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  • Writer's pictureNick Klingensmith

7 Sure-fire steps to fixing any business problem

Several weeks ago, I walked into my dining room and realized that the carpet was drenched. I soon realized that water was leaking from my air conditioner and had flooded under the floor into the dining room.

Having had some prior experience with this issue, I knew to check the condensate drain line and could tell that it was clogged. The float switch failed to shut off the unit, allowing water to flood all over the floor and began to spread throughout.

While there are several things which I have understanding, knowledge and skill, home repair is generally not one of them. I could have called for service, but I didn’t want to take the time or spend the money, so I followed my sure fire 7 step approach to home repair:

1) Ignore the problem. Kick that can down the road as long as you can.

2) Recognize the problem. Perhaps screw around looking for a switch or a loose screw.

3) Make first repair attempt, usually leaving the project incomplete, damaged, and disassembled for days, weeks or sadly, months.

4) Make real full throttle attempt usually involving multiple trips to Home Depot.

5) Buy the wrong items or items that will be unnecessary when I later hire a professional.

6) Have a brief A-Ha! moment and tease of accomplishment only to realize No, it still doesn't work.

7) Call a Professional.

For a few weeks, I used my shop vac to suck up the excess water out of the PVC pipe, essentially putting a band-aid on the issue. Whenever the AC would shut off or I could hear water leaking, I’d run the vacuum. Rinse, wash, repeat.

Finally, I dug in and did my research. Following all the steps I found on YouTube, I used the shop vac both on the inside and the outside to try and unclog the drain. Nothing. I bought not one, but two different snakes from Home Depot and snaked out what had to be the liquified remains of E.T. Still, nothing.

I added Vinegar, Bleach and Draino. Still, nothing. I pulled apart the PVC piping inside the house to try and access the clog – breaking several pieces and requiring yet another trip to Home Depot. This time, I was sure I had it. But still, nothing.

Finally, I called a professional. I paid him $100 and he fixed the issue in minutes.

In my efforts to avoid making a ten-minute phone call and paying $100, I likely wasted 15 hours of my time. I took two trips to Home Depot. I spent $130 on supplies. I broke pieces of the PVC pipe, caused additional water damage both to the floor and the carpet.

Home repair is not my core competency. I am a Sales Consultant. I am a Sales Trainer. I am a Sales Recruiter. Assuming an hourly rate of (for example) $75, the cost of supplies and damage repair, my efforts to avoid hiring a professional likely cost me in the ballpark of $1,500.

Some things you just aren’t supposed to do yourself.

In business, it is no different. Some things you just aren’t supposed to do yourself.

I didn’t pay him $100 to unclog a drain. I paid him $100 for having the right knowledge; for having the right tools; the right parts and the right skills.

Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) is the outsourcing of core information-related business activities that are integral to a company’s operations. Too many businesses today continue to focus their energy on solving problems that are not their core competencies or beyond their reach all together. Perhaps you could do it in-house, but should you?

There are likely a great number of things in which you are the expert, but for everything else, just skip to step 7.

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