Canadian Rental Service

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At Your Service: Lead by example


February 2, 2021
By Russ Dantu

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In my other business, I help companies differentiate themselves from their competitors through the use of branded apparel and promotional products. One of my suppliers is Guardian Protective Equipment. They serve the oil and gas industry with fire retardant clothing and also municipal services such as fire and police departments with all the embroidery needs on their uniforms such as logos and patches. 

I have been getting all of my embroidery done by them for over 13 years now. They are an exceptional company that has taken great care of me throughout the years and one I have remained very loyal to because of this. 

While it’s a fairly small company, it has done very well. It’s owned by a father-son duo and employs about 20 people. Walter is the father and he truly inspires me!

Walter is the first to arrive at work every single day at around 6:30 am and the last to leave which is usually around 5:30 to 6 pm. He also works a minimum of four hours every Saturday. When needed, he takes product home with him for people to pick up who could not get to their business during regular business hours and, on occasion, he drives product right to the customers. He also digs in wherever needed in the business. Sometimes it’s very menial jobs like cutting fabric or using a small pair of scissors to cut the excess thread on a freshly embroidered logo. Sometimes it’s helping customers when they come in for fittings. Sometimes it’s sweeping the floor where all the seamstresses work. Whatever needs to be done, Walter digs in to help out.

Now, you may say, “Hey, most small business owners know the sacrifices that are needed to ensure their businesses are successful.” Heck, most of you are likely doing that now. It’s crucial as an owner, branch manager, or department head that we lead by example. The old adage that we should work on the business, not in the business is something I totally disagree with. They are both important if we are going to be successful. Showing your team that you don’t mind getting dirty or doing those menial jobs for the betterment of your company are crucial if you want to build a positive workplace culture.

Back to Walter. He inspires me so much because Walter is 93 years old! He’s retired three times over the years because he doesn’t need the money and thought he was ready to golf and travel. He comes back each time because he’s bored sitting at home or wherever they go to. He misses working. He loves being around people, helping out and making sure his business continues to be successful.

Am I suggesting that we all plan to work until we are Walter’s age? No. Am I suggesting that we don’t take holidays or spend time with our families and friends? No, of course not! Am I suggesting we shouldn’t have any hobbies? That would be silly. What I am suggesting is that whatever you put in to your business will usually determine what you get out of your business. This isn’t always true as many a wonderful person has had to close their doors – and even more so lately with the COVID pandemic – but for most of us, if we work hard and smart, the combination usually results in good things happening.

Here’s my challenge for you in 2021. Work 30 minutes more each day than you are now (if you’re already working 16 hours a day, you likely need a business coach to help you navigate the challenges). It can be 15 minutes in the morning and 15 at the end of the day. It could be cutting your lunch to 30 minutes from an hour. It could be after your family has gone to bed each night. 30 minutes a day, that’s all. I guarantee it will create positive results.

If Walter can work 11-12 hours a day plus a little extra on the weekend, surely you and I can do more at a much younger age! 


Russ Dantu is a 30-year veteran of the rental industry and has been delivering workshops, seminars and keynotes on customer service for over 15 years. Visit russdantu.com.