Active or Inactive?
Maybe that should be the question we ask ourselves. For me personally, I found out that simply joining anything, was not enough. I had to get involved.
I have a lifetime of experience in the HVAC business. My maternal Grandfather started a wholesale HVAC company with 19 branches (that is still family owned today) and my father was a contractor that owned his own business for more than 30 years. Needless to say, I have spent my share of time in this industry. In my life with 35 years of exposure and experience in this business, there is one key element I find among the most successful organizations. That is involvement!
My definition of success may differ from yours. I generally define it as companies that do not compromise their values, they do not have to struggle to make weekly payroll, do not have excessive stress in their businesses, and more often than not, stay productive all year.
I meet managers and owners at conventions, association meetings, Chamber of Commerce functions, charity events, and training classes; and I used to think it was odd how I saw the same people at the same meetings and then I realized the connection. For them, as well as myself, we understand that to receive the value of membership, you must be active. You must show up and be involved. It doesn’t come through osmosis.
At a South Carolina Association of Heating and AC Contractors (SCAHACC) board meeting last year, a fellow contractor shared a little nugget of information with me. He told me about one little thing his technicians had started doing that had made a huge difference to his bottom line, as well as gave them additional work in the off season. What a thought, value to customers and profit for your business! This was just one little piece of information, but I get these types of nuggets almost every time I show up.
Currently there are a lot of organizations having meetings with fellow contractors sharing their experience with the room. These contractors have built their businesses and have sold them or are positioning their companies for an exit strategy. This is another definition of success in my book.
These organizations provide training opportunities. Some events held are just social by nature. These are the times we can have fellowship and share best practices. Some even host events and other functions with our State and Federal Representatives and Legislators. Building a relationship with my local Representatives has proven invaluable in more ways than one. When we call our state officials, they listen. They know who we are. Sometimes it’s not just the legislation we have passed, but quite often, it’s the legislation we blocked that saves our companies undue regulations and expenses.
With that being said, I was a member of SCAHACC for many years in a prior company. I showed up for a few meetings, was the last one to arrive and the first one out the door. I put little into the association so therefore, I got little out. Today, I am active in any way possible with all of the activities. Sometimes it’s me personally, sometimes it’s my managers or my technicians, but we show up! I’ve joined boards and committees. Yes, it cost me time; however, it is one of the best investments I have been able to make. The more active we are, the more successful we become!
Many times I hear fellow contractors say they don’t have the time to give. I challenge you to give a little of that time anyway and watch how it can take you and your business to the next level. Get active! Volunteer! We need you to help us build a better industry.
ACCA and its Allied Contracting Organizations, like SCAHACC, look out for contractors and help them grow from a national and state level. Your local Chamber of Commerce, BNI group, Civic Organization, all have needs that you could fill. It may take a little time to see the payout, but it will happen. Those same previously referred to companies would not keep participating if it wasn’t beneficial for all.
Thomm Quackenbush once said, “Participate in your life, don’t just bear witness to the rain washing you away.”
I look forward to seeing more of you involved. If you are in South Carolina, I’ll see you at the next SCAHACC meeting, and if you are anywhere else in the U.S. I’ll see you in Cincinnati for Service Leadership and Business Operation and Technology.
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