Originally published May 16th, 2018, but these words are as true today as they were then.
This month I’m continuing to honor the memory of my mother by sharing some of the lessons I learned from her which have helped me in my life and business.
For those of you who don’t know, my mother passed away this February, still running her successful cleaning business at the age of 87. She led a fantastic life and was an amazing person who taught me so many things, and I’ll share a few more of the lessons that can help you in your business or in life. (If you missed the first four lessons, you can catch up here.)
Lesson 5: Take decisive action
When my mother made up her mind to do something, boom!—it was done. She was a very decisive person, not a procrastinator. She amazed me. When she decided that, “this is what we are going to do,” it got done. I saw this in her personal life and in business where she made decisions and acted immediately.
I frequently consult with cleaning business owners about their business and I offer a discount to join my Cleaning Business Fundamentals course if they sign up with me while we’re on the phone. The people who join while we’re talking are those who take decisive action and immediately begin changing their business for the better. Then there are people who just can’t decide, saying “I need to think about it,” and “I’ll get back to you.” Most people who say they’ll think about it never follow through. You will never be as motivated to move forward as you are in that moment where we’re discussing it on the phone. Some of the people have spoken with me a year later and mentioned regretting that they hadn’t joined the group when we had been discussing it the previous year. They missed out on a full year’s worth of business growth by not being decisive.
I’ve noticed that the people who take decisive action have the best follow through. They participate and benefit more from my program. The people who move forward quickly have the best results in a shorter timeframe—they make immediate change in their business and begin to recoup their expense.
Lesson 6: Strive for consistency
Consistency? Don’t you mean excellence? Well, few people realize that if you have to pick between consistency and excellence, you’ll be more successful if you choose consistency. Of course, I want you to have both—consistently strive for excellence. But most people strive for perfection and you won’t be consistent if you try to be perfect.
My mother wasn’t a perfectionist. She wasn’t sloppy or haphazard or mediocre, but she was consistent. I got a birthday card from my mother every year, for every year of my life. I’ve never seen anybody else, much less any 87 year old, who was able to consistently send out birthday cards out to all of her children and grandchildren. I was always like, “Mom, how do you keep up with that? I can barely remember my own anniversary and my husband’s birthday!”
Which trait do your customers prefer? Consistency. If they had to choose between a good, consistent cleaning that they can always count on, versus a cleaning that teeters wildly between amazing and mediocre, your customers will prefer consistently good cleaning. Life is full of surprises, but your customers don’t want to be surprised by varying levels of service.
Lesson 7: Practice positivity
My mother really excelled at this— she was the most positive person I’ve ever known. She was so positive that if something went wrong, she’d find something in the problem that went right. Now she didn’t bury her head in the sand, she did confront issues, but in a positive way.
Successful people practice positivity. I could focus on negative things all day, but I don’t want to. I could focus on the flaws in my children, my husband, my business, but I’d prefer not to. I’d rather focus on the good things and then work on the things that I can fix. If you practice positivity, you will reap many more benefits than practicing negativity.
Most of the entrepreneurs I consult with are quite positive, but maybe 2 out of 10 will have a negative bent. Those are the ones who constantly harp about people’s bad work ethic and how they can’t fix things. It’s much better to talk about the things they want to achieve and how they are striving for their goals. Don’t focus on the negative, I tell them, let’s fix what you’re doing wrong.
So practice being positive. If you have the tendency to be negative, work on it. Don’t accept it, don’t decide it’s good enough. Work on being positive. Your business will benefit.
Lesson 8: Set boundaries for how others can treat you
My mother was very good about setting boundaries. She was very giving and positive, she always saw the best in people. But when she saw that people were trying to take advantage of her or mistreat her, she was done. She wasn’t a sucker, she would not allow it. This was a positive, loyal, consistent friend, but she understood there are boundaries that people should not cross.
If your business is a mess where you’re structured so that you don’t have any leverage with employees, you don’t have the luxury of being able to fire a bad employee and you let them walk all over you.
That’s demoralizing for a business owner. You had this dream of having an amazing business, being a wonderful boss, having all these great employees that need you, but your business turned into a nightmare that runs you ragged, is on your mind day and night, you can’t get away from it emotionally, it doesn’t pay you enough for your time and pain, and your employees walk all over you. This is incredibly frustrating for a business owner.
You have to have the power in your business to fire bad employees, otherwise it will wreak havoc on your business. It will frustrate other employees who watch you tolerate bad behavior and it will hurt your reputation with your customers when employees do a bad job. You need a strategy to control turnover so that you can set boundaries.
I can help you with implementing this strategy (and many others). Learn more about my Cleaning Business Fundamentals program and how it helps residential business owners reclaim their lives and get on the path toward success.