Yesterday I was in the middle of a full day of sales calls and client work when I heard a surging gurgling sound. The water was being pulled from the toilet in both of our bathrooms. It was startlingly loud. I stepped away from a call, the gurgling stopped on its own, I finished the call, and then returned to troubleshooting.

After searching, I concluded there was either a temporary displacement in the pipes that cleared itself or there is something blocking the drain-waste-vent. This means going up onto the roof of my house. It’s a crisp January day in Denver and I don’t enjoy heights (this is an understatement). At least the sun is out.

Grab the ladder, secure it, climb up to the roof and quickly realize I need a small flathead screwdriver to remove the stack vent. Down and back up again. Remove the stack vent and… There’s nothing blocking the drain-waste-vent, not that I can see anyway. Turns out it was a temporary displacement in the pipes after all.

Did I overreact? Maybe.

Maybe I didn’t need to be on my roof. If I hadn’t been home at the time, I would not have even known this happened. The noise stopped. I even cut off the water main and cleared out the pipes. Everything seemed normal.

Here’s the thing: Someone has to check. Sometimes that means checking it yourself, sometimes it means calling someone and having them check out. But these are the kinds of things you really don’t want to put off.

Lagging, stagnant, and slow sales are like a gurgling toilet. It might be fine and work itself out. An unexpected big deal might close. A happy customer might refer some big new account your way. You might get covered by an enterprising journalist who sees your brilliance. Or not.

If it is to be, it is up to me.

– William Johnsen

As a business owner, you have to be comfortable jumping in—even and especially when it’s uncomfortable—and addressing things that need to be addressed. We’re two weeks into a new year and it’s not a good time to get behind.

What’s your equivalent of ending up on the roof?

Maybe it’s an extra check-in with existing customers. Maybe it’s adding more prospecting to your list. Maybe it’s knocking on a few extra doors. If you’re a plumber, maybe it’s ending up on a roof checking vent stacks.

Whether you’re doing it yourself or bringing in help, see to it that it gets done.

N.b. In other words, The Buck Stops Here.

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