Whether you are a business owner and CEO or a high-ranking manager, it is important to be the best you can be, particularly if you are asking the same of your staff and business. Here are some of the ways you can progress this year, ensuring that you succeed and the business along with it.
Assign Management Roles
It’s okay to delegate. By creating management roles, it gives you as an owner an opportunity to take a step back and focus on other projects. Managers are the next step in your defence to liaising with staff and taking over the time-sucking tasks of your work day.
Admittedly, assigning management roles, and handing the reigns over isn’t easy. Sometimes it just seems that only you can do many things, or that you do so many intangible tasks, things that just “come up” and require executive oversight, that no one else could possibly do your job. The trick is you have to make things tangible. Chances are, all the things that just “come up”, are likely routine, and could be put down on paper.. Take a week, and write down everything you do. Everything you check on. Now many group those items together and assign them to others.
Stop Micro Managing
Learn to let go. If you’ve handed off the responsibility to someone, let them handle it without interfering. Often micro-management is a lot more damaging than you might realize, partly because it lowers the self-esteem and morale of the individual who is supposed to be doing the task, but also because of the time cost. If you are wasting your time watching over employees too much then you might as well get rid of the senior staff or managers because you are doing THEIR job. This means you can’t spend your time productively and then everyone is unhappy.
Of course all this micro managing doesn’t necessarily happen because you want to be a “micro manager’. In my experience, its just an overwhelming urge to check on things, now while they’re on my mind… so I don’t forget later. Besides frustrating those working for / with you, it also preoccupies your mind preventing you from getting done with more valuable tasks, like selling projects and growing your business.
Rather than making your life and everyone else’s life hell by routinely checking in on them, make a daily or weekly check list, or in our case, maybe a project checklist. This outlines clear standards for your employees, and takes.
Start Tracking Leads
If you aren’t already, you need to be. How can you lower marketing costs if you don’t know specifically what your return on each lead source is? Likewise, how could you scale up marketing without knowing the cost of each lead source. Tracking leads is crucial to getting these key details so you can, cut the costly crap that doesn’t work, scale up the stuff that does work and grow with a super lean marketing budget.
Ask For Referrals
Referrals are a key part of business in the home service space, particularly because of the trust that is needed to come into someone’s home. With this in mind, follow up and contact previous clients and happy customers to get an official testimonial or referral that you can place on your website, social media channels or marketing documents. Anyone who is recommended by many, is more likely to receive new clients. Suggested reading: 4 Cheap and Easy Ways to Stay Connected To Past Customers.
Accept Credit Cards
I know the thought of paying a 3%+ fee on transactions is fingernail on chalkboard painful to any business owner that isn’t in an industry where taking the haircut is common practice. On top of it all you have the chance of disputes. But in my experience it has been worth it.
I know it is illogical, but customers will pay a premium to use their credit card and get their rewards. Use this as a selling point. On the back end you get paid faster (automatically charge credit card on completion). Plus it takes away the pain of paying. You know how some customers call you back for seemingly no reason when you ask them to pay; it is usually just because they feel the pain when they have to consciously stroke the check and want another trip back out to feel justified. Automatically charging the card alleviates this.
Understand Your Labor Efficiency
In the home services space, where labor is usually the highest cost, the most important key performance indicator is your labor efficiency rate. In other words, how well are you using labor to earn revenue. Getting a handle on this number, will help you set goals, and increase efficiency down the line. Read: Full Blog Post On Labor Efficiency Rate.
Make sure that you regularly evaluate and communicate with your employees. Whether this is a development meeting or performance review, touching base with staff can allow you to get on top of anything that might be happening or going wrong. You’ll find that the more communicative you are with staff, the more they are with you which makes for a better and transparent working environment which is, on the whole, more effective. As with everything, be systematic about it and make a list, so management roles can be delegated.
Turn Estimates Into Sales Opportunities
Turn your estimates into sales opportunities by ensuring that every estimate or quote you give out, you are effectively selling your services! It’s common for many home service business owners just to ‘give out’ an estimate. They scratch the number down and then walk away. Rather than doing that, focus on showing, telling, and explaining the benefit. Highlight the differences between yourself and your competitors. Think of the estimate as more a ‘presentation’ than just giving an estimate. This change of mentality alone can simply lead to more sales.
Get Useful Feedback
One of the best ways to improve is to speak to clients themselves about what you excel at and what needs work, straight from the horse’s mouth. Whether it’s an online or paper survey, social media poll or merely an informal chat about how the job is done, start asking for feedback and you can adapt your service to meet your client bases’ needs.
Make 2018 the year you focus on you and your business. Focusing on these important areas will make you a better owner or manager, improve your team and streamline your processes overall.