One common concern among many home improvement company owners is figuring out how to manage growth in an uncertain marketplace. Among our peer groups here at Certified Contractors Network (CCN), we have come to learn that it’s impossible to do this if you’re also uncertain about you—specifically who you are as a business.
In our industry, companies begin with two objectives: to sell and earn. Young owners will set out wanting to sell as much of their product or services as possible while keeping as much profit as they can. And sure, that makes sense in the moment. But where do they go—and grow—from there?
Over time, we have learned to push business owners to establish visions for their companies early on. The key is to develop a business plan they can come back to, time and time again, to keep them on track.
Wise owners will use their business plan document to periodically check whether they are meeting their objectives, regardless of how the market is fairing. This foundational vision is a critical baseline objective prior to addressing concerns about managing growth in an uncertain marketplace.
Getting From Point A to Point Z
Most business owners work by themselves in a vacuum. They feel like they can’t ask friends for advice, nor can they talk to family. They feel like it’s all on them to drive their company forward. That is why peer-group organizations like ours work so well.
By plugging into a network of other owners, once-isolated business owners can access the coaching, consulting and training they need to achieve the visions they set out to achieve in their business plans. And they can also tap into the group for advice during uncertain market conditions.
A business owner needs three resources to get the answers that they need to keep their companies on track to achieve their visions of the future.
- Coaching: You need best practices that come with decades of experience. There are plenty of experienced owners who can offer this. It can be anyone in a position to offer insights on how to think about your business plans and also how to see them through.
- Consulting: Some experienced industry pros offer consulting. It’s worthwhile to consider working with someone you trust to identify and solve the specific problems keeping you back.
- Training: Once solutions to problems are identified, it’s important to get your whole team on the same page. You need to work with positions at every level of your organization and show them how it’s done.
But before any of this can happen, everyone in your organization needs to speak the same language.
A Conversation About Conversation
In this industry, how we “talk” to each other and represent our results need to be the same. Unfortunately, a lot of times business owners like to massage their data to fit their narrative. Salespeople tend to do this. They cherry-pick the right data to make it look like they’re performing well, when in reality they’re really not.
To help you get a better sense of how you’re performing, you need to establish the same benchmarks and standardize your key performance indicators (KPIs). In short, you need to identify your KPIs and develop a consistent way of referring to them.
When you are involved with business peer groups, and you are accessing other business resources, being consistent in referencing a defined set of KPIs becomes essential. Only then can you calculate costs, margins and profit and understand exactly how you’re performing in comparison to everyone else. With this understanding, you can then work to get the most out of your business.
The ‘Aha’ Moment
After level-setting your business with the right benchmarks and getting that nice, clear picture of how your company is performing, then you can begin to see the areas that need the most improvement and discover opportunities for growth. This “aha” moment is full of revelations.
“We need to generate more leads. We should consider offering additional services.” These revelations are a good thing. They give clarity to the uncertainty, and when you get this greater understanding of your company in sync with the business plan you set from the start, that’s when the growth really happens.
Make Small Bets
As your business starts to grow, you might be tempted to try to make big gains by placing big bets. Be patient. The biggest threat to your continued growth is taking on big risks. Make a lot of small bets and see what works. That’s the best way to get through times of uncertainty. QR