Chapter Corner

Small Business in the Electrical Industry

Posted in: April 2017

It is unlikely for us to think about small business without thinking of the American Dream. Although we sometimes need to be reminded, we don’t have to look very far or long to realize that we live in the greatest country in the world. In 1931, James T. Adams defined the American Dream in these terms, “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement regardless of social class or circumstances of birth.” Adams was spot on; I agree that it takes some degree of ability, but I would add a whole lot of achievement. Sweat equity.

According to Forbes, over 50% of the working population works in a small business, and since 1995, small businesses have generated over 65% of the net new jobs. Over half a million new businesses get started every month, but just as many businesses shut down as start up each month. Of the 28 million small businesses in the U.S., over 22 million are non-employer firms with no employees and an average income of $44,000.00 annually. 52% of all small businesses are home based. 2016 was a good year for small business that created 1.1 million new jobs and minority ownership increased by 38%. While statistics are helpful and good to know, I believe we shouldn’t make every decision based upon what everyone else is doing.

Success Is a Mental Battle

My great dad, like all parents, wanted his son to have a better life than he did. I will never forget him telling me, “son, a working man will never have much.” He had me working along with him in construction since I was 12 years old; if I wasn’t in school, I was usually swinging a hammer (showing my age, nail guns have been around for 50 years). I wish he was still around so I could tell him how his example of hard work, commitment to never quit, and his giving spirit taught me more than all the books I have read about success, leadership, and business.

I find it difficult to share my thoughts about small business without talking about success. No matter what your goals and dreams may be, too many people are eager to share their concerns for your well-being by telling all the hurts and failures of those that have attempted something and failed. I say, be kind to those poor souls but don’t live in their world. Wherever you find inspiration, go there as often as you can. Those that succeed are those that will not quit. Successful people do what unsuccessful people won’t.

Embrace Support

Every successful business person understands that they don’t know it all and that their success is in direct proportion to the degree in which they seek the advice of those that came before them. In our industry, there are many resources that are available to us but not one offers more than our association. Our Independent Electrical Contractors have influenced and improved our industry in every aspect; educating and training skilled electricians/systems technicians, safety in the workplace, a strong voice in government to preserve a fair competitive marketplace, a safe but sensible National Electrical Code, and more.

All of this is what draws the best people in our industry to join together, to lift each other up, to reach a higher place than we could ever achieve on our own.

Whether you are a brand new apprentice with a dream and desire to become the best electrician/systems technician or one of the top contractors in the nation with hundreds of employees, you can’t do it alone. IEC is, has been, and will continue to be the one place where you can find the people and resources to make your dreams come true.

Now hook up that tugger and let’s get this feeder pulled!

Bobby Tutor was IEC’s 2012 National President. In January 1993, Bobby founded Tutor Electrical Service, Inc., where he currently serves as President/CEO. He is a graduate of the IEC ForthWorth/Tarrant County Chapter Apprentice Program.