In Business and Exercise, Growing Stronger is a Painful Process


Making changes in business, while rewarding, can also be very painful. The fact of the matter is that growing your business doesn’t happen without innovation and innovation doesn’t happen without change. While these innovations are meant to help businesses become more efficient and lead to higher profits in one way or another, they don’t come without aches and pains. What I have come to determine through vast technology integrations and procedural changes at J&J Vending in Union City, CA, this summer, is that change is similar to exercising the body; it takes a lot of painful training to put the building blocks together for a successful future.

Make the change needed, even if it’s painful

In exercise there comes a time when you just plateau. In order to become better, faster and stronger, you have to get out of your comfort zone and work even harder. The same can be said for business. This summer, J&J Vending decided that we would implement new procedures and new practices, including better housekeeping. All of our drivers now have J&J email addresses so that we can forward service calls/issues directly to them instead of writing empty calls on a whiteboard downstairs; you would think it would be simple to check email but our drivers are used to the whiteboard and want to see it come back.

Additionally, as we’ve been adding staff, we decided to implement more organization in the warehouse. With more people it is a necessity to clean as you go. We have a lot of "dumpers" and "pilers" here at J&J who we are trying to convert to "organizers".

These new practices haven’t necessarily been well received by employees used to old ways. But if we stayed in our comfort zone forever, we would never grow better; we would just remain the same.

If it hurts, you know it’s working

A few weeks ago I went to a Barre class for the first time. During the Barre exercise you focus on individual muscle groups, completely exhausting one group of muscles through small movements before moving on to the next. The instructor would say, “I know it hurts. I know you want to quit but when your muscles burn, change is happening. Everything before that is just a warm up."

I took this lesson back with me to the office. At J&J we have had a very busy summer. We are currently in the process of changing our vend management system; going 100% credit/debit capable; and installing PayRange on all of our machines.

While exciting, this process has also been difficult. With the new technology we are having all drivers upload images of their vending machines and micro markets after each service. The drivers are having a hard time seeing the long term gain over the temporary annoyance of the new system. Drivers are pushing back hard on learning the new process and helping set it up because it's time consuming and making them work longer hours than they like.

There has been pushback, but we know that in the long haul this move and these technologies will benefit the end user: our customer.

You don’t know unless you try

All of these additions this summer are great things for our business. The transition – or really, transformation — hasn’t been easy, though. Growing is a painful process but I think it’s important to keep going because when it burns, you know that you are changing. If you don’t at least try, you won’t know how well or how smart you can grow your business.

As I sat watching the Olympics, Katie Ledecky, the woman who just broke her own world record, said that she’s always loved swimming because you get out of it what you put in to it. I think we could agree that the same is true for vending. Going to the gym, winning a gold medal, growing a successful business all take dedication, hard work and the determination that even when it hurts you do what it takes to be better.


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