Imagine Wall-mart, Macdonald’s, Disney or Tesco, deciding that a good new enterprise would be plumbing, tailoring and alternations, or gardening. What would that offer look like do you think? The leaflet plops through your letterbox, “Mcplumbing for that leaking tap“. There would be a set of fixed prices, a 24 hour freefone number, a text number, a website. So let’s ring them, “Thank you for ringing Mcplumbing, I’m Judy, how can I help you? Certainly, when would it be convenient for one of our technicians to call? I have time slots between 9.00 – 11.00 a.m. and 2.00 to 5.00 p.m. on your preferred day. Yes, between 2.00 and 5.00 p.m. will be fine.” At 2.30 p.m. a smart uniformed polite person with the golden arch embroidered on his pocket arrives, puts on logoed slippers so as not to mark your carpet. The job is completed beautifully, neatly, and with no fuss or mess. The polite uniformed person asks you respectfully to sign a satisfaction form and when you have signed you are given a no-quibble two year guarantee. What do you do with the guarantee? You put it somewhere safe for at least two years. What other thing would you have kept for two years with the plumber’s phone number on it?
Read the above paragraph again and then tell me what impression does that make, and then tell me why you can’t do everything that was done in this example. The clear leaflet, the beautifully answered phone, the reliable timing, the logoed uniform, the spotless and unobtrusive work, and finally the two year warrantee. Which of those can’t you do? There is nothing on that list that is cripplingly expensive – the smart uniform can be easily produced and with computer-controlled sewing machines, people can embroider your logo very cheaply indeed. The satisfaction form can be drawn up on your own computer and, don’t panic, what will the two year guarantee actually cost you? If a dripping tap is fixed, in reality it doesn’t drip again for many years so really you are on to a winner. The beautifully answered phone? Why would you do anything else, but of course almost every self employed enterprise that you get in touch with falls down on every one of these checks – and notice, I have left out the leaflets because they are a whole huge issue themselves.
Think about this; if you have just read the above you may not be a plumber but I am willing to bet that you are an intelligent professional who has grasped and comprehended the implications of the Mcplumbing story – and you can apply all of those professional aspects that you have understood to any enterprise you may be considering. In fact if you get all of the professionalism into place due to your intellect, it might be easier to reverse the whole idea, use your inherent entrepreneurial skills and then learn to be a plumber, carpenter, bricklayer, dressmaker, cook, hairdresser – all enterprises that would benefit from a dose of professionalism. Consider for a moment the hugely successful franchises which offer basic skills like unblocking drains but seem to recruit very intelligent franchisees from all walks of life. Perhaps that is the secret of their success. When you apply intelligence and professionalism to a manual skill you can scoop the pot.
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