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Owner cloning, dead fish and dead companies
by Ed Selkow
When my daughter first wanted a pet, I wanted a teachable moment on responsibility so we started with a goldfish. She fed it and despite doing what I thought was a good job; Goldie was floating lifeless in less than two weeks.
We went and bought a hamster and named him MC. We were set with a great cage; toys and everything MC Hamster would need, even played his theme song, "U Can't Touch This" as he ran around his wheel. Again, she did a great job and MC Hamster lived several months.
There were tears as we buried him in the backyard during our family memorial service. During the eulogy, everyone agreed that MC Hamster was the best hamster that ever lived PLUS he was with us longer than Goldie. MC Hamster had a good life and now he and Goldie were together. Some animals and companies die young, some live longer and some grow old. It is what happens to the survivors that I want you to know about today.
Sometimes the death of a young cleaning company can be a good thing for the survivors. That seemingly premature death may only be a detour if the owner can transport the skills learned into another company. With a dead company behind them, think about everything they can bring with them into the next organisation. No fear of long hours of work, a certain degree of technical proficiency plus a network of former employees and clients.
Let's go across town to another cleaning company, the Super ABC Good Vibes and Smiley Faces Cleaning Company. Every janitorial company and its owner in the beginning are one and the same. The company IS what the owner DOES minute by minute, day after day. Here is a test, if you get sick and are in the hospital what happens to your company? Are buildings cleaned without you, are employees supervised, and are client's phone calls answered?
Enough buildings and accounts have been acquired that the owner of Super ABC now has no more hours in the day to complete everything that needs to be done. Client phone calls, following up on sales opportunities, buying supplies, hiring and managing cleaning people, collections, invoicing, banking and dodging sales people, fills the owner's day. Day turns into night, family takes a second place but the business is up and running. Spousal smileys become rare.
The President of Super ABC is doing well but is running up against a brick wall, his own clock. Super ABC could expand if only there were more hours in the day. Every growing company faces this plateau. What would be a better way for this company president to clone him or herself, than to bring someone else into the company that has gone through exactly the same thing? Wouldn't it make sense for Super ABC to bring in someone who spent their days with client phone calls, following up on sales opportunities, buying supplies, hiring and managing cleaning people, collections, invoicing, banking, and dodging sales people? Could you find a better clone?
For the survivor of the company that died, there can be no better place to take everything that has been learned. This is the School of Hard Knocks and the job prospects for the graduates of this hallowed institution could not be brighter! The death of a cleaning company can open a door to an opportunity where someone else has been waiting for a graduate of that School and welcomes them with open arms.
19th July 2012