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Growing Your Contracting Business: A Reflection on Leadership, Trust, and Tenacity

If you’re a home improvement contractor, it’s no secret that the industry is as challenging as it is rewarding. There’s a lot to consider when it comes to growing and maintaining a successful business in this sector, and today, we’ll delve deep into some of these aspects, providing a kind of mirror for you to evaluate your progress, decisions, and future steps.


We'll be discussing the importance of trust in leadership, the necessity of changing habits, the significance of ambition for success, the fear of growth, and the potentially tough decision of shutting down your business. Remember, this isn't a one-size-fits-all prescription. It’s more of a reality check and a guide – a shoe, if you will. If it fits, wear it. If not, consider what might be holding you back from reaching your full potential.


1. Trusting Yourself: The Foundation of Leadership

A lack of success in the home improvement industry often boils down to a lack of trust in oneself, especially when it comes to building and leading a team. Many contractors blame external factors such as cheap customers or a seemingly disinterested workforce for their lack of progress, while the root of the issue lies within themselves.


This lack of trust stems from constantly breaking promises to oneself, which gradually erodes confidence and leads to feeling like a fraud, particularly in front of your team. This perception affects your ability to hold consistent company meetings and lead your team with vision and confidence, rendering you unattractive to both potential and current team members.


This self-trust deficit can only be overcome by understanding that every promise you break to yourself is a blow to your self-confidence. It is essential to start keeping those promises, however small they may be, to regain your confidence and the trust of your team.


2. Changing Habits: Balancing Business and Personal Finances

The concept of change is significant in business growth, especially in habits related to finance. Many contractors in the home improvement industry are financially struggling, despite making great strides in their businesses. The main reason is their inability to balance their increased business income with their personal expenses.


A common trap many contractors fall into is raising their personal expenditure as their business income increases, leaving them still feeling broke despite the improved profit margins. While it's gratifying to enjoy the fruits of your labor, it's equally important to ensure that your lifestyle doesn't outstrip your means.


The solution is straightforward – spend less than you earn. This means you have to analyze your personal financial situation and adjust your spending habits accordingly. Making more money shouldn't immediately translate to spending more money.


3. Wanting Success: The Drive to Go All In

Wanting success is not enough; you need to want it bad enough to push through mediocrity and go all in. A clear indication that you’re not striving hard enough is if your phone isn’t ringing and your leads aren’t growing.


Many contractors lament about insufficient leads or work, yet fail to put in the effort required to drum up business. This could involve making 50 to 100 phone calls a day to introduce yourself to influencers, handing out business cards, or reaching out to past customers.


Furthermore, building your brand is critical. This means consistently creating social media content to showcase your expertise and educate your market. It means shifting your mindset from being just a craftsman in the field to a business person committed to success.


4. Embracing Growth: Overcoming Fear and Stepping into Leadership

Growth in business can be daunting. Many contractors express a desire to stay small and profitable. While this mindset might suit some contractors, in many instances, it’s a manifestation of a lack of self-trust and fear of taking on leadership responsibilities.


Embracing growth is about more than just increasing your team size or turnover. It involves becoming a sales master and a marketer, understanding your business inside out, and fostering a company culture that attracts the right people.


If you desire life-changing income, freedom of choice, and control over how you spend your time, then growing your business is not optional—it’s a must. The fear of growth is usually a fear of the unknown, but with the right mindset and strategies, you can overcome this fear and take your business to new heights.


5. The Tough Decision: Closing Your Business

Finally, one of the most challenging things to consider is whether or not you should close down your business. If you've been running your business for over a year with no profit, a lack of tracking mechanisms, inconsistent marketing strategies, and poor leadership, it might be time to reconsider your position as a business owner.


Remember that it's not a personal failure to close down a business. Sometimes, it’s a wiser decision to shut down and take on a job that makes you happier and wealthier, especially if your current business situation is causing you and your family constant distress.


One thing to remember in the grand scheme of things is that business success is not always about the amount of money you make or the number of projects you complete. Instead, it is about your ability to make your vision a reality, to maintain a sustainable and profitable operation, and to experience personal satisfaction and freedom in what you do.


Yes, we all want to earn a good living. We all want to have an impact in our industry and in the lives of our clients. But at the end of the day, your business should be serving you and not the other way around.


Having been in the painting contractor business for a long time, I've had my fair share of both victories and failures. It's part of the journey. And it's in sharing these experiences and lessons that I hope to shed some light for others who are traveling the same path.


If you're in the home improvement contracting business, remember that you are not alone. There is a community of us out there, ready to lend a hand, share a piece of advice, or simply listen when you need to vent. Remember to tap into this network, because nobody said you have to do this alone.


Conclusion

I want to reiterate the importance of having a keen self-awareness in your journey as a contractor. Know your strengths, work on your weaknesses, and never be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Trust in yourself, change your habits for the better, understand what success truly means for you, and be brave enough to make the hard decisions if they are what's best for you in the long run.


Perhaps the biggest takeaway from all of this is that you, as the business owner, have the power to shape your destiny. Be bold, be brave, and believe in your ability to create the business—and life—that you envision. If the shoe fits, wear it proudly. But if it doesn't, don't be afraid to find the one that does. After all, success comes in many forms and what works for one, may not work for another. The important thing is to find what works for you and run with it.


And remember, sometimes you need to pause, reflect, and reevaluate. Is your business serving you, or are you serving it? Once you can honestly answer this question, you will be better prepared to take the necessary steps towards a future that aligns with your vision, your values, and your goals.


With that, I thank you for joining me in this discourse. I hope you find these insights useful as you navigate your way through the rewarding, albeit sometimes challenging, world of contracting. And as always, remember to trust in your capabilities, persist in your endeavors, and stay true to your vision. You got this!


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