Triple Your Small Business Capabilities Fast Without Adding Staff

Posted by Stephanie Valentine on October 8, 2009 in Small Business Leadership, Small Business Management |

So there is a small business guy around here I really admire – Mike of All Wet Sprinklers. This economy has been just as tough on Mike as on every other small business owner. People are slamming their wallets shut, and fewer people want new sprinkler systems installed on their properties.

So Mike, being the totally ingenious Italian dude that he is, decided that he would expand the services his small businesses offered so he could get more work. The sprinkler system market was shrinking, so Mike decided to expand into other markets, including landscaping, masonry, supplying firewood, and dog walking (actually, I’m not sure if he actually walks dogs or he’s just pulling my leg).

How to Triple Your Small Business Capabilities
So how did Mike go from sprinkler dude to landscaping, rock-working, firewood dude? Well, he didn’t take on any new staff. Instead, he partnered up with a couple of other small business folks in the area who were also feeling the economic pinch.

Chris, a stone mason, knows how to build you a giant wall in nothing flat. Mike’s significant other, Candy, works a regular job but knows landscaping like the back of her hand, so she helps Mike with the landscaping plans when she’s off work. And then there’s some other dude I haven’t met who does the firewood thing.

So Mike shows up to give us an estimate on a little irrigation project for our back field. He’s got Chris with him. We find out Chris is a stone mason and we ask him to give us an estimate on putting our patio and planter rocks back together. The rocks were falling so fast we just about needed to put up a “Danger: Falling Rock” sign. Chris and Mike gave us estimates and we gave them thumbs up.

They tackle the irrigation project first. Mike knows all about irrigation so he does most of the planning and buys the right parts. Chris does the grunt work. Then they move onto the rock work. Here, Chris mixes the all-important mortar and Mike does the grunt work. At the end of the jobs, they divvy up my check. Each of them made less on the total job than they would have alone, but each earned more than an unemployment check.

Mike’s now working on getting me some firewood from his buddy. Same deal … split the check, earn less than usual, but bring in solid work in a lean economy.

See how it works? Can you see how that might work for your small business? Got any lean and hungry business associates who might want to partner up?

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