Editor's Letter: Make Your Business Work for You

Figure out what you want to do with your business and put the people and systems in place to make it happen.

I first met this month's cover subject, Greg Randa, at the American Society of Concrete Contractors' Decorative Concrete Expo in New Orleans last spring.

I was immediately impressed by his passion for the industry and his desire to help other contractors. As you can see when you read his story, he's gone through something many other contractors have. He was working hard everyday and making a pretty good living, but he just wasn't happy.

The difference between Greg and a lot of other contractors is he did something about it. He made the decision to move out of the field and into the office and it's paid off with a more successful business and a happier home life. His wife tells me the change has been like night and day. (There's plenty more to say about Greg, but you can read the cover story on p. 22.)

Letting go is one of the hardest things for any small business owner to do. That's understandable because it's your neck on the line if something goes wrong. But if you ever want your business to be anything besides an incredibly stressful job — if you want it to have value beyond your reach — you have to be willing to take that step.

It doesn't have to mean making a full-time switch to the office, either. You probably didn't get into this industry because you wanted to spend your day behind a desk. What it really means is not trying to do everything in your business. If you want to stay in the field, hire people who can run the financials and other office responsibilities. That's the model Tommy Ruttura, president of Ruttura & Sons, has used for his company, one of the biggest in the industry with about $50 million in annual revenue.

You can't do everything and expect to grow beyond a certain point. So figure out what it is you like, and find people to do the rest of it, whether its marketing, running the jobsite or selling the work. In the end, it's about figuring out what you want to do with your business and putting the people and systems in place to make it happen.

Jonathan Sweet