48 episodes

How do you build a successful trade company? Find out how other trade company owners are finding success.

Built for the Trades Dan Dowdy

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 11 Ratings

How do you build a successful trade company? Find out how other trade company owners are finding success.

    Recap with Dan Dowdy: Empowering Small Trades Businesses: A Conversation with Live Oak Bank

    Recap with Dan Dowdy: Empowering Small Trades Businesses: A Conversation with Live Oak Bank

    Welcome back to another insightful episode of the Built for the Trades podcast! Today, we're thrilled to have my co-host, Nathan Glass, join me for a deep dive into niche marketing and business development. We'll be sharing valuable insights on defining your vision, establishing your niche, and creating the perfect avatar for your business. Plus, we'll explore some dos and don'ts when narrowing down your business focus.


    Before we get into it, let's take a moment to recap our recent episode with Brandon from Live Oak Bank, where we explored their journey of niching down their services. It was fascinating to see how this strategic move defined their business and fueled its remarkable growth.


    At Built for the Trades, we aim to empower our listeners to grow personally and professionally through leadership development. We firmly believe that leadership development is a lifelong journey, and every day is an opportunity to improve.


    Our goal for today's episode is to equip you with at least one invaluable takeaway you can apply to your daily business. If you enjoy this episode, share it with a friend and leave us a review. Your feedback guides our future podcasts and helps us reach more listeners.


    In our previous episode with Brandon, he emphasized how Live Oak Bank found success by identifying a recession-proof niche. This led them to focus on serving plumbing, HVAC, and electrical businesses exclusively. What stood out was their clarity about who they are, what they excel at, and their dedication to serving the trades.


    Nathan pointed out an interesting aspect of their journey. Initially, Live Oak Bank operated within the home services niche, but they realized the potential to expand further within the home services sector. They recognized other recession-proof opportunities waiting to be explored. Their ability to adapt and broaden their niche proved instrumental in their growth.


    Now, let's delve into the core of our discussion today: understanding and defining your niche and avatar. These two components work hand in hand and play a pivotal role in the success of your business. As we progress, you'll discover how they influence each other.


    One of the essential lessons Brandon's story taught us is that "riches are in the niches." This phrase resonates profoundly in the trade business world. But, as with any endeavor, some nuances and considerations warrant attention.


    Let's begin by discussing the concept of a sub-niche within your business. Suppose you're running a home service company. In that case, you face a critical decision: Should you narrow your focus to residential clients, exclusively serve commercial clients, or specialize in new construction work? This decision is crucial, but striking the right balance is essential.


    It's worth noting that hyper-focusing on a sub-niche may become costly if you exhaust your market's potential too quickly. If you're in a small market with limited homeowners, targeting only residential clients might not be sustainable in the long term. Similarly, exclusively pursuing commercial projects may lead to market saturation.


    This brings us to the first fundamental principle: Assessing Your Expertise. To identify your niche, evaluate your skills, experiences, and passions. What services do you excel at? For example, if you're exceptionally skilled in HVAC system installations, that could be your starting point.


    Next, research your local market. Is there a high demand for specific services that remain underserved? The goal is to find gaps in the market that align with your expertise and offer growth opportunities. An example here would be discovering a demand for duct cleaning services in a market dominated by general HVAC companies.


    But remember, a niche isn't just about picking any specialization. It's about selecting one where you can excel and stand out. As Nathan pointed out, standing out in today's noisy business landscape is more cru

    • 33 min
    Empowering Small Trades Businesses: A Conversation with Live Oak Bank

    Empowering Small Trades Businesses: A Conversation with Live Oak Bank

    In a recent conversation between Dan Dowdy and Brandon from Live Oak Bank, they explored the bank's various services to help small businesses in the trades industry grow through leadership development. Live Oak Bank specializes in providing small loans to plumbing, electrical, and HVAC businesses using the Small Business Administration's (SBA) 7A loan program. This program enables financing based on the cash flow of the company and the owner's credit, making it an excellent option for businesses with limited collateral.


    Unveiling the Potential of 7A and 504 Loans:

    During their discussion, Brandon highlighted the different types of business loans, focusing mainly on the 7A and 504 loans. The 7A loan, their main product, offers 100% financing for buying a facility, making it highly appealing for existing business owners in operation for 12 months, as it requires no down payment. Conversely, the 504 loan involves a 10% down payment and comprises two loans with generally lower interest rates.


    The Allure of the 7A Loan for Real Estate Deals:

    Brandon revealed that most real estate deals at Live Oak Bank involve the 7A loan and for good reason. The allure of 100% financing and no down payment requirement for eligible business owners proves highly beneficial. It enables businesses to replace their rent with a mortgage payment while retaining cash on their balance sheets for future investments.


    Long-Term Stability with 25-Year Fully Amortizing Term:

    One of the attractive features of the 7A loan is the 25-year fully amortizing term, meaning there are no balloon payments to worry about. This extended repayment period gives businesses financial stability and predictability, allowing them to focus on their growth and expansion.


    Being Proactive in Business Acquisitions:

    As the conversation progressed, proactively understanding the costs and requirements of acquiring a business was emphasized. Brandon advised potential business buyers to plan, including preparing for the down payment and evaluating financial aspects like credit scores and licenses. This approach ensures a smoother acquisition process and avoids last-minute surprises.


    Building Strong Relationships with Banks:

    Dan and Brandon underscored the significance of building strong relationships with reliable banks. Working with a trusted bank, like Live Oak Bank, provides businesses with essential guidance and financial support, facilitating growth initiatives such as marketing, hiring, and purchasing equipment.


    The Art of Business Management:

    Throughout their discussion, various aspects of business management were explored, including leadership, talent retention, and strategic planning. Brandon highlighted the value of being proactive, understanding the financial and qualitative aspects of running a successful business. Having a clear vision and strategy, business owners can confidently navigate the challenges and capitalize on growth opportunities.


    The Role of Mentors and Advisors:

    Lastly, the conversation touched upon the benefits of having mentors or advisors, such as Brandon, who can offer valuable insights and guidance in business financing and growth. Having someone experienced by your side can make a significant difference in making well-informed decisions for the business's long-term success.


    In the dynamic world of small business ownership, access to reliable financial support and valuable guidance is paramount. Live Oak Bank's commitment to empowering small trade businesses through its specialized loan programs is evident. By being proactive, understanding the financing options available, and building solid relationships with trusted banks, small business owners can confidently pursue growth initiatives, embrace leadership opportunities, and achieve long-term success in their chosen trade industry.

    • 41 min
    Recap with Dan Dowdy: Elevating Leadership: A Journey of Empathy, Growth, and Putting People First

    Recap with Dan Dowdy: Elevating Leadership: A Journey of Empathy, Growth, and Putting People First

    Welcome to the Built for the Trades Podcast! I'm your host, Dan Dowdy, and today we're recapping a fantastic interview with Chris Gutkes, the CEO of Island Elevator. Before we dive into the discussion, let's talk about leadership principles and how they can help you grow as a person and achieve success in both business and life.


    Growing Yourself to Grow Your Business:

    At Built for the Trades, we aim to help businesses grow through leadership development. Personal growth is the key to professional success. Investing in your growth makes you a better partner, parent, friend, boss, and leader.


    The Importance of Personal Development:

    Chris Gutkes highlighted the significance of growing and developing yourself outside your regular work hours. He noticed that successful trade individuals went the extra mile to study their craft, learn about their products, and improve themselves beyond their job responsibilities.


    The Leadership Principle - Looking Inwardly:

    Leadership is often seen as influencing others but involves introspection and self-improvement. You must first develop yourself to grow your team and elevate your own life. This blog post will explore twelve leadership principles inspired by successful athletes, which can be applied to enhance your leadership skills and achieve success.


    The Top 12 Leadership Principles for Success:


    Self-confidence: Believe in yourself and your abilities. Confidence comes from hard work and experience.
    Motivation: Be driven to be better than your previous self and opponents. Patience and perseverance are key.
    Self-discipline: Success doesn't happen overnight. Develop the discipline to put in the extra effort and sacrifice for improvement.
    Optimism: Stay positive, even in adversity. A positive mindset attracts success.
    Acceptance of Criticism: Embrace constructive criticism as a tool for improvement.
    Poise Under Stress: High-performing athletes can thrive under pressure, making quick decisions with composure.
    Focus: Stay dedicated to your goals and tune out distractions.
    Resilience: Bounce back from setbacks and learn from failures.
    Competitive Spirit: Embrace healthy competition to improve yourself and others.
    Natural Leadership: Possess leadership qualities and take initiative when needed.
    Humility: Acknowledge mistakes, give credit to others, and remain humble in success.
    Passion: Be deeply passionate about your work and immerse yourself in it.


    Applying Leadership Principles to Business:

    These leadership principles are equally applicable to business and life. For instance, staying positive, being disciplined, and accepting criticism can lead to personal growth and improved leadership skills. Leaders who remain coachable, focus on the big picture, and exhibit resilience can drive their teams to success.


    Incorporating these twelve leadership principles into your life will empower you to be the best version of yourself and achieve greatness in your business, relationships, and personal endeavors. Remember, being a successful leader starts with your willingness to grow and develop, just like the best athletes in the world.


    If you enjoyed this podcast and blog post, please subscribe, share it with a friend, and strive to be your best version!

    • 20 min
    Elevating Leadership: A Journey of Empathy, Growth, and Putting People First

    Elevating Leadership: A Journey of Empathy, Growth, and Putting People First

    Welcome to another captivating episode, Built For The Trades, a podcast that explores the essence of leadership development in the trades industry. In this episode, we sit down with Chris Gutkes, the fourth-generation elevator tradesman and esteemed president of Island Elevator in Long Island, New York. Chris takes us on a profound journey from growing up in an elevator family to serving in the Army and discovering his true passion for elevators. Join us as we delve into the importance of self-awareness, empathy, continuous learning, and the significance of putting people first in leadership.

    A Fortuitous Passion:

    Chris Gutkes' story is one of destiny and discovery. Born into a family entrenched in the elevator trade, Chris sought to forge his path by serving in the Army. Little did he know that life had other plans. Following his service, Chris was drawn back to elevators, realizing it was his true passion. This realization highlights the power of self-awareness and its role in understanding one's genuine calling in life.

    Apprenticeship and the Pursuit of Knowledge:

    As Chris embarked on his journey in the elevator industry, he recognized the invaluable impact of apprenticeship and mentorship. He emphasizes the need for young tradespeople to seize every opportunity to learn and grow beyond their current level of knowledge. A commitment to continuous learning has been instrumental in Chris's success and has played a pivotal role in Island Elevator's prominence.

    The Impact of 9/11:

    The tragic events of 9/11 profoundly affected Chris and his family, personally and professionally. He vividly recounts witnessing the chaos and devastation from a rooftop in Queens, with a heart full of concern for his brother, who worked at the Trade Center that day. Fortunately, his brother, alongside other brave elevator tradespeople, made it out safely. This experience underscores the importance of resilience, solidarity, and leadership during moments of crisis.

    From Soldier to Entrepreneur:

    Following the aftermath 9/11, Chris returned from his National Guard service to face the challenges of building Island Elevator from the ground up. With unwavering determination, he surrounded himself with friends and experienced individuals who shared his vision. Together, they nurtured the company, transforming it into a force to be reckoned with in the industry.

    Leadership and Struggles:

    The sudden passing of Chris's father thrust him into the role of president of Island Elevator, leading to an overwhelming sense of responsibility and leadership struggles. He candidly discusses his battles with alcohol, which he overcame to become a better leader. The experience taught him the value of self-awareness, mindfulness, and empathy in guiding not only his actions but also the trajectory of the entire company.

    Diversity and People First:

    Chris admits to making mistakes along the way, particularly in hiring decisions. He emphasizes the significance of building a diverse leadership team with varied perspectives. Island Elevator's guiding mantra, "A People First Company," exemplifies the company's commitment to prioritizing the well-being and safety of employees and customers.

    Chris Gutkes’ journey as a leader in the elevator trade is a compelling testament to the transformative power of self-awareness, empathy, and continuous learning. From the chaos of 9/11 to building a thriving company that puts people first, his story offers invaluable insights into what it truly means to lead with heart and purpose.

    As we conclude, this episode of Built For The Trades reminds us of the importance of elevating the structures we build and the people who create them. May Chris's journey inspire us all to embrace empathy, embrace growth, and put people first in our leadership endeavors. Until next time, keep elevating leadership and building a better future for all.

    • 53 min
    Recap with Dan Dowdy: From 3 to 20 Million: A Journey of Growth and Family Values in the Trades

    Recap with Dan Dowdy: From 3 to 20 Million: A Journey of Growth and Family Values in the Trades

    Welcome to the Built For The Trades podcast! Today, we will dive into the fundamental leadership principles discussed in a recent episode featuring Crystal from Lemon Seed Marketing. If you still need to listen to the episode, please pause and check it out. These recaps are designed to break down valuable insights and apply them to personal and professional growth concisely and effectively.

    Consistency: The Key to Growth

    One of the essential takeaways from Crystal's insights on marketing is the significance of consistency over time. Like in marketing, where continuous efforts yield results, consistency plays a crucial role in leadership development. Growing as a leader is a lifelong journey, not a destination, requiring discipline and intentionality.

    Different Levels of Leadership, Different Approaches

    Leadership strategies should adapt to the size and scale of organizations. A small business owner might be involved in day-to-day operations. A leader of a larger organization would focus on planning and proactive measures. Each level demands a distinct approach to time management and decision-making.

    Growth Mindset in Leadership and Marketing

    Having a growth mindset is crucial in both marketing and leadership. Leaders should always strive to become better versions of themselves and set clear goals for their growth. Similarly, consistently pushing boundaries and investing in diverse marketing efforts lead to long-term success.

    Investment in Marketing and Leadership

    Marketing and leadership development both require investments, whether it's time or money. Just as a business should allocate a reasonable marketing budget to ensure growth, leaders should invest time in their personal development. Joining mastermind groups, seeking coaching, attending conferences, and reading books can all contribute to significant personal growth.

    Education: A Cornerstone of Success

    Staying educated is fundamental to success in marketing and leadership. Marketers must be up-to-date with emerging technologies and trends, while leaders should continually seek new knowledge and insights to enhance their skills.

    Discipline Trumps Motivation

    Discipline is the key to maintaining consistency in both marketing and leadership. Relying solely on motivation can lead to inconsistent efforts. Embracing discipline allows leaders to stay on track, fulfill commitments, and build trust with their team.

    Creating Your Leadership Strategy

    Building a leadership strategy is akin to creating a comprehensive marketing plan. Surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals and mentors can significantly impact your leadership journey. Identifying your avatar in leadership—defining who you aspire to become—helps you set clear goals and actionable steps.

    Importance of Morning Rituals

    Start your day with intention and prioritize what truly matters. Avoid diving into emails or social media first thing in the morning, as it can disrupt your focus and mindset. Instead, engage in activities that contribute to your growth, like journaling, working out, or meditating. This sets a positive tone for the day and enhances your leadership capabilities.

    Consistency, discipline, and a growth mindset are the pillars of success in both marketing and leadership. Just as a well-rounded marketing strategy diversifies efforts to achieve lasting results, a thoughtful leadership strategy incorporates continuous learning and intentional actions. By investing in yourself and your business, you can unlock new levels of growth and foster a self-operating organization with a team that shares your vision.

    Remember, leadership is a journey, and the commitment to grow and improve should never cease. The more you invest in yourself, the more you inspire others to follow and grow alongside you. So, let's embrace consistency, seize the power of discipline, and embark on a lifelong journey of leadership growth and marketing success!

    If you're interested in exploring leadership coachi

    • 19 min
    The Year of Two Paths

    The Year of Two Paths

    Welcome to the Built For The Trades podcast! I'm your host, Dan Dowdy, and today we're diving into a topic that's been on my mind and has been shared in recent talks. The title is "A Year of Two Paths," throughout this podcast; I aim to teach you what it looks like to take the hard, easy path of leading leaders.

    Before we delve into the concept of the two paths, let me remind you that Built For The Trades is a community of like-minded individuals in the trades who are dedicated to bettering themselves and those around them, living a life of integrity, and excelling in their endeavors. If you resonate with this, welcome to the community! Please like, subscribe, and share this podcast with a friend who could benefit from it, as we believe that leadership is a lifelong journey with no final destination.

    To set the stage for our discussion, let me share Robert Frost's famous poem, "The Road Not Taken." It speaks of two diverging paths in a wood, and the poet chooses the less traveled one, ultimately making all the difference. This imagery beautifully illustrates our life choices: the easy, familiar path or the challenging, less explored one.

    Most tend to follow the path of least resistance, much like a river flowing downstream. However, a few courageous individuals are willing to stand against the current, walk upstream, and embrace the hard path of leadership. The complex course involves discipline, stepping out of one's comfort zone, trying new things, standing up for beliefs, and embracing new challenges.

    A century ago, people had to be dynamic and resourceful to survive, but in the modern age, complacency and laziness can creep in, given the comforts of society. However, those who dare to embrace the complicated path find opportunities for growth and success amidst the challenges.

    What does it mean to take the leader's path? It starts with knowing you grow and extends to understanding your team to develop. Leaders communicate effectively, appreciate their team members and foster relationships. Built For The Trades uses the Enneagram assessment to help individuals understand strengths, weaknesses, and communication styles.

    On the other hand, the follower path represents the easy, arduous path. Followers tend to stick to their comfort zones, treating others as they've always been treated and ignoring their blind spots. This leads to stagnation and a need for growth.

    The leader path is marked by being goal and growth-focused. Leaders set ambitious goals and continuously strive to learn and improve, even in the face of failures. They live outside their comfort zones, embrace change, and seek consistency in their efforts.

    In contrast, the follower path is characterized by a lack of time management, inconsistency, and resistance to change. Followers are content with their routines and often fear the unknown, hindering their personal and professional growth.

    Leaders invest time and effort in developing their team and themselves, seeking to create a strong foundation for future success. They value presence, empathy, and engagement in building relationships, understanding that every interaction offers opportunities to learn and grow.

    Conversely, followers often find themselves trapped in busy routines, overwhelmed by tasks, and missing out on meaningful connections with others. They need to gain the foresight to realize the importance of investing in their team and personal development.

    In conclusion, both paths have consequences—hard now, easy later for the leader path, and easy now, hard later for the follower path. However, choosing the complicated, accessible leadership path means taking the higher calling, setting ambitious goals, and striving for consistent growth.

    As you embark on your journey, remember that embracing the path less taken is an intentional decision. Embrace change, acknowledge failures, and seek personal growth. Your commitment to leadership will lead to your success and uplift those around you,

    • 14 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
11 Ratings

11 Ratings

ssbaxter78 ,

Great podcast!

The podcasts have lots of great information for any business owner! I’m not in the trades but still learn something every episode.

Blue Collar Coach ,

Great listen!!

Great host with great guest

Ecky1021 ,

Truly Built for the Trades from a true Tradesman

Truly great insights into a trade business, from someone who has been there. Taking the time to bring what they have learned to other business owners and serving the community of trade business owners and helping them. Give it a listen, you will gain something.

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