Some owners struggle to grow their business. Interestingly, others struggle after they experience growth. The common thread is, they don’t have a plan.
To achieve growth – and more importantly, to handle and sustain growth – you need to prepare.
It’s not a secret that there is a lot of work out there in the green industry. As a matter of fact, I believe the residential market is practically unlimited.
Because of sheer size of the market and the opportunity, many companies stumble into some amount of success relatively easily. But that only takes them so far, and sooner or later they stall.
Lack of planning for growth keeps many companies from realizing the industry’s full potential.
If you don’t have the infrastructure and systems in place to handle an influx of new work, it does you no good that the phone is ringing off the hook.
So how do you plan for growth?
Here are the three key steps.
Step 1: Stop spending so much time working in the field
Sometimes this seems harder than it really is. But, again, that’s part of the planning. Whatever keeps you working in the field, you need to overcome it. You need to make this happen.
As soon as you can get yourself out of the field, you can respond to quotes faster, oversee quality control by managing multiple sites, and spend time finding and developing new business so that you can take your business to Step 2.
Step 2: Build your company to the point where you can justify a full-time office administrator
You will likely need sales of at least $500,000 in order to justify hiring a full-time admin. Once you hit this point your company should be operating four maintenance crews and 10 to 12 regular employees.
This is one of the greatest and most satisfying achievements you will make. With full-time office help, the burden of being the main point of contact is lifted. After feeling so much pressure to do everything and answer every call, for the first time in a while, you’ll experience a euphoric feeling of freedom.
Step 3: Automate
After a couple years of finding customers and establishing systems, finally it will be time to put the final pieces in place.
Your planning and preparation should have included identifying and developing your best employees – key players who have earned your trust and are ready to be promoted to Field Manager.
Once you can put one or two field managers in place, you now have your core team and official chain of command! You have a point of contact in the office handling calls, emails, invoicing, HR, payroll, etc. You also have one or two field managers who can run the crews and start to quote jobs (assuming you trained them).
So, the big question becomes, what do YOU do?
The answer: You do what you WANT to do instead of what you HAVE to do.
Of course, there is plenty of work, but it will feel much more relaxed and stress-free. You plan your day around your schedule, meet clients when you want to, check on job sites and give quotes when you want to.
At this point the ship has been set on its course, now you just sit back and steer it in the right direction.
Sounds simple, right? Well it is if you plan for success. If you’ve been flying by the seat of your pants, it’s never too late to make a plan!