We’ve already gotten through (what we thought was) the hard part: we’ve made the leap into the home inspection business. Whether we’re in a state that has certain requirements for licensing, or we’ve simply struck out on our own and learned what we think we need to know, we are sure we’re past the really rough part. We’re firmly in the game! It’s all downhill from here!
And then it happens. Reality hits us squarely in the jaw and we realize that running a business isn’t quite as easy as all those ads made it seem.
This is hard.
This is real work.
Why didn’t someone tell me about this part?
What was I thinking?
Maybe we didn’t know this would be hard. Maybe no one told us, or much more likely, we weren’t paying attention when they did. Or maybe we just didn’t think the rules applied to us. (Boy, that happens a lot more than we’re willing to admit, doesn’t it?)
Even though we were going to be the exception to the rule, catch lightening in a bottle, and baffle everyone with our brilliance, the fact is that running a small business is a difficult proposition.
Most new small businesses fail.
Hard as it is to hear, it’s the truth.
But I’m not most people. Things like this don’t happen to me. I’m better than this.
Even though we don’t want to believe it, and we think the rules don’t apply to us, the reality is that it’s hard to be successful running your own small business.
The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.Flannery O’Connor
Once we accept the fact that we’re up against it, the question then becomes: What are we going to do about it? Are there things that we can do to help tilt the odds in our favor? We know that some business owners have figured this out, because we see them out there running their companies and not going bankrupt. So, what’s their secret?
The first thing to know is there is no secret. There’s nothing that the few successful inspection companies know that’s not available to us. There’s no secret home inspection cabal that meets on the first Friday of the last month of each quarter conspiring to keep us all from being successful.
But there is one secret that we all need to know.
One thing that, once revealed, is almost certain to change our fortunes.
A rare bit of information that, once shared with the masses, almost assures our success in the home inspection business.
And what is this magical piece of wisdom?
We’re the only one conspiring to keep us from being successful. We’re our own worst enemy. The only thing standing between us and a thriving business is staring right back at us in the mirror.
The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.Jordan Belfort
We all start out in our new career with big hopes and crazy dreams. We’re all going to be successful. We’ll all dominate our market and crush all those piddling companies that think they’ll be able to withstand our dominance. We’re going to be number one!
And then comes the reality check: running a business is hard. No one hands us anything. There’s no silver platter; no throngs of adoring fans; no clients lined up waiting to pump up our bank account. The phone’s not ringing off the hook and we’re not turning away clients because our schedule’s overbooked.
It’s not as easy as we thought it was going to be.
We’ve got to earn it.
And that means hard work.
We can’t ourselves; marketing is hard work. Stopping by the offices. Shaking hands and kissing babies. Reaching out to our customer base. Making sure that everyone knows our name. Doing everything we can to make sure that once they know our name, that they won’t forget it. Talking to potential clients. Letting them know we’re there. Keeping a high profile. Teaching them about us. Providing value while at the same time educating them on why we’re the clear choice.
And then doing it all over again.
Day after day.
Week after week.
Month after month.
Year after year.
It never ends.
Running a business means that we’re always marketing.
Wish someone would’ve told me that in the beginning!
Consider ourselves warned. Now, we’ve got to get to work.
Ideally, we would have been marketing our business before we even started it. Unfortunately, that’s not possible (unless you’ve figured out time travel, and if you have, please travel back to the moment that I’m writing this and let me know about it…aw crap, guess that hasn’t happened yet). So, the next best thing for us to do is to start now.
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.Chinese Proverb
Get on it.
What are we waiting for?
Stop reading this and start marketing.
(OK, you can finish reading this first…)
Marketing is not anyone’s job… It’s everyone’s job!Jack Welch
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