World Sweeper Logo

Growing Your Business

Empowerment + Training = Leadership = Profitable Growth

You can't afford to be the only one making decisions, pushing quality, selling work and ensuring your customers are happy. You will never build a successful sweeping company by being the only leader.

by Ron Roberts, "The Contractors' Coach"

Ron Roberts, The Contractor's Business Coach

Are you trying to build a business or are you trying to work yourself to death?

The question constantly runs through my mind when chatting with contractors about their situation, their dreams and goals, and their frustrations.

You cannot personally oversee everyone who works for you. The rough rule of thumb has always been seven employees per leader. It then follows that for your company to grow beyond seven employees, you will need to recruit, develop and empower leaders.

Most small business owners are guilty of overlooking the impact leaders have on their business' growth. That's a guaranteed path to burnout.

Add a contractor's natural inclination to be distrustful of his employees' work ethic and quality -- especially in parking area sweeping where work product and productivity is naturally harder to monitor -- and you end up with an individual who resists handing over the reins of control to his crews, much less grooming one or more to lead.

Your business needs leaders. Leaders make you money. Leaders allow you to spend time chasing work and building valuable relationships. Leaders set you free.

Constantly fighting fires? Develop leaders.

If you've been unsuccessful getting someone to step up and lead, you probably didn't follow the tried-and-true 4E approach, with which I include an added A:

  1. Educate
  2. Enable
  3. Empower
  4. Engage
  5. (Hold) Accountable


Teach them how to lead. Help them understand how to communicate, motivate, and delegate. Give them constant feedback until they become accomplished leaders. Show them how to fill out paperwork. Show them who to call for supplies and repair parts. Show them how to solve problems and think through decisions.


Give them the tools and information they need to get the work done right and to make good decisions. Set them up for success. They need to know your expectations, the schedule, the budgeted man-hours, quality standards, the safety standards, proper equipment maintenance, etc. Think about this: the opposite of 'enable' is 'disable.' You certainly don't want to do that to your leaders.


Give them the authority to make decisions and the opportunity to learn from their failures. Don't solve their problems. Make them bring solutions to you. Every time you bail someone out, you weaken his or her ability to excel under fire.


Make sure their goals are well aligned to your goals. Make sure they understand how they personally benefit when your business goals are met. Put yourself in their shoes and answer the question "what's in it for me?" Until they understand the personal benefit of delivering the results you need, they will not go the extra mile for you.


Hold your leaders accountable.

Make sure they plan their work. Make them communicate with their sweeper operators and other crews. Make sure they don't cut safety corners. Make sure they complete they paperwork. Make them hit your quality and productivity targets. Hold them accountable to their job.

No matter how well you've prepared them for success, many leaders will slip into bad habits. Don't let them off the hook. Remind them of the required goals. If all else fails, demote them. Not everyone was wired to lead.

Again I ask, are you trying to build a business or are you trying to work yourself to death?

If you want to make real money, you are going to have to lean on others to get the work done properly. You can't do it all yourself.

More information about Ron Roberts' and his company may be found on his website You'll also find a link to sign up to his informative e-newsletter on his site. You may also reach Ron via email sent to

The Contractors Coach

This article was added to in 7.07.

World Sweeper Logo

© 2005 - 2012 World Sweeper and Ron Roberts
All rights reserved.

Parking Area Sweeping Contents

Parking/Growing Your Business

Site Map / Table of Contents