Hope is not a plan: No such thing as good enough
By Adam Snook
By Adam Snook
Working on cars and trucks with my grandpa when I was younger taught me a number of things. A swear word can be any word said with the wrong intent. Ten-millimeter sockets have legs and hide themselves.Engineers hate mechanics. And good enough is not the same as good.
I was young and impatient, so I would rush to get a job done as quickly as possible. My grandpa would ask me if I was ready for him to check it, I’d sometimes say, “Yes, it’s good enough.” Inevitably, every third or fourth job I did he’d find something that I’d missed or could have done better. Then I’d get the lecture about how our work should always be good and not “good enough.”
Good enough implies that it’s ok to just leave something as less than ideal. It’s the equivalent of we’ll get by, that’s all we need. In other words, the bare minimum.
Given the challenges in the world right now, if your attitude toward your business is it’s “good enough” you should start updating your resume today.
We’ve seen people who are smarter, more talented, and harder working than you and me lose their businesses through no fault of their own. Now those smart, hard working, and talented people are looking around at what industries and businesses not only survived, but thrived through the pandemic. And they’re looking directly at us. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that just because they owned a restaurant or retail business before that they’re not capable of getting into the rental business and chasing your customers. There’s nothing in this industry that they can’t learn on the fly, or hire the knowledge needed. Make no mistake, there is going to be thousands of experienced, and hungry people who will be looking for opportunities. Your business had better show that it’s good, and not just good enough.
It should be a part of your annual review of your operation regardless. What systems do we have in place that can be improved upon? Is your order desk upselling every opportunity possible? Sales 101 reminds us that time in front of the customer is gold. You never know how much you will have or when you will get it again. Therefore, you need to maximize the business you do with every interaction. Any time the customer isn’t offered a blade with that saw or a safety harness with that lift is a missed opportunity – good enough rather than good.
Are our mechanics being as diligent as possible on checking for customer damage and billing it back? Overlooking minor things might seem like good customer service, but over time it is death by a thousand cuts. A good example of “good enough” adding up to “bad.”
Is our wash bay spending the time cleaning and detailing the equipment to keep it as fresh as possible? Hey, that equipment doesn’t have to be perfect in order to go out there and do the job, right? That might be true, but each rental could be the first interaction the customer has had with your company. You know what they say about first impressions.
Is the office keeping on top of receivables? Drip, drip, drip. Every day the money is in their bank account instead of yours is another day of loss, either to missed interest or the cost of borrowing to cover your cash flow.
Given the insane demand for equipment,are your sales people getting the highest rates that your market will allow? Accepting “good enough” in your margins is effectively a bet that business will always be as good as it is today. Make money while the sun shines, the old farmer used to say.
Is your facility clean and inviting? See the point abover re: first impressions.
Are you doing everything you can to attract the top people when looking to hire? Accepting “good enough” in staff is a surefire recipe for disaster. In this business, where everything depends on the people, it won’t be long before that worker who was good enough is costing you in about 100 different ways.
None of us got into business with the intention of it being good enough, our goals were to be great. Let’s work on getting good, then we can challenge ourselves to greatness.
Adam Snook owns Just Bins, a Regina-based provider of waste disposal solutions.