Mark Richardson: What is your end game?

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The answer at least partially lies in the nature of our industry and your business.

November 14, 2013

Mark Richardson, CR

We often talk about life being a “journey not a destination” or “live in the moment” both of which imply the importance of the here and now (and not the future). However, you also may have heard the adage: “If you don’t know where you are heading, any road will take you there.”
While these may seem somewhat of a contradictory mindset, they actually are correct and should be thought of in concert with each other. I would argue if you have a goal or end in mind, you not only will be able to have a path to get there but the journey can become more enjoyable and meaningful.
I think it is a natural human yearning to have an end in mind. This end may not be abandoning what you are doing now. But we all know that in 3 to 5 years if we are still doing what we are doing now, we will probably not be happy or fulfilled. If we are feeling trapped we probably will not be producing the same positive results. So, if we agree that having a passage, next step, or end in mind is important then why do most business owners have one that is not very well defined or planned out?
The answer at least partially lies in the nature of our industry and your business. The remodeling industry is a very easy entry business. Simply put, it requires little capital or credentials to get in and there are very few tangible assets in the business (at least compared to other industries) that have real value.

What do you want?
I often ask remodelers if they would like to sell their business someday and most say, “Yes.” However, less than 1 percent of remodeling businesses are sold successfully. If the likelihood of selling is so low than it may make sense to consider other ways to transition.
So the question I often ask remodeler is, “What do you want?” I know this sounds quite simplistic, but until you are clear about what you want it will be very hard to articulate the destination and even harder to prepare a path to get there. Knowing what you want takes into account your financial needs, liabilities, and the others around you. More importantly, knowing what you want will get you up in the morning excited about life and where you are heading.
Some remodelers that are more successful with this process want completely out of the business and into new interests. Others want to transition into doing more of what they love doing within the business (and are good at it). There are a few (like myself) that want to share the knowledge and wisdom with others and are fulfilled by giving back. There is not a right or wrong answer but what is consistent is that you need to have an end in mind if you ever expect to get there.

Questions to ask yourself
Once you have this concept of a destination or passage then invest the time to articulate it clearly with the understanding that it may change.
Write down as many aspects of this magical place as you can (sort of like a rendering). When you do the sketch, important questions will pop up as well as more clarity in the image.
Next, begin to share this with others that you care about (both personal and professional friends) and those that will be affected. Get their input and sage advice. Ask yourself many questions such as:

  • Is this aggressive but realistic?
  • What will the impact of this concept be on others?
  • How long will it take to get there?
  • What are my risks?
  • What are the financial implications?

These questions are no different than those you have with a remodeling project.

Establish a solid plan
Next you need a plan. This plan should be written down. This plan should be holistic. This plan should have specific actions and milestones to monitor.
I am a believer that if you tell others about your plan then they will help you stay on track and “burn your bridges” for going backward.
In closing, while I am not going to tell you what your end game should be, I will say most successful people and businesses have an end game.
While I cannot map out a specific process, I can say you need a plan or a blueprint to achieve a positive end game. While I cannot comment on whether you should love what you do today, I can say doing the same thing 3 to 5 years from now is probably not what you want to be doing.
Just take some time and begin to dream again and you will begin to see the answers.

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