Jim Lager Success Secrets Part 2: Be Essential

Be essential:

Having been a successful franchisee of multiple national brands, I’m often been asked for recommendations regarding the latest, trendiest, hottest new business start-up concepts by people dreaming of owning their own businesses.

These individuals are looking for recommendations from the concepts they see hyped in entrepreneurial magazines or at franchise opportunity expos: fun, upscale concepts ranging gourmet charcuterie and waffle trucks to interior design and luxury spas.

My advice is invariably disappointing: Be essential.

I may even throw in a quote from my favorite motivational speaker, Matt Foley, for a shot of reality:

Do what you love & end up living in a van down by the river.

I’m not saying that you won’t be successful with the latest trendy boba tea kiosk or cryotherapy spa.

I’m just saying that when the COVID-19 pandemic hit… just weeks after I opened my business… I was thankful to be providing an essential service that’s needed in good times or bad.

And I was glad to be serving customers who were doing the same.

As a kid, believe it or not, I did not dream of one day providing mobile hose repair, sales and service 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year.

However, I was thankful to have built my business on a rock-solid foundation when the pandemic hit.

No matter what, society was going to need hospitals, ambulances, fire trucks, warehouses to store essential goods and systems to deliver them… businesses and utilities that all relied on hydraulic hose maintenance and repair.

We were still going to rely on manufacturers to create essential goods and services, agriculture to provide our food, oil, gas, mining and alternative energy workers to provide fuel and energy. Many of these essential operations relied on the availability of hydraulic hose experts who are trained, equipped and ready to answer their call at any hour, on any day they need them… no exceptions.

Being Essential is Not an Easy – or Glamorous – Path to Business Ownership

Being essential is not an easy path to business ownership. It’s demanding. Stressful. Customers are under stress when they call, and the stakes are high. There’s no room for mediocrity or shoddy service, and there’s nowhere to hide.

You can either fix their problem when it needs fixing – or you can’t.

And if you can’t, don’t expect a second chance from them.

You better have hired the best of the best… and trained them thoroughly.

And believe me, services like 24-7 on-site hydraulic hose repair is not a business that stimulates a lot of conversations at cocktail parties.

However… when the hydraulic fluid hit the fan… and it DID hit the fan… my phone was ringing off the hook.

In the years that followed, we continued to post record growth, quarter after quarter, and have continued to build a loyal customer base.

Just two years after opening, we launched our own (soon-to-be) national product line: American Hose Pro.

We outgrew our initial location and moved to a larger, more efficient retail and warehouse space to accommodate our continued expansion into 2023.

If you’re considering starting your own business, just remember: It’s wonderful to be trendy with a business that’s successful in the best of times.

But it’s better to be essential – and successful – in good times and bad!

Cheers! And Happy Holidays!

Jim Lager

CEO & Founder Texas Hose Pro, American Hose Pro

NOTE: Texas Hose Pro founder Jim Lager is commemorating his fourth year as an independent business owner by launching his “Shot of Lager” blog post series. In this series, Jim shares lessons he’s learned in four decades of growing successful service businesses, including the principles he’s used to grow his pandemic-era success stories Texas Hose Pro & American Hose Pro.

This is Part 2 of the series.

Jim Lager

CEO & Founder

Texas Hose Pro, American Hose Pro