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Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Power of Preparation

Things start with a few flurries
Recently we had a "snow event" here in Portland. Portland gets a relatively small amount of snow and this snowfall gave us the biggest snow accumulation we have seen in February in over 15 years. As you might imagine, this was a serious challenge for a lot of people and the city in general. We thank anyone impacted by the storms effects for their patience while the storm was happening. When Portland gets snow, we get a lot of ribbing for how we deal with the storm. We don't get nearly as much bad weather as a lot of the country, so I guess we deserve the teasing.

The storm reminded me of the importance of preparation in keeping things running smoothly. The people who had equipped their vehicles with snow tires or chains were a whole lot better off than the people trying to get around without those things. People who had a stocked pantry at home were prepared and could stay home and ride out the storm in comfort. Others with less preparations were out braving the weather to get supplies.

The City of Portland also showed an example of preparation. Due to budgetary considerations and the relatively small amount of icy winter weather we get, the Portland fleet of gravel trucks and plows is smaller than it probably is in other cities of our size that get winter-y weather. The smaller size of the fleet means that the major arterial roads get attention, but smaller neighborhood streets get left as is. The contrast between "prepared for" vs. "NOT- prepared for" highlights what a big difference preparation can make.

Before you know it you can get snowed in.
At this point you may be wondering "what does all this about winter weather have to do with appliance repair?" To be effective and profitable as an appliance service company, preparation is hugely important. Preparation means knowing about the product you are servicing. That comes from taking advantage of training opportunities such as the upcoming ASTI training in San Diego in a few weeks. Preparation is also what leads a call to your door in the first place. That means you have strategically advertised yourself and have stayed current with techniques of attracting new contacts such as social media, blogs, and good old fashioned community involvement. Preparation also means having your supplies and parts ready BEFORE you go on the call. That can mean pre-ordering a likely needed part or it could mean just having a well stocked service vehicle. As a business owner with over 40 years experience once told me, "You can't sell out of an empty wagon".

Like the City of Portland and their snow clearing equipment, circumstances may prevent you from always being as prepared as you would like to be. Like them, you may need to make some prioritized decisions. That does not mean you shouldn't prepare. What can you do TODAY to help you be more prepared TOMORROW? Figure that out,do it and then ask yourself again tomorrow. With steady effort and consistent planning you may find yourself a lot more ready the next time a little snow falls into your life.

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