By David Crary
It simply won’t stop. The snow and cold has been brutal this winter in Minnesota. My friend posted a picture on Facebook of the snow with the caption: "Beautiful". True, but enough is enough! Never was there a stronger sense of urgency to grow my business and have the dream of heading to an oasis than this year.
In reviewing the responses from our recently completed 2014 Green Industry Benchmark Report, I am not alone. The report indicates that 93% of the respondents expect to grow
Revenue growth is a planned activity that requires effort and diligence. As you add clients, your business should grow assuming that you aren’t losing clients as well. However, that isn’t the only way to grow. Growth will also come through increasing your knowledge within the industry to becoming more efficient to getting more from your existing customer base.
The following 5 ways to grow your business in 2014 will get you growth in another direction:
1. Attend Trade Shows. Trade show attendance is an educational experience as well as seeing the latest vendor demonstrations and tremendously valuable for networking opportunities. We learn so many things from our peers and being at trade shows will allow these free flowing conversations to be had and to open up your mind to other opportunities. Look to a future blog this week on suggested events you want to get on the calendar in 2014. All you need is to bring back a few nuggets of good ideas to share with your employees and you will be glad you attended.
2. Embrace Email Marketing. The key to a successful service business is customer communication, and most customers are receptive to emails. This can be monthly newsletters as well as scheduling reminders and invoices. You want your company top-of-mind when they need additional services completed and email marketing is a great way to stay connected. The service business marketing module from Hindsite is an excellent plug-in to get you up and running in no time. Remember to send promotional emails to your customers and prospect, too. Everyone loves a deal so introduce a new service with a coupon e.g. $25 off, Buy One Get One, etc.
3. Expand Services. Roughly two thirds of our respondents indicated they will be adding services in 2014. Have your field service team responsible for a checklist after every
service stop. This list should include potential needs this customer has. Perhaps a dead tree is in the yard or the bushes need pruning. The lawn has gotten extra long or the clippings are not taken care of. Maybe the landscape lighting is in need of repair. Your team is noticing an influx of pests that could be sprayed for. These extra customer needs can be written up for a quote on the next service visit. This will show that you are proactively engaged in their landscape needs and want to keep costs to a minimum for them because you are already on the site. Be a partner, not a vendor.
4. Review Prices. Maybe you haven’t raised prices in a few years and this is going to be the year to do it. Be sure to know your competitive landscape (no pun intended)! Get your customers to commit to multiple year contracts and you will hold pricing for the duration of the contract. Our survey indicated that almost 70% of responders plan to raise prices in 2014, so now is a good time to consider if you want to join the price increase crowd.
5. Invest in Field Service Software. One way to gain efficiencies and productivity is to invest in field service software for your business. The scheduling, invoicing, email marketing and customer management will be set up in the system and easily managed. You will be making an investment in your business that will provide hours of free time for you and/or the people managing the mounds of paperwork that has taken over.
Best of luck in getting these 5 growth strategies in place and I will see you on the island