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Hope is Not a Business Plan

Originally published: 04.01.17 by Pete Grasso

It’s easy to get so caught up in the everyday tasks of the job, you forget why you’re doing what you’re doing. Or, perhaps you get so focused on the task at hand, you don’t remember to take a step back and look at the big picture. You haven’t forgotten about those things — you simply are too busy and so you hope for the best.

Almost everyone is guilty of this at some point. You may not even realize it until you’ve had a chance to take a breath and re-focus. Only then does it become clear and you say to yourself, “Enough is enough! Is this really the best use of my time?”

I was reminded of this myself recently when I attended the IE3 Show, the annual conference put on by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA).

Over the course of those few days in Nashville, I spoke with many contractors. In one of those conversations, Michael Rosenberg, president of Rosenberg Indoor Comfort in San Antonio, told me something that really struck me as interesting.

With all the exhibitors showcasing the latest technology solutions, all the education sessions offering scores of ideas and all the contractors full of advice, Rosenberg told me what he finds most beneficial about attending IE3 is the chance it affords him to get out of the office and think about his business.

Think about it. A few days away from the business to think about the business is what he finds most beneficial. The rest is just a bonus.

As we continued to talk, I couldn’t help but think to myself how much that was true even for me. Sure, IE3 and other industry events are an opportunity for me to interact with many of the people for whom we publish this magazine and stay connected to industry trends. But the biggest benefit to me is a few days out of the office where I can get ideas and think about the magazine in a different light.

This is the difference between working in your business, hoping everything will be fine and working on your business and knowing you have a clear path for the future.

Hope is important for the workplaces of today and the future — but it’s not a viable way to do business.

During one of the educational sessions I attended, Theo Etzel, CEO of Conditioned Air in Naples, Fla., said, “Hope is not a business plan.”

Hope is an essential quality to have as a leader, he said, but it’s not something on which you should solely rely.

Far too many simply hope for the success they want instead of actively doing something about it. You cannot assume that hard work will get you there alone.

Hope is important for the openness and positivity it brings, but hope alone does not create success. It creates the possibility of achievement and the potential for growth. But there is no direct output from hope.

As Theo pointed out, it’s not a business plan.

A business plan is as a management tool you can refer to regularly to ensure the business is on course with meeting goals, sales targets or operational milestones.

Many contractors resist putting a plan down on paper because they think it’s too difficult to create, takes too long or that implementation is just another thing to be added to an already overloaded to-do list.

So, instead, they put it off and hope it’ll work out. This is a terrible way to run a business.

Putting together a business plan — and following through with it — really isn’t that difficult. There are many resources to help you (including a great many articles we’ve published over the years).

And, while hope should not be the foundation of your business plan, it’s certainly an essential aspect.

I read an article recently that suggested hopeful companies tend to be more creative and innovative, and make greater investments in employees than those that are not.

As a result, the article states, employees in these positive and hopeful cultures are more engaged at work and more persistent in trying to reach goals. Employees who are hopeful are likely to be more motivated to initiate a task, and are better equipped to envision alternative paths to achieve those goals, resulting in higher performance.

Once you have your business plan, you have a clear path to success. The next step, then, is executing it and not losing sight of the success you hope to achieve.

A great way to ensure your success is to think about the big picture. Take a step away from working in your business, and spend some time working on your business.



About Pete Grasso

Pete is the former editor of HVACR Business magazine. He has spent his career working in and with trade media, both as a public relations practitioner and as an editor. He gained a great deal of expertise in the B2B arena, within large and medium sized advertising agencies. Be sure to follow Pete on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn!


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