As we move towards the end of a challenging year, it’s time to finalize planning for Q3 and Q4, as well as begin planning for the upcoming new year. Being proactive with your planning can help you keep your priorities on track and take your business to the next level of success.
Business planning and goal setting will help you start 2021 strong in order to ensure your business will grow and have a successful year. Remember, your plans do not have to be overly complex, but they should include the goals you want to achieve and a basic outline on the steps you need to complete to meet them. Keep yourself organized to give you the framework that you’ll need to be successful in for the next year of business.
As you begin setting and planning out your goals, it can become difficult narrowing it down on what goals to set and where to focus. Many businesses set goals for process, performance, and outcome, which can range from streamlining day-to-day operations and adding services to increasing sales, establishing a training program, and creating a marketing plan. We understand it can be a challenge to identify the right areas to make your business as successful as possible. Because of this, we’ve compiled a list of five areas to focus on for 2021 goal setting and business planning.
1. Profit Growth with Productivity
It’s crucial to remember and set your sight on where you want your bottom line to be. When all is said and done, profit is the number one goal for all businesses. It’s important to consider setting profit margin goals on how much you aim to earn for the following year, and keep track of your costs, progress, and scheduling. However, if you haven’t done so this year, an effective way to increase your profit for the 2021 season must be by prioritizing your productivity.
Maximizing productivity on a jobsite means working efficiently to control costs and stay on schedule. Projects that are completed ahead of time usually get higher profit margins. Not only will it save you save costs, but completing your project early gives you the opportunity to take on another project ahead of time.
Productivity is measured based on the effective effort of your team. In order for your team to stay productive, it’s essential that your team knows how to properly and safely complete assigned tasks. This means making sure each worker has received the proper training and equipment needed to effectively do their jobs. Equipment can play a big role in maximizing productivity. The use of multi-purpose machines can help your team tackle the most back-breaking parts of a task and cut fatigue. It can help your workers enhance their work by multi-tasking and save energy for any additional work.
With manufacturers prices rising again and supply chain issues, it can cause trouble for your bottom line in the 2021 season. Be prepared and get ahead by locking in lower prices on equipment and get product guarantees with Central’s Early Order Programs. Ask a Central Rep to learn about what Early Order Programs are currently available and you can take advantage of discounts and extended terms. Get product or equipment when you need it to maximize your productivity at the job site, and pay for it later in the season when cash is flowing better for your business.
Looking for more ways to grow your profit with productivity? Take a look at our Contractor’s Guide To Greater Productivity that can help you maximize your productivity and increase your profit!
2. Operations: Team + Customer Communication
Communication is key for success in any business. Looking back at this year, did your business have any miscommunication that may have resulted in a project taking up more time than it should have? Or any mistake in general for the operations of your business. We all know that time is money, and miscommunication can result in idle times for your team at the job site and in your office. In order for your business to reach success in the 2021 season, communication between everyone is essential in order to meet that goal.
How can you improve communication for your business? If you haven’t done so already, consider the following tips:
- Meetings before and after a project to ensure all team members understand what their roles are and to discuss what went well/what can improve
- Discuss start times, schedules, locations and the order of tasks to help develop a more efficient system
- Quick check-ins can allow you to assess the productivity of your team on a regular basis, and provide instructions on how to best proceed
- Consider communicating through mobile devices or business apps in order for your team to connect with each other with ease
These approaches will help ensure your team is operating efficiently, and increase productivity. It will help you save time and resources while providing great quality service. Staying more in tune with the details of your projects allows for opportunity to adjust and modify a situation that may arise.
Customer communication is also important as it is a direct reflection of your business. Getting the job done efficiently is important but it’s not the only goal. Making sure you have provided great customer service is also key to maintaining long-term relationships with clients. Ensure that you stay connected with your customers throughout the project but also follow-up afterwards to make sure that no issues have come up post installation. This is vital. A simple 5% increase in customer retention can increase profitability by 75% because return customers will purchase more over time. Great communication can also result in positive reviews or referrals from your clients, and this will allow your business to grow with more leads and project opportunities.
If you haven’t had customers return for repeat business, take some time to reflect on this year’s projects and consider areas for improvement to be ready to go for the next year. Also, take the time to reach out to these clients and check-in. Perhaps they are not familiar with all of your services and may be looking for mosquito control or new lighting.
How is communication handled in your company? Did you or someone from your team set time aside to return calls or answer emails daily? Did you set one point of contact for every project? Did you consider your customer’s preferred method of communication? How often did you update your customers on their project? Were you clear on what your business hours are? Did you actively listen to your customer’s concerns or problems? It’s essential to when planning for 2021 that you reinforce these processes with your team. This will ensure your customer communication continues to be efficient and effective.
Looking back at this year, did you notice any trends? Did you have customers that could have used an additional service or product? For example, during regular lawn maintenance did you notice several of your customer could benefit from mosquito and tick control? Or when you replaced a few broken heads, did you notice customers with outdated controllers? Now is the time to rectify these issues and set 2021 goals. Think about expanding your services you currently do not provide such as adding mosquito/tick control to your program offerings, or look to target existing customers with a program for upgrading current systems or adding services you already provide.
When considering which services to expand on or add, it solely depends on your local area. You want to focus primarily on the services you’ve noticed your customers need and frequently request or services your competitors do not offer. When looking to target existing customers for system upgrades, evaluate what opportunities are available. Does it make sense to focus on adding rain sensors? Upgrading to them to WiFi? Expanding lighting beyond just walkways? Take a look at what will give you the biggest bang for your efforts.
These initiatives will not only help you grow your sales but will also enable you to expand your business with new customers who may be in need of these new services or upgrades.
New and continued training is an essential goal for most businesses and is often a focus for planning—this is definitely one you will want to add to your 2021 plan.
When planning for training, there are several different areas to focus such as technical training on specific products and installation techniques, continuing education for expanded expertise, customer service training, sales training, and company process-reinforcement training are just a few areas that businesses may focus on. If you’re unsure where to start or find the proper training, reach out to your local Central rep. We have subject matter experts in every category and your local rep can help connect you.
As mentioned, internal process training is essential for your business. Customer service and new customer experience are two things that are easy to do internally. Discuss challenges or examples from this year and determine ways to improve them for the following year. We’ve previously stated the importance of communication between your team and your customer, be sure to refresh your team on these items and solidify a process when it comes to customer service.
Have you had one-on-ones with your employees and set goals for the following year? Take the time to meet with each employee to set expectations and goals for the 2021 season. If your company is too large to meet with each employee, meet with team leads or department leaders. Listen to their concerns and recommendations, and talk about ways to overcome so that everyone has a successful season.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, people have been spending more time at home and online than before. This means your online presence is critical to keep up-to-date for the following year. Now is the time to plan or update your marketing strategy in order to efficiently promote your business ahead of time and each season. It can be challenging to figure out the best way to adjust your marketing strategy. If you’re unsure, reach out to Central. Our marketing department can help you find the best method to update or change your marketing strategy for a successful 2021 year.
Coming up with your marketing goal for next year doesn’t have to be complicated, think about a new promotion or service you want to share, what goal do you want to accomplish, who do you want to target, and how are you going to communicate your business to your target customer? Once you’ve determined what you want to focus your marketing on, it’s time to plan it sooner than later.
Planning and setting up your marketing strategy goal early will ensure your customers are aware of your services and promotions ahead of time. When the season comes for the service they need, they will already know to contact your business for it. We’ve discussed in past articles for when and how to promote your existing services. For the upcoming year, consider the following methods of updating or changing your marketing strategy:
Your website is the forefront of your business, so it’s essential to keep it effective, and up to date. Consider updating your website banner with new projects, promotions or services you plan to provide in the following year. Update your blogs with relevant industry news, tips to help your customers with their homes, information on contact-free products, and before and after photos of your most recent projects. Make sure to have any information such as contact information updated on your website in order for your customers to find you on search engines such as Google.
- Google My Business:
Google offers Google My Business, a simple and free tool to use that provides your business with many benefits. If you’re not set up on google my business yet, take a look at our previous article on how to get set up. You want to ensure you keep your company’s contact information up-to-date such as phone number, website, and email address. Update any posts with new promotions or services along with recent completed jobs. Google My Business also allows for your customers to ask you questions, or leave you reviews. Be sure to respond to your customers to show you’re constantly active, listening to their feedback and prepared to provide a great service. Keep in mind that new customers will be looking at reviews before deciding to work with your company, and showing you’re responsive will lead to a great first impression.
Email is an easy and effective way to communicate with your customers at very little cost to you. Sending emails out to your customers can help you build credibility, strengthen relationships, it gives you an opportunity to tell your story, and you can promote your essential services or promotions. Use your email to stay connected with your customers by regularly sending them out as needed, along with a monthly or quarterly newsletter. Regular emails will help build customer loyalty, and will ensure your customers keep you on their radar for when the service is needed. It’s also vital to continually capture email addresses. Be sure to keep your customers profile up-to-date on their names, email address, services purchased, and potential future service wanted. This allows you to continue to promote your business, share exciting new products and services, and showcase your newest work. Collecting data also gives you the opportunity to ensure you get the right message, to the right person, at the right time by personalizing emails with relevant content.
Whichever route you decide to take on changing or updating your marketing strategy for the 2021 season, be sure to keep it up-to-date in order for your customers to know you’re always active and ready to provide them with a great service.
Rely on Central to help, whether it’s questions about business planning, strategic purchasing, marketing strategy, or training. Central is your partner for success, be sure to schedule a winter planning meeting with your Central representative to help effectively plan for 2021. We stay at the leading edge of the industry and we’re ready to help you grow!