When people talk about you, do they know what you are passionate about? Can they see it in your eyes or hear it in your voice?
Is your passion helping customers with their problems (dirty garments, sheets, tablecloths)? Restoring someone’s image? Helping them make a good impression? What drives you to get out of bed in the morning?
My passion: well-run machines
You are probably thinking right now … what is his passion? Part of my passion is well run machinery (but we’ll get back to my passion later).
You might have a passion for cleaning clothes, but you need to have some passion about your machinery too. That means you need to think about your machines once in a while. How are you going to fix them? What machines will you replace in the next few years?
What maintenance problems do you need to solve right now? You might have the best shirt presser in the country, but if your machine doesn’t work well you are not going to get good shirts.
When I talk to successful owners, they have a plan. They understand how their machines are supposed to work. They can recognize when something is not working properly. And they are passionate about getting problems fixed so their people can do their jobs.
Your attitude affects your staff
When your machines don’t work properly, your quality goes down. Do you care about your machines? The question could be rephrased – do you care about your people?
We had a call a few weeks back, “There’s a problem with my spotting board. You have to come and fix it right now. There’s something wrong with the air.”
The problem was actually that the vacuum was too weak to dry the garments properly. The board had not been cleaned in years and the vacuum pipe was plugged. Two of the bolts that hold the table on were rusted off and the others were questionable.
We told her, “If we take it apart, it may turn out to be a much bigger job trying to put it back together again.” “Just leave it then … I’m trying to sell the business anyway.”
I want to fix that spotting board properly. I want that spotter to enjoy her work. I want to make her job easier and save the owner some money! But that is not going to happen. This owner has never worked at the spotting board and doesn’t know how difficult she is making her employee’s job.
If you let me spend some money, I can save you some money. That is part of my passion. This owner doesn’t care about her machines or her people.
Are you going to the shows and learning?
You don’t have to be an expert on how every machine works. Do you understand how to operate it? Can you recognize when it is not working properly?
I know you can’t go to the equipment shows right now, but do you have a wish list of what machines you are going to replace and in what order? Have you researched the latest solvents, wet cleaning detergents or press pads?
This area of your business requires some energy too! You cannot succeed without equipment. You may as well get it working for you rather than against you.
You may be thinking about beautiful wedding dresses and crisp sheets but I think there is another passion that you need in this business. Start to think about equipment. Not just any equipment – clean, shiny, smoothly running equipment. Equipment that makes you money and helps you with your passion.
Having said all of that, I recognize that it is hard to be enthused about a business that is losing money. How do you move forward in the current economic situation?
This pandemic will end one day. There will still be businesses operating after Covid. Will you be one of them?
Have you written out your recovery plan? I titled mine the Road to Recovery. Not too creative but it exists. If you have a plan it is easy to make adjustments when things change. If you don’t have a plan, you are just a scrap of poly blowing in the wind.
So what are you doing today? Are you using your time wisely? How about cleaning up the place – you have spare time. We looked at a shirt unit the other day and the lint was so deep inside that you could lose a small presser.
Maybe your crew could redecorate the call office. Paint is not that expensive. A new look makes a strong statement to your staff and your customers.
Conclusion – Get passionate or close the doors!
It’s up to you. What do you want to do? We closed a plant last year that didn’t have to be closed. The pandemic was an easy excuse. If your heart isn’t in this business, sell it and go do something you like.
This is a hard business. You face equipment problems, staff problems, problem garments and unreasonable customers. It wears a person down. You have to be passionate about working on your business.
So to answer your question, my passion is working with owners who are excited about their business and are committed to providing the tools their staff need. They understand that they need to spend money to make money. They are willing to build an efficient, well run plant and they think about their machines every day.
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