If the last 18 months has given us anything it has been a reason to question why we do what we do.
If like thousands of other businesses you really struggled or possibly shut down through Covid, your question might have been, “ Why did I get into business in the first place?” Or possibly, “Why did this happen to me?” It’s probably no solace to hear from me or others, but nobody was prepared for what was coming. No business plan includes a section on pandemic preparedness, and if anyone tells you they were ready, they’re lying.
There’s almost nothing more difficult than losing what you’ve worked and sacrificed years of your life for. Our business becomes intertwined with our identity. Moving on maybe the hardest thing you do, but you need to push through. There will be other opportunities ahead. There always are for hard-working people who are willing to take a risk.
Your “Why?” now turns into a “What?” What are you passionate about and how can you turn that into another opportunity to do what you love? You only fail when you quit.
If, during COVID, you did all right, managed to stay afloat and didn’t really go backwards, count yourself fortunate. Your question might have been “Why did we do OK?” Or, “ Why am I still doing this?” While you should feel blessed to have survived, it’s also natural to wonder “Why me and not them?” If you can’t give yourself a concrete answer to that question, you need to look within.
Now is your opportunity to renew your why. If your passion for your business had been slowly disappearing, you’ve got a great reason to get to excited again. Between being deemed an essential service and your customer base proving how loyal they were during a very trying time, you’re in a great position to come out of COVID ready to run.
If battling through the last year and a half has made you realize you just don’t love being in business anymore, the fact your business survived should make it far more sellable.
There are a lot of people who are re-evaluating what they want to do with their lives now and interest rates are at historical lows, so there may not be a better time to find a buyer.
If your business thrived through a historically challenging period you’ve got the best why to figure out. Asking yourself why you did so well and what you can do to to keep that momentum going post-pandemic seems a lot better than the previous options.
Sure there are bound to be challenges for those companies growing.
1) Equipment challenges. New is getting very expensive and lead times are extending out further by the week.
2) People challenges. Getting qualified staff has been an ongoing issue for every industry and rentals is no different. With many people re-thinking what they do you might be able to attract new people to what is a very dynamic industry.
3) Financial challenges. Regardless of how busy you’ve been during the last 18 months, there are some serious questions that should be kept in the back of our minds. The amount of money that governments of all levels have pumped into the economy has been staggering. That is all going to have to be paid back, which means taxes only going one way. Same with interest rates.
There will be tremendous opportunities for those companies ready and willing to take advantage of them. Infrastructure spending will be a huge economic driver for years, savings account balances are at an all time high, and people are looking for places to spend their money.
The last why is, “ Why did we get into the rental industry in the first place?” It’s an incredibly fulfilling business. Fast paced and always different. It has some of the most creative and adaptable entrepreneurs around. When the very nature of your business demands constant change we tend to excel in challenging times.
If it was easy everyone would do it.
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.
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