the best. It tells us that it’s usually best not to try to overthink things, racking our brains to figure out a problem, because the answer is usually right there in front of us. It’s a rule that’s been proven to us time and again, but it’s something that we keep trying, over and over again, to deny. There’s got to be another reason, we often try to tell ourselves, when the answer to our question is usually staring us right in the face.

Take new inspectors (or even old, used inspectors) for example. All too often we fall short of our expectations. We start off thinking that we’re going to set the home inspection world on fire, scheduling so many jobs that we’re going to have to turn some away, disappointing legions of adoring fans in the process. Then reality steps in, and we realize that the phone simply isn’t ringing. No one’s calling to schedule inspections, and we can’t, for the life of us, figure out why.

That’s when it starts. Our brains shift into overdrive, and we start to come up with a multitude of reasons why we’re not getting business.

The agents are colluding against me.

Other inspectors are paying the agents to have their clients hire them.

My name is on a list somewhere.

The other inspectors are giving away their inspections for next to nothing.

My name’s not on the list.

It’s pay-to-play, and I haven’t yet figured out who I need to pay.

They’re a bunch of a**holes and wouldn’t know a good inspector if he bit them in the a**

Whatever excuse we can think of to deflect the blame from us, that’s what we’re gonna go with. It’s got to be something that I haven’t yet figured out. There must be a reason why I’m not having any success.

It’s got to be something else; it can’t be me.

All too often, though, it is us.

Usually, the answer is right in front of us, staring us right in the face.

We just don’t want to admit it.

We know we should be doing more marketing, but we’re intimidated by the prospect of standing in front of an office full of real estate agents. We realize that we need to get our name out there, but we don’t know enough about social media to do it. We understand the importance of networking, but we’d rather enjoy the comfort of our couch and TV remote than the stress of meeting new people at that open house or charity fundraiser. We appreciate the fact that we’ve got to do things that help build trust between our company and the real estate industry, but we’re too scared to try to write something, record something, or post something.

So, we invent all kinds of outlandish reasons why we’re not getting business.

It’s got to be something else; it can’t be me.

too afraid to look in the mirror to see what the problem is in our home inspection business

In The Big Bang Theory episode “The Fuzzy Boots Corollary,” Sheldon points out to his roommate Leonard that “I do feel obligated to point out to you that she did not reject you, you did not ask her out.” All too often we spend our valuable time and mental resources trying to invent outlandish reasons why we’re not having the success we’d hope for. We search, endlessly, for “the real reason” why we’re not getting business, when all we really need to do is look in the mirror.

We’re responsible for the success of our own business. We can’t sit around bemoaning the fact that we’ve been rejected, when we never even summoned the courage to create a level of trust that enables us to ask for the business.

It’s got to be something else; it can’t be me.

Follow the razor’s edge. The simplest answer is usually the best one.

I welcome all feedback (both positive and negative) on this post.
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Thanks, Joe

pic of me, Joseph Cook Jr, home inspector

Comments 2

  1. Hi Joe.
    I really enjoyed your comments about Ockham’s razor and the reference to Sheldon Cooper.
    I actually turned on my computer and read your weekly emailed newsletter about 10 minutes after watching an episode of the Bang. I always look forward to the newsletter and to the Bang.
    You truly hit the nail on the proverbial head with this story.
    Please keep up the good work!
    Guy

    1. Post
      Author

      Hey Guy,

      Thanks for the comment. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I too am a big fan of Big Bang. I think I’ve seen them all on broadcast TV, but I’m currently binging the whole series, just to make sure I didn’t miss anything!

      Thanks, Joe

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