My friend Aaron had just tanked his plumbing business. He was sleeping on his mom’s couch with his little boy, freshly divorced. He had no money, no prospects, and even owed a bunch of people either money or time.
But Aaron wasn’t a quitter. Aaron asked his sister for help to pay for his plumbing license and set out to build a 100-million-dollar plumbing business.
For those who own a plumbing business, you know exactly how audacious this goal really is. But Aaron would not envision anything less.
100 million dollars became Aaron’s rallying cry. His sister joined the fight. As did his childhood friend. And then another, and another.
Aaron is currently running a 44-million-dollar plumbing company and is well on his way to 100 million. There is no doubt in my mind, or the hearts and minds of his team, that he will soon lead a 100-million-dollar company.
See, the thing is, people don’t follow people who are simply wandering about. People follow people with a big hairy audacious goal (thank you, Jim Collins).
You can open a company and hope for the best. You can find people who need a job. You can find customers who will buy your stuff. Supply and demand dictates you will do as well as capacity affords in today’s environment.
But that’s not where the extra comes from. To attract the best people disproportionately more than your competitors, you need to have a juicy, ripe, tantalizing vision that you are fighting for.
Something everyone can see, clear as day, even from Space.
This is, by no means, a requirement. Many people just hope to make a living. Lead a simple life. Do good work, and go home at night to their loved ones. There is great honor in this. Those who understand and embrace the length of their shadow thrive in the world they create for themselves. If this is the right thing for you – you do you.
Then there are people like Aaron. No more important. No more valid than you. Just Aaron.
Visionary leaders are exciting to rally behind. They fire up those feel-good chemicals and motivate…more!
They give you a path to mastery of your craft. Heck, they give you a platform to attend to your craft in the first place.
They give you purpose. They offer a life of meaning. A life with direction. A North Star.
Most importantly, they build a brand that you are so damn proud to attach your personal brand to. They are your tribe. Your people. They stand for something that matters. For something bigger than all of us could achieve on our own.
And that feels good.
Mastery and purpose feed our identity. How much we get paid does too. The praise we receive from our various tribe members feeds our identity. The power we attain as we rise through the ranks – all of these feed our identity.
Our identity not only tells others who we are and why we matter in the hierarchy – where we fit – but it also reaffirms our own self-worth.
A healthy identity skews our worldview. It bends and breaks our limiting beliefs.
“High tides raise all ships.”
And people are looking for this in their lives. Ordinary people, ready to do extraordinary things. They just need someone or something to follow. Like Aaron. Like 100 million dollars.
Big ambitions like Aaron’s are common. So what makes his vision more salient than all the dreamers out there?
Unlike most people who blurt out ambitions bigger than their abilities or wherewithal to implement, Aaron made a plan. A really good plan.
When you walk the halls of Aaron’s company, you will see precisely how Aaron will take his company to 100 million dollars. It’s been applied permanently to the walls in those halls. It is as beautiful as the Mona Lisa (to nerds like me).
When Aaron was formulating his plan, he was specific about his goals and had a clear end result in mind. He’s done the math. He knows how many leads, appointments, and sales he needs to do it.
That means he knows how many trucks, people, and space he needs. He knows his average ticket and conversion rates. He knows his profitability at each level. And his team works against these benchmarks to measure and adapt as required.
He also understands the limitations and opportunities of his marketplace. His big audacious hairy goal is completely attainable and realistic. It ain’t easy, but it’s undoubtedly possible.
And his team knows it. Belives it. Lives it – every single day.
Aaron has even put timelines on it. He has planned this out and is on a trajectory to not just be a brilliant 100-million-dollar company, but I would suspect, based on a quick analysis, that Aaron has a 250-million-dollar company on his hands.
“Aaron has the recipe for success because he has the ingredients for success.”
The subtle thing that Aaron has that many great operators are missing? End results.
When Aaron started with the end results in mind, he inadvertently created a delicious vision for a tribe of self-selected insiders who want to be a part of a big play.
You’ve heard of SMART goals. Specific, realistic, measurable, attainable, and timely. Aaron has a SMARTER Vision with End Results in mind.
So, what’s your SMARTER Vision?