Scott Baermann’s a serial entrepreneur based out of Chicago, Illinois. Like all entrepreneurs, he has seen his share of dark days where he wanted to throw in the towel and walk away from it all.
Instead, Scott established a mission for Urban Street Window Works. It turned out to be the best thing he’s ever done for his window cleaning business (which continues to grow 50% year-over-year), and his own sheer happiness.
Here’s 3 steps Scott took to discover, initiate and achieve his mission:
1. Go with your gut:
Scott will tell you that he’s “generally a gut-person”, and in his case he wasn't satisfied cleaning windows day-in and day-out. It got to the point where he started to pull away from Urban Street Window Works altogether and could no longer ignore those feelings:
“I even abdicated my leadership in the company and pushed it off to my operations guy. I was really disengaged from the business for a little while.”
Deep down Scott knew he wanted his life's work to have greater impact. Something had to change, and intuitively Scott knew it. Now, he had to act on it.
2. Invest in yourself:
Part of Scott’s struggle was that money wasn’t a strong motivator, and if he was going to keep at it, he needed some help establishing an alternative source of motivation. Scott completed a program through Goldman Sachs called “10,000 small businesses”, where he put in 10 hours of his time every week for 11 weeks.
“I had the fortunate experience to be involved in a program where I was pushed towards establishing a mission and finding a strong vision for the business.”
The investment paid off; Scott was able to put his goals down on paper and take it back to his business, reclaiming his leadership with newfound motivation.
3. Start with your ‘why’:
Outside of providing clean windows, Scott knew that Urban Street Window Works could have a much greater impact on the city of Chicago. Ultimately, Scott wanted to “help cities shine”, which became the overall mission for the company and plays into all aspects of the business as Scott describes:
- “We help other businesses shine: the vibrancy within a business can be displayed to customers through their windows.”
- “We help Chicago shine by using bikes instead of cars or trucks. Our greatest contribution is reducing carbon emissions. It’s also our biggest distinguisher in the market.”
- “We help our employees shine. I encourage all employees to grow and discover their true strengths and passions.”
- “And, we just started an at-work development program, where we take on at-risk youth for a 3-month internship.”
Beyond solidifying the mission for the company, Scott was reacquainted with his own passion for the business through this process. He’s personally committed to helping others reach their personal and professional goals, and hopes to be able to fund new start-ups around the city.
“I’m not motivated by money, but I am starting to see it as a tool that can be very useful in helping others. I think that’s my motivation behind doing what I do, and it makes me happy. If I can get to the end of my days and can see a lot of people who have started businesses because of my help. That’s how I’ll measure success.”
Scott has recently launched a second window cleaning company in Chicago called Lux Street Window Cleaning as well VitVox, a company dedicated to helping others find their "life voice" and pursue their dreams.