I had already identified who the 2 engineers would be and when I made them the offer to join our fast-growing company they did with no hesitation.
Once again, I laid out the vision of the company and the opportunities in the future for them to grow and develop within the company structure.
In a very short period of time we went from a one-man band outfit to 5 employees. This felt fast paced and with the infrastructure that came with it there were also times when I would sit back, take a breath and think that my monthly overhead had gone from 2.5k to 19k along with the responsibility of paying these employees. I had to be comfortable being un comfortable.
Preparation will always meet opportunity
Whenever I’ve been in any situation like this, my answer has always been. . . Well I’ll just work harder to make it work, because how hard I work depends solely on me, and I know I’m not going to let myself down, so it’s impossible to let other people down.
During this particular period, I was being coached on mind set and thinking this way really worked for me. I was getting results.
Earlier in this chapter I mentioned I knew I couldn’t get to where I wanted to be on my own. Another solution for this presented itself to me. It was an opportunity to join a Mastermind Group. Like all important decisions, I made it fast and just got on with it. My decision was to join a group of like-minded entrepreneurs to help me develop as a person and develop my business.
This was another step in the foundations of the business. I had a group of other business owners within my group I could lean on for support and guidance. Where else would I get this business knowledge from at this stage of the business?
There are certain things we do in our lives that can change the path we are on for the better. On reflection this was one of those times when you sit back and think. . . If I hadn’t joined that Mastermind Group, I doubt I would be sat here writing this book From Scratch to a Million because on my own, and without the support and advice from my peers, I wouldn’t have known how to get to a million; and for that I owe them a great deal of gratitude for their contribution in making me and my business grow to new heights year in year out.
Another position I had identified that I needed to fill within the business was that of a salesman. Not very common in our industry to have a full-time salesman as most businesses in our industry use a service manager to secure the service contracts and the director of the business secures the new build projects. This was exactly what I was doing. Only problem was, that the business was being wrapped around me again just like in the beginning.
I needed to address this problem. I didn’t want to be the face of the business and the one tied up in all the day to day activities.
My aim, in time was to get out of this position of being involved in any day to day activities and next in my plan to get me to this stage was to employ a full-time salesman whose job activities was to secure all sales for both service/maintenance contracts and new build projects.
I always keep an eye out for new talent that could integrate into our business. Sometimes they may not even be in our industry but they have the right attributes, such as attitude, drive and ability, then they can succeed in any field.
Knowing that I needed a salesman, an opportunity soon presented itself to me. One of our main suppliers had called to schedule a meeting and came to our offices for that meeting.
My main contact I had been working with for a few years brought along a colleague which turned out that moving forward he would be looking after our account, which I had no problem with because there was something about this guy that I liked as a salesman.
His character and the way he came across felt like I had known him for a lifetime and I had only known him for an hour. My gut instinct at the time was to think . . . this is the guy I want to head up our sales.
They left and a few days later I rang him to plant a seed and to see if he was interested in the position. I had his attention and now it was just a matter of time. Every year I do a strategy day at a local hotel. This involves me, a meeting room, a couple of white boards and plenty of pens. I do this the last week of December to plan out the following years goals for the business. This includes things like, employee position to fill, number of services contracts to win, turnover and profit goals for the coming year etc.
My plan was to invite Adam the potential salesman later that afternoon so I could share with him the vision and goals for the next twelve months so that he could see the role that he would play in helping us achieve these.
He accepted my invitation and when I shared what I was planning for the coming year he was blown away, and the deal was done for him to become our head of sales.
The key thing here was sharing the vision and goals. Showing employees where they fit in and how they can contribute to the bigger picture. Then discuss the win win. I always say that if the company grows, then so will the individuals who have helped the growth. They get financially rewarded by pay increases, bonuses or even promotions. The main thing is, you set them a road map of what they need to do to help achieve this.
Always be on the lookout for new talent
Having secured Adam as our new head of sales my job roles were being reduced. My main focus at this time was accounts, marketing and mentoring employees within management roles within the company. We had doubled our turnover for the last 2 years and profits were good even though we were constantly re-investing in the infrastructure of the company. We were continuing to grow at a fast pace. Although at times it did feel overwhelming, it was always under control because we had a step by step plan based on a long-term vision and yearly goals to guide us.
Adam started hitting the road getting instant results. We were scaling a strong service and maintenance division with new contracts being added on a weekly basis and had a constant stream of enquiries for new build projects.
From the outset of starting the company my vision was always to maintain life time customer value. The process for the customer was to be, design and build the pool, then we look after them by carrying out the service and maintenance work to help them get maximum usage with minimum breakdowns and finally get them to buy essential pool products from chemicals to pumps when plant needs replacing down the line.
And for this we would need an online shop presence. So, the decision was made to create an Ecommerce swimming pool shop. This was a whole new challenge for us. None of us had ever been involved in this industry before. How hard could it be?. . . For the start-up we decided to keep the swimming pool shop integrated into the Concept Pools website.
We had our website developers produce the Ecommerce shop site and then it was down to us to upload all the products we wanted to sell. In total this was around 2000. Not exactly a 2-minute job but between 3 of us, a lot of hard work and long hours we got to a stage where we had the main essentials on there with a view to adding 10 products a day once we had the shop live.
I remember the day we launched the shop. It was a very rewarding experience for all of us involved. For me personally I knew we had done a game changer. Nobody within our industry was doing what we were doing. Yes, there were other pool companies with their service/maintenance divisions and new build divisions but they didn’t have a shop presence and there were also online shops that didn’t have the technical knowledge and experience of helping customers with product knowledge because they didn’t have the service/maintenance and new build experience within their ranks. They simply just sold the products. We did and this is what will make us different to the rest. In the beginning the shop took a while to gain traction. This was going to be a whole new beast on its own, especially the marketing needed to promote it to gain traction and a foot in the market.
To be continued ……….