Do Things That Don't Scale: Blue Collar Business Lessons

White Noise

Starting off as a solo entrepreneur isn't easy.

You've got social media gurus and self-proclaimed "experts" bombarding you with contradictory advice, friends and family who think you're crazy. And moments when you find yourself completely clueless on what to do next.

In recent years, you've been told catchy phrases like "failing to plan means planning to fail" and the whole "find a mentor" jazz, but we're gonna let you in on a little secret: That stuff isn't nearly as important as you think.

The most impactful and high-leverage move you can make for your business is simple: Do things that don't scale.

Sota Landscaping

Today we're talking about Ben Brokaw, the CEO and founder of Sota Landscaping. Ben was fed up with the corporate grind and looking for something more fulfilling in his life. So, during the pandemic, he took a leap of faith and left his cushy corporate job to start Sota Landscaping.

In just a few years, he went from random weekend gigs he found on Craigslist to running a full-fledged professional landscaping company that's fully booked with projects till the end of summer.

His secret? He did things that didn't scale. Ben didn't get caught up in the analysis paralysis that comes with creating a fancy business plan, long-term goals, or KPI's.

He kept it simple and focused on three main things: providing top-notch quality service, being super quick with communication, and getting 1% better each day.

By embracing this brick by brick approach, he freed up more mental space to learn the industry and take action on what matters most for every business.


Growth Tactics

Cold Outreach: Ben didn't just sit back and wait for customers to come to him. He took the initiative and reached out to potential customers on Craigslist, Facebook neighborhood groups, and Nextdoor. He'd browse through help wanted postings at night and send out DM's offering his handyman services. It wasn't the fastest or most automated method, but it worked.

By connecting with potential customers on a personal level, he was able to build relationships and open doors that would have otherwise stayed closed. Eventually each successful project led to more opportunities, referrals, and before he knew it, he had a thriving business.

5-Star Reviews: 5-star reviews are a must these days for any business but it can be difficult to get customers to take the time to leave a review.

To combat this Ben used a simple, yet effective approach: he asked for them. No elaborate email flows or enticing incentives. He just asked the customer to leave a review, face-to-face. This approach takes some time and effort, but it was definitely worth it. Not only did he receive valuable feedback, but it worked and the reviews started coming in.

Quality Work & Quick Communication: Of course, quality work is the foundation of any successful business. But it's worth repeating. The job isn't truly finished until the customer is genuinely happy. Ben's top-notch work, and quick communication style has built him a local reputation for excellence, which in turn has generated 100's of referrals.

When launching a business, don't be afraid to get your hands dirty and do the non-scalable stuff before you have your business plan ironed out. Sometimes the best way to scale is to not focus on scaling.

Instead, find a few core values to build your business around and focus on getting 1% better each day. Scale will come with time.

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