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Company borne from owner’s motorcycle that wouldn’t run
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Many tow bosses incorrectly assume they are exempt from hours of service and many other trucking industry regulations. In his seminar, “Electronic Logging Device Compliance,” Brian Riker of Worldwide Equipment Sales discuss how to be prepared to utilize log books and electronic logging devices. This seminar will be a part of the Management Conference taking place during the American Towman Exposition, Nov. 17-19 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland. Be sure to register today! atexposition.com

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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingOctober 18 - October 24, 2017
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How Do You Define Success?

images 3097bBy Don G. Archer

It is a paradox that most business owners believe that they know how to run a successful business, but in reality eight out of 10 businesses fail each year. Although you might comfort yourself with the knowledge that you're part of the elite 20 percent who made it, failure can come in many forms.

Like most business owners, you had grand designs when you started out. You had one or two trucks, a magnetic personality and loads of energy. The goal was to add customers, employees and trucks, to build a proud legacy.

It took some time, but your connections and hard work paid off and now you're busier than ever. However, if you're like most tow company owners, you're probably still in the truck 70 hours a week—while managing employees, customer relations and doing all the paperwork.

Over time this workload can have a detrimental effect on your health and relationships.

Was this your intention when you started? Was this your idea of success—to have a monster of a business that consumes every waking moment?

I doubt it.

Consultant Robert Hirsch helps business owners who want to free themselves from this type of treadmill existence by using an exercise designed to change their perspective.

"In the game of chess," he asks, "if you could be any piece on the board, what would you choose?"

He said most people choose either the king (because if the king's no longer on the board, the game is over), or the queen (because it's the most versatile piece).

What's the right answer? Well, it's a trick question, because the answer is not a piece at all.

It's the board.

Robert suggests that rather than being a piece of the game, be the game. What he means is to truly succeed in your business, instead of insisting on being the "Big Cheese" yourself you should work on attracting the best people into your business and let them take the reins. If you know where all the moving parts fit, then your job is to put the right pieces on the board and watch the board.

This is tough on many levels. To begin with, how do you know who goes where? What if you choose the wrong people and they muck up the whole game?

What if I told you that you may already be doing that?

Just as you want to be the "Big Cheese," so does everybody else. When you hire quality people but continually insist on keeping them in lesser positions, you're stifling those who have the desire to lead and harming your chances at freeing yourself from the treadmill.

The question that always follows is, "How do you attract the right people into your business?"

The answer starts with your goals. What was the reason you started in the first place? Was it to help stranded motorists, assist law enforcement and to alleviate traffic congestion? Or was it just to put some dollars in your pocket?

Many businesses are started out of a desire to move away from a stressful situation, like having no money. But after you've done that and you've made money, to be successful and to keep YOU motivated there must be something more.

"Something more" is what quality employees are looking for, too.

If you are "successful," you undoubtedly have reasons other than money for staying in this business. Those reasons are what will attract the right people.

So what is your mission? What do you value?

When you are authentic and allow people to see what drives you, this will attract quality people into your life. This will give you the ability to free yourself from being just a piece on the board and allow you to do what you've proven you do best—grow your business.

American Towman Field Editor-Midwest Don G. Archer is also a multi-published author, educator and speaker helping others to build and start successful towing businesses around the country at TheTowAcademy.com. Don and his wife, Brenda, formerly owned and operated Broadway Wrecker in Jefferson City, Mo. Email him direct at don@thetowacademy.com.
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