27 Mar 3 Ways to Buck the Status Quo and Rise to the Top
“I’m not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it.” Five hundred years ago, politician and diplomat Niccolo Machiavelli knew the power and necessity of forging a new and daring path, and his writings continue to influence leaders in business today. It may be easier and more comfortable to follow the crowd and stick with the tried and true than to go in a new, uncharted direction, but in business, bucking trends and blazing a trail can mean the difference between paddling in the current of the industry standard or riding the wave of profitability far beyond what you imagined was possible. Your business is doing well because of your commitment and investments of time, energy and resources. But in an industry saturated with service providers, doing well should only be the starting line. Unsure where and how to move beyond the status quo and begin being a trendsetter, trailblazer, and bar raiser? Start with these three things.
Branding is your business’s personal identity concept – the way it is perceived and received by others. Branding is instrumental in increasing your business’s visibility and enhancing its reputation. Considering there are hundreds of landscape contracting companies in the U.S. with the suffix scapes in their name, it makes sense to differentiate. One of the best ways to achieve differentiation is via intentional, creative branding. Think about what gives your business a unique personality in the marketplace and build on it. Logos, slogans, sales and marketing materials, delivery of services, trucks, crew uniforms and, of course, your company name can and should loudly and proudly communicate your landscape contracting firm’s brand. One thing to keep in mind about branding is that it should be cohesive. It is important to weave it throughout your organization’s operations, business management, sales and marketing, and even Human Resources.
What stands out in a retailer, restaurant, or service provider? The businesses that score the highest ratings and experience the greatest longevity in the vast consumer market know how to consistently deliver a top-quality customer experience without breaking the bank. It all begins with knowing the customer. Customers are, by and large, egocentric and afflicted with what is known in the industry as WIIFM (What’s in It for Me) Syndrome. Smart service-based businesses understand this, and they carefully and thoughtfully incorporate elements in their delivery of services that make customers feel valued, heard, and appreciated. This, in turn, makes them more likely to be repeat customers. One easy way to raise the delivery bar is by implementing a “value meal” model in which commoditized services are packaged or bundled with more specialized ones. Customers purchasing a bundle perceive the commoditized offerings as more valuable than they are on their own.
Businessman and McDonalds collaborator Ray Croc said, “You’re only as good as the people you hire.” Many versions of this sentiment have surfaced over the decades, and they all point to the critical truth that a business is only as strong as its employees. Founder and CEO of the career development platform The Muse, Kathryn Minshew, articulates why hiring smart is often easier said than done: “The hard part is actually building the team that will embody your company culture and propel you forward.” Just as not every customer is meant to be your customer, not every candidate for a role in your business is meant to be your team member. By being unwaveringly and unapologetically selective in your choice of who to bring onto your team, you ensure the internal culture remains healthy and vibrant, projecting precisely the image you want it to project to prospective customers and employees. This discriminating approach to recruiting should be consistent whether you are hiring a manager, a sales professional, or a technician.
Are you performing at the status quo? Take this quick assessment to find out.
- Do you consistently hover between 5% and 10% net profit?
- Do you typically offer a la carte services versus bundled offerings?
- Do you recruit only when there is an urgent need to bring someone on your team?
- Do you hold onto customers even when they cost your business money?
- Do you struggle to differentiate yourself from the competition?
If you answered yes to most these questions, you could benefit from specialized processes, systems, tools and coaching that transform your business from doing well to taking the lead. Visit www.landopt.com to find out how LandOpt can help take your business to the next level.