What Were You Thinking?


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Risk taking is a necessary part of business. If you can’t take a risk and still sleep, you really should not own a company, not to mention a pest control or termite company, that facing liability risks each and every day at every service visit and between services.

But what is not as often mentioned is the foolishness of some risks. Many years ago, before I bought my pest control company, I learned an important lesson which still holds true. My supervisor at Ernst and Young told me, “You have to spend money to make money.” It was true then and it’s still true today. Capitalizing a business is expensive but necessary for growth. Branding, marketing and advertising are required to bring in customers. Only small, local businesses with limited ambitions can survive on traditional “word of mouth.” You need to pay a decent, living wage if you want to keep your employees.

Now lets turn to the other side of the equation. In a world that has been turned upside down by negative economic surprises, one needs to ask, “What were you thinking when you made your last purchase?” What were you thinking when you signed that lease agreement with a hidden interest rate that was sky high? What were you thinking when you signed that long term print advertising campaign including a full page advertisement? What were you thinking when you hired that non-communicative, shoulder shrugging employee who crashed the truck, found excuses for not completing service visits and called in sick on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays?

No business can survive these days with a “What was I thinking?” list of errors in judgement. Nowadays, it is important to consider every decision with a sober mind, that is, with realistic monetary calculations of benefits vs. risks.

What were you last thinking?

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2 Responses to What Were You Thinking?

  1. Bill Sanders says:

    I agree. The what was I thinking is as important in a pest control company as it is in all areas of life. This negative economy does not seem to be letting up. At least not here in the Pacific Northwest. Articles like this need to be read often.

  2. Gerry says:

    Hi Bill,

    Thanks for chipping in with your thoughts on making wise and well thought out financial decisions for business survival. Please visit often.

    Yes, you are correct that it isn’t letting up, whether in the Pacific Northwest, California or most anywhere around the globe. Keep an eye on our U.S. budget discussions, the debt ceiling, interest rates and the potential for frightening national monetary defaults overseas in such large countries as Spain and Italy. These events will ripple across the world and hit the small guys like you and I.

    FYI, I love the name of your company. I’ll have to check it out. Keep expanding your green services and make sure your team fully believes. Many companies try green, but if the team doesn’t believe, it won’t work. In the case of green pest control, faith followed by good intentions is a precursor to success.

    Love your comment. Best of luck for the growth and success of your pest control company.

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