Today, a local renovation contractor took me and four other publishing business colleagues/partners on a tour of his new multi-million dollar under-construction headquarters. He showed us the level of innovation going into the building which will seek LEED Platinum status. The scale, scope and “business mind” behind the enterprise is truly impressive. (He is also a rather profitable client for our business.)
I had a task to complete in the tour. Although I am a business owner, my working journalism background means that I will need to write the immediate and future articles (both editorial and advertising-focused) about the project. I was struck by the entrepreneur’s remark about his competitors: “Most of them are tradespeople who got into business, and they are envious of me.” I suppose, in my decision to write and pursue journalism even after 25 years of business ownership, I am like the tradesperson who happens to own a business. Maybe, indeed, as well, I am a little envious of him. (But he is a client, not a competitor, so that envy isn’t too painful.)
These are humble observations. As I write this note, I’m uploading to the computer almost 85 minutes of voice recordings from the business owner’s tour. (Our local sales representative, also on the tour, took pictures.) The thought of transcribing and editing this conversation seemed daunting, until I realized the “cloud” and offshore transcription services are available to do the tedious work of capturing the voice and turning it into written words.
What causes some business leaders to succeed, and others fail? I don’t have an answer though know this entrepreneur has survived an insolvency –but he turned it into an opportunity, developing software that he now sells to insolvency practitioners. And his renovation business focuses on technological systems with incredible data gathering and management capacities, allowing him to source/cost and manage jobs with incredible sophistication and budget reliability.
(Is he the best renovation contractor in the city? I will say he is the best renovation business owner in the city. We can learn from the greats. Who leads the market in your community, and why? You may not find all the answers to your business challenges by asking that question, but I expect you’ll come a lot closer by learning from the successes rather than fretting and fuming. Then you, I think, need to find your own place.
For me, the journalistic craft continues to provide enough satisfaction that I’ll write as well as own. However, I’ll watch, learn, and participate in the technological revolution that is shaping the way we do business. That is the most important lesson I learned today.