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Evaluating You & Your Business

23 June, 2021

Wow — Season 3 of Mission: Vacation is here! It’s been quite the journey over the last two years as we’ve had the privilege to work with two fantastic businesses and watch their transition come to life. Former contestants Dustin Zupancic of Dreamscape Painting in British Columbia, Canada and Eric Craine of All-Ways Painting in Minnesota have made this experience so valuable and fun — not to leave out Emily Howard and Andrew Dwyer and the rest of our APC family, of course! But it’s true, working with business owners who are ready for change, motivated by the potential of what could be, and not afraid to get uncomfortable… that’s magical!

Those traits are exactly what we saw in the Season 3 Mission: Vacation candidates, Austin & Lacie Ilsley of Ai Painting Plus. They are ready to jump into the deep end, share their vulnerabilities, and make changes for the future. 

A Little Background on Our Contestant's Journey

As a business owner, like many of you, I show up to work every day with a passion for my business, my team and my potential for the future. The drive to do more, be better and overcome the next challenge keeps us hungry y — entrepreneurs are all like that, after all. We all saw something that wasn’t there before, be it a product, a service or way to “do it better.” Jumping into this world isn’t easy, and I commend all of you who have taken the leap into business ownership and entrepreneurship — you took the first step into your potential.

“The hardest thing to do is leaving our comfort zone. But you have to let go of the life you’re familiar with and take the risk to live the life you dream about.” -T. Arigo

Business ownership then becomes an ongoing series of uncomfortable but rewarding life-changing milestones. It’s exciting, it’s messy, it’s scary, it’s overwhelming … and yet it’s so empowering! The key is to find ways to create steadiness in the process, to put systems in place that will guide you and
stand the test of time, and to develop a high-performing team that will confront any challenges along with you. 

The desire to transform a business and take the next uncomfortable step is what brings Austin and Lacie right into the Mission: Vacation experience. We were first introduced to Austin and the Ai Painting Plus team last year when he applied for Mission: Vacation Season 2! His entry was fantastic, and it was clear he had potential, yet where he was in his business was not quite where we needed him to be for the intensity that Mission: Vacation can bring. We said to him “You could be an excellent candidate for Season 3 if you’re able to focus on a few areas and put some structure in place.” Now this is where the story gets really good — Austin took that feedback, and it pushed him start focusing on implementation and building the team. He decided to work with us in a coaching relationship and has been working with one of our NCG Business Coaches, Colin Nolan over the last year and has come tremendously far. There are already so many incredible changes to the operations of the business, not the least of which was the decision to bring his wife Lacie onto the team as a major player. She has an extensive background in business management and leadership training.

When Season 3 came around, Austin was driven to apply again, not only to share his experience with other contractors, but to also make the vacation component with his family a priority. All of the change and growth has led Austin and Lacie to feel more “IN” the hourglass. This is a very common issue:

sometimes you have to go DEEPER into the hourglass to finally begin the journey out. And that is where we meet Austin and Lacie in Season 3, Episode 1: in the middle of positive change and growth, and an unrelenting commitment to see it through to their goal. They are determined to create the business they want that serves the family that they love. That is Mission: Vacation at its core!

To flesh out the new Big Rocks that Ai Painting will decide to focus on over the next 3 months, Colin Nolan has begun prompting them with questions based upon takeaways from their recent conversations such as:

Where are you holding back leadership by controlling everything and not delegating appropriately? We must create an organizational structure within a business with defined clarity of roles and responsibility and levels of leadership. Are you empowering employees to step up through delegation? Are you coaching them to success and are you holding them accountable

Where are you jumping in to solve a problem to get things done quickly? We all can fall victim to the mindset, “it’s just easier if I do it” or “I can do it best,” yet this is where we stall out and growth halts. This is the perfect opportunity to be coaching other people to learn how to solve problems. We must
empower our team to solve problems and make decisions.

Where is there potential to restructure the production schedule and increase revenue? Many contractors live in a scarcity mindset and have head trash about pricing. When this happens, you can oversell your services at a low-ball price that not only creates havoc on the schedule, but does nothing to your bottom line.

Beginning Your Journey

The purpose of Mission: Vacation is not only to help our contestant on the journey towards a better business, but to give listeners and readers strategies
for building the business they want. We suggest that as you follow along, you complete the exercises discussed. Let’s begin with the assessment.

Rediscovering Vision and Values

Your company’s core vision is its most fundamental reason for being, it's your desired future state. It’s motivational because it connects with the heart and the head and paints a realistic picture of where the company is going. Your values help determine if you are on the right path and fulfilling your business goals. Core values are also a guide to decision making and drive the culture. Are you hiring the right people to create your desired “high performing team?” What do you want your organization to look like in three years, and what values are driving the team culture?

Assess the Current State of Play

Your SWOT — assessing your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats assists in painting the picture of what’s preventing you from achieving your vision or from engaging in taking that next step. When we first began working with Austin, it was critical to understand not only where he wanted Ai Painting Plus to go, but also the current state of operations. With Lacie now a major player in the business, it’s even MORE important to understand the impact this has on the vision for the future. It reminds us that we are continuously talking about where we’re going, because that maps the road ahead. We work the path backwards from B to A and prioritize the steps that need to happen for that pathway to develop.

For now, work on your vision, your values and your SWOT. Then follow along to pick up helpful tips to move your goals forward, maintain diligence and
overcome challenges. Don’t worry, we’ll have some fun along the way too.

Through asking questions like the above based upon the current challenges the team is facing, we’re well on our way to drawing on the potential big rocks for Colin, Austin and Lacie to focus on. These rocks are the critical, tangible success areas where we will choose to take action on and implement intensely and will hold them accountable to ensure we’re staying on track.

Tune in to Episode 2 to hear more...

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