One of the most common course requests we get at WreckMaster is for business management—and it's easy to see why. As a tow truck company owner, you're the finance guy, human resources director, chief technology officer, marketing boss, sales rep and head of operations. Plus, you're probably out there on the road. Ask yourself these three simple questions to refocus on the bigger picture and uncover what you need to grow your towing business and—even more importantly—enjoy your work.
1. Why did I go into business for myself?
I'll bet you had three primary reasons for starting your towing business. Number one: "I'm going to make lots of money!" Number two: "I'll be my own boss!" and then number three: "I'll get more time to spend with my family doing the stuff I like!"
They're all awesome reasons.
So. Let's examine where you are on each.
Have you achieved the financial independence you dreamed of? Who calls the shots in your towing business? When you're not working, what are you doing? Maybe you don't actually know how much money your business makes. Maybe you're stuck making tough calls about where to invest the money you earn—should you put it back into the business or spend it at home? Maybe you feel like your customers and vendors—and maybe your operators—really wear the pants. And I'm going to guess that even when you're on the golf course, sitting at the dinner table or working on your '64 Mustang, you're still thinking about work.
Now comes the tough part. Given your answers, what can you do about it? How can you get closer to your goals? Do you need to figure out a way to remind yourself of what matters to you? Do you need to delegate some of your responsibilities—hire someone to help you understand the numbers, manage your employees or handle your marketing, for example? Do you need to formalize some of the aspects of your business so you can be more proactive and less reactive? Write down some ideas, and then put a plan together.
2. What will get me through the tough times?
A very wise man told me once, "Justin, once you fall in love with your work, it can no longer be considered a job." To this day, I firmly believe that excellent performance in any field starts with loving what you do. But we won't love our work every day, so we'll need something more than love to see us through those tough stretches—we'll need certain character traits that'll keep us strong and successful over the long term.
These traits aren't something we're born with. Instead, they're traits we need to recognize, define and practice.
Here are the traits that I think towing company owners need to be successful. I call them the "DC words," named after my dad and WreckMaster founder, Donnie Cruse.
|'D' WORDS||'C' WORDS|
What traits come easily to you? What ones need some practice? Identify where you need to invest some time and how you can practice a little every day.
3. What are my strengths?
Go ahead and list them. (Refer to the DC words for some suggestions if you're stuck.)
Now take a look at your list. What's missing? Be honest—but don't feel bad. No one is great at everything! In fact "What are my strengths" is a bit of a trick question. It's important to know what you're good at, but only so far as it helps you identify who you need on your team to really grow your towing business. Great performance in anything—including your towing company—can't be achieved alone. Recognize the gaps in your strengths list and bring in people who can fill them. This is known as "hiring for your weaknesses" and it's critical to your business success. I like to say TEAM stands for Together Everyone Accomplishes More.
If you took the time to seriously answer these three questions—and I know that it isn't easy to humbly look in the mirror and consider the view—then you're well on your way to improving yourself and growing your towing business. It's worth the work to act on what you uncovered in your answers. Think of it this way. A '64 Mustang isn't going to restore itself. First, you need a plan. Then you need to put in the hard work. Make sure you enjoy the journey...and then feel darn proud of the results.