Partners In Service:
Apollo Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing + Habitat for Humanity
For over 15 years, Apollo Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing has partnered with Habitat for Humanity because of Apollo’s belief in Habitat’s mission to help those less fortunate become homeowners. (more…)
Too often, I am amazed at how narrow the small business owner’s focus has become. I surround myself with company executives who are like me (or who I think are like me). By becoming a part of the area chambers of commerce, becoming part of the Entrepreneur’s Organization and other various associations, I have met many small business owners and interacted with them repeatedly.
All conversations that I can reflect on, leads me to one question: “Should those who own and run a small business, be doing so?”
Recently, I attended a three-day CEO roundtable conference. Listening intently to the stories of success and failure, it seems that the emotional equity each owner has in their business has conditioned them to bury their head in the sand, instead of thriving to be more successful. The tough truth can be glossed over when you are feeling overwhelmed day in and day out; however, the speed at which business can change is amazing. Let’s compare it to one of my passions: sailing a boat.
Sailing has been one of my favorite activities for many years. The various adjustments you can make to your boat to go faster or slower include: sail shape, direction, where the crew sits, shape of the mast, and much more! Owning and operating a small business is very much the same. The ability to make changes fast is difficult. At our company, we try to make 1% improvements to our current processes and procedures. What that means is that if we do 1% better today than yesterday, our customers are happier, our employees are happier and our company is more successful.
The lift that the 1%’ers can create for your company will exemplify an incredible tide that raises your boat. Unfortnuatley, if the average business owner keeps his head in the sand, the lift potential is lessened astronomically. To all small business owners out there, some words of wisdom:
- Keep your hands on the wheel,
- Guide your boat gracefully through the rough waters, and
- Strive to raise your boat 1% every day in order to achieve your goals.
In late October 2011, 12 Apollo team members enjoyed the day with Habitat for Humanity. The team spent the majority of their Sunday installing the heating and cooling system in a new Habitat home. At Apollo, we believe in giving back, whether it’s spending a day doing what we do best or volunteering with community organizations. In 2011, we spent nearly 100 hours assisting and helping shape our community!
Check out a few photos from the day below!
Jamie Gerdsen, President / CEO of Apollo Heating, Cooling and Plumbing was published in the October 2011 edition of HVACR Business. The article titled, “10 Ways to Keep Current Customers Coming Back” appeared on the cover of the national publication.
Customers are the life blood of any service business, that’s why Apollo strives for 100% customer satisfaction! We are like everyone else, we sometimes come up short; however, we are always thinking of ways to show our customers how much we appreciate their business and the relationship we’ve created.
As an Apollo customer, we’d like to hear from you. What else can we bring to you to make your Apollo Experience even more satisfying?
Every morning I wake up around 4:30 am and start my day. My first two hours consist of hitting the gym and reading several newspapers and periodicals to stay up on current worldly events. I realize that the amount of information that one person receives in a day is exorbitant, so how can we possibly retain the best information?
According to a recent study performed by Dr. Martin Hilbert, a scientist from USC, we receive information at a rate that is equivalent to 174 newspapers per day! So, without realizing it, we are all becoming very inpatient with the information we receive. Enter opt-outs, unsubscribes or un-follows into our daily lives – a way to re-organize and focus only on the information we want to receive. (Click to read an article about Dr. Hilbert’s theories.)
The impatience I observe daily, with myself, my family, my employees and our customers, surrounds the ability to process and make sense of all this information. With the existence and addiction (for many) to 24-hour news and media outlets, our brains are processing at a much higher rate than in the past.
Two years ago while traveling in Washington D.C., I met Dr. Gerald Bell, founder and CEO of Bell Leadership Institute, in North Carolina. Dr. Bell is a resident expert on organizational leadership, who has studied and researched the characteristics of a successful leader for over 40 years.
We were only together a short time, but the following lessons helped me to focus on the right information and how it can make all the difference in my personal and professional life:
- It is all about listening.
- It is about spending time reflecting on the situation at hand, before judging.
- It is about helping others devise the right question(s) – as the question is more important than the answer, in many cases.
Incorporating these three “easy-to-remember” lessons into my daily life has helped me keep focus on the right initiatives for myself, my employees, my customers and my company. What suggestions do you have that help you keep focused in the digital information age?
September 22, 2011 – Cincinnati, OH: Apollo Heating, Cooling & Plumbing was recently chosen from a field of more than 100 Greater Cincinnati businesses as a finalist for the 2011 Business Courier’s “Best Places to Work” award!
Apollo is among 14 companies recognized as finalists in the “small” business category, which is classified as companies with a workforce of 30-79 employees.
“It’s a huge honor to be recognized as a Best Places to Work finalist. We strive to be a great place for our employees – not just for a job, but for a career. When running a family owned business, it is important to recognize employees and now the company is being recognized by our employees, how amazing!” Apollo President/CEO Jamie Gerdsen said.
“The definition of success for a business starts and ends with your employees. Without talented professionals in our company, we could never deliver the exceptional customer service we pride ourselves on delivering. We’re thrilled to be part of such an outstanding group of Cincinnati area businesses,” Gerdsen continued.
Join us on Thursday, November 3rd, when Apollo will be honored at an awards reception at the Duke Energy Convention Center from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. During this reception, the 49 finalists will be showcased and the 2011 award winners will be named.
While other industries may be struggling to grow their employee count, the HVAC and refrigeration industries has estimated to grow 28% from 2008-2018, much faster than the average for all other occupations.
In May, 2011 (before we were blogging), we watched the episode of Dateline’s: the Hansen Files regarding how homeowners were wasting their money on home repairs.
In reflecting on Dateline episode The Hansen Files regarding how easily homeowners can waste their money on unnecessary home repairs; I was appalled with the dishonest nature of some of the service providers. Are there really people out there who weren’t brought up with morals? Our company has been in the heating, cooling and plumbing business for over 100 years and I feel confident to say that our employees proceed with the customer’s best interest at heart! If that was not the case, then how would we offer total satisfaction guarantee, and have satisfied over 200,000 customers?
Recently, I was involved in a meeting of several successful business owners. After partaking in our normal idle chatter, our discussion quickly turned to driving results. There were three individuals who spawned my interest. While listening to them, it was clear that the constant theme was “how to drive growth through external marketing and sales campaigns.”
Although I was listening passionately, I found myself remembering a story I had heard earlier in my career. It was about a man who held, and later lit, an M80 firework in his hand. His grip was tight on the M80. Holding too tight onto the M80 and lighting it, only proved one thing – when an M80 blows up, it causes severe damage (in this case, loss of a hand.) But this is not where the story ends, there was another mad who simply placed an M80 onto the palm of his hand, did not grip the M80 at all. As this firework exploded, the individual suffered NO damage to his hand. What irony! (BTW – M80s are illegal in the U.S, so they can only be purchased on the Black Market.)
As I quickly joined back in the conversation, I realized that a paradox was occurring. Each business owner was truly focused on the wrong things! The owners were challenged to figure out why these campaigns were not working. The dialogue continued until it became apparent to us all, we were stifling our company’s growth because we were focused on the external growth – gaining new customers, not on better servicing our current customers.