Run Your Business: Knowledge helps you through the hurdles


May 31, 2024

Photo: jacoblund/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Photo: jacoblund/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

In my March 25 column, I talked about finding myself running on a thin sheet of ice on an early morning, winter run. My first thoughts were to keep myself safe — worried that I might slip, and sprain my ankle or pull a muscle. Thankfully, I figured out how to adjust to the slippery conditions and I was able to safely move forward.

But there are more dangerous things than running on ice. For example, so many drivers I see while running are not paying attention or are staring at their phones. They could easily lose control and crash into me, especially while driving on black ice.

Because of this risk, it would have been easy for me to give up running in the winter. Instead, I learned to look for distracted drivers and wait for them to pass.

There’s always something you can do to adjust.

Many times in life, and especially in business, problems are going to appear out of nowhere — like a truck barreling toward you on a sheet of ice. I’m sure just a few short years ago, none of us could ever have predicted how radically the world would shut down over the COVID-19 pandemic. Problems will always come up out of nowhere.

My lesson learned

Like most kids growing up in the pest control industry, I worked summers at our company every summer. After I graduated from college in the late 1980s, I joined BHB full time. Back then, we were a small pest control business. My dad created our business to specialize in treating urban pest problems in New York City. In those days, that meant we specialized in German cockroaches and rodents, which made up nearly all our work.

One of my first projects was to expand our business to new markets, the suburbs of New Jersey in particular. As you can probably imagine, the pest issues in the suburbs were quite different from those in NYC. We had to learn how to handle a whole new assortment of pests, especially termites.

This was a very difficult time in termite management because the much-relied-upon chlordane had been removed from the market in 1988. I remember going to industry meetings, and instead of the usual shouts and joking, there were just grim faces with everyone unsure what they were going to do.

It could have been easy for me to throw up my arms and say this is too hard. How can we start treating termites when the best product could no longer be used? But just like when you find yourself running on a sheet of ice, you have to find a way to safely move forward.

I knew to successfully take on termite control, with all this turmoil swirling around the industry, I needed to learn everything I possibly could. And learn things I couldn’t learn from books alone, either.

I was so fortunate that one of the best educators in our industry lived and worked in our area — PMP Hall of Famer Dr. Austin Frishman (Class of 2002). I worked with him directly, and he gave me his experience and knowledge on everything I needed to know about termites. With this, we were able to create our termite program with confidence and successfully expand into new markets.

Banned products. World pandemics. Wars. Financial market crashes. Even an invisible sheet of ice. Problems will always find a way to come out of nowhere. Problems that we didn’t start and feel we have no control over. But knowledge is the key. If we take the time to learn the issues, we will find a way to safely take those steps forward.

Have a great run!


About the Author

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Broder is owner of BHB Pest Elimination, New York, N.Y.

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