Janet Davis Cleaners - September 2018

“HOT OFF THE PRESS” Dry Cleaning News

(248) 543-0340 | www.janetdaviscleaners.com 27607Woodward Ave., Berkley, MI 48072 | 3645 Maple Rd., Bloomfield, MI 48301



When I was a sophomore in high school, my teacher gave my classmates and me a list of 10 classic novels and asked that we pick one to read. Not having the slightest idea what it was about, I hesitantly selected George Orwell’s “1984.” I look back on that novel today and realize that a dystopian science- fiction narrative exploring omnipresent government surveillance is so much more interesting to me now than it was when I was a teenager. Books are like that, though; the way they’re interpreted can change right along with the reader’s perspective. So when I saw on the calendar that Sept. 6 is National Read a Book Day, I couldn’t help but think about how differently I view some of the books I encountered growing up.

took place when I was still in high school. My mom had heard about it, and she recommended it to me because she thought I would find the topic interesting. It was interesting, and I knew it was important, but at that age, I just didn’t pick everything up. Fast-forward into the future, when that material became not only pertinent to the success of our business, but truly life- changing. I picked up Gerber’s book for the second time three years ago. We had just come out of the recession, a difficult time that forced us to change our business practices from proactive to reactive. We were unsure exactly how the economy was going to affect our trade, so we just had to take everything as it came. Post-recession, I made it my goal to get our business back to a proactive state. I remembered the book I read at 16 and decided to consult it. The book’s story-like structure immediately jogged my memory. The narrative provides an overview to help you set up organized systems in your business so you can run the business without the business running you. It’s comparable to the view from an airplane. As you gaze out the window at the plane’s wings, the clouds, and the vast surrounding landscape, you don’t need to break down the mechanical aspects necessary for aviation to understand that the plane is successfully flying. Gerber’s book offers overarching ideas to help entrepreneurs manage a successful company without offering the nuts and bolts required to get there. But that is where responsibility, ownership, experience, and intrinsic motivation come into play.

Inspired by Gerber’s ideas, we started trying to find ways to incorporate them. One of the primary takeaways was the ability to create job positions with clear descriptions and expectations. Because our company is made up of only 20 people, it is not uncommon for one employee’s responsibilities to include more than one position. With our emphasis on family and teamwork, we wanted to maintain this aspect; however, we needed to make the process of hiring new employees more effective, and Gerber’s mindset really helped us in that endeavor. But the most important takeaway from his book was to do a better job sharing our vision of always putting our customers’ needs first, especially with those on our team who never meet with customers. In the three years since I read that book, the productivity per employee hasn’t changed, but the overall attitude definitely has. Even the employees who don’t get to talk with the customers face-to-face still understand the necessity of customer focus and delight, and that understanding has truly made all the difference at our company. Through reading Gerber’s book again, it illustrates to me better that perception means everything. Just because a story doesn’t resonate with you the first time you read it doesn’t mean you won’t find it applicable in the future. So in honor of National Read a Book Day, I encourage you to revisit some of the books you read in the past; they might mean something completely different in your present.

“Just because a story doesn’t resonate with you the first time you read it doesn’t mean you won’t find it applicable in the future.”

I have to start out by saying I love reading, and I read often. I like receiving book recommendations, and I am one of the few people I know who likes to read books for a second or even third time through. Of course, most people tell me that the books I read are somewhat boring in nature because most of them are related to business or finance, but I thoroughly enjoy them nevertheless. Throughout my reading history, one of the so-called “boring” books that stands out in particular is “The E-Myth: Why Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It” by Michael E. Gerber. Like “1984,” my first experience with this book

–Kyle Matthews 1 (248) 543-0340


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