#126 – The one thing that took my business from a $350k a year stressfest to a scalable business ready to grow

Show notes from Episode #126 of the Sweaty Startup Podcast.

Both Nick and Max Maher have businesses posting millions of dollars in revenue. Both of them, at one point, had to get over the hump of getting their business to truly scale, and you’ll be surprised how much easier it got with a mindset shift.

Nick went from making $350k in annual revenue to over $3 million with a seemingly simple realization–everything that goes wrong with his customers, his employees, and his business is his fault. Him and his partner used to complain that employees were lazy, trucks were unreliable, and customers weren’t ready when they showed up. They realized that these were direct results of their own actions, and agreed to shift their mindset and call each other out if they started to blame anybody but themselves. When you start to take the blame, you start looking for solutions.

  • Punctuality
    • Nick had been sending schedules to employees one day ahead of time, which led to an absence issue. Employees, naturally, wanted to know their schedules a week in advance.
    • By looking at prior year demand data, they were able to staff for the best case scenario each week and tell employees two weeks in advance what days they were needed. People started showing up immediately.
  • Employee error
    • Even when employees did show up, they were constantly messing up invoices, forgetting tasks, mislabeling, and slipping up.
      • Nick’s response was to break down how they can make things simpler and foolproof for the workers.
        • It turned out that they were trying to get their workers to do 23 different things, which is near impossible. This made training, hiring, backfilling, and handling turnover a nightmare.
      • Nick began to take things off the plate of his employees. If something wasn’t absolutely necessary, they found a way to refocus it.
        • Rather than have movers handle customer service, they gave them business cards to hand customers with a number to dial.
        • Rather than handle pricing and invoices, they had movers take pictures of items while one person behind a computer would review and do all the invoicing for the entire company.

In Max’s office, he practices direct delegation. Rather than telling a group of people what needs to be done, he gives one job to one person directly. This prevents people from pointing fingers of avoiding responsibility if things don’t get done.

Everybody faces the same challenges. Your competitors have the same issues with the workforce, the economy, commercial real estate prices, and yet successful companies are able to get around them.

By starting to take blame for their issues, Nick and his partner were able to double revenue year over year and their business was a lot more scalable. You have more control over things than you think you do, focus on reducing the odds that issues and problems come up.

Highlights

Employee punctuality [4:30]. 

Employee errors [6:30]

Direct delegation [10:40]

Storage Squad results [13:10]

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About Me

I started the Sweaty Startup in December of 2018 because I believe the Shark Tank and Tech Crunch culture is ruining the real spirit of low-risk entrepreneurship. 

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