Share the Stress

Volume 13 Issue 4 - Insightful Talk - Share the Stress

I was thinking the other day, I’m currently in a business that I started just after I sold my tow company.  Being 76 years old, I’ve wondered what kind of shape health-wise I would be in if I sold all my businesses and retired.  My wife and I have owned our own businesses for over 30 years. We had our ups and downs, but there were rewards that came with it.  As a business owner here are a few things that can create stress for you:

  1. Financial Pressures – Managing your cash flow so you can cover all your expenses and show a profit,
  2. Time Management – As the owner you wear many hats, some of which you may not have a lot of experience. You must find time for your customers, your employees and most of all, your wife.
  3. Employee management – When I ran my business I always worried about my employees. Your employees run your business, so you must find good employees, and believe me, in today’s world, that can be difficult.  Once you have them, you must train them. There are many positions which will need training to cover the responsibilities of the job they will be doing.
  4. Customer Satisfaction – Your business needs to make sure you are meeting the customer expectations and handling complaints when there are problems.
  5. Your competition – As you know towing is a tough business, and you need to be ready for change when your competition makes changes to meet customer needs.
  6. Compliance – There are always regulatory changes taking place in our industry. Your state association tries to stay on top of the changes, but you can bet there will always be regulatory changes that you will have to address.
  7. Decision making – There are many issues you will have to address and decide how to handle the issue. It could be employee issues, customer issues, or truck issues, all of which will require different ways to address the issues.
  8. The unknown – There will always be the unexpected problem that hits you at the worse time, but it will need your attention.

As I faced these kinds of problems, what effect did they have on my health?  I knew I needed an outlet to get away from the day-to-day problems, so I took up golf.  I was never very good at it, but it got me out of the office and away from all the stress.  I was fortunate that I had a good manager that could take care of the business when I was absent.  After 30 years in the business, I must take pills that address blood pressure and any heart issues.  They’re part of getting old, and I’m sure lots of people take the same pills that are not in towing.  When you have stress from the business, it can sneak up on you and create issues you are not ready to address.  There are ways to relieve some of the stress by using your employees. As I mentioned, I had a good manager, and when he was in charge, he would tell our 35 employees that they were not to call me for anything.  I’m sure he took care of some problems that I was unaware of, and to this day, I still don’t know some of the major issues he handled.

When I was on the training circuit at trade shows, I talked about a tow company’s number one asset, “Their Employees.”   I told them they could go out on the floor and buy trucks, software, and other stuff that supported their business, but the only thing that made them different than their competitor was the employees.

When I got into towing, I knew nothing about the towing business or the industry.  Using my business 101 principle, I surrounded myself with people smarter than me. If I did not have the right person, I would go out and find them.  I was lucky and only needed one additional person.  I used dispatchers, drivers, and other employees as needed.

If you think about it, your employees are a direct line to your customer.  I educated them on how I wanted them to deal with our customers.  They loved their new roles because it made them feel needed and a part of the company.  Why are good employees important?

  1. Productivity and Efficiency – When you have skilled employees, they will perform their job more effectively leading to an increase in productivity.
  2. Quality – Skilled employees will produce a high quality of work which helps maintain the company’s reputation, which provides customer satisfaction.
  3. Innovation – Trained employees bring fresh new ideas and perspectives and better ways to perform their job. This allowed my company to stay competitive in the industry.
  4. Customer Satisfaction – Employees who provide excellent service will enhance the customer experience. Good customer service leads to customer loyalty and tells others about your service.
  5. Team Environment – Good employees create a good work environment, and everyone will contribute more to your success.
  6. Reduce Turnover – I ran my company for 7 years with 35 employees and lost only one employee. All my competitors’ employees want to come and work for me.  This was attributed to a good working environment created by my employees. As you know a lot of stress is created by your employees.  With a good working environment, you have less stress.
  7. Company Growth – When I started the business, I had no customers and 1 truck. Seven years later, I had over 1,000 customers, 17 trucks and 35 employees.  This again was because of my employees’ contributions and dedication.

When I taught a class in Baltimore, afterwards an owner told me that his drivers hated him, and he hated his drivers.  I told him to sell his trucks and open a pizza joint.  A little taken back by my boldness, I continued that he needed to value his employees and build a relationship with them.  I also told him he must take the first step because he is the owner.

Creating a good working environment can relieve 50% of your stress in the business.  I wrote a book that can help you address your problems.  It sells for $25.  Send me an e-mail, and I will send you a copy. (

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