The much-awaited part two with the HVAC GOAT, Jim Abrams is here! If you haven’t listened to the first episode with Jim, go and get yourself caught up. In part one, we got to hear some highlights from Jim’s incredible career and started to get into what exactly has made him so successful all these years. Now, we’re digging into the plethora of wisdom Jim is happy to share with our listeners to help you succeed.
There are three things you can move in business (and life!), and you have to master them all. The first is yourself. You can move your mind, your effort, your time, and your will. The second is your money. You have to decide how you spend and use your money to enhance your business. Lastly, you can move other people. These people include your family, friends, associates, employees, and so forth.
When you go to work every day, these are the only three things you can move – so you have to have a plan! How are you going to spend your time, how are you going to use your money, and how are you going to move your people? Keeping your focus on these three things are how you move forward.
The organization of your company should be pretty simple. There are three key functions you need to understand and master. First, you have to get a lead and sell it. That’s business 101. Then, you have to operate with excellence. That includes your systems and procedures so that when that sale gets made, you’re capitalizing on it. You have to get paid, install that system correctly, and handle all those other details. Lastly, you have to have administrative excellence with your business. You’ll want to look at your org chart and make sure you have each position filled with the very best people you possibly can and that each of them has the very best plan possible.
In Jim’s upcoming book, he covers the ten steps to business success. This is for any business, too. His formula has been proven in the industries of HVAC, plumbing, electrical, roofing, restaurants, and most recently, physical therapy.
1. Determine if people want it, or need it
People will only buy things for two reasons: they either want it or they need it. Does your product and/or service fall in those categories?
2. Can you deliver that product or service with a competitive advantage?
Usually, a competitive advantage means you’re selling or providing your service/product for less money, or in a way that is more convenient, unique, or creative. If you don’t have some differentiation between the rest of the market, the customer will simply default to price.
3. You must have a name and message
This is absolutely critical. With One Hour Air Conditioning, they use the slogan “Always on time, or you don’t pay a dime”. This is an example of antipestic meter, a poetic device that Dr. Seuss used to help people memorize things. If people hear that slogan 7 times anywhere–TV, radio, wherever–they’ll remember it. Make sure your name and message are clear and memorable!
4. Identify your pillars of success
Within every business, there are measurable categories that you must look at. These categories will determine if you’ve properly planned and executed in a way that leads to success. How many service calls are you running a year?
At one time, Jim was overseeing 10,000 service calls a day through his franchise group and company-owned operations. With that many calls, mistakes are bound to happen. That’s why Jim created pillars of success for his service calls! One every contract or invoice, there was a number that dialed directly to his secretary’s desk. If there was a single person disappointed out of those 10,000 calls per day, they heard about it. Jim’s team would have one day to correct the issue for the customer or he’d get involved. He simply wouldn’t let the sun come down on an unhappy customer as part of his pillars of success.
5. Do you have the capital necessary to succeed? If not, can you replace it with effort?
You either have to have the capital necessary to succeed, or you have to replace it with effort. Early on, that’s exactly what Jim had to do. He was out there knocking on doors and calling up telephones to drum up business. Later on, capital wasn’t as much of an issue because it became much more available to Jim. He was able to use that in order to take a large presence in a market if he chose to.
6. Can you lead and do what is necessary?
You’re going to have to look in the mirror. This is one of the tougher steps to tackle for most. Sometimes you might have to make a tough decision like firing someone you care about. Maybe even a family member or a close friend. Can you really do this? You business is like an infant child. If you aren’t doing everything you can to keep that child alive and well, you need to change. Your business is completely dependent on you to be able to make these decisions. If you can’t, it’s probably not going to work out for you.
7. Do you have the will do to do what is necessary?
It sounds similar, but this is different than number six on this list. Number six is asking the question “can you do it”. This is “WILL you do it”. A lot of times you’re going to run into things that are extremely difficult. Do you have the courage to follow through with what needs to be done?
8. Will you define an organizational chart, fill the necessary roles yourself early on, and then hire the right people later?
Generally speaking in the contracting industry, the first role you should find is a superstar administrator. That’s because accounting for these businesses takes up such an inordinate amount of time. Getting that off your plate and deleting it to someone you can depend on allows you to have more time to impact the business on the top line. If you can’t do it or aren’t the right fit, is the right person doing it?
9. Will you gain the necessary knowledge, write at least a 5-year plan, and subordinate to the plan, setting your ego aside?
This is pretty self explanatory. Are you willing to educate yourself, plan ahead, and stick to the plan?
10. Will you create a business culture of true meritocracy, focusing on the success of each individual working in the company, delegating authority and responsibility, and do so legally, ethically, and morally?
Read number ten again. This is key. If you can do all these ten things in business and follow the formula, you’ll succeed. In the book, these ten steps are broken into chapters with stories told from Jim’s career that relate to each one!
Jim has led an unrivaled career. He’s now 75, a recent cancer survivor, and certainly has nothing left to prove. Nowadays, he’s enjoying his large family including 9 grandchildren. He does still work with business owners, and his love for the industries he’s been involved with hasn’t waned. He does charge for his time, and understandably so, but if you really want to reach Jim, you certainly can! If you’re trying to get in touch with Jim, email him at [email protected].
Be sure to keep an eye out for his new book, or send an email to the above address for a copy of the audio first!