One HUGE obstacle to growing your business is being stuck in the day-to-day grind of doing the work and managing everything. Another common obstacle is differentiating your services from your competitors. Fortunately, there’s a simple recipe that you can use to overcome these obstacles. It’s a recipe that you can begin implementing instantly and see immediate results. You ONLY need to focus on four parts of your business; your team, your systems, your brand, and your clients, to guarantee systematic growth…and make your business stand out among competitors.
I talked to Tom Jakes, of Hickory Dickery Decks, about how focusing on these four parts enabled him to improve the quality of his service, the visibility of his business, and the recognition of his brand.
Teamwork Doesn’t Only Get the Job Done, It’s the Foundation for Growth
When Tom started Hickory Dickery Decks, over 30 years ago, he was quite literally a company of one. Tom was a one-man building crew and when he would finish his days labor, he would go door-to-door and generate leads. Although Tom was successful, he was doing all the work and booking out all his jobs. He had dreams of growing his business into a franchise from the beginning and knew he needed to make some changes.
One of the first things Tom did was hire pros to help him in his day to day operations. By hiring professionals to get the job done, the quality of the service increased. Originally, Tom was a one-man operator, then he started hiring a crew of people — but they were basically handymen. Then Tom decided to hire professionals contractors, and his quality increased. It doesn’t matter if you are building decks or building websites, you are providing a service to paying clientele. Hiring professionals will allow you to not only increase the quality of the service, but the speed at which the service is completed. In short, you deliver a better quality product and complete more jobs. This will allow you to charge higher rates that are comparable to the quality of your services.
Now, undoubtedly, you are probably thinking, “Well, wait a second, won’t professionals cost me more money?” The short answer is, yes. However, the quality and speed of your job time increase, and you will be able to take on more jobs, so in the long run, it makes you money. Additionally, these employees will come on to the company for the opportunity of growth, not just the paycheck.
The number one biggest game changer for any business, according to Tom, is having happy team members. When your team is happy, they will work hard for you and when they work hard for you, they work hard for your clients and your business and reputation for superior quality and services grow.
Without Clear Systems, You’re Shooting From the Hip and This Isn’t the Wild West
Regardless of whether or not you like their food, there is one thing that makes businesses like Mcdonalds or In-and-Out Burger great. The common link is consistency of performance and service. In other words, it doesn’t matter if the client goes to locations 100 miles apart, the product, service, and quality of locations are virtually indistinguishable.
Not being able to maintain quality control is a valid fear of new contractors, entrepreneurs, and business owners have when growing businesses, especially if there are multiple locations or a future that holds multiple locations. How do you accomplish consistency? What is the difference between new entrepreneurs and businesses like McDonald's? Put simply, systems and ways to train your employees within those systems. That is the main difference. A common fear for a lot of growing businesses is, “what if my product or service quality becomes diluted as my business grows and more employees are added?” Businesses like McDonalds have found a solution. Have you heard of something called Hamburger University? It is a real thing. That is the training system Mcdonalds uses to ensure the quality and consistency of their products and services across all of their locations. This is why a Big Mac is a Big Mac everywhere and made the same way, at least that holds true in North America. Worldwide there are differences.
Tom recognized the importance of having systems in place. Beyond that, he understood the value of making those systems teachable. These two seemingly simple practices, have allowed Tom’s deck business to become a franchised deck building company, without compromising the quality of the service. Although it is simple, the work can be difficult. Especially, when you are the one putting in the time day in and day out. I discuss the ways to escape this trap and simple ways to set yourself up for actually owning your business, rather than having a job in your business, with all of my clients through 4 Level Coach. If you feel like you need help developing these systems or help understanding what they look like, 4 Level Coach would be happy to help you with that.
Differentiate Your Business From Your Competitors- Building a Brand of Visibility
Are you ready for exponential growth? Let’s say you have a team of hardworking dedicated employees, they are using the systems you have created to ensure the quality of your services and you are no longer trapped in the hustle and bustle of actually doing the jobs yourself. That’s a great head start! But now what do you do with all of those amazing resources? How do you differentiate your services from those of your competitors? What should the growth-minded entrepreneur do next to build their business and a reputable brand? The easiest way to do this is by building a brand of visibility.
Building a brand of visibility is exactly what it sounds like, your future clients need to know who you are and what you do. In addition to smart marketing tactics, here are some simple ways to make sure your services and products are visible to the public:
- Get Pictures of Your Services -These pictures can be put on business cards, door hangers, presentation books, etc.
- Increase Your Signage- You drive everywhere, have you invested in signage for a vehicle? It can be a relatively inexpensive mobile billboard.
- Put Good Information on Your Website — Google ranks websites based on information and the value of the website as a resource of people searching. Undoubtedly, investing the time and money into putting good useful information on your website will increase your visibility.
These are just a few of the ways Tom and I agree on increasing the visibility of your business. (There are more discussed within the podcast and you can listen to that here). Our ideas are based on decades of real-world market research from our own business careers, and successful vs. unsuccessful marketing campaigns. Through our trial and error, we have found these approaches reach customers. Which brings me to my last topic, the customers themselves.
Never Forget, Every Business is a People Business
Ready for the final ingredient in the recipe for optimal business growth? You now have an amazing workforce, who are trained in the systems that guarantee consistency in your product… and you now have increased clientele to provide those services to — thanks to your increased visibility. But, how do you kick it up a notch? How do you really make yourself stand out? Tom and I both believe the key ingredient is a happy customer base. That’s right. It is really that simple. Especially in this age of technology with Yelp and Google reviews, it is important to make sure you give your clients the best experience you can.
This doesn’t mean you are always going to have happy customers … no, it means you always do your best to make the unhappy customer happy. Once Tom had a crew who knocked down the fence of their client’s next-door neighbour… ouch! Talk about someone who was probably not happy! Fixing the problem incurred an additional, unpredicted expense and sometimes this is going to happen. However, Tom made sure the fence was fixed and the customer (and their neighbor) were both happy.
Why that story? Because referral is a huge source of lead generation. In Tom’s case, it outperforms his website lead generation. A happy client will refer business your way. An unhappy client will deter people from doing business with you. This isn’t just because of the product or service your company provided, but the customer experience they received. Your happy customers can become one of your biggest marketing resources.
So there you have it, a simple four-part recipe to ensure systematic exponential growth in your business. Although this recipe is simple, it will take some hard work, but that is one thing in abundant supply for any contractor, entrepreneur, or business owner. So if you want to streamline your business’ growth and leave your competitors behind, take advantage of this four-part recipe to catapult your business to greater success.Plot out the steps you can begin taking in each of those areas today and then execute on them for speedy results
Do you want to learn even more about these recipe ingredients? Is your mouth watering just longing to try the full dish? Then head over to https://4levelcoach.com/randy-stanbury/podcast/ and listen to the entire podcast where Tom and I share even more tips and tactics than those summarized in this article — and detail how anyone can follow this recipe and obtain the growth in their business they never thought was possible.