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Taking Your Company Off Cruise Control

Times are good in the residential AV business, but they won’t stay that way forever.

When times are good in the AV industry it can be easy to ride the wave of success after success. Jobs are coming in, product is available, and clients are happy. It’s a dealer’s dream, right? If you have the right processes and a stellar team in place, it can be a lot like operating your business on cruise control. You may peer at the speedometer from time to time, but you’re not agonizing over the details mile over mile.

Crusie Control with Warning Signs
Getty Images

But what happens when the traffic in front of you starts to slow, or your GPS alerts you to a speed trap ahead? Things inevitably slow down and that’s exactly what dealers need to be ready for. We’ve all been enjoying an influx of projects that can make the slowdowns all the more difficult to navigate. It’s time to take your business off cruise control, and PowerHouse Alliance members can help you get ready for whatever 2023 has in store.

Rotate Your Product Offerings

When projects begin to slow, there is no better time to investigate all the product options available. We are six months past CEDIA and a few months past CES, so the time is ripe to consider what products may now be shipping. It could even be time to consider new product categories as we head into spring and summer. Are you prepared with a full suite of outdoor speaker options? What about outdoor smart shades? We’ve seen incredible growth in both of these categories over the last few years. Not sure what you’re looking for? PowerHouse Alliance has over 65 convenient locations where you can get demos, meet with reps, and have your questions answered.

Tune Up Your Trainings

Last year the job market experienced the great resignation, then the great reshuffle. What’s next? The experts say “quiet hiring,” which is when a company redistributes team members or recruits short-term contractors instead of hiring full-time employees. Amid all these shifts in the job market, concerns over employee retention remains high. You don’t want one of your biggest company investments — your people — walking out the door.

Also by Dennis Holzer: Growing Your Business on Purpose

While there are many ways to attract and retain talent, professional development is one area that is often overlooked. According to a survey by Fast Company, 92 percent of full-time employees would feel more loyal to companies that invested in their professional development goals. Staying up to date on tech in this industry goes beyond just knowing the speeds and feeds of the product. Dealers have to know the installation best practices and techniques that will help them save time on the job.

PowerHouse Alliance members are committed to helping dealers stay at the top of their game. In addition to the vast schedule of webinars and product trainings available at every location, PowerHouse will be kicking off our hands-on training with CEDIA in the coming months. Stay tuned for dates and details.

Navigate to New Customers

When it comes to your customer base, consider this simple question: are you reactive, responding to inbound requests that come across your desk, or are you proactive, out there drumming up business? There is no shame in either approach, but those companies who rely on business coming to them may be more than a little out of practice when the occasion calls for them to proactively sell.

Last month, Mark Corbin, president of Vanco, a PowerHouse Alliance vendor partner, shared in this very publication and online about the opportunities in the middle market for dealers. If you missed it, I highly suggest taking a look. Navigating to new customers is worth the time and effort to keep your project pipeline full and, as Mark shared, the middle market is massively underserved by integrators.

“In approaching the mid-market, integrators may need to broaden their horizons and develop some more flexible thinking habits,” he said. “For example, these upper-middle class households may not be willing to pay for a whole-home distributed audio system, but that doesn’t mean installed audio is off the table. A room-by-room approach relying on in-wall streaming or Wi-Fi amplifiers could be more cost-effective and appropriate to their needs. They might not be willing to pay more or wait long for the most recognizable brands in the industry, but there are many smaller brands with inventory and price points tuned to appeal to the mid-market.”

Also by Dennis Holzer: Repeat Business

PowerHouse Alliance members can help you identify that product mix to serve the middle market — maybe they’re some of the products you’ve been considering or that you’ve taken training on. Company cruise control has its time and place — when things are so busy you can barely return a phone call. Sure, let those tried-and-true procedures guide your team, but no company can stay on cruise control forever, so remember to prioritize those key areas that will help your team and business succeed now and in the future. Let Powerhouse members help!