Editor’s note: Watch Charles talk about the importance of his business plan in the video below or scroll down to read the transcript.
Hi, this is Charles Antis with Roofers Coffee Shop, and I'm the CEO of Antis Roofing here in Irvine, California. And this month's question is how important is your business plan to your business?
That just makes me think of all sorts of things, so I'm going to go in three directions. At first off, I'm going to tell you about when I started my business. It was 30 years ago, and I didn't have enough work where I was working and I had one skill, I could repair anything that leaks. And so, I would beg for calls and I would tell people, "Give me the thing that you can't fix that leaks and I'll fix it for free. Then you'll know that I'm good and you'll trust me to repair your leaks." And I got about three calls a week and that's how I built my business. That was my business plan without having a business plan because that's what I was doing.
After a while, I didn't use these words back then, I developed a business plan and it evolved out of that leak capacity. I discovered that there was a lot of opportunity where everyone was selling roofs that we could sell, repair, and maintenance and prove a much greater value to the homeowner. So that was the direction that I chose and that in part became our business plan. Our business plan also eventually included HR factors and external factors like marketing. It also included financial factors; I didn't know what it was. When I started my business, I didn't know what EBITDA was. I didn't know what true earnings were, but now things are different.
What I want to talk to about, the most important thing though, is the answer of this question of what you need to do to prepare is different today than it was 10 years ago, because 10 years ago a business plan would keep you in tow in the roofing industry for five years because a business plan in any industry would keep you in the right direction for one or two years. But today something's happening that's entirely different, and there's futures that you have to throw into the business. Things are changing so fast.
Let me tell it this way. 60% of the jobs that we will work at in our country 10 years from now haven't been invented yet. So, the most important part of your business plan moving forward needs to be flexibility. Walt Disney Corporation, I'm close to their Richard Ramsey, Vice President, Human Resources at Disney, and he described to me what Disney does. Disney has futures training; they study the future. So now they have a six-month plan that has three contingencies, one for a good economy, one for a bad economy, and one for a black swan economy. And that is that unexpected, awful thing that you have to prepare for.
I don't want to prepare for that. I don't want us to get that drastic. But in the roofing industry, be flexible, pay attention. The lack of labor and the use of technology is changing things. The cost of labor is changing things. If you want to survive in the roofing industry, be flexible. And if you want to invest in the most important part, it's investing in your people because as things change, the most important part is going to be able to hang onto your people.
So, in your flexibility in moving forward, make sure every part puts people first. And whatever you're spending on people in the past to keep in your company, I think that's going to double. That's our plan for the future, putting people first. I hope that helps. Thank you.
Charles Antis is the founder and CEO of Antis Roofing & Waterproofing. See his full bio here.