Have you been wondering what you'll do “when you grow up?” Feeling blah about your business and position in life? Ever wonder if there's more (satisfaction, money, free time, balance, fun) than you're currently experiencing?
No, this isn't a commercial for hair implants, little blue pills, or a dating service. It's not uncommon for me to work with remodelers who are questioning the direction their careers and companies are taking. So what do I do when remodelers start asking? I ask them a lot more questions.
I have learned over the years that the right answers come from asking the right questions — those that reach back to your bedrock principles (what you love, what you believe, what you find really important) and then point the way forward. Here are some of these tried-and-true questions, along with a few responses recently given by one remodeler in his quest for a better fit with his company.
What are your strengths and weaknesses in business?
“Sometimes, I am almost visionary. I am particularly creative, resourceful, and a great problem solver. And I have always been exceptional at bringing in business … but not so good at handling it once I've brought it in. I tend to take on too much. I over-commit. I fail to follow through.”
What do you dislike doing at work?
“I hate being disorganized or not on top of my details. I also dislike things being hectic, particularly because I tend to lose focus and miss important things. I get tired and bored when doing repetitive tasks.”
How do you like managing others in your business? Are you good at hiring? At coaching?
“I like managing. I can be a good coach, and I can tell people hard things when necessary, usually in a productive way. I do, however, need a good structure to make sure I follow through on all of the details.”
How do you view the importance of finances in your company? How do you judge if you are doing well or poorly financially?
“It's as if I've had blinders on these last six years. All I paid attention to was the checkbook balance, my billables, and what I was able to draw out as take-home pay…. I understand that to move forward, I must discipline myself to pay close and regular attention to the P&L and the balance sheet.”
I also ask:
My clients often comment how much they learn about themselves by working through the answers to these questions. You can learn, too, by doing your own self-assessment. Just be sure to write down your answers. Then step back, analyze what works and what doesn't, assess your strengths and weaknesses, and continuously edit and mine these answers over time.
You'll gain valuable insights into how you can maximize your strengths and design a company that suits your talents and goals. —Linda Case, CRA, is founder of Remodelers Advantage in Laurel, Md., a company providing business solutions through a network of experts and peers. 301.490.5620; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.remodelersadvantage.com.