I've noticed a few sites offing EC help running their small businesses like a large company with aggressive marketing and service contracts. Has anyone used them also the site electrical-contractor.net is selling an ebook on running an EC company anyone try this?
I get lots of coaching, in fact not a day goes by that someone does not feel compelled to tell me that I am doing it wrong, or a better way to do things, or what I should have done. Best of all, its free too.
101° Rx = + /_\
#169631 - 10/10/0709:12 AMRe: Has anyone ever used Business Coaching?
I do alright with marketing and visibility, but service agreements have been a tough sell for me. I essentially give them away to sell a job. Lets face it, it's good for business to have a look around and point out the hazards. Some people want safe homes. More work = more money. As for coaching, I've had some very good advice over the years. I've paid for about half of it. Some of it was worthless.
A basic obstacle to good business is an overabundance of ECs. If the area can only really support 100 ECs and there are 150, some are going to be hungry. Some hungry ones bid very low before they quit, making it a little harder for the rest. In this area the unions have had massive layoffs from the dying housing market. All those union ECs are hungry too. They might have made $45/hour when they worked, so they'll work for $45/hour...with no license, and no liability insurance.
Marketing, a good client base, and experience are what has saved me from going hungry.
#169920 - 10/20/0701:20 AMRe: Has anyone ever used Business Coaching?
I am embarrassed to admit that I paid one of these coaching companies to come to my office about six years ago. We agreed upon an hourly rate plus travel/expenses, which seemed affordable (one "coach", one day was my expectation).
Three "coaches" showed up and wasted our time for THREE days, charging us for all "coaches" individually. Oh, and I had to sign for their air fare from Atlanta AND hotel/per diem expenses (each) as soon as they walked in the door. I also had to pay my employees for their time while they were being brainwashed.
All they were there to do was to sell insurance, investment and benefits packages. We already had these in place with mighty generous contributions, but somehow they felt that our plans weren't good enough.
After I finally had to cut them off and send them packing, they had all of my employees hating me, convinced that I was ripping them off, that I wasn't paying them enough and that our benefits package stinks. Oh, I forgot to mention: They also determined that my management skills were questionable.
Truth be known: These jokers are in cahoots with insurance and benefits sales groups. Their goal is to get your employees united against you so that you'll buy the packages that they suggest. Of course, they are making a commission for the leads AND getting paid by you to do so.
They aren't there to help you improve your business. They are there to improve THEIR business, at your expense.
When I cut them off, they resisted, stating that if they weren't able to finish their "program" (brainwashing) with our employees, there may be an adverse affect upon us. These guys were sharp, but eventually I caught on. They spent the first day getting everyone angry, then tried to milk a week of billing to make everyone happy again.
By the way, I got off lucky with only a $10,000.00 bill. I paid it promptly, confirming my ignorance for having fallen for this scam. I suppose that it sure could have been worse if I had let things continue. No doubt, this was one of the most stupid business decisions that I have ever made. It sure won't happen again. Be very careful. In running a business, I'm finding that if I had just listened to my parents, I'd be further ahead.
WOW! Ok I am shocked. My brother keeps telling me I need to hire a consultant, but my idea of a consultant or a coach has always been someone who could not make it in business so they leach off of people who can. I had no idea that some of them were actually in the insurance business.
I've not hired any 'coach' .... but I've had a few good mentors.
First of all, what they teach in "business school' is how to function in someone else's large corporation ... NOT how to start, nurture, and operate your own business.
Second, most "development" seminars seem to be either businesses whose main business is either putting on seminars - or shilling their products (like insurance, etc.) The 'wisdom' that they offer is readily available in countless business books .... they just deliver it at a much higher price, with an over-paid cheerleader.
That leaves us with the avenues that are available, and that actually WORK:
The best is: find yourself a mentor. That is, work for someone who will show you the ropes. You didn't become an electrician overnight; it will take a similar effort to learn to manage people, grow a business, or operate a business.
Avail yourself of the numerous books out there on starting a business. Each will take a different approach, and address different parts of the whole picture. I've said this before - and usually get snickers in return - but I still maintain that some of the most concise 'business advice' can be found in the various books out there, written by famous prostitutes. The ladies' books certainly are more interesting reads than, say, "Stallcup on Electrical Contracting!"
Join you local Chamber of Commerce, trade association, Rotary Club, etc. This will place you where you can learn from your fellow businessmen.
Your local community college can help you with the accounting, etc., courses you'll need if you want to avoid some paperwork disasters. Along the same lines, your CPA will also be a great source of guidance. It's about more than just number crunching.
Finally, there is the subject of franchising. Successful franchise operations make sure their members follow proven methods. The parent firm usually handles things -like capital equipment and advertising - that are essential to the business .... but are not 'part' of the business itself. Watch and learn. Any franchise who limits their part to letting you use their name is a waste. Again, the principles are universal, and are not dependent upon the nature of the product. Second to hookers, the best business advice I've received came from a convenience store.
#170960 - 11/15/0709:16 PMRe: Has anyone ever used Business Coaching?