Who, not how, should be your focus


June 15, 2023

Getty Images: Zorica/iStock / Getty Images Plus

Getty Images: Zorica/iStock / Getty Images Plus

Summer is here. Business is wide open. Phones are ringing and sales are closing — but you’re also dealing with callbacks, employee call-offs, and vacations. If you don’t plan to prevent it, chaos will erupt.

Chaos threatens to consume all of us at some point in our business careers. The goal is to manage the business to eliminate it.

Many business owners make themselves the solution to the chaos. This results in long hours, exhaustion, bad decisions, burnout, and other areas of the business suffering, even failing. Owners focus so heavily on providing service that they fail to hire, bill, collect, deposit and sell. Some even turn away new customers because they are too busy.

Don’t become your go-to solution to the chaos. In the book Who Not How: The Formula to Achieve Bigger Goals Through Accelerating Teamwork, authors Dan Sullivan and Dr. Ben Hardy discuss using different “WHOs” to get things done — especially for the things you don’t know how to do or in which you’re not overly skilled. Instead of asking how you are going to get it all done, start to ask who can help you get things done. Who on your team can comfortably take over tasks? For example:

Sheri Spencer Bachman

Sheri Spencer Bachman

  • Can a technician work extra hours to help provide more service?
  • Can a seasoned technician help with training?
  • Can a customer service representative help find new hires?
  • Can an administrative assistant take over billing?

What if you’re shorthanded? Focus on hiring.

  • Do your employees know someone interested in a job?
  • What about friends, family or customers?
  • Could a college student come on board to ride along with a technician and double their capacity for the remainder of the busy season?

Many owners say they don’t have time to hire, but really, they don’t have time not to. The temporary burden of hiring and proper training leads to more options and higher utilization. It stops you from becoming the only go-to solution.

The Game Plan

You’re looking around and thinking, “Sheri, my team members are just not at a point where they could help me out more than they already are.” That’s OK, because WHOs also can be outsourced. For example:

  • Answering phones. There are several answering services that specialize in the pest control industry. They will even sell and schedule your services.
  • Billing. Most industry software platforms today have an option where they print and mail invoices for you, at prices that are usually much cheaper than doing it in-house.
  • Bookkeeping. Many financially related tasks can be outsourced to a local or an industry-centric certified public accountant.
  • Virtual assistants (VAs). Whether located domestically or overseas, VAs can be hired for office tasks, collections, billing, sales, scheduling, sales setups, bookkeeping, social media, marketing and more. I’ve had excellent experience with them, as have many of my clients. They can work while you sleep or during your work hours. Many are college educated, motivated to please, and come at a reduced cost — usually less than a third of what you would pay someone on staff.
  • Business consulting. Finally, if you need help in further understanding how to outsource or boost your team, consult with a business specialist who can share their expertise. Someone like myself can become your go-to WHO.

About the Author

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Spencer Bachman is a second-generation pest management professional, and owner of the Pest Control Business Coach consulting firm based in Canton, Ga. You can reach her at Sheri@PestControlBusinessCoach.com.

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