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Top Contractor: How I Did It!

Article By: Mike Zawacki, Editor October 06, 2008

The Disciplined Commitment

Making the decision to grow is only the first step. The next critical step is to make that growth happen.

The $1 million mark is a benchmark because it takes you to the next level. We broke that mark in the mid 1980s.

To reach that first million, it’s tough to get beyond that $750,000 mark. Once you get to that mark you need to go all the way and keep going. You just can’t say, “Yeah, once we reach a $1 million we’re going to try and keep everything the way it is without changes.”

From day one it was a disciplined commitment from us to grow. That required us to increase our equipment, because as our equipment grew, so did our customers. This is critical. Every year you have to say, “I’m going to turn over 10 percent of my equipment.” And then you have to ask yourself, “What percent do I want to grow?” If you plan for aggressive growth, then your equipment purchases for that year have to be much higher. If you don’t want to grow and only maintain, you still need to turn over 10 percent of your equipment. If you fail to do that, you’re going to be dealing with a lot of broken-down equipment. However, if you invest too heavily into new equipment, then you have to make sure you’re growing at a rate that puts that equipment to use to make you money.

Once you reach that $1 million mark suddenly you have a lot of exposure and you’re recognized in the marketplace. Your peers recognize you. Your competitors begin to take serious note of you. And potential customers begin to recognize you.

When it comes to growing to reach that $1 million mark, another important factor for us was fostering key customers because they’re going to tell you what they want. When you’re below $1 million you’re still small enough where you can take on only the customers you want. Once you hit that $1 million mark, then you’re going after the bigger customers who already have a snow management plan in place and they’re much smarter service buyers and they know how to handle a vendor like yourself.

If you can keep that level of professionalism up and your ideals high, then you’ll grow right into $1 million and reach $2 million a lot easier.

~ Jim Biebrach, CEO, Snow Systems Inc.