There’s a barrier keeping you from doing bigger things, and it just might be the front door. This wasn’t an analogy for Changelane: it turned out to be a reality.

The Lane, our mobile service bay delivering routine automotive service to our customers is 10 feet, four inches tall. The garage door at our Changelane offices was only 9 feet tall.

Easy solution: Make the garage door opening bigger.

Solutions may appear easy, but easily accomplishing them often are not. Such was the case for us at Changelane. There were just two major elements for this particular solution. They were obvious and simple elements.

  1. Enlarge the garage door opening
  2. Add panels to the garage door to compensate for the larger opening

Obvious, yes – but alas, not simple.

Try as we might, we could not find a company to enlarge the garage door opening for us. Our offices are located in an industrial complex built using tilt-up construction, which meant we would need to find professionals who could apply a large concrete saw to the vertical walls. This wasn’t because we were unable to find companies who do this – but rather because we needed it done as soon as possible; and the companies we contacted already had more business cutting concrete than they could handle.

The quandary was whether to slow or halt development of the Lane until we were sure we could get a larger garage door opening…or keep building remain optimistic that we would find a concrete cutter who didn’t have a backlog of customers creating a waiting period of months.

We chose the former.

Besides, getting the two additional panels to increase the height of the garage door wouldn’t be all that difficult.

Except that it was.

Companies who sell garage doors don’t have extra panels hanging out at their warehouse (if they even have a warehouse). Our team didn’t know this. People usually buy whole garage doors and not just pieces of them. What’s more, garage doors are sold as whole solutions because they are assembled based on what’s necessary for them to operate. In our case, the tracks and lift assembly were installed based on the existing size of the 9-foot door. Increasing its height to 11 feet meant the structure lifting it and holding it in place needed to be changed.

Simple, not so.

Our barrier to doing bigger things was proving to be rather formidable – who could have guessed that 16 inches could be such a nightmare? Whats more: We had a date with destiny that couldn’t be rescheduled. The Lane was to make its debut to the public at the city of Wayzata’s James J. Hill Days Festival.

In the end, we arrived on time for our date with destiny because the garage door opening was enlarged, even though the new door wasn’t ready yet and we had to create a plywood barrier moved and held in place by a forklift.

The_Door2The most important lesson our garage door adventure taught us was that it’s frighteningly easy to create barriers to your own progress if you adopt the belief that you must always be self-reliant.

Our big problem became a non-event as soon we stopped trying to do it all ourselves. We will never again hesitate to engage the services of professionals who not only can remove a barrier to entry, but roll out the red carpet while they’re at it.

Thank you, Steve Melberg!

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