The month of June has just ended, which means the year is officially more than half over, and the numbers are in. Unlike the past two years, business is going well! Gentle Giant is exceeding reasonably aggressive revenue targets, thanks in large part to changes in the housing market and improvements in the broader economy, and of course the reputation of the company based on the teriffic work, attitude, and professionalism of the Giants themselves. People happily ask about my feelings on the “success” of the company so far this year, and I’m certainly pleased that we now have more money with which to reward our employees and invest in the business. However, I don’t like the implication that during periods of time over the last 30 years when the company was not bringing in a good amount of money that we were not being “successful.”
Here’s why: Whether the company was doing a lot of work or a little, or whether we were to hire, train and develop many new people each year, or zero new employees, we have been successful at achieving what we need to do to pursue our mission, which is to create opportunities for great people, and change what people expect from a moving company. Even on slow days, Gentle Giant is serving customers, which means we have Giants working hard, in stressful, challenging situations, with the goal of making those customers “customers for life.” At the same time, those employees are developing skills, knowledge about how to communicate under pressure, and work as a team with crew members. They’re creating memories for customers who are undergoing major life transitions, and we’re a part of that. In turn, those customers tell others about Gentle Giant, and those employees have had an experience that will hopefully propel them forward (either at Gentle Giant or in a different line of work in the future). Then later, at times when market factors are better, like they are now, we become flush with work and have even more opportunities to pursue our mission.
So, how you define success has a lot to do with what you select as your driving force for your business. Is it just to make money? Well, in the long run, of course that is essential for a successful business, and in general if you work hard you will eventually make profit. But if success is defined in terms of what you can control, and to push yourself to do well every single day no mater what happens with the “uncontrollables,” making money will be a pleasant byproduct of your success, and it very well may happen to an even greater degree than if it was your central focus to begin with.