Zachary M. Martin

February 28, 2022
5 Tips – How to Select Restoration Software
Something New Josh Bachman As a kid, I absolutely loved Legos. Specifically, I loved the Space Legos—rockets, moon landers, space stations. If they could blast me off this Earth and start my space odyssey, I had to have them! One year my well-intentioned family bought me a City Lego set, and I found myself at a juvenile crossroads. How do I incorporate a city hall in the middle of my Mars outpost? Do I even need a fire station on Saturn? As restoration professionals I feel as though we often find ourselves in a similar situation when it comes to our software systems and the flashy new products that are brought to market seemingly week in and week out. How do we find time to filter through the options, incorporate a new platform into our existing system, and settle on the right package that will set our company up for the future growth we are working so diligently toward? Here are a few suggestions from my own experience that you may find useful in your journey. Stop looking for perfection. I’m going to break it to you right now: the perfect software package does not exist, at least not yet.
January 12, 2022
How to Fix Employee Performance
3 Reasons & Solutions
How do you fix employee performance? As a business advisor in the restoration industry, the most common frustration I hear from clients is dealing with underperforming employees. Since we know the first step to solid problem resolution is clearly defining the problem, let’s take a look at the three reasons I’ve discovered for poor performing employees. Once the reasons are defined, we’ll be able to consider steps to repair the problem. 3 Reasons for Bad Employees Reason 1: Lack of Hiring, Training, and/or Expectations The first reason we don’t get what we expect from employees can be broken down into three distinct parts, and its origins go all the way back to the quality of your recruiting and hiring process. We need to look at the employee’s qualifications. Put simply, does the employee have the education and experience to perform the job they are currently occupying? A hospital wouldn’t hire an electrician to be the Chief of Neurosurgery, nor would they hire a neurosurgeon to be an electrician. Neither has the background, education, or possibly even the aptitude to do the other’s job. The second part is this: did we provide the proper training to help the employee succeed in
December 20, 2021
The Future of the Restoration Industry: Helping the Next Generation Succeed
Chris McQueen Put away the instruction manual on how to manage millennials. These workers and their successors are in the trades, purchasing businesses, and smart enough to ask for help. They are at the beginning stages of being your peers and while some will accomplish business success quickly, others will struggle for many years until they reach a breakthrough, perhaps not unlike yourself. The Restoration Industry: Where it Was As a restorer in the 80s, 90s, and 00s, you helped the younger generations gain data quicker than they could have on their own. Many restorers who have been in business for 30 plus years will testify that the days of cheap dehumidifiers, enough fans to pop breakers, and seven-day dry times with no monitoring are gone. The industry simply did not have enough data at the onset to say when something would be “dry.” Now most restorers, even when not necessary, provide daily moisture readings and adjustments to the equipment that justify their dry times. Point after point and job after job, the data is being collected and all of us know more. The result is that restorers spend hours debating how to tell which category a job is, how
December 13, 2021
Complacency The online Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word complacency as self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies. They must have had business owners in mind when they wrote that. After the long run of good fortune that many small businesses have enjoyed, I continue to warn against falling victim to our own success by becoming complacent. The enemy of success in business isn’t failure, it’s COMPLACENCY. It’s when we get soft or lose our drive or competitive edge that we get into trouble. It seems the more successful we become, the more guarded we need to be about becoming complacent. To make matters worse, complacency rarely announces itself. Instead, it very subtly inserts itself when we’re not paying attention. And one of the most troubling forms of it is the complacency of thought. We stop challenging ourselves to think differently, to explore the personal and professional weaknesses that make us uncomfortable, to look for blind spots, or to question our assumptions about our success. Complacency with our success or with the status quo can easily lead to three other conditions that can set a company on the path to stalling: lack of innovation, lack of market
November 29, 2021
CON ARTISTS When thinking of the term con artist, famous ones probably come to mind, like Bernie Madoff, the American financier who bilked billions of dollars from unsuspecting investors in the late 90s and early 2000s. Or Frank Abagnale, the check forger and scamb artist made famous in the 2002 movie Catch Me if You Can. But con artists aren’t a recent phenomena; they go back centuries. In the early 1900s there was Victor Lustig from Austria-Hungary who sold the Eiffel Tower−twice! Or the Italian swindler from the 1920s whose greatest claim to fame isn’t the money he stole from trusting investors or the headlines he made when he was caught. Rather it’s that history has immortalized him by lending his name to the entire genre of cons that made him famous—the Ponzi scheme, named after Charles Ponzi. Even men of the cloth aren’t exempt from the temptation of conning trusting souls, as is evidenced by televangelist Jim Bakker who spent nearly five years in federal prison for his misdeeds. But there’s a type of con that doesn’t get much attention, probably because it’s so commonplace and doesn’t involve violence, politics, or crime. It’s the con game many of us
November 21, 2021
Is This Any Way to Run a Restoration Company?
How Can You Be the Best Service-Based Company? A lesson in excellence I’m not easily impressed by service companies. In fact, after being disappointed in the way most service companies perform, I’ve come to expect very little. However, I recently had the opportunity to do business with a company every service-based operation should consider copying. This company was the model of the type of professionalism, quality, and consistency you just wish every company would emulate. On top of that, they were the least expensive option available, which is odd, because I NEVER go with the lowest bidder (just as a matter of principle). What’s also interesting is that I knew these guys would perform right from the start.  Let’s back up. The company I’m referring to applies epoxy coatings to concrete floors. You know—the type of coatings neat freaks like me have applied to their garage floors just because. After all, you wouldn’t want to park your 1984 Yugo on just any floor, right?! I’ve either epoxied or had someone else epoxy every garage floor I’ve had for the past twenty-five years. At one time, I actually decided it would be a good idea for the restoration business I owned to offer this service, so I happen to
November 15, 2021
SEAT 24-B One of the real beauties of having earbuds or earphones on an airplane is that they help you avoid tiresome conversations with people who seem to use talking to alleviate their anxiety about flying. They must think that as long as they’re talking to the person next to them, the pilot’s going to do a better job flying the plane. I’m sure there’s research somewhere either confirming or disproving this theory, but I haven’t seen it. On a recent flight, I was occupying seat 24-A, the window seat in my row. When jocular Greg sat down in 24-C, the aisle seat, and immediately struck up a conversation, I reflexively reached for my earbuds. Greg seemed like a nice enough guy, but this was a two-and-a-half-hour flight, I was tired from presenting most of that day, had work I still needed to get done, and the passengers hadn’t even finished boarding yet! As it turned out, the earbuds weren’t what saved me. It was Keshab, a 22-year-old, impossibly thin, Nepalis man in middle seat 24-B who saved the day. As Keshab wedged his ceremonially gowned self between us, Greg instantly shifted his conversation from me to him. I wasted
November 12, 2021
Is It Worth Hiring A Business Coach?
When it comes to excelling in a certain area, whether it be sports, music, relationships, etc. it’s no secret that hiring a coach is one of the best investments you can make. Coaches push us, help us create measurable goals, provide sound advice, and hold us accountable.  When it comes to starting, managing, or recovering a business, a coach may be a worthwhile resource to help you find your inner strengths, provide guidance, and push you to the limits. When you’re a business owner, complacency must be avoided at all costs. The list of tasks is never ending and there’s always room to expand, improve and grow. Whatever phase in the business progression you’re in, you’ll always have new skills to learn and problems to solve.  Break Your Self-imposed Limits While the easy route has the least resistance, it also provides the least opportunities for growth. Sometimes pushing ourselves to take the harder route can be a pain and might even seem unnecessary at times. A business coach will see the opportunities in taking on challenges and will push you to break through those self-supposed limits.  Catch Your Blindspots When we’re focused on a singular goal or objective, it’s easy