A child of Mexican immigrants with strong work principles, Almaraz was raised on government cheese and food stamps. Poverty was a backdrop of his youth, giving the impetus to Almaraz’s entrepreneurism. Right out of high school, he found an opportunity in construction and immersed himself in the business. Climbing the corporate ladder, from sales estimator to Vice President, to business owner, Almaraz soon established significant success.
Where did the idea for Allied Restoration come from?
O.P. Almaraz: I attempted to purchase the Restoration company that I worked for, for over 14 years, but after 3 attempts, it was evident that it was time to start my own company, and Allied Restoration was born in 2008.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
O.P. Almaraz: The pandemic has modified my usual schedule. Right now, I organize my day the night before. Up at 5 am, hit 30 minutes of cardio, meditate for 15 mins, read for 15 mins, then 7:30 am (pulse check) meeting with field staff. I meet with my leadership team, and we discuss how the implementation of new initiatives are moving and discuss the areas that require improvement. I jump in as needed. Sometimes it’s training the leader and other occasions my feet are on the ground training my staff. I recalibrate multiple times per day, to make sure that I am accomplishing what I set out to do.
How do you bring ideas to life?
O.P. Almaraz: Delegation and execution.
I have the honor and privilege to have cultivated and work with a powerful, intelligent leadership team. Tim Bauer, Stewart Barrios, and Dana Almaraz allow me to bring my ideas to life. They each have their superpower, which enables us to execute at warp speed.
What’s one trend that excites you?
O.P. Almaraz: The unemployment rate excites me. I know how this may sound, but hear me out. Finding high caliber, service-oriented employees has been a struggle for years.
I look forward to hiring service professionals from the hospitality industry who understand the significance of the customer’s journey.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
O.P. Almaraz: My daily scoreboard.
I make a list the night before, of what I need to accomplish to win my day. I list the six non-negotiable things that will get done. I put them in order of importance and set a time allowance for each item. By placing a time allowance, I eliminate distractions, and it keeps me hyper-focused on the task at hand.
What advice would you give your younger self?
O.P. Almaraz: Ask yourself great questions.
During the 2019 wildfires in Los Angeles, my employees and I were working 16 hour days trying to keep up with the demand of deodorizing and cleaning homes that were impacted by the dense smoke & soot.
I was stressed out because we could not keep up with the demand of our valued clients. Stress will keep you stuck in concrete if you’re not watchful. Then it hit me! Ask yourself a great question.
“How fast can I hire and train 50 people”? And BOOM that energized and propelled my thinking to execute as quickly as possible.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
O.P. Almaraz: I’m predicting a massive California earthquake in 2020. I know this is terrible as if we need another disaster on top of COVID-19 and the recent Wildfires. It was a dream, a nightmare, or a premonition that I had in July. A 7.0 or higher earthquake will hit a metropolis location. People shrug their shoulders and say, I’ll believe it when I see it.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
O.P. Almaraz: Outwork your competition.
I imagine that my competitors are chasing me. Regardless of how much we grow, how fast we execute, I can feel my competitors breathing down my neck. They can’t outwork me.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
O.P. Almaraz: We developed a structured, educational, storytelling presentation. This presentation has very little to do about Allied Restoration, and all to do with the challenges facing our clients. To get a favorable outcome, we invest 300-400 hours of research in discovering their problems and developing real solutions for them. We position ourselves as experts and trusted advisors.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
O.P. Almaraz: As a young business owner, I wanted my culture to feel like a family. We began hanging out after work, having dinner, some cocktails, and I’d always pick up the tab. When it came time to reprimand someone up for not doing their job, they got confused. They’d say things like, “I thought we were a family, why am I getting written up” ? or “Why do I have to be measured by the numbers, don’t I pay for myself by the number of years I’ve been here.”?
There were entanglements and confusion between our work life and social life. As a leader, I had to identify and take ownership of what I was creating. Once I did that, I created written boundaries that were clear, concise, and that included a new narrative. We were no longer going to call our culture a family; we began calling ourselves a TRIBE.
Something to think about: You can’t fire a family member; you get to choose who’s in your Tribe.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
O.P. Almaraz: McKinsey & Company, who studies markets, trends, and emerging best practices in every industry, have learned that small businesses are having difficulty adapting to remote/digital environments.
This creates opportunities for entrepreneurs that can fill that need. Small businesses are looking for someone to help them become visible online on social media (fb, instagram, Tik Tok). How influencer marketing works, how to get an ROI on youtube, and people to help them create user-friendly experiences on their websites.
If you have any of these skillsets, contact the small business in your local communities and watch how open they are to experimenting. They’ll do whatever it takes to survive.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
O.P. Almaraz: One year subscription to headspace.com
The ability to settle the mind has many positive effects beyond the personal. In business, it has improved my decision making and brought equilibrium to crucial conversations.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
O.P. Almaraz: TalentLMS.com
This software has allowed us to create what we call Allied University. We’ve created a curriculum for every position in our company. Employees login, go through classroom-type training, with videos, documents, and quizzes they take at the end of each module. It has allowed us to reduce the learning curve and improve the service experience for our customers.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
O.P. Almaraz: Double your profits in 6 months or less – Bob Fifer
Uncertainty has gripped the United States and the World. The economic meltdown is just beginning, and business owners/entrepreneurs must take inventory of their spending. You’ve heard this said before, “It’s not about how much money you make; it’s about how much you keep.” This book points out areas of your business that often go overlooked. Study your Profit & Loss statements to see where you can trim to keep more profits.
What is your favorite quote?
O.P. Almaraz: Where there is no vision, the people will perish; Proverbs 29:18
Especially during this pandemic business cycle, the leader must have a clear vision that inspires and motivates employees.
- Cultivate and work with a powerful, intelligent leadership team.
- Make a list of what you need to accomplish to win your day.
- Ask yourself great questions.
- Outwork your competition.
Originally published on Ideamensch.com