Personal Examination of my Professional Goals for the Calendar Year 2013
Professional- This is an area of my life that makes all the other parts possible, all of the following goals for 2013 are related to my present primary business, many of the goals this year are necessary in order to advance into the next phase of my life.
- I will hire one new manager, or operations person that is a game changer. The type of person that fundamentally forces us to get out of this place of complacency.
Why: I need to find a key player who can help take on the day to day operations of both sites, and also function as the swing manager, to work when the others guys are on vacation, or need extra time off, he/she would could act as a stop gap when needed, but would also be responsible for hiring and training a new site manager when needed, keep the existing guys accountable, and act as the force acts the play I create.
In order to grow revenue, and perhaps grow the business, this is pivotal position, everyday that I am mired in daily minutia, I can’t create the programs that will run the company like a self driven entity, nor can I act as the company’s leader, in order to provide better leadership I have to find someone who is a better manager.
Because I suck…
How: I will begin the process by the previously utilizes means of advertising, and interviewing, yet I need to delve deeper into this process and actively recruit someone. I need to come up with business cards that are specifically used for recruitment, and hand them out to people who I encounter in the service industry who impress me.
On the back of the card, I will put my personal cell phone, and a quick note that says, “You’ve impressed me, there may be a position in my company, contact me so we can discuss it”, or something along those lines.
Pitfalls: Losing the emotional impetus act could be my downfall, the continued quenching of fires could cause me to stall, and not take the time to look outside of my immediate situation to find someone. Recruiting is a long and tedious process that requires constant action. I am going to further reconnect with the recruiters I contacted last year; there is someone out there who could be my Sonic Captain that I haven’t found.
Keys: I have to distance the involvement with certain family members, so I can create the situations that are best for someone new. Moving out of the “pizza shop” into a real company has taken far longer than expected, and the main reason is lack of support. I have to find the right people to lead, simple actions like sending an email or memo shouldn’t be fucking tenuous. This person also has to be someone who has charisma to instill a certain culture into our business.
- I will set aside 2 months of mortgage payments for each site in what I will call an operational reserve, so that we can leverage our capital reserves for growth.
Why: The present safety net we have is good, but not great.
I have a RPG launcher when I want a Howitzer. The nice thing with a Howitzer is you can launch one to obliterate a target, and not feel like you have to pick up a bunch of shells to reuse because the enemy may have survived the blow. With 2 months of our largest single expense each month socked away in a reserve, those months where our 30% payroll and mortgage payment come due the same day, I won’t feel like I have to give blood to make it.
How: I have to get a handle on our present procedure of ordering and purchasing, the Monthly American Express bill at times is unmanageable, because I am giving too much freedom to people who haven’t been given an incentive to use less, and save more. Further without PO’s, or financial accountability what difference does it make if the managers order 1 more barrel of soap when it’s not needed, or an extra tool that might end up in a customer’s car if I’m not holding them more accountable.
I need to work with CFO Source, to get this under control. Further I need to get Craig to give me a cash flow analysis statement, so we can better understand the roller coaster that is revenue in the car wash business.
Pitfalls: I cannot get obsessed with making capital improvements, which I always am, this year I will buy a camera system in FC, and a couple of key pieces in WB, once that happens other than repairs the purse strings will close. I must also drastically reduce employee perks for this year; I will buy fewer meals, gifts, and focus on creating benefits that are longer lasting like a 401k, and FSA plan for our staff. These are things that benefit staff and the business, as opposed to a feel good McDonald’s lunch. $10 here, $15 there turns into $20,000 a year on meals that can be used on something else (not all meals but you get the point).
Keys: I have to make financials decisions without emotion, and put better controls in place to keep my people from spending our profits. I need help in this area.
- I will have our books closed quarterly instead of annually.
Why: Closing the books everyone month is the way it should be done, and the fact we have never done it in our 10 years of business if fucking insane. I don’t know how we have gotten this far without this valuable information. While I instantly can tell you things like, Cars Per Man Hour, Labor Dollar Per Car, Cars Per Year, and Revenue Figures (all operational pieces of data), I can’t give you up to date real time accurate information on things like, Chemical Cost Per Car, Profit Per Car, Dollar Profit Per Employee Hour, or average dollars spent per year per customer (all financial pieces of data).
These numbers are just as important as the previous ones, but they are essential to any business owner, the books closing every month will allow me to do one of the two things I’m good at, which is an analysis of information. Patterns, correlations, statistical information is something I see differently than most, and it is what would make me an excellent business person as opposed to an average one.
Closing the books is key not only to the business but to my personal mental health.
How: I have to close 2012. Have all QuickBooks data updated by the end of January 2013, then move forward writing checks directly from QuickBooks (like you’re supposed to), and keep myself accountable by checking in with CFO Source once a month to go over books. I will use the help of our present payroll person to help keep the books going on a perpetual basis.
Pitfalls: I cannot allow the dip in financial resources throughout the year to dictate my consistency on this matter. After years of direct car wash operations, I have developed a horrific pattern of matching my activity level based on the weather conditions. Bad weather means slacking, good weather means hard work; I have to keep a regular five day work week as my pattern, and be productive even on the shitty weather days.
Keys: I have to utilize the skills of the people who are already with me, and find people who can act as backups should those people move on, the numbers are the most important part of every business, and I’ve been operating for 10 years with only a half picture, and information that is old. The right person or people helping to do the inglorious part of entering data and writing checks are vital to my ability to generate this information.
- I will send 2 managers to Sonny's Car Wash College, and have Wash Guru provide training for at least 1 week this year.
Why: In order to improve the performance of people who are already on staff I will send two people to Florida for training. There is nothing better than professional training, done without the distraction of actually running the car wash, if I want the freedom to do more; I need to teach my key people more.
I further will bring in an outside training company to help develop the training systems to make things better and easier, a third party is sometimes important for a fresh perspective on what needs to change, and functions as an additional source of accountability.
How: I have to schedule summer vacations early on, perhaps by May, so I can make sure it this trip for my key guys happens this year. I won’t allow staffs time off to effect my business decisions.
Pitfalls: I can’t let the issues that arise between now and then to question my decision, I know I need this to be done, I have to increase the skill set of the guys around me. I can hate my life or love it, in order to love it I have to take the burden of my situation and disperse the weight among as many people as possible.
Key: Schedule early, time correctly and follow through once it’s underway.
- I will develop a more methodical training system, which leverages and takes full advantage of the money spent the last two years with Wash Guru.
Why: A few years ago I spent quite a bit of money to train my existing managers, and to create an operational manual and put systems into place. Like most types of education not all of it stuck, partly because of a lack of depth in my crew, partly because I didn’t take the proper steps to maintain the progress.
How: I have to hire better people, and bring Wash Guru back in this year, and perhaps every year to keep us accountable to the system that they helped put into place. There’s nothing like paying someone outside of your company good money to have them tell you the problems you already know about, to get you off your ass, and stay on point.
When they come in year after year telling you the same thing at some point your embarrassment will make you act. I need a little Gordon Ramsay to get my business to run the way I want.
I will further have to find a way to make the training of new people more systematic, is a lack of talent the major issue here?
Pitfalls: The major pitfall is if I don’t have my game changer in place by the day the training period starts, especially when Wash Guy comes back.
Keys: Schedule early with Wash Guru, push my staff, hire the game changer, and reduce my own pay to make room for what’s needed so I can take more down the road.
Five Things I want to do this Year.
This is a simple list of ten things I want to do; these are not goals, but just activities I want to do, I have no plan for these but when I have free time, with no ideas these are the things I will fill them with, life’s too short to watch TV.
Of these if I can get to 5 I will be happy.
- Throw a big party.
- Take an introductory flying lesson.
- Get involved with a charity.
- Clean out my parent’s garage.
- Sell or cash in old work truck.
- Take a cooking class at least twice.
- Take a sailing lesson.
- Take my dad, brother and brother-in law deep sea fishing.
- Take my sister on a “date”.
- Take my parents on a vacation somewhere.
- Do something cool on New Year’s Eve.
- Go to New York once.
- Go to Philadelphia Once.
- Play blackjack, and not give a shit.
- Help someone just because.