Chuck Violand, President and CEO, Violand Management Associates – Building a Profitable Business

Air Date: 6-13-2014 | Episode: 330


This week on IAQ Radio we welcome Chuck Violand. Chuck founded Violand Management Associates in 1988 with the objective of helping owners of restoration and cleaning companies build profitable businesses for their long-term business and personal success…

Full Description:

This week on IAQ Radio we welcome Chuck Violand. Chuck founded Violand Management Associates in 1988 with the objective of helping owners of restoration and cleaning companies build profitable businesses for their long-term business and personal success. Having owned his own restoration and cleaning company for 27 years, Chuck brings firsthand knowledge and experience of the inner workings of the industry. In addition, he has over 25 years experience consulting to small business owners and their management teams. As a history major at the University of Akron, Chuck learned that a leader’s actions today produce consequences people will live with for years to come, whether it involves nations or businesses. Chuck is a regular contributor of articles to several newsletters and trade publications on the subject of growing and managing small businesses. Chuck is a popular keynote speaker at conventions and trade shows who is recognized as an authority on entrepreneurial small businesses and is a member of the board of directors of the Restoration Industry Association (RIA).

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Maven

Chuck Violand isn’t a marriage counselor, an accountant or an attorney. Chuck’s firm Violand Management Associates is a highly successful and well respected business consultant who services clients in the cleaning and disaster restoration industry. Admitting that he was afflicted with “ED (Entrepreneurial Drift)” prior to settling on consulting he owned a range of businesses: food processing, night club, contracting, cleaning and restoration. Chuck, who studied history in college, learned that a leader’s actions produce consequences people will live with for years to come, whether it involves businesses or nations. Chuck has narrowed small business to 3 dynamics he charts on a Venn diagram: business dynamic, the people dynamic and the executive dynamic.

Nuggets mined from today’s episode:

  • Yes, insurance companies are clamping down on pricing, it’s your choice to do business with third party administrators, pick who you do business with and  change the strategies accordingly.
  • Sometimes coach and other times as cattle prodder Chuck’s business is helping clients gain skills to lead businesses and improve profitability.
  • Owners of well run disaster restoration businesses are in the top 2% of wage earners earning $150,00 in taxable income with some in the top 1% earning $250,000-$1,000,000+.
  • While owning a business provides insights it’s not necessary for an effective business consultant/coach to have previously been a business owner. Having consultants who haven’t been business owners provides valuable input from the employee point of view.
  • Entrepreneurs naturally try to figure things out for themselves and can be prone to over focus on some things while not paying sufficient attention to others. Entrepreneurs hire consultants when they run out of answers or don’t know what questions to ask.
  • Solid business principles are applicable to all businesses. Businesses are about people; the owners, the employees, the customers.
  • Many clients must suffer from poor financial performance and feel pain or struggle before hiring a management consultant.
  • Dealing with entrepreneurial egos is very challenging. Until ego changes the business doesn’t change. How does the ego show: arrogance, boastfulness, defensiveness or fear? Employees who encounter entrepreneurial ego may find the word former in front of their title.
  • Many entrepreneurs are great at starting things and poor at follow-up. Most re lousy managers. Some don’t even like working with people.
  • It’s not uncommon for a business to grow beyond the owner’s skill set.
  • Businesses often stall at a plateau when important things fundamentally change.
  • To help business work out of crisis: VMA determines what caused the crisis, halts making unnecessary or ego drive purchases and gets more aggressive collecting money. Often serious problems can be fixed in short order, couple of months.
  • Profitability suffers when business operations are inefficient. A common problem is that staff haven’t been taught the job and don’t know what they are responsible for.
  • Consulting engagements don’t last forever. Firing people or being fired is among the most difficult challenges Chuck has had to contend with over the course of his consulting career. It doesn’t sit right with him when he receives fees and the client isn’t making progress.
  • Some good companies seek consulting when things are going well and they want help going from a good company to a great company.
  • Who made the call for help is a defining moment.
  • VMA has a lead consultant for every client who is responsible for coordinating the activity of the other consultants. VMA’s staff receives a salary and performance based incentives based on client performance and their contribution to the firm’s revenue streams. VMA has deep resources in: sales, human resources, operations and employee development.
  • Sustaining profitable growth requires focus and discipline. Tasks need to be written down, communicated, executed upon and followed through.
  • In order to hire high performance employees you need to look inside. High performance employees only flourish in high performance cultures where they can compete and win. This won’t happen when the entrepreneur always wants to be the smartest person in the room.
  • To improve sales an entrepreneur must be crystal clear about the sales process. Which requires: defining the targets, the number of sales calls, the business conversation and follow-up after the calls. Is the relationship between salesperson and client getting deeper? Insufficient sales activity = too small of a financial return.

RadioJoe really does listen.  He remembered from last year’s VMA summit being asked by Chuck to think back and recall his first experience with money and the impact that the experience has made on your life?

 FYI, in case you didn’t know, maven is a noun of Hebrew origin meaning a person who is experienced or knowledgeable.

 Today’s music: Peter Gunn Theme Song by Henry Mancini, YouTube

 Z-Man signing off

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