The State of Your Company

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I know this issue is dedicated to the state of the industry, and I think there are many amazing restoration experts much better suited than me to speak to these trends and issues. However, I do feel able to speak to taking stock of the state of your company. It’s easy to obsess about the state of the industry and what outside forces can affect your company. I understand you don’t live in a bubble and there are things going on in the industry that you need to be aware of. However, I also feel you can be very well-served controlling what you can control within your own restoration company.

For the purposes of this article, I would like to do a “State of Your Company” analysis. We are often looking outward at market forces, competitors, and the like; but do you take enough time and effort to really dig in to what is working well and what needs work in your own company? Are you truly putting the effort in to plan, strategize, and figure out what will make you the best and most successful version of your company that you can create. 

Let’s now look at some questions to ask yourself and things to consider to help you evaluate the state of your company.

Planning

  • Is your management team really taking the time and energy to plan for the next month, the next quarter, and the next year? 
  • What tools are you using to do this planning?
  • Are you using a seminar such as Violand Management Associate’s Business Planning Retreat, where the pre-work is all laid out for you to complete and you just go to work using the tools in the seminar and the restoration industry-specific coaches to create a plan with?
  • Are you using a non-industry-specific planning tool such as EOS?
  • Are you blocking out time each week for the management team to work on these important tasks that may propel you to the next level?

However you choose to plan is not the issue. Often in restoration companies, it is generally IF you are willing to make the time to consistently plan is the key to success.

Training

  • How much training of the team are you doing? Often the owner is getting consistently trained and maybe a top manager, too. What about the rest of the team? Is the receptionist/CSR getting training? 
  • Are the technicians getting trained in not only technical aspects, but also soft skills?
  • Are the estimators getting ongoing sales training?
  • Are the business development reps glorified candy bag droppers, or are they getting ongoing training to become great at setting up discovery meetings and closing referral business?

A big part of employee engagement and satisfaction comes from being invested in. Everyone is screaming at the tops of their lungs that employee attraction and retention are the biggest problems faced at all levels of the organization. However, what is your company doing to appear attractive to potential hires and existing employees? Investment in ongoing training for all staff goes a long way to make your company better, more employee focused, and successful.

Technology

  • What is the state of technology within your company? 
  • Are you still doing everything as it was done when you first started in the industry? Or are you making efforts to stay up with the changes in the industry, using products such as Matterport, Encircle, KnowHow, and remote monitoring equipment to take your operations to the next level?

Using technology for employee engagement is also very important. I saw Rachel Stewart of Xcelerate gives a very interesting talk about creating a “frictionless” environment for employees to work within. Regardless of what technology you are employing in your business, be sure the technology is making life easier for the team rather than harder. This will also improve employee morale and retention.

Business Development

 I know so many companies that send out business development reps stocked with swag like pens, pads, golf balls, chip clips, and all the same stuff everyone else delivers. They bring cookies, candy, and donuts in hope that these things will bring in business. In some cases this works, and as a part of the entire business development plan, they are essential

  • How is your company standing out? Everyone does the aforementioned things, so what value is your company adding? 
  • How to you get work from a potential referral source that is already using someone else?

I can only speak from my own experience, but we tried to be different. We worked hard at finding ways to stand out and be of value to potential referral sources. Larry, my business partner, didn’t use cookies and candy. He delivered pineapples. You never forget the guy who shows up to your office in a bright neon fedora holding a pineapple! I am a John Maxwell Certified coach, so I would offer to do free leadership training for a referral’s team to add value. I would offer to do sales training for their technicians or sales team to help improve sales. We were bringing value our competition was unwilling or unable to provide. As marketing guru Seth Godin would say, we were the Purple Cow. So, is the state of your business development team where you would like it, and if not, what changes can you make for the upcoming year?

Technicians

  • What is the state of your field team? Are they happy? 
  • Are they well trained and can they work with a minimum of problems in the field? 
  • Is your retention rate better than the industry average? (Check out stats in C&R’s State of the Industry report!)
  • Are they bringing you their friends to come work as technicians, too?

Leighton Healey of KnowHow joined the Blue Collar Nation podcast on a live panel at the ACCESS Conference to speak about the findings of their industry survey Why Workers Quit. He stated a few statistics that really gave insight to the things all restoration companies should be focused on to keep the team around and engaged. According to the survey, 59% of field workers felt team culture was the most important aspect of them enjoying their job. So what keeps the team intact is making sure you are providing a great place to work. Interestingly, 59% of all new technicians joining the restoration field come from your existing technicians. 

That being said, it is of the utmost importance for your company to create a fun, safe, and stable place to work in an industry that is both emotionally and physically challenging for those who do the field work. The question is: do you have a team culture which will both keep your existing techs and have them so excited to work for you that they tell their friends to join you?

Even though this article just scratches the surface of running a cleaning or restoration business, as we head into a new year, I am asking of you to take a moment and ponder the true state of your company and what can be done to improve it. I am well aware how hard it is to carve out the time and resources to do this. However, it is imperative for all of us to focus inward at times and make sure our house is in good order.

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Eric Sprague

Eric Sprague is a long time cleaning and restoration business owner. Having sold his service business in 2018, Eric is now Director of Education at Super Tech University and Co-Host of the Blue Collar Nation Podcast. Eric’s passion is help­ing service business owners and their field technicians be the best they can be and grow as people and service business professionals.

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