Friday, July 11, 2008

Networking sucks...

mmm… summer hay? Not such a good summer so far unfortunately, not that I think most of us window cleaners believe in summer anymore! But never the less, as part of our ongoing Business Development and Awareness Program (BDAP) Clear View Plus Ltd had its first s’ summer BBQ last Friday. Before I tell you more of what went on, I would like to share with you some more information on why we have a BDAP in the first place.

Early on in the life of our company, we understood the need of a reliable, solid foundation for a window cleaning business, that’s why we spent so much time, effort and money on the development of the Concept 2O™ system. Fail to get your foundation right and anything else you do will be seriously compromised. But please don’t ever be fooled into thinking that all that is required is the best equipment, business is far more complex than that!

Once you have the best equipment for your business, you can then concentrate your efforts on the growth of your company. The single most common and indeed fatal mistake business owners make is not understanding the dynamic nature of business itself. What that means is basically a failure to appreciate that business is a learning process that changes frequently and that is affected by many different and varied things.

Running a successful business is all about your ability to learn and then applying this knowledge. There is not a single person alive or who has ever lived that can do this by themselves. Entrepreneurship is learned, in the same way you learned to talk, walk, read and write when you were young, successful business people are avid learners.

Take as an example, Richard Branson. Do you think he was born with the knowledge of how to run a record shop? Or an airline? Or a finance company, a train service, or any of his numerous businesses? Of course not, he learned the required process along the way. Taking advice, learning about the nuances, shifts and trends in each individual industry and then he applied the information to his company.

The next obvious question is who taught him? Well in my own personal studies I have found that you can learn an amount of information from your competitors just by observing them do what they do. The key here is not to copy them, but to offer more. But there is only so far that will take you. To really get the fire started under your business, you have to get insider knowledge of a business the same or as similar as can be to yours. It’s the only real way to understand what is required, the problems you will face and the formulas to working out associated issues. The business world has its own term for this- Networking.

Most people think of networking as a group of people who get together so they can sell their product or service to each other. When I say ‘most people’ I mean myself included. All the networking meetings that I have been associated with have meant just that. A neat way for people to sell to other businesses. That’s why they suck. Who wants to be sold something that they didn’t really want in the first place and when they do want a product or service like the ability to research a number of different options first?

Which brings me neatly back to the BDAP. I wanted the business development program to be totally different. To me, the perfect network would consist of an eclectic group of people all sharing the same goal in the same industry. Imagine how cool it would be to have a group of people with the experience of a national company. Can you imagine just how much valuable information could be openly shared and called upon whenever it was required?

The BDAP provides just that. A varied group of Concept 2O™ owners, all with the goal of making the best of their businesses. What makes the network strong is the fact that all these people have different ways of improving their businesses over time and openly share their findings with others. In return they benefit from receiving information on problems they face. The fact that all these people are from different areas of the country provides answers to even specific area problems. Can you think of a more effective way to supercharge your business?

Last Friday was the inauguration event for the BDAP. It was an informal event cunningly disguised as a BBQ. Concept 2O™ operators from all over the country arrived mid afternoon many travelling for 5 hours or more and staying overnight.
What made the event remarkable was the mix of entrepreneurs that participated. There were operators with multi-vehicle operations, veteran window cleaners, new start business opportunities, operators that were brand new to pure water window cleaning and operators with years of experience.
Below are comments from some attendees-

‘Thank you so much for such a wonderful day, it was excellent talking with the other operators. I had such a good time and learned a lot from the experience. It was great to have the additional support from everyone.’

-Ian Gray
Ian Grey window cleaning

Thoughly enjoyable experience, its not what you’d usually get in this industry, it fabulous to be part of something like this. The ideas were flowing freely, everyone was so friendly and it was great helping each other. It was great to interact with people who use the same system as me. The only negative was that there was not enough alcohol!’

-Andy marling
Lynx window cleaning

We had a great time on Friday at the bbq. Thanks for arranging it. It was such a good idea and so well organised. Thank you!!

Lynda egiz
Crystal Vision

I wasn’t sure what to expect from a company BBQ its not the usually done thing. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. I was able to share some things with other operators and I learned how to do things better and more efficiently. I think it’s a very good idea and will be a regular at these events from now on.

-Wayne mills
TEC cleaning services.

As for us, it was so good to see so many operators again, although many have become friends since their purchase, catching up with those further away was great. Finding out how well their businesses were doing was awesome, and I think I personally enjoyed the experience more than anyone. (Sorry about the karaoke thing by the way!)

Every year, the BDAP will consist of an informal summer BBQ (with the lure of free alcohol for the non drivers!) and a more formal winter seminar program. The seminar will be held at a hotel and the program will feature deliveries from business professionals, owner operators and us. The topics will cover marketing, finance and bookkeeping, employing staff and further business related titles. More information on this event will be posted closer to the date.
If your not yet a Concept 2O™ owner, contact us for further information on our new business packages and how we can help you reach your business goals.
Best Regards,
Carl Phillips.
Clear View Plus Ltd