Edmond Travis is the Business Development Director for Maximus Airtech, a company that offers aspiring and existing small business owners the opportunity to start their own HEPA HVAC cleaning and/or insulation removal business based on its patented revolutionary technology. The brainchild of company founder Kelly Komorowski, this major leap forward in material-handling vacuums and HEPA filtration—all in a fully self-contained unit—cuts man hours by as much as 60% or more. Given that fair-market pricing remains constant, this new technological advancement enables any small business to realize much greater profits!
As a longstanding franchise development and industry professional, Edmond quickly recognized the outstanding opportunity that he would have to assist other small business owners in achieving success by joining the Maximus Airtech team. But his two decades of experience as a franchise manager and consultant with specific expertise in disaster fire and water-damaged property clean up and restoration don’t just make him a great judge of any potential business opportunity. They also make him more than equipped to share his considerable wisdom and advice in response to some of BusinessOpportunity.com’s Entrepreneur Exchange readers’ most often-asked questions:
How does someone know if they have what it takes to own their own business? Tell us a bit about how you made the decision and why.
In my experience working with new franchisees and independent business owners, I’ve learned that the motivation to be an independent business owner often comes as a result of one of two things, trauma or opportunity.
Trauma is usually the result of a life-changing event such loss of a job, decreasing earnings while employed by someone else, workplace frustration, lack of reward for contributions being made to an employer, lack of employer recognition, economic down turn, frustration at not having time for personal goals and activities, including being available to spend time with family, or even just the overall frustration of “Why do I work so hard for someone else?” The distress of a particular situation, in combination with an amazing work ethic, then provides someone with the motivation to venture out on their own. Sometimes, the attitude is that “If I can make my employer money, why am I not making it for myself?”
Opportunity is most often the result of an individual who has always known that he or she wanted to have a business of their own, someone who wants to be in control of their daily activities and has the desire to be both self-managed and accountable for his or her own personal and professional growth. And, most importantly, these are people with a strong work ethic. They are individuals who set goals and work toward reaching them by working hard. They seek ways to save money so that they can invest in themselves and their future and work hard to be financially responsible in preparation for starting their own business.
It’s actually the combination of trauma and opportunity that may compel an individual to take control of his/her own future and to not rely on traditional employment situations. An individual that is at the top of their game, vocation and profession often will find themselves asking the question, “Why not do “this” for myself?” or they simply grow tired of doing the same thing over and over again. Individuals that have built solid financial strength start examining ways that they can put their hard work and savings into their own business. Men and women that find themselves downsized by corporations look at their next move, their next opportunity and often find that they no longer want the commitment— or some would even say enslavement—to corporate America. Sometimes, opportunity comes in the form of a financial windfall, be it a gift or other capital that suddenly becomes available.
Whatever the stimulus is that motivates us to seek new opportunities, the mere fact that we are looking opens up all kinds of exciting possibilities. Seeking independence by being self-employed puts you in charge of your own future and enables you to build a better future for your family. There’s a freedom that comes with the fact that you no longer must rely on traditional income streams and employment.
The key is to remain open to all the options and to find what you are passionate about. Sometimes that will mean staying with your vocation or sticking close to your proven skills. But other times what you are most excited about may come from an unexpected place in the form of a great business opportunity, a new and exciting industry or even a product or service you never imagined or thought about before.
What was the biggest challenge you faced in your first six months in business? How did you meet that challenge?
My greatest challenge? Self-accountability. No time clock to punch, no time sheet to fill out, no weekly report to turn in. Plus, I really felt the lack of interaction with others. In fact, the overall realization that I am doing this now on my own was tough at first!
When you move from that daily grind to having the need to control and structure each day for yourself, there is a mental change you go through to adapt. That change creates fear sometimes, and you begin to wonder if you did the right thing, especially if cash is tight. That’s when you can easily get caught up in the worry about whether or not you did the right thing. But then you realize how badly you want to be accountable to yourself and your family, how badly you do not want to be reliant on the boss, the management team, the owners, Board of Directors and the shareholders—that at a moment’s notice, they could all change your entire future and not always for the best.
It all sinks in finally that I am able to take control of the rest of my life, and my actions will determine my future. So you make that next sales call, you look for new ways to promote your business and services, you reach out to your peer group and your friends and remind yourself the reasons you took the plunge into independent business ownership. You create your own sense of accountability, you recognize the smallest accomplishments, you keep your head in the game, and you begin to see those little successes, the results of a good job. The realization sets in that you are making progress, and it increases your self-motivation. And nothing feels better than your first win—a self-employed paycheck!
My recommendation? Get help! Guys and gals, it is okay to ask for help. When you’re frustrated with getting work done, training employees, balancing the checking account and all the rest, you do not have to go it alone. Talk to your peers and your friends and find a mentor to chat with about running your own business over a cup of coffee, while working out at the gym or having lunch, hunting or what not. Sometimes just realizing other people have or had the same challenges as you helps you to overcome your own fears and frustrations. More often than not, you’ll find out that you are no more screwed up than anyone else who is running their own business, even those that are hugely successful. Other times, even it it’s just over a cup of coffee, you’ll hear a comment that is one of those “Wow” moments, just the right thing you needed to hear and that will solve your problem. Charles Hobbs recommends standing on the shoulders of giants. Who is your giant? Is it your business model, your support team, your peers, your friends, networking group, civic organization, industry organizations…?
What do you think is the greatest challenge facing business owners today and why? Any suggestions for how to address those challenges?
Seriously!?! “Doing the same thing and expecting different results!” After all, that is the very definition of insanity. I see it day after day after day…decreasing profitability, tougher client demands, employee challenges, financial woes, etc… Yet, when you dig into what is going on in the business, you readily can see or identify alternate ways to approach daily tasks that would solve the problem Perhaps it’s a simple software solution or a different approach to scheduling jobs or employee hours. But all too often, you’ll get the same reaction when you point out what should be obvious. “Well, that is not how we do it.” Like the Doc says, if it hurts then stop doing it!
Starting a new business is lots of hard work, and owners are usually doing much of it themselves. They are vested in the day-to-day operation. Their level of personal commitment is extreme and they create work flows, daily routines, systems that fit their attitude, aptitude, skills and abilities. The business is usually very profitable while the owner is doing all the work, then the need for employees and support comes along and so you hire someone to help. Then that doesn’t work out because you hired for skill and not for attitude, when you want and need both. In fact, most small businesses try to hire someone with the right skills, when all too often what they really need is someone with a good work ethic and attitude that is willing to learn.
That is usually the business owner’s next challenge—training someone how to do it and expecting them to do it exactly the same way they do it. Sometimes those work designs and processes that were created for the owner/operator simply do not transfer well to employees, and it takes a different approach to get the desired and profitable results out of the employees.
You may have to rethink your systems. You have to adapt to the growing needs of your organization, and most small business owners fear change so it’s hard because there is a cost to change, but it is not always a financial burden. Oftentimes, it is an ego or self-esteem burden, one that says there are other good ideas out there that might be better than my own. That can be tough for a business owner to admit that they need help and to approach the growth of their organization differently and re-examine how they go about their daily routine if they want to get the desired results without breaking the bank.
Startup companies can be very profitable while the owner/operator is doing all the work. To move it to the next level sometimes requires returning that profit to the company so that it can grow and sustain itself with the necessary infrastructure. It all comes down to a personal decision on the part of the owner: Am I willing to take on the additional cost to build my infrastructure and go from working “in” my business to working “on” my business? Not all business owners are cut from the same cloth that way. Depending on their own goals, they may only want to have a business that supports them and them alone, and they are committed and motivated to doing the work. Other individuals want to get away from doing the work to managing the work. It all comes back to motivation.
What motivates you to run your own business? What goals have you set for yourself and your family?
Answering those questions can help you determine whether or not you are willing to do things differently in order to grow the operation, its revenue and profitability potential. If being a lone wolf is your thing, then you have to be willing to approach building the business with new ideas, strategies and systems in order to avoid insanity.
What is the single strongest piece of advice you would have for someone just starting out in business for themselves?
Set goals! Say what you want to about guys like Hobbs, Covey, Blanchard, Gerber and Maxwell et al., but goals simply work.
Set a clear goal for yourself, your family and team. Write your goals down, short list or long, just write it down. Something magical happens when you put a goal in writing. It becomes tangible. It helps you to commit it to your subconscious mind, and that alone will keep you going. Know why you took the challenge of business ownership, visualize where you want it to take you and establish what goals you want to accomplish most.
Stay tuned next week for Part II of our interview with Maximus Airtech’s Edmond Travis!
More about Edmond Travis and the Maximus Airtech Business Opportunity:
In his current role as the Business Development Director for Maximus Airtech, Edmond Travis brings more than two decades of experience in all aspects of the franchise and business opportunity development industry, with specific expertise in the area of materials clean up, removal, restoration and remediation.
Maximus Airtech’s extraordinary business opportunity enables new and aspiring entrepreneurs to either enhance their business or start one of their own using a proven business model, one that features the most innovative and revolutionary currently available in the industry.
For more information about Maximus Airtech, simply click here now!