This is a frickin rollercoaster, folks!
I wrote here – only 11 days ago, for goodness sake – about my latest confidence crisis and how we seem to have overcome.
We ended 2017 (funny how old that already feels) with a tricky client and a job that was hard to price, a mix of various different jobs, much of it very bitty. As some of our jobs do, it has run over the estimated timescale, by quite some length.
Being so busy with our own house I put off doing a final count up of days (yes, ok, I was putting it off, because I knew it would be bad news). I finally did it yesterday and sure enough, it’s bad news.
So late last night I worked myself up into a meltdown which exploded over D today. We so needed that job to go well. Ok, correction. She was always going to be difficult, so the job was never going to make us much. But it needed to make us something. I stared at the final costings and knew there was no way I could charge her the final amount. We’ve simply taken far too long over it.
Last week D’s dad went into hospital so he was away for three days and the job booked for that week was pushed back.
The week before, I decided to book a few days for D and I to go visit my parents for my dad’s birthday – in France.
So we’ve gone from losing money on a job to having to postpone the next job and then booking ourselves on a trip to take us even further from actually getting any work. Talk about a catalogue of disasters. Talk about January being a write off.
Now, we absolutely 100% need a break, so I am looking forward to getting away.
But today I gave D an ultimatum. He needs to step up and get involved with the financial side, which he shies away from because it doesn’t interest him. But then he is detached from the reallity of the job and loses the urgency that he needs to be constantly driving the team forward.
Secondly, he needs to be planning the jobs in advance. As in, writing a list of the daily tasks needed and ensuring they get done. It’s something we started doing but again it doesn’t interest him so it stopped happening. I’ve written a few times about the importance of setting goals and here we have, in perfect clarity, a superb example of what happens when you don’t – there is nothing to measure progress against.
If he/we had planned this job he/we would have been able to identify it was running over. Also, the team would have had something to refer to and measure themselves against. It sounds so simple, and it is. So why haven’t we been doing it?
(I’ve got to bring in the renovation of this property here, it has been a massive distraction. But we could have taken 20 minutes to plan, so there’s no real excuse there.)
So in less than two weeks I’ve gone from thinking that we are going to make it, to sheer panic and the distinct possibility that the business may not survive beyond March.
Just two days ago I wrote about having to get a bit tougher when dealing with the team and with trades. Oh yes.
When we get back next week, I will be talking to the team. In no uncertain words. It’s 100%, 100 mph or nothing. Certain people will get an official warning to improve their performance or they will be out. Each job will get a written plan and that will be checked off at the end of every day to ensure we are on schedule and everyone is playing their part.
And I need to step up. Forget just doing all the office side, I need to be managing the team too. I need to be ensuring the management (D) can feel my boot hovering not too far from his backside, keeping him and the team on their toes and on track.
Or in March we both start looking for jobs. It really is that serious.
I am so glad this has happened now, when there is – just – time to turn it back round. But my gosh it’s scary.