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35: Work On Your Business, Not In Your Business with Jacob Guttman

Nail It Handyman Jacob Guttman - Business Breakthrough Podcast
Jacob Guttman is not a handyman, yet he is running the most successful handyman company in the Tri-State area. By working solely on the business and never in it, he was able to build tremendous success. We discuss how to use the business triangle – choosing two aspects that you will excel in and ignoring the third. We also tell the story of the day he fired his entire staff to upgrade his company, yet still maintained good relations with everyone. This episode is a must-listen!


My Guest: Jacob Guttman

Jacob is the CEO of Nail It Handyman. While running his first business, a construction referral business, Jacob saw a need for more service in the construction industry. He realized that there was a huge demand for handyman services – and no one filling it. He opened Nail It Handyman, and less than 2 years later he services 18 counties and has thousands of customers including brands such as Target, Forever 21, Starbucks and others.


Pivotal Moments:

Grew up with a Dad who managed buildings, so knew a lot about the services in the construction and maintenance industry.
Started his own referral business at age 20, matching construction maintenance technicians with customers.
After a few years of contracting a huge amount of handyman services, he realized that there was no handyman company, compromising on service and quality assurance for customers.
Spent 6 months studying and researching to put together an operational, financial and sales/marketing business plan.
Opened Nail It Handyman, providing handyman services with the highest level of service and quality.


The Advice:

The Business Triangle has three corners: service, quality, price – and you can’t excel in all three. Business owners must pick the two they want to provide to their customers and customers must pick the two they want from their service-providers when hiring.

The best way to start a business is to find something that you are excited about and that there is a need for.

For small business owners who want to grow and scale their business, it helps to spend at least some of your time working on the business, not in it.

Research the many available software solutions out there, and leverage the ones that will help you be more efficient in your business.

Ending on time is just as important as starting on time in a service-based business. This way you can be on time for the rest of your clients.

When hiring, look first for passion, then knowledge and experience, but also someone who has initiative and can solve problems. This way you won’t be hindered by constant questions and queries.


The Struggle:

Jacob struggled with bringing up the quality of work so that all handiwork was done to 100% perfection. He realized that he had hired his handymen based on their experience, but they lacked knowledge. They knew what to do but had no idea why it was done that way and therefore didn’t have the knowledge to analyze handiwork problems and come up with solutions on the ground. In order to bring up the quality of his service, he now had to fire all his employees!


The Breakthrough:

Though Jacob was terrified at the thought of firing all his employees, he knew that he had to do it. He called his employees into a meeting and explained that he was accountable to his investors and his clients. However, as a leader, Jacob showed so much compassion to his employees, making sure that they would not be left without an income by offering to keep paying them until they found another job – as long as they were seriously looking for one. This way he was able to bring up the quality of his service, without leaving his staff on the streets.



“There is only one boss; the customer. He can fire everyone from the chairman down simply by spending his money somewhere else.”
“Every business is the same. The only difference is what you sell.”


Resources and Links:

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About the author, Estie Rand

I love turning ideas into money, and helping others do the same. I help small business owners with everything from marketing to fiscal management, business plans to staffing, database architecture to work/life balance coaching and I love it all! What do you need help with today?

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