If you’re in the residential business and you’re thinking about going into commercial or you’re in commercial and you’re thinking about going to residential because you’ve heard of all the money that’s in the other business, I can tell you that I’ve been in both, in multiple industries. Here’s what I found, and I think this will hold up in most, but it probably doesn’t hold up all the time. Residential involves a lot more phone calls. Residential requires a much higher level of service. Residential requires a lot more customer touches. Residential is generally harder, in my opinion. I like residential.
If you’re going to expand from residential into commercial, the contract or the amount they’re willing to pay, their quality requirements are probably lower. That’s a broad statement. How do you take people on your residential team and say, “When you’re doing homes or residential properties, do a crazy good job.” Whatever that crazy good means. “When you’re over here at this commercial property, do good work but don’t spend as much time. Do a little bit less.” How do you do that and keep your commercial quality level from becoming your residential quality level?
If you’re in commercial and you want to go to residential, you generally can’t take your commercial quality level, your commercial customer follow-up level – again, broad statements here – and be successful in residential. Residential will drive you out of your mind. There’s too many transactions, too many moving parts. It will drive you crazy. Before you go from commercial to residential, be aware it’s a totally different game. Be staffed for it, have the technology for it, have the training for it. Again, that big people problem, it’s very difficult to use the same people to do commercial as residential. It’s almost like two different businesses in most businesses.
I’ve got a book recommendation for you. The book is The Fish That Ate the Whale: The Life and Times of America’s Banana King. I highly recommend this book. It’s about a guy in the early 1900s that went from literally nothing to a banana mogul. He was ridiculously wealthy for that time, and he built his entire business on the banana business. It’s not a simple story. What went into him building this business and all that he went through, it’s absolutely fascinating. I really recommend this book. I read a lot of business books. I read some self-help books. I read a diverse set of books, but they tend to be themed around business, marketing, sales, things like that. I don’t read a lot of books just for pure entertainment. Although, I find it entertaining to read business books.
The experience I had with this book was that it was really well-written and it kept my attention the entire time. It felt like I hadn’t read a really well-written book in three or four years. It reminded me what a really well-written book is. A lot of times, your really well-written books are not business books; they’re books you would read for entertainment. Two things about this; it’s a great story, it’s a true story. It’s sort of like reading a biography, in a sense, but it’s just really well-done. If you’re into reading and you like business books, I think you’ll find this entertaining.
Quite a number of companies that do not accept American Express because American Express does charge higher fees, so they don’t take American Express and I understand. I think that’s a mistake. I would highly recommend that you do take American Express. I’d set up an account with American Express. If you accept credit cards, take American Express, but an option is … It’s really important to have American Express when you serve the commercial market. If you’re really concerned about this, one thing you could do is on the phone when your team is speaking with a client or when you’re in person, just say, “Would you like to pay with Visa or MasterCard?” You’re immediately implying that it’s one of the two choices. You might not even promote that you take American Express. However, when asked or pushed for it, you’ll have the ability to take it.
Don’t promote it; have it and then accept it when you need to. If you don’t just make it available and say, “We take American Express,” then you won’t have to worry about as many people just automatically using their American Express. For example, I use my American Express for everything, but if they don’t have American Express or they don’t take it, then I have a Visa card as well. Everybody has a backup card, I would imagine.
I would recommend, number one, accepting American Express, and then if you’re really worried about the fees, just don’t promote it, don’t ask for it. Maybe change the language you use internally in your business to get the MasterCard or Visa, but then happily accept it when that’s all that they have or if they’re a business. Most businesses want to use American Express, and it puts you at a deficit compared to your competitors or it’s not fantastic customer service when you don’t accept it.
To get started in business, the absolute easiest way to do it is to just start. I know that sounds silly, but let me explain. When you think about building a company, you think I’ve got to find customers; I’ve got to set up an LLC; I need to get a bank account; I’ve got to buy equipment; I’ve got to buy a truck. You imagine all the stuff that’s going into your business. Also, when you’re starting a company, you’re picturing what that business is going to look like in a year or two years when it’s operating and running. None of that matters now.
Most guys that dream of starting a business and tell everybody they’re going to start a business and buy info products when starting a business never get started because they’re thinking about it all wrong; they’re trying to do too many things. All you need to do is make a thousand dollars. That’s all you’ve got to do. You provide one service and make a thousand dollars. It doesn’t even need to be a recurring thousand dollars.
On a side note, there’s all these businesses that you might think of. For example, maybe you want to be in the lawn care business or maybe you want to be in the cleaning business, and then as soon as you do a thousand dollars worth of work or five thousand dollars worth of work, you realize this business sucks. I don’t like this. I couldn’t imagine doing this all the time. The best time to figure that out is right now before you buy equipment, buy trucks, get licensed, all that other stuff. Just focus on making a thousand dollars. Block everything else out of your mind; don’t worry about anything else. You just want to make a thousand dollars.
Then after you make your first thousand dollars, then your next goal is to make one thousand dollars on recurring money each month. Just set your business up so each month you have enough work coming in if you do nothing else that you’ll make a thousand dollars. It’s that simple. You don’t think about anything else. You don’t buy any equipment that you don’t absolutely have to have to provide that one service that will make you a thousand dollars a month. If you keep it that simple, it’s not nearly as intimidating. Your odds of being successful because you actually get started will go up tenfold. Go make one thousand dollars immediately. Only do that and nothing else.
Good morning. It’s about eleven o’clock in the morning on Monday and I’m heading into the office. My family and I just got back in town at about four o’clock this morning. We were out of town for the weekend, a surprise event. My aunt had passed away, completely unexpected, never would have guessed. We just got back in town and it got me thinking. I was talking to one of my cousins over the weekend and it got me thinking about wills.
I for a very, very, very long time put off doing my will. Even after I had accumulated a fair amount of assets and I had kids, I still had put it off. I had it on my to-do list, but it just kept getting bumped and bumped because I knew that I needed to go to a lawyer and I needed to get this thing done. This is my suggestion for you. If you’re in a situation where you’re like me, you’re crazy busy and you’ve delayed for many years and you said, “I’m going to do a will. We’re going to get a will done or we’re going to redo our will; it’s been so long.” You keep putting it off because you know that it’s a lot of effort to go find a lawyer and then deal with the lawyer on it.
What I ended up doing because I had put if off so long, it dawned on me, let me just take a first easy step. I did this quite some time ago, and I just went and I did it on … You can go to Nolo.com; you can go to some different websites. I just went and did it online, and I recommend that you just do that, just as a first step. I’m not saying that’s the only thing you should do. I’m not saying you shouldn’t use a lawyer. In fact, if you have a lot of assets, if you own a couple of businesses or your business is complicated, if you have a number of key man life insurance policies, if you have quite a few different things like that, you really want to- and you have kids, you might want to consider a lawyer.
At least as a first step, for a hundred bucks, there’s LegalZoom; that’s where I did it. There’s Nolo.com. Go to one of those sites. Just do you will. It will take you a couple of hours. It will force you to get everything organized, and it will force you to double-check all of your insurance policies and everything to make sure that your beneficiaries are the right people. If you have the wrong beneficiary on your life insurance policy but in your will say something different, I believe that the life insurance policy will trump the will. It will make you get everything organized and together.
I’d highly encourage you to go check on your will today, your life insurance today. If you haven’t done a will, just go spend a hundred bucks, knock it out in a couple of hours, and then keep on your to-do list going to see the lawyer, but at least get it done today, especially if you’re a business owner with kids.