You might assume that Jo McCabe — Co-Owner of Mr. Handyman (2010 Franchisee of the Year) serving Prince William and southern Fairfax counties in Virginia–has a background in home repairs. In reality, Jo cut her teeth in aircraft maintenance for the U.S. Navy before spending eight years in physical security, overseeing the Navy’s northeast region and eventually managing 1,500 people.
Upon leaving the service, Jo decided to put her management experience and MBA to use and become a business owner. She wanted a proven system, so she investigated a host of franchise options. The Mr. Handyman opportunity presented itself in 2008. Now with 13 employees, her company provides major and minor repairs, maintenance and improvements for both homes and businesses.
Tough Going and Bouncing Back
It was tough going the first two years, Jo recalls. “We bought in right before the economy tanked, and there were other surprises as well, such as having to replace all of the business’ computers. You think when you’re buying an existing business that the customer base and equipment will be there, but that’s not always the case.” Although 2009 was “terrible,” Jo managed to increase revenues by 46% in 2010. Her secret?
“TAB has helped my business grow significantly by encouraging me to take a step back and identify the basics I need to master,” she explains. “Business is like sports—the team that masters the basics and continues to use them is the one that makes it to the championship.”
In Jo’s case, the basics included learning how to use marketing tactics to attract new business, and how to secure repeat business. Her TAB Facilitator helped her devise a detailed action plan that led to the 46% increase in sales.
“I’m the type of person who sets goals and makes lists,” she says. “But I definitely wouldn’t have achieved my goals if it hadn’t been for my TAB Facilitator asking, ‘What are you going to do to get there?’”
Gaining Success by Staying Accountable
Even more important, Jo’s Facilitator and fellow TAB Board Members kept her accountable for making progress toward her goal. In fact, the idea of being held accountable was one thing that drew her to TAB.
“With my background as an engineer and in the military, I like structure. TAB has structure when it comes to setting goals, monitoring metrics and staying accountable.”
Jo also appreciates the mentoring she receives and provides during TAB Board Meetings. “The more you open up to others and allow others to help you, the more advice they can give and the more help they can be,” she believes.
“There is no silver bullet to becoming successful,” McCabe continues. “You just have to stay focused on your goals and work at mastering the basics, which is where TAB can be a big help.”