Misfortune’s Fortunes

How to recognize that luck is probably hiding under all those so-called misfortunes in your life!

There are those days when all your hard work starts to pay off and other people start to notice what you’ve been working so hard to create. I know if you’re just starting out as a business owner or thinking about starting a new business you are going to hear from people that someday all your hard work will pay off and you will get noticed. This can be a difficult concept to understand in the beginning because nothing ever feels like it’s going to be a success at the start but let me assure you that if you never give up and keep it moving forward, it WILL HAPPEN!

Let me tell you a little story of how this happened to me only just yesterday and how more often than not, these things will happen to you in ways you may not be ready to recognize. In other words, they might be happening to you now and you haven’t had enough experience to know its happening.

My company is generally a seasonal fence construction company and we take the winters off. I really liked this in the beginning because I love to ski and I wanted to own a company that allowed me to get more skiing in but even though we loved to ski and I hired skier so they liked to take off the winters too, the ups and downs of the season were a strain. I wanted to work all year round (and still get some skiing in as well!) I went on the march and found work for my company that gave us 12 months of work.

I ended up working with a very good customer that at first turned us down and was not interested in our services. I’m a seasoned businessman and I know you can’t win them all but with a little persistence, patience’s and creativity, we eventually executed a contract with this customer. I knew he was a huge client and I had campaigned hard to him that we were the best and our price list reflected that we, – at least were advertising that we were the best! The best doesn’t come cheap! If you’re going to have a premium level price list, you better perform at a premium level! Michael Jordan used to talk smack to an opponent not to intimidate his opponent but to intimidate himself. If you tell someone you’re going to whip their ass, you better damn well do it! I use the same strategy with my price list!

While doing the finer types of fencing work for this customer we were challenged to take on other projects outside our comfort zone. This is just my type of game in business! Find things you’ve never done before, tell the customer you can do it then go on the hustle and start accessing your available recourses to get the project done in a way where you deliver more value than you promised. We started doing steel structure work building elevated steel decks, handrails, steel traction grate stair cases and decorative structures out of steel. This was expensive for my company and we were stretched when it came to working capital but we pressed forward to show this customer he hired the right contractor! This customer was very impressed with our work and we soon became his favorite contractor!

Last week one of the customers hired men came to me about finishing a section of fence and redesigning another section on the customer’s ranch. This type of fence was relatively easy compared to what we had been doing for the customer but I loved having more work so I sent and estimate for the new fence work to the customer.

Yesterday I received an email from the customer that went like this:

Thanks for the quote. It is very obvious that you and your team are focused on quality. This is exactly why we are having you do everything involved with the horse arena. I think we both realize that you tend to be more on your bids than your competitors and for good reason! That said, I think what probably works best for us is to utilize you guy’s for those situations where quality is of the upmost importance and use the low bidders in situations where some of these mistakes or lower quality items are for the most part not super critical. I think these smaller fencing projects are one of those non critical areas for us and the other bidders are about half the cost, so worth it to us to save in these situations. As always, we appreciate what you do and stand for and we now have a much better understanding of where we should utilize Bockman Group going forward.

As you can see, I lost the bid for this work because my company is clearly the best and it’s recognized by the customer, but was it really a loss, or was it something so much more?!?! Nearly every super success I have ever had started out just like this. I just lost out on several thousands of dollars in business but will likely gain an untold fortune in future business, high-valued referrals and a long relationship with a premium level customer and his circle of friends and associates and other general contractors.

This is what I mean by, the success may not be coming in the form you thought it would. What this email is telling me is that my company’s capabilities have out-grown and out-performed the industry standard of what is quality work. Essentially, we are better than just fence builders and we need to grow out of this industry to really find our stride and exercise our true talents! The success did not come in the form I thought it would. My instinct was to crush the other competitors on this project by being the best but in turn, being the best just stepped up our game resulting in us entering a whole new level of the game!

Someone said to me yesterday after showing them the email, “I bet you didn’t see that coming” but actually- I did! In fact, it’s the whole reason for striving to be the best and it is everything we’ve been looking for to develop this company. I realize now that a lot of people don’t know that this kind of luck and good fortune is very well planned and strategized for, for a very long time before it happens. You just have to be ready for it when it happens!

I will admit there was a stroke of good luck in all of this but luck is just like the wind, you just never know which direction it’s going to come from or how strong it’s going to be. You just have to be building the sails to catch those “luck winds” like I did yesterday. If I had not worked so hard building a great company by gambling my life savings, hired amazing employees (and they are amazing!!!) and hustled tirelessly 7 days a week to get the best work and the best customers, I would have never been this lucky!

Daniel J Bockman

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