This important business lesson helped Jonathan prioritize and focus on successfully growing his businesses.
In 2007, I learned a really, really important business lesson, that I’m so thankful that I took to heart and applied. It took me a long time to apply it, and I’m hoping that it will help you as well. The point is that you need to build a really big wall around you, and let me explain. If you want to be very successful, if you want to build a great company, take fantastic care of your clients, take fantastic care of your team, you have to protect yourself from the noise, and the distraction, so that you can focus you, and your team, on what’s most important.
What I’m about to say does not in any way remove you from being completely responsible for all the negative stuff that’s happening in your business, or any poor customer service. It doesn’t remove you from any of the problems in your company. What it does is it frees you up to solve those problems. The key is, the thing that I learned, and I learned it from Dan Kennedy, is that you have to build a giant wall around you, and keep everything out.
Let me give you an example of what this looks like. If you were to call me at Service Autopilot, you cannot get me directly on the phone. My phone doesn’t ever ring at all. Nobody leaves me a voicemail. In fact, I’ve never listened to my voicemail messages, if I happen to have some. Nobody calls me on my cell phone. If I were to go on a trip for a week, the only call I would get on my cell phone would be texts, and it would possibly be from my wife, or a couple key people in the company. Hardly ever would I get a call otherwise.
Very few people have my e-mail address, some clients do from early on. There’s really very few ways to get a hold of me except through my team. I don’t do this because I don’t want to talk to my clients. In fact, if I could do anything, I would spend all my time on the phone with the clients, or all of my time with my clients in person. In the early years of Service Autopilot I did all the sales. I did the customer service. I did the training, and I did a lot of that for way too long.
I had to build walls around me, and John, my business partner has had to build walls around him, so that we can work on the biggest, most important stuff so that we can take in all of the problems, so we can take in all of the enhancement requests. What I’m referring to is true, for both my lawn care company, I did the same thing there, and for the software company.
It applies to every business. If you want to take in all the reasons clients are cancelling at your company, all the complaints that you’re getting, why you’re not making the sales, why your marketing isn’t working. If you want to digest all of the problems, and all the good things that are working, and you want to condense that down and take action on them, to improve things, to fix things, to change things, you can’t have your phone ring every fifteen minutes.
You can’t get e-mails all the time. You can’t have a million things bombarding you. You have to build walls all around you, so you can think, and focus, and manage. So that you can put the right people in the right places, and the right priorities on the the plate, so that you can tackle the problems.
If you do not do that you will never get big. I have watched some of the more successful guys, and they too operate like I do. When I go to some of the things that I’m involved in, some of the most successful guys, they’re like me. They never get any phone calls. They rarely get e-mails. They don’t have to get up and walk out of the seminar, or the conference, or the meeting, they don’t have to. They can be completely present, and completely focused on their business.
It took me years to get here, but I started working on it back in 2007, when I first heard it. It totally resonated with me, and I implemented it, and it took, again, years to get here. The more that I block out of my life, the more successful I become, and the more successful things around me run, and the faster the company moves forward. That was one of the most important business lessons I have ever learned.
If you can apply that to your business, and to your life, you’ll have a much more peaceful life. You’ll have more of the type of business you want to run, and your company will move forward faster because of it.