Many wonder what it is that makes a business owner or executive manager successful. Some may think it is knowledge, experience, certain character traits or intellect. Others believe that success is luck or dependent on your network, skills or equity. While all of the above play a role in achieving success, there is one universal key that, I found, will always lead to an increase of success – wherever you may be at and however success may be defined. That is your own commitment to personal development.
1. Commit to becoming the best version of yourself and success will follow.
No matter what your job title is, if you are a frontline worker, supervisor or business owner, no matter where you are going, you are taking yourself with you. Where you are at in your life and career reflects a lot on how much you have invested in developing yourself. If you are an executive leader, your business reflects on who you are. The weak areas of your organization, or your department, reflect on your weaknesses; the strong points display your strengths. In targeting growth in your career or for your organization, make sure you start with personal development.
When I became a leader in the restoration industry, I made a commitment that I would become the best version of myself. I found that the continuous investment in my own emotional, mental and physical health, as well as my skills and knowledge, was essential. It brought me where I am at today, running a multimillion-dollar mitigation company in northern California. When you commit to becoming the best version of yourself, success will follow. Small, consistent acts daily will lead you to great places.
2. Do what is right, not what is easy.
Success will come to those who do what is right and will last when built on the solid foundation of integrity. Integrity is also defined as “what you do when no one watches.” Especially in our industry, our customers count on us in disastrous situations. We are in the business of helping people, and so we owe our customers honesty and an attitude of true care.
Doing what is right can be costly, but it will help you sleep at night. Successful leaders are ready to bring sacrifices, to build a bright future for themselves and for their team. When mistakes happen, own them, apologize and do what it takes to correct them. If you owe someone something, make it right. Do not get involved in shady business practices that promise fast returns – they will become your downfall.
We have found that when you bring value to your customers, they are eager to call you for help the next time they experience building damage. Today, the main source of our work is repeat clients and client referrals. Integrity will pay off, but it is a long-term approach. Short-term sacrifices will lead to long-term gains.
3. Know your numbers.
Doing what is right directly correlates with the department of finances. One of the keys for organizational success is to know your numbers and to know them well. Understanding advanced accounting is fundamental for healthy operations of any kind. After all, a financially healthy organization will be sustainable in the long run. Build on numbers, not on feelings, and you will see solid returns.
Being a good steward with the resources entrusted to you will open the door for more resources to come your way. As a manager, it can be tempting to get as many fast returns from your organization as possible. But to be successful, you must think and strategize long-term. Sustainable success does not come overnight; it is carefully crafted and built, day by day. A dollar invested is worth more than a dollar spent. Your sacrifice today will pay off tomorrow.
4. Hire for character.
Your internal culture is essential when it comes to the longevity of your organization’s success. The people on your team are your brand and your greatest asset. In the end, you must trust that they represent you well when working on a customer’s property. As a manager, when it comes to human resources, you must look out for character – skills can be trained. Do not hesitate to make investments to bring the right people into your team. And do what it takes to keep them!
Developing profit sharing or bonus programs are great ways of incentivizing employees toward great performance. Make sure you empower those under you to have all the tools and resources needed to be successful. Reward your people’s performance and hard work; this will attract and retain talent. Build up an organization you are proud of and put thought into how to create attractive workplaces. People stay with you when they feel seen, appreciated and have an opportunity to move up.
5. Embrace state-of-the-art technology.
To have a successful future, you need to leave behind pen and paper. Technology is rapidly evolving, and it is transforming every aspect of property restoration. Being on top of the newest technology will help you to stay ahead of the game. Not only will state of the art technology help you to increase productivity and efficiency, it also can be used as an accountability tool within your organization.
6. Become an expert at what you do.
Over the last couple of years, the restoration industry has evolved greatly, and in addition to the IICRC and the RIA, various consultants and trainings are widely available to gain greater knowledge. You can only expect as much growth out of your organization as you have gained yourself. As a leader, it is easy to hope and believe that hiring new employees may take existing burdens away, but if you do not know your stuff, you will not be able to take responsibility for the success of a new hire. Constantly identify the right resources that will advance your organization. The ability to manage someone well comes with not only having leadership skills, but also the knowledge and expertise to create accountability for that position. There are no short cuts; if you want to be successful at what you do, you must become an expert first.
7. Invest in building up a brand that stands out.
Your brand is a story unfolding across all customer touch points. You must make sure the story told is a good one. If you do not give the market the story to talk about, they will come up with one – and you will not like it. Therefore, invest in branding, even if the return on investment takes time. Branding does not only include the appearance of your team, vehicles, logo, corporate identity, website and print materials. You, yourself are the brand – the way you carry yourself, how you treat people and the legacy you leave behind. Building a brand is a front-loaded investment that, in the long term, has the potential to lower your overall marketing costs since it will increase your recognition value.
8. Be driven by purpose.
Lastly, I believe that the secret to success is purpose. People are driven by purpose. It is like a superpower that will fuel your career or business. You must find a higher purpose, pursue it, communicate it to your employees, co-workers and customers, and align your actions accordingly. You will find that it is the most fulfilling when you give back and when you are able to truly make a difference. Finding a purpose will set free energy to overcome obstacles, master challenges and navigate your organization toward greater success.