Watering plants is like growing a business.

Spring is finally here. With flowers and trees budding all around us, I thought maybe it was time to talk a little bit about growing things, specifically, how to grow a business. During my journey over the past five years, I’ve been able to grow my roofing business significantly in spite of what some might think of as major setbacks. Any of you can do the same if you have the strength, determination, and perseverance to hang in there…and implement some of these lessons that I’ve learned.

You might as well learn from my experience, right?

Have a vision. One of the most critical keys to business success is to have a vision for your business and not veer away from it, no matter what. My father started Shamrock Roofing and Construction back in 1977. He didn’t have a vision for the company except to handle small construction projects and build a business that pays the bills and provides for his family. When he passed away five years ago, my mother asked me what I wanted to do with the business. I responded that I wanted to take it to the moon! I decided I wanted to expand the roofing business into other markets and grow it as much as possible as quickly as possible — while still maintaining control of the business operations.

Be involved in the business. I’ve always been involved in my businesses, whether it’s a roofing business or a mortgage bank. I believe that a thriving business is one where the owner is involved, knows what’s going on, can do most tasks involved in operating the business, and checks in with his or her people regularly. You have to know the business inside and out to understand what it needs to grow and thrive.

Rely on your team. Another thing I’ve learned over the years is that it’s essential to put a good team together. That way, when the chips are down, you have someone to rely on. I found this out accidentally when I got sick and my heart quit working about three years ago. Suddenly, I was out of the picture for a while as the doctors installed a battery system to keep my blood circulating through my body and keep my organs alive while I waited for a heart transplant. My business didn’t skip a beat during this time because my team kept it running for me while I was out of commission. Once I got back up and running with my battery-powered heart, I was able to jump right back in where I left off.

My team pulled out all the stops again four months ago when I went in for a heart transplant. I can’t tell you what a relief it was to know that I didn’t have to worry about my business as I focused my efforts on recovering from surgery. Hire good people, train them well, pay them well, and trust them. If you take care of them, they’ll take care of you.

Learn how to market the business. One of the things I’m passionate about is learning the marketing side of the business. After all, no one will hire us if they don’t know we’re here. Over the past five years, I’ve taken classes and talked to experts to learn the marketing side of the business — how to generate leads from the internet and keep a business presence online. I believe this is one of the reasons the business has grown so quickly over the past five years — from $5M in revenue to $15M!

Don’t be afraid to spend money. Everyone knows that marketing campaigns cost money. Many business owners are hesitant to spend money on marketing the business because they feel like it doesn’t produce tangible results. It can sometimes be challenging to tie sales back to the source. When you’re a rookie marketer who’s trying to determine the success of an SEO campaign and calculate ROI, it sometimes doesn’t seem like it’s worth the cost. 

Fortunately, there are digital marketing experts available who can help. Don’t be afraid to hire them. Make sure they are on board with your vision for the company and for the marketing campaign. Then trust their advice on how to best achieve your goals.

Push through setbacks. Last but not least, life sometimes throws us curves, and we have to be prepared to deal with them with a positive attitude. I wasn’t planning on my heart failing at the age of 40, but that’s exactly what happened. I wasn’t planning on living on a battery-powered heart for three years. And I wasn’t planning on having to take time off to undergo a heart transplant. But here I am. I believe that a positive attitude is key to weathering storms like this. I also credit my strong faith for pulling me through when the going gets rough.

These are just a few of the things I’ve learned during my business career. For other tips and to learn a little more about marketing with professionals, click here for my interview with Mauricio Cardenal from Roofing Marketing Pros.