EPISODE 5: THE #1 SKILL FOR A SUCCESFULL BUILDING BUSINESS
Hi, welcome to the Builders Business Success Podcast!
The purpose of this podcast is to give you tips and tools and insights into how you can improve your building business and get rid of all of the negativity and the challenges that tend to come about in a building business because of building industry norms, and that’s what we’re all about, is smashing those building industry norms, showing you you can do things differently in a building business.
It doesn’t always have to be like it’s always been, and that’s what we’re bringing to you in this show.
We’ve got a really, really exciting show lined up for you. Super pumped to talk to a really good mate of mine and his name is Josh Mckiterick. He’s just such a smart, passionate dude. He loves to help out. He loves to get people’s ideas of what they’re trying to accomplish out and in a form that can be implemented and applied, and really helps people achieve their goals.
- He talks about valuable decision making, smart business partnerships and the value of seizing opportunity.
- I share a story of when I was in jail, and gained some huge value about the skill to listen, learn and fully understand people on another level
- We’ve also got a book review of the book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”
In my view, if there was a law that came out that said, “You’re only ever allowed to have one book in your life.” This book would be the one I would take.
Transcription of the show
Hear my conversation with Josh Mckiterick!
Mick- Just before we went live, you were you’re saying you’re absolutely going flat out. And it’s all due to COVID. You normally have a lot at this time of year. But you went crazy because all your clients are training people.
They all had to shift from the normal in-person events to the virtual type world. And everyone has called on you at once. So you’ve been rolled hard and hung up wet and ready to do some binging on Netflix.
The question I have for you, is what are some of the things that you learned through this whole COVID process that have been able to positively affect your business because I mean, many builders are saying, you know everyone’s pulling up stumps and projects are being put on hold and we don’t know whether we’ll be able to get the money and all that sort of stuff.
Most of our Blackbelt members are busier than they’ve ever been. And so that’s in the building industry. So I don’t want anyone to think, “Well, Josh is a trainer, “so it’s okay for him, he doesn’t understand I’m a builder.” I think most businesses if they can pivot and understand what’s going on around them, they can learn lessons and benefit from these sorts of situations. So what have been yours?
Josh – Yeah, good question. So, to put me in context, what I do is I help out smart people like Mick who work with people who have businesses. So a lot of my clients are business coaches.
So what I have, which is really interesting, like Mick has perspective on the cohort that he hangs out with, I have perspective on multiple cohorts who multiple business coaches hang out with.
So we’re talking about builders, tradies, just you know, contractors, professionals, people who own furniture stores, like so many different types of businesses. But something that I’ve really learned is what works in one industry will often work in another industry. And so I get to hang out with smart people who have been helping their business cohorts, not just survive, but really thrive during these periods.
Of course, I’ve been applying a whole bunch of stuff into my businesses, as well, which has been great. So total blessing in disguise, has been a difficult period for a lot of people. But everyone who has made this smart and intelligent decision to be in a community like yours Mick, and that a small group of business coaches who we hang out with.
More often than not, everyone has succeeded throughout this period. Has been a really successful period for a lot of people. And that’s what you’re saying, is that correct?
Mick – Yeah, absolutely. And you know, and you might be able to shed some understanding on how this sort of thing works. But there were guys who are in our membership that were struggling, coming into COVID.
The reason I bring this up is just before we went live, I did one of our daily momentum calls with our members. And one of the guys said, “The thing that’s made the biggest “difference through this period has been “these daily conversations.” And I’m certainly not putting my hand up for dropping genius bombs on them every day.
I’m not talking about that. It’s just that they had a conversation with each other in a little group setting every day about proactive practices.
And we share wins and we share lessons every day. And we answer each other’s questions every day, five days a week. This particular guy was involved every day like he hardly ever misses a day.
He’s still on-site. A lot of the guys are on-site and then got their phones on a tripod with bluetooth earbuds still banging in. One guy nearly got run over by a Bobcat on the cold today.
Josh – Why? Why weren’t people doing this before? And why did we wait for COVID to do this?
Here’s the thing, I think there’s this kind of like, “It’ll be fine.” And prior to COVID, we were cruising along, and then COVID happens and all of a sudden, people went into panic mode for a couple of weeks, right? Complete reptile brain, “The world’s gonna fall apart.”
But you know, we’re all business owners and we control our own destiny. And we can make decisions that are gonna put us in a good spot. So when other people are floundering around, the best action you could take was surround yourself with really smart people as often as possible, and just get good ideas from people.
Because the difference between surviving COVID as a business and doing poorly is an insight. Getting over your own shit, listening to smart people and taking positive action because, in any time like this, not only does a whole bunch of challenge comes along, but a whole bunch of opportunity comes along.
And the people that have really leaned into the opportunity, and the opportunity is not gonna be laid out in front of you you’ve got to figure it out like a jigsaw puzzle. But if you sit down and took the time to do the damn thing, most people have had some phenomenal business insights.
They’re innovating at the speed that they probably should be innovating. Most businesses innovate once or twice a year. And this has forced us to innovate eight or nine times within two or three months. And the speed of innovation is the thing that’s gonna make your business absolutely go through the roof.
So for me personally, I’ve completely smashed my business model and turned it into something else. I’ve set up two really profitable partnerships with people that’s made a massive difference for my business.
I know the other coaches who I’ve worked with such as yourself, in various industries have said, “Is there someone that you can partner with right now, “to hop outside of being a solo provider, “and start hopping into a solar system of businesses “who can support each other?”
That’s been one of the massive things that I’ve seen. Who out there has your client that you can partner with? If somebody asks you for a service that you can’t offer right now, who’s somebody else in your little ecosystem that you can give it to?
Of course, what goes around comes around. So setting up these little partnerships. And whether they like transactional, here’s a client, you give me some money. Or whether it’s a goodwill thing, you send me clients that I need, you can use and you send them back the other way, or turns into a small collaboration, or some sort of small business partnership to have a new offer that we previously didn’t have before.
Smart business partnerships is one of the things that I’ve really seen people lean into and made a lot of profit from, and created a whole new arm of their business that didn’t exist before that’s gonna be profitable for them in the future. So a business partnership is one of the things that I’ve done that I’ve seen a lot of people do that’s made a big difference.
Mick – Yeah, I can. I can hear people, I hear voices. Builders saying, “Well, that’s all right for you Josh. “I’m a builder. “There’s no one I can partner with.” But I think that and I want your thoughts on this. I want you to be able to explain to these people that they need to shift their thinking and get out of that pessimistic lack thinking, and, “That won’t work for me,” thinking, because that is absolutely sensational advice, even for a builder.
I’ve suggested to some of our members to do a podcast. It’s like, many builders if you suggest, “But what have I got to talk about? “It’s fascinating stuff, what they talk about.” And one of the guys, he’s only 26, he’s had a business for three years.
He started his own podcast about a couple of months ago. I was watching one of his episodes last night. Fascinating stuff. But what have you got to say to help people get out of that, “Well that’s all right for you, but that won’t work for me.”
Josh – So you just talked about something that I’m gonna call amplifier authority. And I’m gonna come back to that. Not about the podcast.
Mick – I’ll make a note so we don’t forget it.
Josh – I wanna talk about partnerships. Anyone who says that X person and I can’t move into a partnership, I call bullshit. And I’ll tell you why. It’s because and I know this. Look, my father-in-law, he owned a power tool store for 36 years.
I actually spent about 18 months apprenticing to him, because I’m going to inherit a shed-full of power tools. And when I say a shed-full, the shed’s bigger than my bloody house. And I want to go ahead and head and use them.
Now I know just working with him, that builders don’t operate in a vacuum. And you’ve got your client and your clients, when they’re building their house, will use providers before you, whilst they’re working with you, and after you. And all of those people that operate in the ecosystem of, “I had an idea to build a house,” through to, “I’ve shifted in the whole thing’s done.” And we all know that a house is never done.
All of those people live inside of your ecosystem. And they are people that you can put inside your network and have constructive partnerships with.
Now it doesn’t need to be a piece of paper where you’re swapping money, but you can swap clients, you can build a network of people that you are fueling each other’s businesses, and they are fueling your businesses.
So if you hop outside of the vacuum thinking, “I operate in isolation,” and start thinking about what is the customer journey beyond me and before me, these are people that you can set up meaningful relationships with, that’s gonna set you up for a bloody lifetime. That’s how I think about it. I’m on a rant now. Mick, I’m on a soapbox.
Mick – Get up there. Stay on it. You did mention amplifier authority. I didn’t write it down. I said I was gonna, but I didn’t. Is that what you said?
Josh – Yeah. Talking to a smart bloke. His name’s Troy Dean. Troy Dean works with digital agencies. The bloke who built your website. He’s like, “Don’t sell a bloody website guys, “because you can get some dude in the Philippines “to build your website for 150 bucks.
“Don’t sell people websites, “sell people digital strategies.” And here’s the thing, Troy said, “If you sit at home and you’re just on your computer “all day, nobody knows about you.” And when you start talking to a client, well, a potential prospect sorry, you have to tap dance for them. You feel like you’re in an interview, yeah?
What you can do instead, and you know, you’re doing a podcast and this is an example of what you’re doing right now is. Rather than waiting for people to find you, put out amazing, valuable content that people are already interested about.
Everyone who wants to build a house is asking questions right now. In their own head, maybe out loud. And there’s 100 questions that they have. Why don’t you build a podcast, start shooting videos.
Write some words, write a book that literally just answers all of those questions for somebody. Answer the questions they don’t even know to ask yet. Put it out there and when it comes around to the person going, “I’m ready to buy a builder.”
Well guess who they’re gonna come to. They’re gonna come to you, because you have offered them value and you’re the trusted expert. You’re the person that they listen to. And so people always talk about marketing, and they’re all about take, take, take. I need to buy my stuff, buy my stuff.
But actually, why don’t you just give, give, give, and when they’re perfectly positioned to wanna buy, they’ll just be like, “You’re the obvious choice.” That’s how I think about it.
So I see a lot of people using the time and space that they have, if they got time and space, to go, “You know what, I’m gonna become that person “in my marketplace.
“Why wouldn’t you come to me? “And I’m gonna do it by offering massive value. “I’m gonna enter the conversation that people “are already talking about, place myself in front of them. “So when they’re ready to buy, I’m the dude they come to.”
What’d I Say?
Every so often I say something, it’s perhaps a bit worthwhile. If the cameras are rolling, we record it, and we put it in this next segment. What’d I Say? In this particular segment as I said, you’re gonna find out why I was in jail and did they let me out? Let’s have a listen.
“The conversation that I always think of when this happened was. Years and years and years ago, I ended up at Risdon Prison, which is the jail in Hobart teaching the inmates there for a couple of years. And there was one guy in there. Part Aboriginal guy’s name was Maca Mackenzie.
He’d been in boys homes and whatever, since he was like 10. And then he was a lifer in jail for murder. And he came to my classes at the start, and I found out later on, like he was one of the enforcers. Chopper Read was in there as well. But he was sort of one of the enforcers in the jail and I got on really well with him.
I wondered why we were getting so many people showing up to my courses. It was because he said so . People would sit there and participate and do whatever I said. Jesus is going well. It was because he was coaching them on how to behave and making sure they showed up. But to cut the long story short.
One day, I decided to interview him. So I bought my video camera in and I just video a conversation and asked him about his life. And I was kind of using these techniques and really trying to understand from his perspective.
Long story short, he’s in there for murder, but when I heard of his journey from a boy going into these boys homes, how they were treated in these boys homes, and the experiences that he had in these boys homes and whatever. It was just totally clear to me.
I fully understood why he was a violent guy. I didn’t agree with it, but I fully understood it. And I fully understood why he was in jail for murder. And I had complete trust in the guy. I just felt completely safe with with him around when I was in jail doing all of the teaching and all that sort of stuff. Because there was plenty of times when it was just me and the inmates.
So I know guards around and what have you. And I did say when they gave me this big speech that, we’ll give you this thing you put on your belt, lift up the flat, press a button, and it’s like a panic button. That was on day one. I never got one for the two and a half years.
They forgot to give it to me. But it was just an experience I’ll never forget because it was like, we were talking about really, really bad stuff that I disagree with vehemently. But I fully understood why he behaved that way.
The great thing about this was we just, we created such a fantastic relationship that he started going out into the public like so even though he was in jail. He was only a minimum security prisoner.
So he was allowed out. And he would teach Aboriginal kids seminars and all of this sort of stuff and won some national award for his efforts for keeping Aboriginal kids off drugs and all of this sort of stuff. And that was because of our conversations.
Like he just wanted to learn and teach and learn and teach, and learn and teach after that. And amazing things happen. But his life wouldn’t have gone in that direction I don’t think if we hadn’t have had this conversation, and we got close.
He was able to tell me things and I was able to tell him things and he was able to change his mindset, and his approach, and his behavior, and lots and lots of things changed. So it’s a really valuable skill to learn for every area of life, not just talking to difficult clients. But they’re a great laboratory outlet, because there’s plenty of them.
I wanna review this book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. Hopefully you’ve heard of it. In my view, it has absolutely everything that you will ever need to be successful in life and in business.
As I said in the intro, I honestly believe if you’re only ever allowed to have one book, this would be it.
Because it covers everything from mindset to goal-setting to time management, to interpersonal skills.
And it just has absolutely everything. And to help you to understand how powerful this book really is, a great friend of mine and mentor, Ian Segail and I, and a couple of other guys we’d get together each week at 6:00 a.m. in a coffee shop.
And it was kind of a book club, I guess. And somebody would suggest a book for the week, we’d get the book, we’d read it. The next week, we would come back and we’d share the lessons that we’d gotten from that book and make notes and learn what other people had learned from that book.
We’d been doing it for about five or six months, doing a book a week. And it was my turn to suggest a book and I suggested “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. And it was just so interesting, but it just goes to show you how powerful and how deep the information is in this book.
That after one year of meeting every week, we hadn’t gotten into the habits yet. We reviewed this book every week, for one year and we were just in the bit before you get to the habits and understanding the whole philosophy of that. And it was just so much you know, and so much you can learn just in that beginning before we get to the habits. But then of course, once you get to the habits, it is super, super powerful.
Now, I must say. And in my case when I first read this, it was really, really hard going to the point where I went, “I can’t read this.” Because, like, at that stage I was reading, I had “The 7 Habits” in one hand and I had a thesaurus in the other going, “What the hell is Dr. Stephen Covey even talking about “with some of the words he used?”
But the way that I got through that was I had a cassette. Well, it was actually eight cassettes and I would listen to these eight cassettes. And that was a live seminar of Stephen Covey reading and doing excerpts out of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”.
I must have listened to that series of cassettes 100 plus times, I basically wore them out. And after I’d listened to it over and over and over over, I was able to get back and read the book. And you might be thinking, “Well, how many times have you read it?”
I think it’s more than just a book that you read and go, “That was great.” I think it’s a book that virtually turns into a reference library, you can go back and find a solution, an answer for pretty much any problem that you might have in your life personally or professionally in this book. This is how powerfully I feel about this book.
So go ahead, grab yourself a copy of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey and read it, and then start again, and start again, and start again. And just one other little tip with it that you don’t necessarily need to always read it from start to finish.
I’d love to hear any of the comments and questions that you might have when you start to read “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”.
Hear more from Josh!
Mick -You said if they’ve got time and space, do you have any thoughts because again, when I say I hear people, the quote was, I said dead people, wasn’t it? That was what I was trying to channel but I’ve got the words wrong.
Josh – Don’t spoil the movie for me.
Mick – Having spoken to many, many builders obviously and even with some of our Blackbelt members, they know that they should do exactly what you just said. And I even had a conversation with one of them today, this morning, that their pipeline is pretty full at the moment with pretty high quality leads, turning into customers.
It is a terrible problem to have. But it doesn’t last forever, unless you’ve got some form of process, measurable, manageable process at the front of your business, continuing that on.
And so I said, “Please don’t fall into that “false sense of security that this will happen forever.” Because think about BlockBuster, think about the Swiss watch manufacturers, think about the Vinyl Record industry, these massive, massive businesses that no longer exist.
I’m sure you love Simon Sinek too, but in his book, or one of the videos I was listening to a little while ago who was just talking about the conversation that was had in the Blockbuster Video boardroom when Netflix was a fledgling little company.
Some guys came into the boardroom and said, “Guys, this streaming thing, it’s gonna be a thing. “We need to look at streaming because “people are just gonna press a button “and they’ll be able to watch it at home.
“They won’t have to go to the video store.” And the wise board members of Blockbuster said, “No, we won’t even consider that because 15% of our revenue “comes from late fees. “And then that means if we go to streaming, “there are no late fees, we’re gonna lose “15% of the revenue.”
Because they’re trying to hold on to 15% of their revenue, they lost all of it. And there’s one Blockbuster store left in the boondocks, somewhere in Canada. And like Blockbuster could have been Netflix with just that decision.
Josh – Well, they’re making a decision around something that’s not important.
Keep them because we earn 15% of our profit. I’m like, “Why is that the primary decision-making criteria? “That’s stupid, it’s a stupid thing “to build a business around.” The product’s not late fees.
It goes for builders as well, and this is what you need to innovate. And this is the big shock that everybody got with COVID is everyone thought that their business was fine. Everyone thought that people would get haircuts forever and business forever and in my world, we’d be training in live rooms forever. And actually, we got a dirty big, cold fish in the face slap.
Overnight, all that stops. Now some builders and some sparkies and some plumbers, they got away with it because they consider it essential services. But I’ve got a lot of friends in the hospitality industry who shut their doors. And all they had if they were lucky enough to have a window out the front could start doing takeaway food.
I remember ringing a friend who owns a pub, and he lives down in Sorrento. So if you’re from Melbourne, it’s like down the coast. And I said, “Benny, how are you going, buddy?” And he goes, “You know what mate, “I’m about to start busking just to earn some cash.”
This is like three weeks in. “I’m stuffed, I’m cooked. “I have reduced my staff to a chef, and me, “and we just trying to do some takeaway food at the moment.” And I said, “Dude, here’s an idea. “I just got one. “Go on, find a business like a bank or something “and see if you can get the bank to pay for coffees “for all of their staff. “And then you can do a run and you can sell “three or 400 bucks worth of coffee on a Friday.”
“So Josh, that’s a great idea. “I’m gonna go and hit up a bank manager just to do that. “So at least I’ve got 400 bucks coming in.” Three weeks later I go, “Benny, how you going, buddy?”
He goes, “Business has never been better.” “I’ve reduced my staff to just me and the chef. “That’s it. “So my outgo, and I’m not turning on the lights “of the electricity, I’ve got nothing else going on. “It’s just me and him. “And everybody in town who loves the food.” And his wife’s a chef too and she puts together the menu.
“People are queuing up to get takeaway. “They really wanna support our business. “I got the bank manager on board. “You know what Josh, this is really, really cool.” Last summer, because they’re about 200K’s away from Melbourne. I had to beg, beg, to get a shift down here for 120K, for a job that he’ll get 80K in the city.
I can say this as an employer or another employee and I know that your guys are employers so that’s fine. “Next summer, I’ll have 10 of them lining up at the door “to work for 60K. “So I’m taking a bit of a hit now, “but I know what’s gonna happen in the future.
“So if I can just keep my doors open for a few months, “when all of these small businesses have gone, “with a dip comes arise, with a rise comes a dip, “you got to be ready for these moments.”
So he’s just positioned himself. Hospitality, getting screwed.
He’s positioned himself to make a lot of money on the other end of it. And this is what smart people are doing. They are looking at this as an opportunity. And they are positioning themselves so when an opportunity comes along, they are straight out of the gates. ‘Cause you don’t want to be left on the starting blocks when everybody else is at the 50-meter line. Because you went into panic.
So few little smart decisions along the way and just going, “How is this a good thing? “How is this a good thing?” And using this as a chance to innovate rather than having a big bitch fist about it. Because bitching and moaning and complaining is fun for about 20 seconds, and then it becomes okay. It’s just get over and done, move on with it. My question for your blogs would be like, “What’s the smart thing that’s gonna happen?”
What happens one day when people don’t want to build a house? Because it’ll happen. And you can tell yourself, “People are always gonna need to build a house.” That you’re like, “Yeah, but it’s already happening.” People are building houses in factories and trading them in. Actually, all you need now is a sparky and a plumber.
I know it’s a different quality service and I know it’s a different thing. But frankly, I’m just jog blocks down the street and I don’t give a shit. I just want a house. I understand the workmanship that goes into building. But if I can get that for 50K cheaper, and it’s done overnight, beautiful. And also it comes in on a Thursday, rather than raining out and washing out in bad weather.
Well, that’s a more predictable process. So you need to be prepared for these innovations. And this is a good taste of what’s gonna happen in four or five years time. So you wanna get ready for it.
Mick – Yeah, absolutely. In fact, funny you should say that. One of the introductions to a future podcast because it hasn’t happened yet. So we haven’t filmed it yet. We’ve got the block next door but on the other side of that a lady’s bought a house and it’s already been built. It’s coming on a track with a big crane in the next week or so.
We were gonna do a bit of filming in front of this house that’s being lifted onto its foundations and have a bit of fun. But mate, this has been sensational as always.
Summary & Takeaway
That’s the show. We’ve heard from Josh Mckiterick. We’ve talked about “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. In What’d I Say, I was talking about listening to people and understanding people. So that brings me to the conclusion that the actionable takeaway in this show is habit five out of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”.
Habit five is first seek to understand, then to be understood. And it’s such a powerful habit. If you’ve ever experienced not being listened to. If you’ve felt that you’ve got some real challenging problems going on in your mind, and somebody with the best intentions is trying to help you out, yet, you don’t feel listened to, you don’t feel like that somebody has paid attention to what you’ve said.
The reasons for that are in this particular habit. And I think that you can go get the book, go straight to habit five, start to learn these skills. I would suggest to you that learning the skills in habit five, would be the single most important habit, skill that you could learn for your business. It will benefit your business in every single area.
With your prospects, with your customers, with your team, with your suppliers, with your subcontractors, this habit will help you in every one of those areas, and you’ll be able to help a lot of other people with this particular skill. So that was my takeaway.
Go grab yourself a copy of “The 7 Habits” and absolutely go berserk with habit five. So with every episode, our purpose is to answer questions and offer solutions. What we also find is some of the stuff that we put out there creates more questions than answers. And if you’ve got questions, or there’s something that you’ve learned in this episode, and you’d like a hand to figure out how to implement it into your business, all you need to do is reach out.
You can book a call, schedule a call with me on the front page of the website, and we can jump on the phone and figure out what your roadblock is and get you moving and point you in the right direction.
So I really hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of Builders Business Success Podcast and I’ll be looking forward to speaking with you again in the next episode.
I’m Mick Hawes, Builders Business Blackbelt. Bye for now.