There is a trend with many companies that have made it through the tough economy of
staying small and staying profitable. The new business model has a business owner that is engaged, focused, and made it through the tough times. This model the business owner is on the front lines of the business, working in the business each day, and enjoying it. The most amazing thing is that we are more profitable than we’ve ever been.

Here is what I did. I had to make a decision in November of 2012. After downsizing each year from 2008 with fewer employees each year, declining revenues, and loads of debt incurred from getting behind, we had to change. I was absolutely stressed out, after four tough years I decided that it was either time to shut down or make a change. Not willing to give up what I started in 1999 I decided to change my business model, do what I like to do, and pick the area of my business that I enjoy the most.

This was risky because it was only 50% of my revenue, but I decided that I was going
back to basics, start over and do what it takes to make it work. I downsized to three employees and started doing the work again myself. This decision was forced upon me, but it has changed who I am and my business forever.

As a business owner who goes out to each customer, I am the first impression the
customer gets of our company. My sales automatically increased because I know this business better than anyone and I know how to relate to the customer and what it is they really want. At the same time, those that referred the project to me would see an active owner on the jobsite, I could communicate to them exactly what was going on, that their referral was being handled appropriately, and this leads to stronger relationships with those that refer us. Our sales have increased 40% each year since 2012, it’s working. I also manage all our projects, by doing this our efficiency, quality of work, and productivity has increased gross profit margin over 15%. This goes directly to the bottom line.

Most of all I’ve enjoyed the industry that I fell in love with years ago when I first started.
Each day I go home I feel like I’ve made a difference. I’ve connected to my clients, built a relationship with them that they trust our company, they will refer our company to everyone they know, and they like us. At the same time the fulfillment of starting my day and ending my day with productive tasks, I feel like I’ve accomplished something worthwhile. This is something as a business owner sitting in an office managing everything from a distance you cannot get.

Here is the best part of it all. Not only am I engaged, focused, but I’m having fun. Being a tradesperson, allows me to do something that I enjoy, coach my employee’s, influence my clients, and we make more money than we ever have. My bottom line has increased 1016% higher than any of my previous years. Less revenue, less employees, and more profit. It’s called the sweet spot.

Most people have seen Undercover Boss. The CEO goes out on the front lines for a
week dressed undercover to identify the problem in their organization. From this they recognize the opportunities that are there to improve profitability and engagement from their employee’s. Each show is the same, the CEO say’s it was a great experience and well worth the time to make major shifts in their organization. I do this each day, I can see who my competitors are, what they are doing, how my customers are buying, my finger is on the pulse of our service experience of our clients and being on the frontlines gives me that competitive advantage.

Many business owners like myself have had larger revenues with many employee’s at
one time. We were all forced to change. We all say the same thing today that have survived through these tough economic times. We are more profitable, we are having more fun than we ever have, and we enjoy our life again. Grow Small, it’s the new trend.