Appleseed Business, Inc.

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Tim Flynn

Tim Flynn, Owner | Winters Home Services | Cambridge, MA

“Life before Planning Power! was like knowing you need to go to the gym and lose weight or work out, these are the things you KNOW your supposed to do, but don’t. The answers are all the same,“not enough hours in the day” or “I am too busy working to focus on that.” We are all guilty for more reasons than can be listed.”

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Steve Lowry

Steve Lowry, Owner | Lowry Services | Harleysville, PA

“Why do we still pay Al Levi for ongoing consulting three years after we first started working together? Because I know how easy it would be to fall back into our old bad habits.”

The Latest Article

Why Some Contractor’s Aren’t Successful

I was reading another of Dan Holohan’s, fellow PM columnist and good friend’s, great eNewsletters.

This time what caught my eye was the headline of, “What Many Contractors Have in Common.”

So, I emailed him about how much I thought his identifying these 10 common key traits we, as contractors, tend to have was spot on:

  1. Most aren’t engineers
  2. Most contractors love stories
  3. Many are dyslectic
  4. Many hate math
  5. Most love challenges
  6. Most build knowledge like a brick wall
  7. Most make up their minds and stick with it
  8. Most are loyal to products
  9. Some will defend the problem product rather than be wrong about their decision
  10. Many let politics lead them

I also added in that email that having worked with contractors as a trainer and consultant for 15 years now that another set of common traits that many contractors have that tend to derail their success as business owners are:

  1. Never having a plan so tomorrow hits them like it’s the first day of their being in business
  2. Working on yesterday’s fires that they never proactively put out
  3. Procrastinating…..procrastinating….procrastinating…
  4. Thinking the next technical class they go to will fix a broken business because they work too much in the business and very little on it
  5. Resistance to learning how to properly delegate so they either do it themselves or they dump it on someone vs. delegating it properly

How do you get the train back on the tracks as a contractor?

Here are just 5 great steps to get your business headed in the right direction:

  1. Work on a business plan. It doesn’t have to be a 150 page novel. Just a few key pages that spell out what you want your business to be in the next 3 to 5 years and what are the steps to best make that goal a reality.
    Note: There are great tools online for this such as Ellen Rohr’s “Weekend Biz Planner”
  2. Create an Organizational Chart with the boxes it takes to run your company. Even if your name will be in most of the boxes it will move you forward. The reason I say that is until you know what boxes [not titles like Vice President] it takes to run your company you’ll never be able to define the activities that must go on in that box so there’s no way you could ever properly hire someone to take that box away from you.
  3. Get all the business to-dos out of your head and pulled from your new business plan and put it down on either a Word document or better yet an Excel form. Then, prioritize that long list of projects, and as importantly habits, that need to be put in place to move your business to a better business foundation for sustainability and profitability.
  4. Edit that big list down to your Top 30 list which is what you’d hope to accomplish in a year
  5. And finally edit that Top 30 list down to your Top 5 list and every week make a vow to work on that list no matter how crazy the week is because this Top 5 is what you said to yourself is what you need to do to have the company you want and need to own.

And here are 5 more tips to help you, Mr. Contractor, overcome inertia:

  1. Lose the battle to win the war. You have to spend time training and empowering staff to help you even if they can’t do it as well as you. The temptation is to jump in and do it yourself and you will win the battle and lose the war.
  2. Stop thinking that meetings are wasting time. Good meetings are critical to the success of any size company and paradoxically even more important to small companies. If you are so busy, and I know you are, where are you going to find time to fix miscommunication mistakes? You won’t. Having short frequent meetings for everyone to get on the same page is the most valuable way to spend your time vs. wasting it.
  3. It will never be perfect! Get over it. You can drag your feet or you can act. More times than not, dragging your feet in business is a sure fire recipe for disaster. You can move faster once you have your plan and action steps. The way I describe it to clients is, “The perfect car you’re building will lose to my car that’s racing down the highway because your car will never leave the garage.”
  4. Use one calendar for all of your personal and business to-dos. The best calendars are Outlook or Google or any other type of software you like so you can better budget the most precious commodity you have….time.
  5. Take care of your health. It’s easy to be dashboard dining day after day and pumping down fast food one meal after another. Or, skipping meals because you’re too busy to eat and then find yourself late at night tying on the feed bag and piling on the food. No time for the gym? When are you planning to schedule time for being sick?

Start now by making a promise to yourself that you’ll be the contractor who makes success a reality!

Ready To Take Action? Click Here For Your Free 30-Minute Consultation with Al

They’re People, Not Robots

October 27th, 2015|

We, as owners and managers, need to connect to our employees and staff and treat them like people. Provide a healthy social environment both at work and outside of work. Be like a loving and supportive family that works together.

Got A Minute?

September 29th, 2015|

Al discusses how your day at work disappears a minute at a time and how to minimize if not fully eliminate your employees from hijacking your time by empowering them

Sam Scalia of Samcon

September 8th, 2015|

Sam Scalia of Samcon, a Condo Building company in Montreal, QC, talks about the turnaround he and Al Levi engineered and how the company is back on the upswing with new systems in place for [...]

Lying at Work

August 31st, 2015|

Lying. It goes on from Owners, Managers, Team Members and Customers. Why and what to consider is discussed.

To Spoke Shop or Not To Spoke Shop

July 28th, 2015|

The discussion about the pros and cons of creating a spoke [aka satellite shop] around your main office [aka hub shop] with some solid tips on how to do it the right way to maximize profit and success.

Dave Judd of Master Plumbing-Heating-Cooling

June 27th, 2015|

Dave talks about his background in the contracting business and how he's continuing to transform his business for the better by implementing Al's systems for trucks, warehouse, training center, training room, manuals and more.


  • I can’t seem to find and keep good people.
  • There just aren’t enough hours in the day.
  • We are delivering an inconsistent level of service.
  • I feel like I’m answering the same questions over and over.
  • I spend more time as an employee than as a manager.
  • Call-backs keep me from moving on to new calls/sales.
  • We have no real system in place for training.
  • This business just isn’t fun for me anymore.


Contact Al

Phone: (480) 205-5164

Fax: 212-202-6275

(using a coversheet)

Click Here to Email Al

Traditional Mail:

Appleseed Business, Inc.

c/o Al Levi

10632 N Scottsdale Road


Scottsdale, AZ 85254

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Run Your Contracting Business with Less Stress and More Success℠