Letters from the CEO: The Reality of our Roofing Situation

We are 3 Hires Away!

Someone to acquire new roofs, someone to install the roofs and someone to make sure the roofers and taxes get paid. 

 

Today in our Thursday morning meeting we discussed the reality of our situation as a roofing company. We are not the dominating force. The large roofing companies in the city don't care about who we are, we are trying to change a career - and an industry - from the bottom up. The others control the industry from the top down. The only way we are going to change it, is with the promotion or acquisition of three key employees. These three key team members are the key to all the growth and security we need for our roofers, estimators, and support staff. 

 

The Three Key "Super Star" TeamMates we need are:

  1. Someone to oversee the estimation and sale of roof work.
  2. Someone to oversee the safe and profitable execution of all the quality roof work that is sold.
  3. Someone to keep the other two out of trouble by making sure our vendors, staff, and taxes are Paid. A financial WIZ!  

 

Superstars need to be dominant players! 

 

Before this week's Thursday meeting I was looking for inspiration and I pondered - what is it that makes Dwayne "the Rock" so dominant. I found this great article online about the 5 mindset hacks that make the Rock so Successful. I mean the man has the number one social media clout score, he's been the highest-paid actor of the year several times, he is approaching a Billion dollar net worth. Yet he started at the bottom, and he had to pivot from football, then get to the top of his game at Wrestling - only to leave and get to the top of his game as an Actor. AMAZING!

 

Things to know if you're going to be with us in this situation!

 

  1. This mission of ours - to grow to a Billion Dollar company in 12 years - is NOT for everyone. If you're looking to be with us as one of our key superstars, you will definitely need to be a special person. There are lots of positions for average players but the key roles will go to dominant players. 
  2. It will be SCARY. When you take big swings you can fall on your face. Although we also have our core values and remain astute - the fear that will set in is NATURAL. 
  3. The Burden of leadership is Anxiety and Panic Attacks. I have woken up out of sleep in a jolt, fully convinced that I had urinated in bed. Fully sure, touching myself all over trying to figure out why the bed is so wet. Only to realize that it was just a full body panic sweat. This is normal if you're the rare kind of animal that wants to embark on this journey. 
  4. You'll be threatened and disregarded online and among friendly enemies. There is this great stoic quote that I am reminded of often when I wonder if I am in the right place. IMG_7451

  5. You have to be a little Nuts. The character of someone who is going to be a key team player is going to have to think differently. You will need to see the world through a different set of eyes and be willing to do the things others will not do - in order to create the world that others will not make. 
  6. You'll have to work 10 times harder. There is a lot of talk about the 10X life from pundits like Grant Cardone. I don't mean that, I mean you will have to out deliver by being more efficient. We recently had a visit from our James Hardie rep which is one of the products we sell through Sargeant's Siding. They discussed this "F.A.S.T" system that they use to help contractors have more efficient work crews so they can remain profitable at lower prices. They sent out people with stopwatches and cameras and note pads, to do this really invasive job workload analysis so they can find efficiencies in the movement of workers. The results are fascinating, you will have to find a way to be 10x better than the big giants in our industry. 
  7. You'll learn to give your family QUALITY time. This is because you simply will not be able to give them QUANTITY time. This superstar role will demand of you more than what can be expected from the mother or father that is home for every dance recital and scraped knee that needs a kiss and a band-aid. This will be a place where you have purpose and a team that needs to depend on you at any moment to be there for them. 
  8.  You will be in the hospital at least once, for working too hard. I know a little about this, I myself was hospitalized for overworking. It wasn't anything wrong with my heart, it wasn't food poisoning, it was simply being overworked. I would do it again because I love the game. I love the challenge of seeing how we can eventually beat the Goliaths and change this industry for the better. 

Who are we up Against? 

I won't name names, but they know who they are if they are reading this. I shared the names in the meeting of course so that we could all share a common enemy or enemies. These are not mortal enemies but simply worthy rivals. Companies that have accomplished what we wish to accomplish - but at a different time and now simply rest on their laurels. They do have some common traits. 

  • They are bigger than us. 
  • They have more money than us. 
  • They have more experienced management teams than us. 
  • They are known in the marketplace among staff and customers more than us. 
  • They have better lawyers than us. 
  • They are more comfortable than us. 

The Titans of our Industry have Weaknesses too! 

  1. First of all, everyone is telling them how amazing they are. The distributors that sell the roofing products, the reps that depend on their volume to hit their quotas, the vendors that benefit from the number of users they have, all those people are telling them how great they are so they can selfishly keep their own bellies fed. This is a weakness because they stop LEARNING and getting better. 
  2. They don't work as hard as they used to. Money changes people, and if you don't think it will change you imagine if you had $10,000,000 in the bank. I dare you to try and tell me that you wouldn't change. This is why I try to keep my back against the wall mentally and financially. I never try to get comfortable and keep investing every dollar back into the company and our people. I want to over-invest to the point that it intimidates our competitors and flatters the best people in the business. I want to hold my breath longer than anyone else. 
  3. They are no longer in touch with the market. Those goliath companies did not set up a system to remain in touch with the market. Amazon is amazing at this, yesterday my mom sent me this video showing how Amazon is now making a store that you literally just walk into and grab the product and walk out. You don't buy anything at a counter, it's all based on weights and sensors and stuff. This is how high the demands are of customers today. They want to have something but they don't want the hassle of having to pay for it. They just want to walk into a building and get what they want and somehow have their soul pay for it. (I imagine it is some kind of thing that senses your phone and matches you with facial recognition and charges your credit card through Amazon Prime?)
  4. They no longer speak to customers directly. Remember, most of these big companies were built on the ability to write a check to the Yellowpages for a full-page colour ad and some bus benches. They were able to secure their top spot in the marketplace with a few key decisions on marketing at the beginning of the year. NOW? They are being aggressively marketed against by companies who can spend $5 a day on facebook ads and go up from there. It makes it very hard to differentiate between those big companies the smaller ones. 
  5. They can't pivot. I just found out that one of our local "BIG GOLIATH" roofing companies is finally moving to a digital process. They were stuck in a system made 20 years ago in the "triple carbon copy" paper estimate land. They are now finally moving into a digital solution. I know the solution they are going with and it was outdated 3 or 4 years ago. They are catching up but they are still very slow-moving and by the time they make a decision the market has already passed them by. This is something we can take advantage of and remain vigilant in avoiding. 
  6. Mistakes are scarier. The reason they cannot pivot is that making mistakes is scarier for them. They have more to lose and it makes them soft - in a way. So they spend more time trying to not lose what they have then trying to grow to have what they do not have. They are more reactive than proactive. 
  7. They can't hire crazy people. These folks spent decades trying to build a bureaucracy that would give them a business they could be proud of. There are deeply entrenched employees with careers they want to live out, they want to have a good day at work and go home. They do not want to change or adapt. Crazy people make waves, they challenge leadership, they want to work in a place that is fast-paced, excited and growing. 
  8. They recruit with money, not vision. The vision has usually become DULL and most people feel that someone has to die for them to get a promotion. They typically use the money to acquire talented people at the cost of diluting their vision and growth appetite. 

What are the steps on our Path Forward? 

  1. Be aware of our weaknesses. Knowing our strengths is easy, but our power comes from our ability to see our weaknesses and improve or pivot when needed. 
  2. Know the Goliath companies' weaknesses. The Art of War by Sun Tzu says "Be strong where your opponent is weak." We have to keep that at the forefront of our mind, and not pick fights we cannot win. 
  3. Master our Kicks. Bruce Lee talks about how he does not fear the man who knows 1000 kicks, but the man who has practiced the same kick 1000 times. These people are truly dangerous. They have made that kick a part of our biology, it's as natural to us as which hand we use to wipe our ass or which leg goes into our pants first. This level of instinct is what allows that 1 kick fighter to pull that match-ending blow at the perfect time and be perfectly placed. When we know our weaknesses and our goliaths' weaknesses, we can master our specialized strengths and win! This has to never change. 
  4. Model Success but do not Imitate it. We can learn our opponent's moves, but we cannot beat them at their own game so we will not try. 
  5. Specialize! Generalists try to spread their power and influence around as far as they can, but in the process, they incur debts, cement relationships, dependencies, and false safety nets. The promise favours and guarantees things that prohibit them from focusing on the right things. That is why we focused a lot in the beginning and will still do so. 
  6. Bring the fight to them in the Niches. This is the reason we focused 100% on retail in our roofing business. It's way harder. The easy way is to go to builders, general contractors, and insurance companies to secure large amounts of work you only need to sell once. However, it makes you dependent and vulnerable. Retail is way harder. We have to secure thousands of leads to sell 1 in 4 people a roof. We have to order so many roofs, schedule so many more jobs, we have to send so many more emails, and develop an extremely efficient system for an ever more demanding customer. Selling to a builder who gives us 100 work orders for 100 houses that aren't being lived in is EASY. 
  7. Learn to Flex in the RIGHT WAY. We won't be intimidated, we will place big bets and make bold statements. We can do so safely so long as we know that we are doing what is RIGHT for the customer. We have to do right by our employees as a business, but when it comes to flexing and pushing against our competition - we must always do some with the customer in mind. 
  8. Speed is our friend. Execution speed specifically. It is an area of weakness for the goliaths in our industry. We do that by viewing our success through the lens of how well we take care of our people and hold them accountable to our core values. If we do not take care of our people, someone else will - and then our poeple will take care of their customers instead of ours. 
  9. The Enemy of our Enemy is our Friend. We must partner with and build relationships with other people who share a common adversary. We have to be on the lookout for those people and elevate them or partner with them to join our efforts in a common goal. Our common goal of course being uplifting and elevating the trade and the workers in our industry to a position of respect and dignity by providing a great career for those who do this job for our customers. 
  10. Numbers don't Lie! As we grow, we have to always remain accountable to the results. Intent matters, but the results matter more. We can never get complacent like our goliath competitors and forget that results are all that counts. We must continue to track and cultivate good data, and learn from it. 
  11. Study History -- not just our own history but that of other business greats. We must model ourselves after other similar stories. Look for - and learn from other examples where this has been done. What is it that allowed the 300 spartans to do what they did? How did Apple beat IBM? Why was Amazon able to take on Barnes & noble? What did Tesla do to catch up to GM on electric vehicles? With all the time and advantages that Mcdonalds had - how did Subway get to have more franchise locations than them? How did Netflix Topple Blockbuster? Study the story of how Shelby took on Ferrari - by partnering with his own Goliath -- FORD. 
  12. Let other competitors wear them down. This is a funny way to look at it, but an interesting fact about Lebron James. People think he is the greatest but he is just being smart. A guy like Michael Jordan is the GOAT at Basketball because in his day the eastern conference was highly talented. There was a brutally hard level of competition that Jordan and his teammates on the Chicago Bulls had to overcome just to get a chance at a Championship. Lebron benefits from a lot of weakness in the east. So while the great teams out west beat each other up grinding out the season Lebron saves his body and energy so he is fresh going into the championships. This is something we will remember if you are on this leadership team on this mission with us. Remember this. 

The end of the Meeting

 

So at the end of our meeting, we talked about control over our minds. There is a lot of negativity in the winter, seasonal depression and hard days in the snow. I wanted to get the team amped up so I played this awesome motivational that I love and shout along to it word for word. Afterward we could see a change in the atmosphere of the room. It was a great Thursday meeting. Here it is if you want to watch it! 

 

 

Thanks for reading!! 
- Adam Sand CEO