This weekend was quite busy in my household. I have a friend visiting and decided to take advantage of the extra set of hands to get a few projects done around the house. One of those was putting up crown molding in my kitchen.
I have tackled this project before in another house and I remembered just how difficult it can be.
As I measured, sawed and nailed, I was struck by how many parallels there were in this project to running a business.
When putting up crown molding, one of the tricks is to first put up a small strip of wood in the corner where the wall meets the ceiling so that you have a solid surface to which to attach the crown. This eliminates the need to find the studs when you’re fighting with a piece of wood at a 45 degree angle. Some of these strips butt into the corner while others need a small gap left between them and the corner to allow for the crown to run all the way to the wall.
I remembered this little little bit of info after I’d already installed a few pieces of wood and had to go back and chisel off some ends to make room for the crown. If I’d spent a few minutes thinking it through more carefully, I’d have saved myself a lot of time and hassle.
Running a business is very similar. Spending time thinking things through and making the right decisions ahead of time will save countless hours and dollars of waste later. If you need help planning, check out this great tool.
When doing a project like putting up molding, you’ll find that there are some parts of the job that require a lot of thought and planning and then get repeated over and over. With crown molding, cutting the corners properly requires that you place the board in the saw upside down and backwards to get the proper cut. Visualizing how the cuts should be made can be quite a trick as your brain struggles to flip images around.
In order to make my job easier, I cut two sample corners to remind myself what correct cuts should look like. I even wrote the saw settings on them so I didn’t have to repeat the complicated thought process again each time I made a cut.
In business, there are many complicated processes as well. Rather than having to think through each one on your own, find someone who has already done it successfully and copy their processes. Use them as your own personal samples and then customize their process to your business. You’ll save hours and hours of reinventing the wheel. There is one of my favorite samples that will allow you to make more money, faster.
One of the secrets to good corner joints in crown molding is to “cope” the ends of the pieces. That means cutting out the back of one piece and fitting it up against the other one for a seamless fit. Coping is, however, a delicate job.
As a dedicated renovator, I’ve collected lots of tools over the years. One of those is a coping saw and I cut my first few pieces of molding with it yesterday. With each cut, I cursed and fought to get the edges right. On piece number three, I broke my saw blade, requiring a quick trip to the hardware store for a replacement.
Since they didn’t have a blade to fit my saw, I broke down and bought a new saw and blades. OMG, what a difference that new tool made! I breezed through the remaining copes in no time at all.
Business tools are no different. Often you’ll find yourself using a tool that has served you well in the past but that just isn’t up to the task today. It isn’t until something breaks and you get a new version that you realize how inefficient the old one was. Checking your tools (processes, software, people, etc.) periodically to make sure they are in optimal condition and the best fit for the job will eliminate needless frustration. Here is one of my favorite business tools for getting a tricky job done right the first time.
There was no way I could have done this project on my own. Although I am an experienced DIYer and I have hung crown molding before, the project was simply too big to tackle on my own. Having my friend here to give me a different perspective on the process and well as do some of the work was invaluable. Whether it was holding the end of a board while I nailed the other or fetching a tool while I remained on the ladder, the extra hands made the work go much faster.
In business, I’m just as much of a do-it-yourselfer as I am at home. However, I’ve come to realize that there are times when I simply can’t see my own business clearly enough to run it properly. Other times, there are tasks that are better left to someone else even though I think I could do them myself. That’s when it is time to hire a consultant or a contractor. I’m currently enrolled in a business development course and I outsource many of my day-to-day tasks now.
If you need help in your business, shoot me a email and let me know what you need. I’m happy to make referrals for trusted advisors and contractors in a wide variety of areas.
Take a look around your life this week. I’ll bet you’ll find your own business lessons in your everyday tasks. If you pay attention, you just might learn some things.
Laura Posey is Chief Instigator at Simple Success Plans. Her driving mission is to show entrepreneurs how to double their business while taking more time out of the company to make a difference in the world. She is an avid traveler and is always looking to connect with readers around the world.
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