I know there are a ton of lists out there from manufacturers, distributors, and journalists about how to make 2014 better than 2013. I’m going to add to that, but from an integrators perspective, as I’m doing it all right now myself.
With January typically a pretty slow month—at least until people start gearing up for the Super Bowl— I try to take advantage of the post-holiday lull by preparing myself for an even more successful year ahead. Here are five tips to generating more business and more profit in 2014:1). Refresh Relationships
This is nothing new. But make sure you make it personal. Pick up the phone or write a hand-written note. Call architects, designers, and contractors that you’ve worked with in the past. See how their year looks. Ask how you can help them. See if they need any personal work done. Make it about them, not about you looking for work. Call past clients. See if they want to upgrade their network with better Wi-Fi, if they want additional streaming options for their AV system, or if they want lighting control. See how you can improve their lives based on what they already have.
2). Take Stock of Your Inventory
Clear out anything old that you don’t think you’ll sell. Offer it to your techs so they can learn, donate it to a local school or church that might be able to use it, or see if manufacturers or distributors will take it back if you order a similar amount of replacement product.
3). Educate Yourself and Your Team
Take advantage of training classes or read up on what is being shown at CES this week. Be sure you can talk intelligently to your clients about the things they may hear about (Samsung’s Smart Home, curved ultra-HD screens, LG’s HomeChat, etc). You don’t want to be caught flat footed and have a client know more than you.
4). Plan for 2014
What marketing efforts worked in 2013 in which you need to increase your investment? What didn’t work and should be cut? What product lines will you be emphasizing? Which will you pick-up? Which will you drop? While much of this should have been done at the end of the year, we all know how crazy the holidays can get, so if you didn’t get to it, now is the time.
5) Take Calculated Risk
I recently took a huge risk in how I have organized my business and the product lines we carry. This is the biggest risk I have taken since I left my job running Best Buy’s regional installation business over eight years ago. I now carry a completely different product line up, particularly from a control perspective, this year than I did when 2013 started, and that has completely changed my product mix and how I go to market. I am busier than I ever have been. It has taken a lot of planning, some great partners who were willing to take the journey with me (manufacturer partners, programmers, techs), and a lot of investment in time, training, and demo product, but it is paying off in spades
Don’t let these things get ahead of you. Get out in front of them and make 2014 a great year. The economy looks better, real estate continues to improve, and so should your business!