Hope is not a plan: Hire your weaknesses
By Adam Snook
Recognize your limitations and hire the experts.
By Adam Snook
The rental industry makes you the ultimate Jack of all trades, master of none. For as long as people have been renting equipment, but before the huge multinational players came in, small rental company operators had to do it all. You were the counter man, mechanic, delivery driver, wash bay attendant and sometimes book-keeper.
The variety is a part of what initially attracted me to the rental industry. Never the same day twice. I enjoyed dealing with the customer at the counter one moment and then getting pulled to the shop to troubleshoot a piece of equipment the next minute. The days flew by.
It’s also what made it hard to expand, take time off, and be really focused on what the pressing issues are.
If you’re stuck in the shop working on equipment, and you are the one with the most equipment knowledge, there’s a good chance you’re missing out on upselling opportunities on the counter or the phone.
Conversely, if you’re on the counter dealing with customers yet your strengths are more suited to repairing equipment, you’re probably missing out on revenue opportunities by not having someone with a salesman’s attitude up front.
Believe me, I’m aware how hard it is to admit our own faults or weaknesses. I’ve always been proud of my ability to step in to most any position, without noticing a huge difference in production of that position. But I became keenly aware of my limitations as we continued to grow the businesses over the years.
I have solid outside sales abilities, but not a lot of patience required for the true relationship building required to secure a customer for years. Once we hired the right people to focus on that relationship building and gave them the tools to grow, our business grew exponentially.
Over the last five years it’s become very apparent that social media is a huge catalyst to business growth. I find myself quite funny, but according to my wife I might be the only one. We’ve seen huge growth in our business the last couple of years once I decided to bring on someone who has the right vision for our social media presence.
Self-awareness can be hard. If you can’t see what your strengths and weaknesses are, think about what you enjoy the most. That’ll point you in the right direction. If that doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to ask those you work with. A little criticism never hurts. If they tell you that you’re not great on the counter or in the shop, it might be a good indicator on where you should focus.
Now the next part can sometimes be harder than realizing your weaknesses. You’re ideally looking to hire someone smarter than yourself to fill that need. Being the owner of the business for years and having always done it my way is often a hindrance to getting quality people in to fill those positions.
You need to get out of your own way.
Once you bring the right people in to balance your abilities and you’ve given them all they need to be successful, you’ll see the business starts to take care of itself.
Adam Snook owns JustBins, a Regina-based provider of waste disposal solutions. His background includes building First Choice Rentals, an Alberta based equipment rental and oilfield service provider.