No service business starts off ‘successful’. No matter how much planning and preparation go into it, the day you go into business, you’ll run into challenges that make you question every piece of your plan. There will be frustration, and confusion, sleepless nights, and lost family time.
What Makes Business Owners Successful
I’ve achieved a moderate level of success in my service business. There are systems in place to make sure customers are happy and revenue is earned. The company has built a solid reputation and has a marketing system that pulls in customers. Most importantly the business throws off a healthy profit.
At this point, I’m far disconnected from the day to day operations. I don’t have to work every day (so instead I write this website).
I’ve been called smart, creative, innovative and a whole slew of other positive adjectives. Admittedly it is flattering but the truth is, I’m none of those. Taking the company to its current level wasn’t rocket science, but it did require 2 things — clarity & consistency. We’ll call it the formula for success; Clarity + Consistence = SUCCESS.
Often times the solution isn’t complicated, simple solutions work better, but you need clarity. You need to understand exactly what you are doing, and then stick to it with consistency. There will be times when you feel as though your solution doesn’t work but you need to reflect on your initial clarity, the “why” you went down this path, and stick with it through consistency.
In other words, when you know what works, stick with it, until it does work. There are many pathways to success as a business owner, but the only path that matters is the one that you will stick to.
Let’s look at some of the struggles you’ll run into as you grow your business and the incredible power of clarity and consistency.
Challenge #1: Staffing….
Labor is in short supply with the US unemployment rate below 4% (as of APR 2018), and pair that with the rigors and lack of glamour associated with trades work; Finding the right people is the #1 challenge of every service business.
Forget about hiring in ‘talent’ — that concept only works in the textbooks, not the real world. When hiring in talent you’ll often find dollar hoppers that will just capitalize on your pinch for labor. You need a hiring funnel so that you are consistently hiring, and then train your new hires from scratch.
It’s incredibly easy sounding but the frustration and headache of filtering through job ads, conducting interviews, and then training will be enough to challenge your consistency. If you can persevere, and keep the job ads running, and keep training your new employees, with consistency over several months (or years), you will build your own pool of skilled men that puts your business on a steady stream.
Challenge #2: Day To Day Operations Consuming Your Life
Most trades business start off as a one-man team with little to almost zero capital (other than time, of course). Wearing several hats can make you lose your focus on working on the core of your business. If your hands are tied up with one aspect of your business, you could be leaving another essential aspect behind. For example: no matter how good or skilled you are with your craft if no one is “selling” your service, your skill will be no good at all.
Create a system for getting your work done which could be as simple as a step by step checklist, and delegate.
Most contractors will never take the first step of putting a system in place. Mind you they don’t have to be complex. A simple scheduling system so each person knows where to go, and then a standards checklist for each scope of work is really all that is needed. From there you’ll need to refine the system, and the checklists, but more important use them to guide each project. When a problem arises, direct the employee back to the system. If the system has failed the employee, it is up to you to correct it but you must defer to the system consistently.
Challenge #3: Getting More Leads
Sales is the bloodline of every business and it all starts at the top of the funnel with leads! When you have a flood off quality leads, you can higher the extra person, or two. You can make decisions without the irrationality of tight cash flow.
Get an effective website that starts, gives a professional first impression, and then start publishing content — content marketing. Content marketing done now will spit off dividends, in the form of leads seeking a premium service provider, for years to come.
Get a website and publish content. Simple. Easy. Actually publishing content for months and seeing no result but having conviction — that is the consistency. The results will come, but they take consistency that most don’t have!
Whether you are a start-up or seasoned tradesman, being successful simply relies on identifying which aspects of your business requires your utmost attention, implement an actionable solution, and be consistent with it. As the saying goes, “everyone can be successful but not everyone can be successful forever.”