Regardless of how long you've been in business, you've had to make your fair share of big decisions. Some probably resulted in huge successes, and others may have set you back quite a bit. Earlier this week, ServiceMonster CEO Joe Kowalski took to Facebook seeking answers to two questions: "What's the BEST business decision you have ever made?" and "What's the WORST business decision you have ever made?". After sorting through all of the nearly 200 comments between the two posts, we present to you a summary of the BEST and WORST business decisions made by service business owners.
"What's the BEST business decision you have ever made?"
"Working with a business coach and changing my attitude. It was in 2009 in the recession. I fed into the 'economy sucks' mentality. My business coach showed me places I could go in business that I never saw. Equipped with this new knowledge my energy changed and I became positive and excited about business. I was the problem! A business will never reach its full potential unless you are positive. Potential clients notice your energy. I know because I have been on both sides." - Matt P.
"This is going to sound weird, but the best decision I've made thus far is to ignore my preconceived notions of what my work is worth. What I mean is, I nearly went out of business in the winter. Not because there wasn't any work, but because the limited work available was at a rate below what I felt was worth my time. The result was no work at all while I waited for good paying jobs that came few/far between. It wasn't until I got desperate and decided to do the low paying jobs that I realized I could make it work, especially as it forced me to innovate to become more efficient. Of course, low paying work isn't ideal, but I went from accruing massive debt trying to stay afloat to actually pulling profit while still in the slow season. Sometimes you just have to swallow your pride and get to work. If you face a problem, solve it. I couldn't make the work pay more but I could figure out how to get more of the work done in the same amount of time so that my daily average is still sustainable. Big lesson learned for sure." - Steven M.
"Making sure the phone is always answered. I was going to hire an answering service when I asked my wife if she would like to be involved in the business, starting with this. Best decision I ever made." - John T.
"Not offering as many services I once did. I'm sure this answer will change as I grow." - Dennis R.
"Integration of a good CRM software. A good example is ServiceMonster :) - Shawn C.
"What's the WORST business decision you have ever made?"
"Hiring friends and relatives!" - Ron M.
"Starting as bait and switch." - Kerry H.
"Just going to work and not knowing my numbers." - Brian J.
"Ugh! I have to pick just one... I would say on the bad advice of our accountant we tied personal and business money together. It is still hard to break from to this day. The fact of the matter was if we just paid ourselves first we wouldn't have needed to do that." - Robin D.
"Not firing bad employees fast enough!" - Bill O.
This information helps. For most of these comments, there were several other comments saying essentially the same things. That means these decisions, both good and bad, are commonly made among service business owners. By sharing these experiences, you can help each other avoid future mistakes and choose the right path when a big decision has to be made. In an effort to provide as much value as possible, we will be releasing more blog posts over the next few weeks that will deep dive into many of these situations. Rather than just state what the "best" or "worst" decision was (like in this post), we'll go further and explore how these situations happened, why that specific decision was made, and give specific tips to aid in making the best decision in similar situations.
In closing, thank you to each and every individual who commented on the original Facebook posts. Your willingness to share both positive and negative experiences is much appreciated by all of us at ServiceMonster and also by your fellow business owners. Check back soon for the next post!