As we begin this New Year, I believe we can learn something from the pioneers of the Old West. In those days, there were two basic groups on the frontier. The first group were cowboys with herds of cattle, who grazed the land and then moved on. They were a restless bunch on the move that drove their cattle to be sold at the market.
The second group, the farmers, had a different approach. They spent months or years clearing a small parcel of land, cutting down trees, preparing the ground, planting crops, and building a prairie home. They attached themselves to a small piece of land and committed themselves to building a future on that spot.
The cattle drivers devoured the resources from the land and then moved on. They did not have long-term plans. The farmers added resources to the land. They planted seeds that would grow and built business infrastructures that would sustain their farms for decades into the future.
Grazing vs. Tilling
I see the same two patterns in our industry. Some companies survive from job to job, finding a few clients, selling a few jobs, but without a lasting presence. After years of hard work in this business, they still have no clear strategy to build the value of their company. What will the owners do when they reach retirement? Will all of their hard work leave a business that can continue or be sold?
On the other hand, successful CI professionals start building infrastructure and equity from day one. They build their business and make investments that sustain it. They also create structures and systems that make their business productive year after year. When difficult times come, they dont cut and run.
Putting Down Roots
The farmers savings is invested in a bag of little seeds buried in the ground. It takes a commitment of faith. After planting, the field still looks like worthless dirt. Weeks pass as the farmer faithfully waters his field. He cannot see any results, but he must act as though the little sprouts are growing.
To be successful in the AV installation business, you need to know more than how to wire up a great system. You need business skills to plant the seeds of a lasting business infrastructure. Planting certain types of seed results in long term rewards, like planting a grove of oranges trees that produce year after year.
Here are some seeds you can plant to build lasting business success:
1.Locate your office and showroom at a key location in your community. Get your sign up and put your logo on your trucks to let everyone know that you are planted there. Your location should be carefully chosen and generally be in a professional office complex rather than more expensive retail spaces as you are not looking for walk-in customers.
2. Clearly define your customer base and install demo systems in your offices specifically targeted for those customers. Invite every prospect and client to visit your showroom. When new technologies are launched, be the first to demo them to your clients.
3.Develop relationships with key manufacturers and their reps. This is how to separate your company from your competition. Build lasting business with the best products you can sell.
4.Hire the very best team of employees that you can find. They represent you to your clients every day. Share your vision with them, motivate them, treat them with respect, and reward them when your company prospers.
5.Make sure your team has the finest training available. Because you are in the business of installing cutting-edge technology, you must constantly be training and retraining your entire team to be up to speed on all the newest gear.
6.Instead of winging your designs, create standardized system solutions that you can sell again and again. Find what systems work best for you and stay with them.
7. Reach out to build lasting relationships with builders, architects, and interior decorators that can bring you repeat business year after year. Create special events for them at your showroom so they feel connected with you and your company. This is the best point of contact to position your company for repeat business.
8.Your future is only as good as your reputation. Bend over backwards to maintain the highest level of professionalism and satisfaction with every single client you work with. When things go wrong, exceed expectations in finding solutions. Even a single unhappy client is not acceptable. Every happy client is a pod full of seed ready to grow referral clients for you. As your whole team works to keep these clients happy your business will constantly grow.