In May 2010, I made the largest career change since I started Exeter Rent-All in 1986. I have always been on the marketing side of our company. “Sell, create, close the deal, and create a new product or new market”
I loved what I was doing, I love to sell!
I was CEO of the company and spent 90% of my time selling and a minimal amount of time on operations. Selling to me was where the action is.
Well heaven became hell. We were hitting the wall and I had to make a change in my career. We were heading down a negative production spiral to failure. Our production department was not developing in an acceptable fashion. We were servicing a more discriminating buyer. We were turning more transactions. We were running into cost overruns, slow turnaround times and bloated labor costs. Our product was not being maintained, cleaned, stored or shipped the way I wanted.
What is crazy is that new sales still were growing even in a recession.
I knew for years what I should do but either did not have the guts or I wanted to do what I liked best rather than what the business needed most.
I did the about face in my career on May 4 2010. I did not plan to do it that day but was forced to. An emergency forced my hand. I took my computer, moved two miles down the street to my warehouse facility. My daughter Ashley took over running the Party Sales department and all other operations at the main office.
It is now three month since the move. The transition has not been seamless. Sparing detail I have bullet pointed the early results
- Most Warehouse personnel welcomed the change
- The situation was worse than I thought
- There was a production surprise every corner and every day
- We were six months behind in prep for the season
- It’s a lot of work to instill core values of quality, process, procedure and personal responsibility for your action
- It won’t happen overnight
- The owner(me) can make faster, crisper decisions than a salaried manager
The real reason I did not do this earlier is I did not want to get out of my comfort zone. A lack of guts on my part?
The major regret I have is that I didn’t do it sooner.