Some of My $10,000 Secrets and Sayings
Someone recently asked me about our company, branding and philosophy. I wrote an outline of answers to the questions I was given so I thought it would be a good blog post. I will probably write more later about many of these ideas but here is the outline:
- Ike can you give us a brief history of Rainforest, where you started, maybe some early frustrations you had, and what you have come to realize over the past years?
- We started out with 2 trucks and 2 technicians.
- One of my business mantras or “values”, if you will, is to always “see the forest through the trees.”
- I never want to lose sight of the fact that this isn’t a hobby, it’s a business and businesses need to have customers, income and profits.
- Getting into business in the first place is a leap of faith, staying in business requires a tenacity that you can and will do whatever it takes.
- There was a time when I would get the mail and pile it on my desk where is stayed unopened.
- Since there was no money to pay the bills, I thought, “why open them”.
- Thankfully, I recovered from those day but the point is, "don't give up".
- I learned early-on that there was a difference between sales and profits. You can have the sales in the world, but if there’s nothing left after paying the bills, you’ve got a problem.
- Also, you can have good profits but without cash, you have nothing.
- It’s true that cash is king
- How important are your people to your organization?
- The key to business success is to not try to do everything yourself.
- You only have so many talents and so much time.
- Even though I have an accounting background, I realized it wasn’t my favorite part of the business and I needed to be focused on the bigger picture, so I hired an accounting manager.
- Even though I knew enough about plumbing to pass the contractor’s exam, I recognized that others knew more so I hired a field manager.
- As a business owner, you have to get out of the weeds and become a problem solver and the best avenue to do that is through delegation, systems and processes.
- You need ideas and the ability to implement them
- How did you create your company culture?
- Looking back, the company culture as it is today really was intentional and a reflection of who I am and what I try to be.
- Don't let your company culture stray from who you are.
- Prevent your culture from becoming the bad your managers experienced somewhere else.
- A successful organization is all about the people.
- If you have good talent and solid loyalty, you can accomplish your goals.
- I have been taken advantage of many times and have lost money by delegating too much control but not delegating control can cost you too.
- You must find a balance between too much and too little control.
- I have found that you can’t turn the reins over to a general manager and be satisfied that you will be best served by all of his decisions.
- Now, upper management consists of myself and two managers. One is over finance and one is over field operations.
- For the most part, those two managers collaborate and agree on major decisions.
- They even must agree on hiring and firing decisions as well as purchasing decisions.
- They are more or less equals with their own areas of responsibility and expertise.
- I am there to mediate and give final approval on more significant decisions.
- I keep my key people in the habit of asking my opinion and keeping me in the loop.
- After having been taken advantage of more than once, I had the good fortune of meeting the folks at Crimshield.
- They do employee background checks. I turned a new expense into a great advantage.
- We even branded it the “Crime-free Advantage”.
- If you’re going to spend a little extra to have crime-free employees, you may as well let everyone know about it.
- Someone will see it as an advantage to use you over someone else.
- Some people deserve to be around you and others are not helping. Know who’s on your side and who isn’t.
- Make a chart to determine who in your organization is conscious and unconscious, skilled and unskilled.
- Watch out for the ones who are both unconscious and unskilled.
- These ideas and practices have given me the freedom to lead, not just manage.
- How important is branding? How have you made your branding memorable? Do you have a couple main messages you live and breathe by? Why do your clients pick you over your competition?
- Branding is everything.
- If people don’t know who you are, they won’t think of you when they have a need for your product or service.
- I love the idea of “gorilla marketing”.
- After all, the monkey in our logo isn’t there just to look pretty.
- You have to think outside the box and be willing to make bold moves.
- Try things others can’t afford or are afraid to try.
- Do something unexpected then own it. Become known for it.
- Once you hit on a good idea, never assume people are tired of it.
- Stay with it.
- Never get bored of your own message.
- There are plenty of people out there who’ve never heard of you or who don’t know you well enough to remember you.
- Be remembered by creating multiple “hits” in people’s minds.
- “Hit” them while they’re driving.
- “Hit” them while they listen to the radio, etc.
- We have a very high percentage of repeat business.
- That says a lot!
- Your customers will sell for you when they have an experience that is timely, accurate and fair.
- Someone gave me some faulty advice once.
- They said to charge your friends the same as everyone else because they are causing you opportunity cost.
- This is wrong in my opinion.
- I have come to realize that a strong discount to a friend will return to you many times, in many ways.
- Your friends are your best sales people; treat them right.
- Do you have any advice for a new entrepreneur or someone who wants to take their company to the next level?
Some advice you hesitate to give out for free but here are some of my $10,000 secrets and sayings:
- “Make enough money that you can afford to pay for your mistakes because there will be many and they are expensive.”
- Listen to recordings by people like Tony Robbins who can motivate you to lead a bold life.
- Don’t go through life asleep.
- Be both skilled and conscious so you can demand both from your employees.
- In addition to my internal advisors, I have a strong group of external advisors.
- These are successful friends and business associates that I trust.
- Have people in your space that will be there if you need them and you do likewise for them.
- Be aware that everyone has self-interests and they have a tendency to trump your own.
- Be wise enough to do as one great man said, “Trust but verify.”
- Get online. Have a personal web presence and a deep network consisting of sites, blogs and social media.
- Don’t forget to brand yourself.
- Support others online and they will support you.
- What's here today can be gone tomorrow so act like you did when you had nothing.
- Know what SEO is then hit it as hard as you can.
- People hate surprises and they love it when you are up-front with them.
- This one practice can solve most of your problems.
- Business is like a firewalk, sometime you get burned.
- Read the true story here.