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From Here to Eternity: Change can Occur at a Snail's Pace or the Speed of Life

Ranger Kidwell-Ross, editor

by Ranger Kidwell-Ross, WorldSweeper's Editor

As I write this, tomorrow morning I will be leaving for Memphis, site of the 2012 National Pavement Expo. As I worked through the weekend in order to get the February newsletter out before I left, my thoughts kept turning to the snowmobile accident that last week suddenly ended the career and life of my longtime friend, Michigan sweeping contractor, Russ Barker. His loss was a sad and unexpected disaster.

Earlier last week I spoke to a glass contractor I have known casually for over 20 years. When I went to his glass shop to place an order I found the doors locked, the lights off. Ahh, I thought to myself, Bill finally got to retire. However, just at that moment he happened to pull in and I learned what had actually occurred.

"For the last three years I have hung on to the business against all odds," Bill told me, "losing money virtually every month as a result of the housing market downturn. However, in spite of that I kept on all my employees out of regard for their families. Now, not only are they all gone, but after 35 years in business I'm having to start over from scratch with me as the only employee. It's going to be very hard."

Those individual examples are just two of the many ways in which a business can change. Though both tragic, they are on either ends of the spectrum from immediate to long drawn out. Both circumstances – and the myriad of situations in between – underscore the importance of paying attention to every detail of one's business and personal life in order to keep 'bad things' from happening.

However, since this editorial is supposed to be about power sweeping, here's the positive upside you can potentially look forward to if you can manage to keep your ducks all in a tidy row.

Also last week, nationally syndicated author, Michael A. Smerconish penned an interesting article called Rethinking the paths to wealth. Here are some excerpts from what he had to say.

If one ambition for your children is to see them join the 1 percent, you might want to re-evaluate their career paths. Recognize that all roads don't lead down Wall Street. Instead, insiste that they get a part-time job while in high school, receive a good education from a state university and recognize the value of owning a porta-potty company while living in the Midwest.

Smerconish then quoted the authors of 'The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealth,' who said: "The consistent finding that I have had for the last 30 years is that most who are wealthy are business owners, often of blue-collar businesses that most others have ignored."

Smerconish went on "Think janitorial. Or scrap metal. It's the successful owners and operators of such unglamorous business who have often been able to make money in one generation."

In my opinion, Smerconish could well have substituted 'sweeping contractor.' Glamorous – not so much. However, I know many self-made individuals, both male and female, who have parlayed their startup sweeping operation into more than a comfortable lifestyle in just one generation. As a rule, these folks are frugal, down-to-earth business owners who keep a watchful eye on all parts of their business operation.

For the most part, primarily because they themselves became prosperous via years of tugging on their own bootstraps, they insist their children work hard, as well, rather than expecting to be given a silver spoon in life. And when these kids who grew up in the unglamorous job of power sweeping work their way up to company management, watch out.

A number of these people I'm referencing about will be at NPE. They can attend because they've insisted on making money in their business. They also know that attending events like NPE is what keeps them at the top of their game. And, of course, they like being around people similar to them in both the businesses they run and, in many cases, the lifestyles they lead.

My hope is this editorial serves to inspire you to take assertive action to make both your business life and your personal life more proactive and positive, from cash flow at work to attention to the other details of life. Although the end will ultimately be the same for all of us, in the meantime there's no reason not to have a good time and to make some money while we're at it.

As always, the articles in this issue are designed to help you find crucial insight for your business. My hope is you find they all help in one way or the other. If you have ideas about articles you'd like to see in the future, please let us know that, as well. Our goal is to write about what you want to read. And, if you have a sweeping-related need please contact us about it. We'll try to assist in any way we can.

I routinely reference articles and studies, provide information from my "Fundamentals of the Power Sweeping Business" manual and put contractors and city officials in touch with others who may have answers to their informational needs. By the same token, if you have a story you can provide, additional information on any of the topics we've covered – or need more details – please let me know. I'll be glad to help if at all possible.

Good Sweeping!
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