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Ep 40: Contractor Q&A – 5 Questions About High Level Leadership – Igor and Benji

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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Read a Summary of Episode 40

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.

Don’t undersell numbers: they tell you everything from people problems to bad usage of materials and supplies and production inefficiencies.

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.

(For later stage tactics, listen to these two awesome Contractor Evolution episodes with Noel Fox and Mark Levesque)


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!

Igor Trninic

Igor Trninic

Igor moved to Canada at a young age, where he learned the value of hard work as he watched his family rebuild a thriving life in a new world with extreme change. Most of Igor’s early learning came from competitive sports, where he learned how to hustle and lead. This learning transferred well to business, when he started running a College Pro Painters franchise at 18 and quickly grew it to one of the top franchises in Canada. After finishing an honours degree in Accounting and HR at the SFU Beedie School of Business, he decided to leave the dull world of numbers and followed his passion of developing people and businesses. He fell in love with leading great people and growing companies to their potential.

Working at College Pro as a General Manager for the franchisor, he tripled the revenue of his division in three years by hiring and leading great managers. Here, Igor saw the power of combining amazing people with strong systems to drive scalability. After College Pro, he chose to test these principles on a new venture with the launch of Shack Shine, and together with the guidance of a highly experienced trades entrepreneur, they grew the company to a full scale franchisor within a year and a half. Shack Shine was eventually acquired by 1-800-GOT-JUNK to be scaled across North America and Igor launched the Breakthrough Academy to guide trades and home service entrepreneurs grow their businesses through proven principles. Igor has a passion and true care for developing people and their businesses, which has formed the foundation of Breakthrough Academy. His work in developing BTA has recently been highlighted in Igor’s Top 30 Under 30 selection by BC Business Magazine.

Igor resides in Vancouver, British Columbia and loves to take on all the adventure that BC can offer. From hunting to skiing to downhill mountain biking, any outdoor adventure is up his alley.

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