Grow as a Team

Having people you can rely on makes the challenges of running a business a little easier to handle

Putting this magazine together every month is a team effort.

The planning, editing, writing and organizing fall to me, but luckily I have great co-workers who help me out. Having someone in my corner to give advice or bounce ideas off of when I’m stuck on something is invaluable.

My department has worked hard at becoming more collaborative, and it has paid off in a variety of ways. I wouldn’t be here without them.

Sometimes asking for help is difficult. Maybe you’re facing a problem you think you should have solved more quickly. Maybe you’re embarrassed to be facing that problem to begin with. Or you thought you could handle the issue on your own and it’s hard to admit you were wrong.

No matter how good a business owner or drain cleaner you are, things will go wrong. Surrounding yourself with people who will help you shoulder that load makes any problem more manageable.

I ran into a few challenges when I was putting this issue together. But with assistance from co-workers, I was able to make the necessary fixes and get everything in order. I’m lucky and thankful to have their help.

But even when everything is going well and your business is thriving, having help is a good thing. That’s when you can really grow.

Collaboration seems to thrive in this industry. In almost every profile story, the “I” becomes “we.” Someone branches out alone to start a business, and then starts hiring when he realizes he can continue to grow more with a little help. It’s pretty clear that the “we” doesn’t just refer to a group of employees, but a team of people who work together and have each other’s backs.

Lance Smith is a great example. The owner of L.D. Smith Plumbing, profiled in this issue, worked in the plumbing industry for 10 years and then felt the urge to start his own business. “I decided to strike out on my own out of the garage at my house. It was scary. I didn’t have deep pockets.”

Seven years later, the business is operating out of a new building with 12 employees and continues to expand its services. “And we’re still growing,” Smith says. “We’re looking to be about 20 percent above last year, and we have some room to build out if we need to at this spot.”

Having help doesn’t automatically make it easy. Being in business for yourself is difficult whether you work alone or manage 100 people. Your support system might not even be a part of your business. Maybe you bounce ideas off a buddy who owns a restaurant, or maybe you just talk through things with a spouse or a parent.

It doesn’t matter who the help comes from as long as you’re strong enough to ask for it. “I” can be powerful, but “we” is even stronger.

I hope you enjoy this month’s issue.


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