Focus the Passion

Million Dollar MondayAs The Office Manager For Rent, I’ve worked with a lot of different people over the past 18 years. Million Dollar Monday is my attempt to analyze what my most successful clients (over a million dollars in sales per year) have had in common.

The Enthusiast

My most successful clients have been passionate about their businesses, but not in any way I would have guessed. For example: a landscape designer I used to work for didn’t ride with his crews every day to tell them where to place the plants. Nor did he look over the shoulder of the guy he hired to help design the new school campus. He didn’t even have much input into the graphics of the car wraps he put on his fleet. His passion wasn’t focused on what I would consider the fun parts of his business. Nor was he very focused on his company’s actual service. (He hired people to take care of that.) His passion and his time were devoted to the BUSINESS of his business.

He got excited about new opportunities and trends in his field. He knew exactly how many clients he had at any given time and how much he’d likely net for the month. He’d drive around to see which churches and businesses were paying outside landscapers. Then he’d run home and write-up a proposal to try to grab that work. He loved to talk to anyone who owned a business of ANY kind. And he read more books about marketing than he did about pruning roses. His focus wasn’t on the current details of his daily business; he looked ahead to what his business could be. He had a vision for his company and his vision was what inspired his passion. (And his vision worked: He got so big he no longer needed to rent an office manager; he hired one full-time.)

Passion and enthusiasm are not enough on their own. As a business owner, you have to be sure that your passion is directed in a way that will grow your company. If my landscape designer had focused his enthusiasm on deciding where every plant was to be placed, he’d have no time to grow his business. He would also likely annoy all of his workers with his butt-insky ways.

Here’s what I believe: That landscape designer could have been successful running any business. It wasn’t the particular industry he was in that inspired him. He was inspired by possibilities and challenges and the vision of a successful future.

Honesty is the Best Policy

Million Dollar MondayAs The Office Manager For Rent, I have been a part of a lot of small businesses during the past 18 years, and I’ve noticed some patterns. Million Dollar Monday is my attempt to analyze what my most successful clients (over a million dollars in sales per year) have had in common.

The Man of Honor

Sorry about the sexist title: it turns out there is no noun in the English language that describes a person who is honest in his/her business dealings, so I had to go with an outdated phrase. (There are plenty of nouns to describe a dishonest business person: charlatan, cheat, con artist, crook, hustler, swindler, but none to describe an honest one. Hmmmm.)

Anyway, along with taking care of themselves and spending most of their time promoting their companies, my most successful clients have always gone out of their way to be honest. They keep their word to their vendors and employees, by paying them on time, and they honor the agreements they make with their customers. If some hazy situation arises, they always err on the side of honesty.

A good example is when a check comes in and I can’t find a corresponding invoice in Quickbooks. Some of my clients over the years have told me to just deposit the check and if their customer overpaid, they’ll figure it out and we’ll refund them. I guess when you are taking in thousands of dollars a day, it’s hard to keep track of who owes what.

My most successful clients, however, always tell me to investigate. They have me take the time to contact the company and determine if the check is actually a valid payment. If it’s not owed to us, they have me return it. It takes some time and effort, but it’s the right thing to do.

It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but the company that gets my phone call knows right then and there that they are dealing with an honest company. The entrepreneur who is in charge has passed his good ethics down to his whole company. Wouldn’t you love to know that about a company you deal with? And wouldn’t you continue to deal with them? Not only is honesty good for your soul, it’s good for your business.

Below are some related posts:

You Schmooze You Win

Work it Out

Work it Out

Million Dollar MondayAs the Office Manager for Rent, I usually spend a couple of days a month in each of my clients’ offices. This gives me a good feel for their business and their lifestyle, but I’m not entrenched in the day-to-day grind. I see enough to evaluate their practices, and yet I still have the clarity of an outsider. Million Dollar Monday is my attempt to analyze what my most successful clients (over a million dollars in sales per year) have had in common.

The Athlete

Along with being the main face of their business, see my post on that here hyperlink to similar material every one of my million dollar clients is/was very fit. As busy as they are, they take time to care for themselves. They exercise; they eat well (lots of fruit and almonds and slimy green drinks). Does this have anything to do with their success as entrepreneurs? I believe that it does.

Athletes know how to push themselves. If they go out for a 5 mile run, they know that at some point they will likely think about quitting. Maybe it’s too hot or their iPod stops working or they just start thinking about all the other stuff they should be doing. But they keep running. They made a commitment to do a hard job and they follow through. That’s what athletes do. That’s also what successful business people do. They don’t quit.

Also, when you care for yourself, it shows. You move easily; you have energy; you’re not bogged down by aches and pains and inertia. Fit people tend to have a confidence in themselves and their abilities. They make the hard choices every day. (Do I go to the gym or do I go to Pizza Hut?) And when you do the hard thing every day, you feel good about yourself. It sounds subtle as I am trying to describe it , but I think it’s significant.

People want to respect the people they work with. If you are a business owner who is fit and confident, that’s going to be an asset. If you look like you have your life and habits under control, people will be more likely to trust that your business is also under control. My most successful clients ARE in control: of their habits and their businesses and their lives.

 

 

You Schmooze, You Win

Million Dollar MondayOver the past 18 years, I have been the office manager for up to a dozen entrepreneurs at a time. I work with their employees; I see their spending habits and work habits and social habits. But I’m also objective. I’m not entrenched in the day-to-day chaos of their business, so I am able to view things clearly. I am the ultimate insider/outsider and I see it all. Million Dollar Monday is my attempt to analyze what my most successful clients (over a million dollars in sales per year) have had in common.

The Schmoozer

Every one of my million dollar clients is/was a salesperson. I don’t mean they are salesy in that annoying used-car salesman type of way. They are relationship builders, or what I affectionately call “Schmoozers.” They talk on the phone; they go to events; they take people out to lunch; they stop by for a visit: In their every waking moment (it seems to me), they are connecting with someone.

What they DON’T  EVER do, is they don’t produce the product or service that they are selling. That’s the only way they have the time for all of this schmoozing. (I need to work on this one BIG TIME.) They can be away from the office/job site because their team is doing the actual work.

So there’s our first hurdle: If you’re a business of one, like I am, you will likely not hit a million dollars in yearly sales without help. The problem is, it’s scary to get into payroll and employees and TAXES. That’s why my Office Manager For Rent  business makes sense to a lot of entrepreneurs. They have me work on an as-needed basis, and at the end of the year they give me a 1099 (actually, most times, I give myself the 1099.) No payroll service needed.

Lots of freelancers are available on a 1099 basis – especially now, when unemployment levels are high. You can hire graphic designers, house painters, blog writers; I bet that any kind of help you need is out there on a temporary/as needed basis. It might not be what you are ready to do right now, but it should be on your business bucket list. If you want to make a million dollars in sales next year, you need to get some help. A small business grows best if its owner is out there selling its services.