2017 VDTA Convention


Remove the Obstructions

by Billy Stoll Jr.

If you are familiar with the vacuum industry, you know that small objects are sometimes very capable of starting a problem – a problem that if left unchecked, can and usually will turn into a major issue. It's often started by simple little things like hair pins, paper clips, sucker sticks, and sometimes even a stiff piece of plastic wrapper getting stuck in the vacuum.

The loss of suction is usually not noticed right away, but with time it is. The more you use the machine, the more lint, fuzz, and trash gets hung up on the blockage. This continues to build up until eventually there is no suction at all. What is the remedy? Simple. Remove the obstruction and… "Ta-Da," you've got suction again. After the clog has been removed, everything functions properly and the vacuum does what it was intended to do.

We can learn a lesson from this. Business life, personal life, we can apply this to either one. Business to business or just a friend to a friend, here is a reminder: remove the obstruction! Many things happen in life and sometimes they may seem small and unimportant, but they matter. They matter a lot because they have the potential of clogging the system to the point of "shut down."

Sometimes we are tempted to think they don't matter, that they are irrelevant. At times we may even recognize the issue it really is but then convince ourselves that ignoring the problem will make it go away. Out of sight, out of mind? Not likely. Life is much the same as an obstructed vacuum hose; rather than going away on its own, it will only get worse.

What are these "things" or obstructions to which I'm referring? I put together a short list to get us started, but remember it's not all inclusive and it won't apply to everyone. Neither is there a "one size fits all" solution because every situation different.

These obstructions usually involve people, and that is the very thing that makes it so difficult: every person is unique.

Bad Attitudes.
Employer or employee, it doesn't matter. Grumpy. Upset. Ungrateful. Flying off the handle. Thinking
"I'm never wrong." Bad attitudes are all of these things. They get you nowhere and are hard on your business. Remove this obstruction.

Unsatisfied Customers.
True, you may not always be aware of an unsatisfied customer, but those cases that you do know of, deal with. An unsatisfied customer can be the ruination of your business. Especially with all the social media available at everyone's fingertips. Remove this obstruction.

Not Being Able to Listen.
Being a good listener is imperative to your business. Don't run over your customers. Listen. They came to you seeking help or advice. How can you help them without knowing their needs? How can you advise without knowing the situation? Remove this obstruction and listen.

Gossip is awful. It doesn't matter if it's to a customer about another customer or to a coworker about another coworker. It will clog the system. Not to mention, it's not nice. Remove the obstruction.
I'm sure there are many others we could have discussed, but you know your situation better than I do. Hopefully these few thoughts can be of help to get you started thinking and recognize what may be blocking your success or keeping you from your goals. Find the blockages in your life, remove them, and you will then realize your full potential.

We are all unique, but we all have a few things in common too. We like to be treated honestly, fairly, and with respect. To sum it up, my advice would be: always be observant. Keep your eyes and ears open. At the first sign of blockage, remove the obstruction before it causes damage that can't be repaired.



Reprinted from Floor Care & Central Vac Professional & SQE Professional, November 2017