Right in the middle of the hardest emotional week of my life, I took my oldest son Kenny on day trip to Jack Frost & Big Boulder Ski Resort in the Pocono Mountains. There are two monster lessons I learned this day and wanted to share them both.
The first lesson is in the power of laughter that I shared in the Funny Papers. My Nana passed on February 22nd. The funeral was March 2nd. Our ski trip was already scheduled for February 25th. Teresa and I thought it would be good for me and Kenny to get away for the day. It was exactly what the doctor ordered. The fresh air and quiet time with the Lord. The time of refreshment and connection with my son. This was helping me through the worst grief of my life. Then I experienced the gift of laughter and it washed away so many tears. It's like King Solomon wrote:
Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 - There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
King Solomon is known as the wealthiest and wisest man in history. Rulers of his day would visit him from afar, lavish him with gifts, just to hear him speak. I have read these verses hundreds of times and always wondered why Solomon ordered life events and seasons the way he did. The belly laugh I experienced was the polar opposite emotion of utter grief. It recentered me and brought me tremendous healing. That's why Solomon in verse 4 says, "a time to weep and a time to laugh".
The second lesson was for my son as we rode the ski lifts. It was a dreary February day. The temperature was above freezing, but it rained on and off. Therefore, both mountains were empty. It was awesome. Kenny and I would take a few runs next to the ski lift. Then we'd see our tracks from the lift untouched, except by each other. That's how empty the mountain was. While we got on a lift, I asked the attendant. "Slow night. Not many here, huh?" He replied. "Yeah, you're lucky. There's only 26 skiiers here."
Kenny and I talked numbers during that chairlift ride up. We figured (as a guess) that the average skiier brings in $100 in revenue to the mountain per day. Some rent, some eat, all buy lift passes. Then we ventured a guess that the mountain operates at a cost of $5,000 per day just to be open for skiing. This includes the mountain, snow making & grooming, staff, medical, food, etc. Kenny did some quick math and realized that the resort needs 50 skiiers per day just to break even. Big Boulder had 26 that night and were losing money!
It's a great way to understand fixed operating expenses. So many businesses out there have large overhead or fixed expenses. The ski resort needs 51 skiiers per night to make any money. The grocery store probably needs that many as well. We have an awesome business! A solo cleaning business's operating expenses are so low that we can earn a profit with 1 client per week and in some cases, 1 cleint per month! You can't beat that. Here's the significance. In my first solo cleaning business, I was able to optimize to a profit margin of 85%. I kept $85 of every $100 I made. Big Boulder probably keeps $5 if they're lucky. Kenny understood this lesson and I hope you do to.
"Helping cleaning professionals make the impact they were meant to make."