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Issue 7 February 17, 2009

 
February 17, 2009

Cartoon

I never cease to be amazed by those that truly want to succeed in business.  Amidst all of the doom and gloom economic news, my hope was once again restored this week by a man that most would not consider a businessman.  As a matter of fact, in a crowd he would not stand out - at least certainly not for his business savy.  In our lead article, we'll take a look at this man, and if we are smart we will learn some powerful business lessons from him.
 
 
 
       I Gladly Paid $100 For This!
               
 
I was out of my office on a business appointment Friday morning when the call came in.  It was one of those calls I knew I had to take...my wife!  She said that a hispanic man was at our home and had noticed some trim was missing house repairfrom the eave of our home.  He was offering to replace the missing trim for $100.
 
I told my wife Jen that I would have to speak with him face to face and would not approve any repairs over the phone - especially ones that I did not even know I needed!  I asked her to get his card, and I would call him.  I hung up and didn't think much more about it.
 
Bright and early the next morning our friendly repairman shows up ready to go to work!  Yes, he did leave his card the day before, but he wasn't willing to wait for a call back.  This man had persistence - he was like a pitt bull on a pork chop - only in a nice sort of way.
 
House RepairHe took me around to the east side of my home and showed me the missing trim and again (in broken English) offered to repair it for $100.  As I looked up at the trim, it was missing from the highest point of the house - which is 3 stories tall.  The tallest ladder I have is 16 foot - so quickly I figured this to be a bargain.
 
He grabbed his 40 foot ladder and he and his helper went to work.  He quickly replaced the lower piece of trim (top photo) but even his 40 foot ladder was too short to reach the missing trim at the top of the roof line - which is about 45-50 feet in the air.  However, my little friend assured me he could replace it, he would just get on the roof at a lower point and hang over the side and do the repair (photo's 2 & 3).  I was feeling  pretty good about my $100 investment but trying to remember how much personal liability insurance I had in case this guy did a face House Repairplant off of my roof!
 
A few minutes later the repairs were complete - I gladly paid him his $100, gave him a couple of orange sodas, and thanked him for his work.  With the ladder back on top of his van, he was off to his next repair
 
So what can we learn form this business man??
 
1) SEEK OPPORTUNITIES OUT:  You must always look for opportunities to serve the marketplace.  We had recently experienced high winds which caused the trim to be blown off of my home.  He was out looking for homes with missing trim so he could then offer his services.
 
2) SELL THE BENEFITS:  He sold the benefits - not the features.  He did not tell me about the quality of sheet metal he had nor about how many other homes he had repaired.  Nope,  he went for the kill.  In broken English he said, "See the exposed wood, when it rains you will have a leak - a very expensive leak".  Pretty easy for me to make a decision!
 
3) BE PERSISTENT:  He was Persistent!  True, he left his card the day before at my wife's request.  However, he showed up the next day to follow up.  He did not sit back and wait for the business to come to him - he proactively went to the business.
 
4) OVERCOME OBSTACLES:  He had to overcome the first delay/rejection from my wife.  But this did not stop him.  He did not give up after the first "No or Check Back".  Additionally, he speaks broken English, but does not let this deter him from offering his services.  Finally, I suspect he overcame some pretty good odds just to get to this country...and then to Tennessee (we don't border any spanish speaking countries).
 
5) VALUE YOUR SERVICE AND BE PAID WELL FOR YOUR TIME: He was there less than 1 hour and made $100.  I'm not sure what he is paying his helper, but even if it is $25/Hour, he still made $75/Hour.  A full work year is 2000 hours - even if he is only "working half of those hours", that's $75,000/year!
 
6) BE COURTEOUS, GENUINE, AND SMILE!:  You don't have to speak the same language as someone to know if they are kind and authentice or fake and insincere.  This man had a wonderfufl spirit of humility about him.  I often watch my children's reactions to people they don't know - kids are very honest and offer great insight.  Grace, my 9 year old daughter said, "He is SO nice!".
 
7) IF YOU HAVE LOST YOUR JOB, START YOUR OWN BUSINESS!  If you are waiting for someone to "give" you a job, you might be waiting a long time.  Even in a down economy, people still have services they are willing to pay for.  Homes are still being cleaned,  cars are still being washed, and yards are still being mowed.  But, you must be willing to engage the previous 6 principles if you are going to be successful.
 
 
 

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Issue: 7
In This Issue
I Gladly Paid $100 For This!
Thinking About Starting A Business?
48 Days To The Work You Love
Case Studies Needed
 
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