The fantastic four
I was 18 when I started my first business, The Rubbish Boys. Over time, it grew into a $100-million-a-year company called 1-800-GOT-JUNK? I hope that...
I was 18 when I started my first business, The Rubbish Boys. Over time, it grew into a $100-million-a-year company called 1-800-GOT-JUNK? I hope that now, at the age of 40, I'm 22 years the wiser, because I've started my next $100-million business.
Last summer, I sought a few quotes for painting my home, including one from Jim of One Day Painting. He told me he could paint my entire home, even the rooms that needed several coats, in just one day — and still do a great job.
Despite my skepticism, I gave Jim my business. In return, I received not only a beautifully painted home but also a new business partner. We're uniting Jim's 20 years of painting experience with my 20 years of franchising and branding experience to create 1-888-WOW-1DAY! A perfect match? Maybe not. My research suggests that the second businesses of most entrepreneurs fail. Why? The success of their first business fuels an overconfidence that gets the better of them. So, Jim and I have agreed to grow this brand organically. And we'll stick firmly to the four guiding principles that underpin the success of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? Each principle falls under one of four categories — vision, people, systems and "customer wow!" — and is borrowed from the most impactful business books I've read.
Vision:Start with Why, by Simon Sinek.
Sinek says the most important thing a business can do is "start with why."
Every business knows what they do — that is, their product or service. Some businesses know how they do it — their "differentiating value propositions." But few companies can clearly articulate why they do what they do. In other words, they can't state the cause, purpose or belief — beyond making a profit — around which the company was founded. According to Sinek, living your "why" is a powerful magnet for attracting those employees and customers for whom your cause resonates.
I used to think that 1-800-GOT-JUNK? was about hauling junk. But after reading Start with Why, I realized that what drove me to start the business was the opportunity to do what hadn't been done before — namely, to turn a dirty, ugly and unscalable business into something clean, sexy and very scalable. Similarly, I seem to be attracted to companies like Starbucks and Apple, which have come to dominate categories to a degree no one thought possible.
Similarly, the service provided by 1-888-WOW-1DAY! is irrelevant to why I'm starting it. It's a one-man-band kind of business that I believe is scalable in a way that customers will appreciate even more than the "old" way. By knowing and recalling my "why," I can sustain the passion, urgency and focus that every entrepreneur needs to perpetuate growth.
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