5 Books That Will Help You Run Your Business Better





One of the challenges in business is to be open minded about growing and adapting your thinking. A really good way to do this is to open your mind to new perspectives and new ways of thinking.

A mentor of mine taught me that success leaves a trail. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel you just need to walk down the path already forged by someone who has been there done that and successfully achieved what it is that you want to accomplish.

So the first thing you can do is find someone who has achieved what it is that you want and then study how they accomplished it. Who did they talk to, interview? Did they take a particular class or did they hire a coach? (This by the way is something that I would recommend that you do) And most importantly did they write a book?

I believe that words are incredibly powerful and that you can never read too many books.

I could literally live in a book store with a comfy couch and a latte…just sayin…:)

A person can give themselves a college education with a library card. Think of how powerful it is to be able to have a what to do manual right in front of you and even more importantly written by someone who has maybe been in your shoes and can relate to what you are going thru.

Being in business is tough and sometimes lonely if you feel stressed or just don’t have anyone to bounce ideas off of. In college classes they don’t really teach you outside of the fundamentals of a balance sheet and business plan. And there is so much more than that to know to survive and thrive in your business.

Most business owners open up their doors because they want freedom and have a dream. Not because they are great managers or marketers. Which are two very important elements to possess if you want to have success in your business. In fact a lot of business owners don’t understand the first thing about their financial books or how to track their profit centers.

The good news is that there are a lot of great marketers, financial advisors and managers that have written books for us to learn from. The more information you have the more informed decision you can make when planning your goals within your company as well. You may be a seasoned business owner or just a newbie doesn’t matter. We all have a learning curve as times are changing in how we do business.

Now there are many books that I could recommend for you to read but let’s start with just a few. If you don’t like to read then buy books on audio and listen to them while driving to the office or on the treadmill.

Here are 5 books that I feel are a must read for any business owner:

  1. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Napoleon Hill
  2. Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life: How to Unlock Your Full Potential for Success and Achievementby Mark Victor Hansen
  3. The Success Principles(TM) – 10th Anniversary Edition: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be by Jack Canfield
  4. Triggers: 30 Sales Tools you can use to Control the Mind of your Prospect to Motivate, Influence and Persuade. by Joe Sugarman
  5. All Marketers Are Liars: The Underground Classic That Explains How Marketing Really Works–and Why Authen ticity Is the Best Marketing of All by Seth Godin

It is so important to learn to think outside the box especially when it comes to marketing your product or services. These books can help you develop your own way of doing things in your business that are in alignment with your goals both personally and professionally. If you aren’t sure how to set goals there is a great book written on goal setting by Jack Canfield. These books can also give you a solid foundation to build from. Because most of the time it’s whats between our ears that needs the most work.

You should also read as many books about your particular business as you can. It will make you a better business owner the more you understand your particular market sector.

Look we can’t know everything about everything and we don’t need to if we know where to find it. School is never out for the Entrepreneur and you shouldn’t want it to be. Business would be boring if we stopped growing and learning. Innovation would come to a halt and new ideas would cease to exist.

We don’t always have the answers when we hit a road block so seeking the help of an expert is key.

So go online or to the book store and start expanding your mind just a bit.

Enjoy…:)

Ps. If any of you have already read any of these books I would love to hear what you thought of them??


The Software You Need To Be Using If You Are Doing Insurance Work

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There are several programs out there that you can use to bill the insurance company for your restoration job. But the one that I am going to talk about is the one that is most widely used and accepted in our industry and is necessary if you want to be on most Preferred Service Provider programs or PSP.

And trust me you want to look into as many of these programs that are in your area and get on them if they are good.

The software is Xactimate.

Xactimate is the insurance program that the majority of insurance companies use. If you are going to be on a preferred program an insurance company may actually require that you use Xactimate billing.

It’s important that you get this program and use it in your company. It will make things smoother for you and make you more usable by every insurance company across the board. You can use it on more than one computer. I believe the current fee is a $250 setup fee and then $250 a month or $1500 a per year if paid all at once. It’s not very expensive compared to how much money you can make with it.

This program is setup to communicate with insurance companies and in the way that they want to be communicated with.

You see when billing an insurance job you need to be able to break your charges down in the manner by which the insurance company processes them on their side. If you don’t you create more work for the adjuster and become a pain and that is not what you want.

What you want is for them to want you on every one of their jobs because you make their job easier. If you make their job more difficult than it already is they are going to potentially recommend that the insured they are working with consider working with another contractor. And if the job is one that is being run thru their PSP program you won’t get it unless you use Xactimate.

To understand how valuable this software is you need to understand how insurance companies process their claims on their end.

Insurance companies only pay for the property that was damaged by the loss that occurred. So if a room has two walls that need repainted they will only pay for those two walls not the entire room. Or if 17 lineal feet of floor trim is damaged they will pay to replace only 17 lineal feet not the entire room. This is assuming that it is able to be matched.Â




So the insurance company estimates repairs by the square foot, lineal foot and sometimes by the individual each item. You obviously need to understand which is which in the insurance world but Xactimate will automatically break those down for you by an area after you enter the entire dimensions of a room. The program also allows you to put in special things like notes and pictures attached to the particular item entered.

In Xactimate you can also easily break your bill down by the room and by the line item. And enter all the details that you want. And trust me you want tons of details on each billing.

When you are doing billing to the insurance company I want you to remember that they are not standing on the job site. They are not seeing everything that you have done like the homeowner has. For this reason you want to be very, very careful and detailed in your explanation of charges on your bill. The more detail you can give on a bill the less chance that you are going to have the adjustor call you or question you about anything. They will feel more comfortable pushing it right through so that you get paid right away.

Getting your scope of repairs and cleaning out to the insurance company very quickly is important. Not only does the adjustor want to process the claim quickly and get it closed. The faster you get your bill to the insurance company then the faster that you are going to get paid for the job. And that is what having a specialty program like Xactimate will do for you.

So as you can see to use an excel spreadsheet or a program like say Quick Books to send in your restoration billings you could be sabotaging your own invoices and thus success.

~ Annissa

How Big Does It Need To Be?





I think the better question to ask here is How small can it be?

More is just more it is not necessarily better.

I will never forget a phone conversation that I had recently with a consulting client about the road blocks that were keeping him from launching his new contents division in his cleaning company. He told me he was having trouble finding a building big enough. I asked him how big the buildings were that he had been looking at and he told me 2000 to 2800 square feet. I asked him how much space he thought he needed and he said at least 4000 just for the cleaning areas and about 3 to 4 times that for vault storage.

When I told him he could easily setup shop in under 800 square feet the phone went silent with disbelief.

Some of you reading this will completely disagree with this last statement. But I would challenge you to think outside the box here with me.

Our Company processes a complete household of contents in just under 7 days in a cleaning warehouse that is a little less than 320 square feet.

In fact, I feel that the smaller your cleaning area is the more efficient you are. If you have all of your equipment spread out over 1000 or 2000 square feet that means you have more movement going on to clean, pack and process each and every job. Wasted movement that you are wasting money on.

You also need to remember the bigger the building the more it will cost you in overhead. Like utilities, insurance and upkeep not to mention the cost of purchasing or leasing all this extra space.

Thinking that you have to have a huge warehouse in order to be successful at processing and cleaning contents is a limiting belief. And one that is simply not true.

Now having a huge warehouse is fine as long as it is setup in the right way so your work area is super efficient. But what I don’t want you to think is that all of that space is required or you won’t be able to get the job done.

It can also make you be more efficient being in a small space out of necessity. No different than when you live in a small house you have to be organized and efficient with the use of your space because there isn’t very much of it. So when looking at your warehouse space think about how much area do you really need to work in? Don’t think you have to use all that space just because it’s there. What I actually want you to think about is just the opposite. How small of an area can use?

To begin with you need to plan and draw a layout of your work area with your equipment in place. Design is very carefully for productivity. This planning stage will also help you get a better feel for your space needs.

When you are in the planning stages you need to decide what equipment you are going to buy outright and what are you going to rent or lease. There are also some pieces of equipment that you may decide to downsize to save space.

As for storage of cleaned and processed contents you have a few different options. You can have a nice big warehouse space setup with vaults or bays to organize and store your jobs. Or you can rent storage units and store and organize completed jobs that way. You can still make a profit on charging the insurance company for storage just not as much as you would if you had your own warehouse.

What I really want you to get out of this is that you don’t need a ton a space and whatever you do don’t let this be a stumbling block for you getting off the ground. Start in a small space and work your way up from there.

You may even find you don’t need all that space after all.

What are some things that you feel would be a draw back to a not having a huge warehouse of your own? How about some advantages that I haven’t mentioned?

~Annissa

The One Thing You Absolutely Can’t Live Without

Let’s talk about the human body for a minute. There are a lot of complex systems, organs and parts that make our bodies function and function well.

There’s the liver, nervous system, circulatory system, heart, lungs, kidneys and brain just to name a few. All of these organs and systems are very important and totally necessary for the body to survive.

But is there one that is more important over the other?

Can some of them be replaced by a machine or a transplant?

The answer is yes to both.

You can have a liver, lung or heart transplant. You can even live without a kidney and hook up to a machine. But the two things you cannot live without is a brain, nervous system and circulatory system.

So education and systems are to your business what your brain and nervous/circulatory systems are to your body.

Two things you or your company will die without.






Now this is definitely a subject I can sink my teeth into.

I get so passionate and excited when you start talking about educating yourself and implementing systems!

I know to some of you that makes me a little on the weird side.

Ok…a lot on the weird side. 🙂

But by the time you are done reading this I hope to have you quite excited about my fav topic as well.

You can have a huge warehouse and tens of thousands of dollars worth of the latest and greatest equipment on the planet but if you have no clue how to use them or set your crews into motion processing jobs using them would be like owning a car without a steering wheel and a gear shift.

You can sit in it and look pretty but you aren’t gonna go anywhere.

You can rent, lease or even JV (joint venture) with someone to get the equipment you need. But the right education and systems in place in your operation are what puts you on the road to success.

The other reason that I am so passionate about education is this is an asset that you will own forever.

It doesn’t depreciate.

It can’t be repossessed.

You pay for it as you go so there is no debt to ensure.

And it builds the best kind of capital there is.

Mental Capital!

AND THIS IS THE ONE THING THAT WILL QUICKLY SET YOU APART FROM YOUR COMPETITORS!!

Education and systems has consistently put me ahead of the pack in my business year after year. And it will do the same for you.

When you walk into a prospective client’s home and they are devastated by a disaster that involves everything that they own they want to know that they are in good, knowledgeable and confident hands.

Think about it. If you are taking your Porsche into the shop for a major repair would you want to hear that your mechanic has the newest latest greatest equipment?? Sure. But more importantly wouldn’t you want to hear that they have the best trained and most knowledgeable technicians to use that equipment. Of course you would.

Your potential new client would to.

So what kind of class do you need to take?

One that teaches you how to do the job not how to take a test. One that gives you hands on training with complete reference manuals to take back with you for future use.

You want an instructor that is in the trenches with you and is willing to work with you and support you after your class is completed and you are back in your business implementing all that you have learned. Someone who is willing to guide you thru that initial learning phase and getting your feet wet so to speak.

You want an instructor who can give you all the tools and turnkey systems you need to be successful once you are back in the field.

Your classroom should be full of doing the work not just watching a power point.

DON’T SETTLE FOR ANYTHING LESS IN YOUR EDUCATION!

Cause if you do you and your client both suffer.
And that’s not cool.

Too many classes today teach you just enough to be dangerous and not enough to be successful.

Well I hope you are a bit more excited about my fav topic. 🙂

Are you???

~Annissa



So Cut To The Chase…Am I Gonna Need A Second Mortgage?

No! Absolutely NOT!

And if someone tells you otherwise I’ll bet it’s because they stand to make some commission when you spend all that money.

I’ve heard horror stories of people who are getting into this business being sold tens of thousands of dollars or more of equipment and they don’t even have a building yet nor have they even taken a class!

Now don’t get me wrong you can spend as much money as you want to start up any kind of business and some people do and are very successful. But some people do and within a year they are broke and closing the door and selling off all of the assets that they spent tons of money on that wasn’t necessary to buy in the beginning phase of their business in the first place.

I know first hand of countless cleaning and restoration companies that started out on a shoe string budget sometimes not even owning a single piece of equipment before they opened their doors. And they have been wildly successful.

Sometimes I wonder if this makes us stronger as business owners knowing that it’s up to us to have the skills and ability to sell the job and deliver the value not the fancy equipment in our arsenal.

Now before anybody gets ticked at me (like any equipment manufactuers reading this :)) I want to make it very clear that I am not saying that equipment is not necessary or important in this industry. We all know that the better the tools are that you have the easier, faster and sometimes better the job.

But if all you are worrying about is having all the big bad expensive equipment at your disposal and don’t focus on the other part that you can’t rent or lease then you probably aren’t going to have much success in your business.

The big thing that I want to stress here is not to worry about how to buy the equipment so much. There are several ways to “get” the equipment that you need. You can buy, rent, lease and sometimes trade for it.

I’m not going to go into the equipment and supplies list this post (as I am going to cover that in great detail in a future post) but I am going to dig into the things that you must have and how you can get them.

Then you are going to need to purchase some smaller cleaning tools and supplies. For instance mops, buckets, brooms, specialty scrub brushes and industry specific specialty cleaning and deodorizing agents. But again remember you don’t need a warehouse full you just need enough to do one job to begin with. As you get bigger you can buy in bigger quantities and save some money as well.

A big thing you need to budget in is Education and systems. This is the single most important aspect in my opinion. Cause without it nothing else matters.

Now you can get educated in a variety of ways. You can take a class, buy an online course, read a book and even Google yourself to death. This can all range in cost from several thousand dollars to free.

But I would ask you what is the value if the price is free?

Without education and systems in place you can have all the shiny new state of the art equipment that money can buy and you will have shiny new state of the art equipment that you have no idea how to use to make money with.

You need to be willing to invest in your knowledge base so you can build a good foundation for your business.

You can expect to spend several thousand dollars on your education and systems right away. It’s your best investment period!

So I guess to answer the question “How much do I need to invest to startup a new cleaning reastoration company”?

I would give you an estimate of minimum supplies and equipment that need to be purchased outright and tell you that you can get into this business for under $1000.

I’m just trying to drive my point home that this is really a question that needs to be answered by the individual circumstances of the individual and what they are willing and wanting to do.

Next we are going to talk about Education and Systems.

So what do you think?

I would love to hear your feedback…

~Annissa

Make A Connection

The only thing you should be thinking about when you arrive on an Emergency Call Out is what can I do to connect?

Now I know what some of you are thinking. You’re thinking no the first thing to think about is…Who is the insurance company? Is there going to be coverage? How long will this take to fix? How am I going to add this job to my already overloaded job board?  Am I right?:)

I get that these are all really good and important things to think about. I teach the “how to do these steps” in my classes. And there is a time to find out these things but its not in the initial moments of arriving on the scene. I mean if there is’nt coverage for this loss let’s say, that’s pretty darn important to know right up front. But you can find that out at the end of your first conversation with the homeowner not the beginning.

People need to know that you really care about what happens to them. Not their insurance policy.

Those first few minutes should be completely commited to making a connection with your potential new client. You won’t find a better time to seal that bond then right at the beginning of your hopefully mutually valuable relationship.

There are lots of ways to connect with someone. And it’s different with each person. The best way I’ve found is to listen. If you ask they will tell you.

People like to tell their story and someone who has just had a fire or a sewer backup has a BIG story to tell.

Ask them “what happened?”

Then listen…

Listen for them to tell you exactly what they need from you and then give it to them.

Instant connection. It’s really that simple.