The most critical management rhythms that keep a company growing
2-3 Keys to retain superstar employees
The 2 step process to create raving fans out of your customers
The recommended percentage of revenue you should spend on advertising
Which types of marketing should be done in a specific order
How to implement a culture of accountability without scaring people off
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Welcome to a special, fun Q&A episode of Contractor Evolution!
At Breakthrough Academy (BTA), we get tons of questions from members and podcast listeners covering every aspect of the contracting experience. And while we do our best to answer them, we save those for times like this that we think deserve broader discussion with a wider audience.
So that’s what today’s episode is all about: 5 questions from you, and 5 answers from us. We’re stoked about this, so are you ready? Let’s get to it!
Question 1 is from Tim Gartland, founder, Hamilton Land Services in Atlanta, Georgia.
Tim asks: “What are your most critical management rhythms? If you only had a couple hours a week or even a couple hours a month to understand your business’s performance, what would be the most critical data points?”
First and foremost, you need data to understand what’s going on in your business. Drilling down, you need to know key performance indicators (KPI) on a rhythmical basis, ideally weekly (for bigger construction, monthly is adequate): so, think about reviewing marketing metrics, sales, production, and then the financial viability of the production.
Don’t undersell numbers: they tell you everything from people problems to bad usage of materials and supplies and production inefficiencies.
You should also share your findings with your team weekly via huddles: that way, you’re able to recap what the big wins were from last week and what you need to be mindful of the week moving forward.
Question 2 is from Jeremy Rytych, founder and CEO of Element Roofing in Carmel, Indiana.
Jeremy asks: “What are 2-3 keys to retaining superstar employees?”
Great question! First, you have to understand why they’re a part of your team and what they want (this can be determined during career development meetings or annual performance reviews).
Benji adds that it’s vital to let them know you think they’re superstars. They need recognition. Then, “Nurture their talents, help them get certifications and education that they want and need.”
An additional strategy, to be undertaken with great care, is to “Get rid of your low performers,” Benji says. “Or at the very least, limit their interaction with your superstars. Get your top performers in an environment where they’re working with other smart, dynamic people who they can learn from and be challenged and inspired by.”
Question 3 is from Toby Woodiwiss, owner, Woodiwiss Painting in Alamo, California.
Toby asks: “What have you done to create a raving customer fan base? What customers are fiercely loyal and how do you maintain that relationship?”
The answer is two-fold: make your personal image and that of your company exceptionally positive – and make it effortless for others to share that publicly.
This is easier to accomplish than you might think: our industry is pretty archaic, and generally speaking expectations aren’t super high – certainly customers aren’t expecting the polished purchasing experience an Apple store provides. So there are many opportunities.
Management software can help you achieve your goal (due to its ability to improve production efficiencies as well as keep check of various client obligations). Check out Broadly, a platform specifically designed to improve customer experience, online marketing and lead generation.
Also, don’t overlook old-fashioned touches such as sending Christmas cards to clients. You may ask, “Do people really remember things like that?” Trust us: they do!
Question 4 is from Toby Wessel, owner, New Beginnings Construction in Charleston, South Carolina.
Toby asks: “What percentage of revenue do you recommend spending on advertising? And are there types of advertising that should be done before others?”
Even though most entrepreneurs in the contracting space don’t spend as much as they should on advertising (6-10% of your revenue should be earmarked), Benji recommends starting with what’s cheap and easy. “Start with the entry type stuff and just see how it does,” he says. Why? Because many people spend tons of money on professional marketers they don’t necessarily need, with little ROI.
Consider creating effective Instagram or Facebook pages for starters; flyers are also cheap and easy. Then maybe invest in a killer website. “Also, consider joining a BNI [Business Network International] chapter,” Benji says, adding that 99% of the people he knows who have worked with BNI “have had 1000s of dollars of work referred to them over the years.”
And don’t forget the power of an incentivized referral program – give customers who refer their friends to you a nice bottle of wine or a voucher for a night at the spa. “That’s super low hanging fruit and it works like a charm,” Benji says.
Question 5 is from Connor Jones, co-founder of Midcon Exteriors in Lowell, Arkansas.
Connor asks: “How do you implement a culture of accountability without scaring people off?”
The solution is all encompassing: you need to create a culture of accountability throughout your entire organization, evenly distributed. Everyone is accountable.
Benji suggests creating employment agreements “with proper deliverables that are really results focused.” Setting crystal clear expectations may rub some people the wrong way “but they will inevitably show themselves the door, which is what you want, trust me.”
Also ensure you have proper reporting procedures in place. “If you can’t see what’s going on results wise, you can’t have those critical conversations and hold people accountable when you need to,” Benji says.
There you have it, 5 answers to what we think are 5 incredibly important questions pertaining to our industry today. We had a blast on this episode of Contractor Evolution, so please keep your queries coming – and we’ll continue to give you the straight goods you need to propel your business forward!