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Originally published: 11.01.13 by Terry Tanker


Over the last four months we’ve been discussing  what it takes to own and lead a company and the necessary traits that leaders possess that set them apart from others.

July - Motivating the Man in the Mirror

August - It’s About The Money

September - A Touch of Class

October - Mental Toughness     

I thought the series was important because even in good times its incredibly tough to lead and manage a business, especially companies like ours - we don’t have safety nets and no one is going to bail us out if and when we misstep. Being on top of your game takes persistence and practice.

Which brings me to a final Piece of Management Advice - Press On.

While conducting my research I found some startling statistics that reinforces all of the key discussion points we’ve been having. Depending on the source business failure rates  across all industries is high.  The chart below shows some of the more conservative statistics I found. What was shocking was the failure rate after five years in operation.

Year  Percent Failed
1 25 %
2 36 %
3 44 %
4 50 %
5 55 %
6 60 %
7 63 %
8 66 %
9 69 %
10 71 %

 I know you’re specifically interested in heating cooling and plumbing businesses.  To that end, here’s the bad news.

Business’ with the

Worst Rate of Success
After Fifth Year

1        Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning

2       Single-Family Housing Construction

3       Grocery Stores

4       Eating Places

5       Security Brokers and Dealers

6       Local Trucking 

Major Causes firms went out of business:

Incompetence — 46%. Specifics of the category included no formal business plan, no knowledge of pricing, no knowledge of financing, failure to pay adequate taxes and no experience in record keeping.

Lack of Managerial Experience — 30% including inadequate borrowing practices, poor credit granting practices and expanding too rapidly, going into business for the wrong reasons, owner gets worn-out and/or underestimates the time requirements, family pressure on time and money commitments, pride, lack of clear focus, lack of financial responsibility and awareness.

Reviewing the major causes firms go out of business — is the major reason HVACR Business is in business! In every circumstance we’ve written and will continue to write extensively on these topics. And, this is probably the appropriate time to remind all of you — archived on our website is seven years worth of management advice addressing each of the problems above and many more with very specific steps that will help you through the mind field we encounter every day.

I’ve enjoyed writting this series and hope you’ve enjoyed reading them. Thanks for all the compliments, comments,  and suggestions.   


Press On

Nothing in the world can take
the place of persistence.

Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful
men with talent.

Genius will not; unrewarded
genius is almost a proverb.

Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.

Persistence and determination
alone are omnipotent.

Ray A. Kroc’s credo -
Founder McDonalds Restaurants

Terry has over 23 years of experience in the advertising and publishing industries. He began his career with a business-to-business advertising agency. Prior to forming Hutchinson Tanker Ltd. and HVACR Business in January 2006, he spent 20 years with large national publishing and media firm where he was the publisher of several titles in the mechanical systems marketplace. 

In addition to his experience in advertising and publishing, Terry has worked closely with numerous industry-related associations over the years including AHRI, AMCA, and ABMA. He has also served on the Board of Directors for the American Boiler Manufactures Association (ABMA) and as chairman, for both the Associates Committee and the Marketing Communications Committee of ABMA.


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