Are You a “Reactor” or a “Responder”?
Window cleaners are an eccentric bunch. I had a friend who charged twice as much as I did, yet he cleaned an entire restaurant’s windows in exchange for lunch because he liked the pizza so much. The independent nature of our business seems to attract owners who sway to the beat of a different drum. As an example, we may give more weight to emotion over logic when making business decisions. I do it. Ask me why I still charge some of my long-time customers half my current pricing? It’s certainly not the right business decision, but those hugs are worth something, right?
All business owners have the right to charge what they want, treat their customers how they want, and essentially run their business in the way they see fit. However, we should not conclude that having that right means that our decisions will always be right. Pride, a lack of business acumen, and poor customers service can keep business owners from being as successful as they can be. The tragedy of our plight is this: It often doesn’t have to be that way.
We have the control, yet the determining factor between success and struggle can usually be found in this question: Are you a “Reactor” or a “Responder”? A Reactor is a person who behaves in response to a suggestion, stimulation, or some other influence. That doesn’t sound so bad at first, but it can end up being an anchor around the neck of your business. For instance, in response to a slow period and without much forethought, a Reactor may offer prepaid services at a huge discount just to generate some income. Of course, then they will have to honor those purchases at the expense of spots in the schedule that could have gone to customers paying full price. Or a Reactor might hire someone unqualified in response to a busy period, leading to many future headaches coming long after the busy season has passed.
On the other hand, a Responder is a person trained to deal with emergency situations in an efficient and positive manner. They are measured, controlled, and not easily rattled. They know what to expect and have a plan or strategy ready to implement for each situation. The key to your company’s long-term success is maturing enough to call yourself a Responder. Have you ever known a person who is great at starting new businesses, yet they always seem to falter after a few years and then just move on to the next “big thing”? They are most likely chronic Reactors. A Reactor’s actions are controlled by the situation, while a Responder controls their actions and manipulates the situation to their benefit.
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