Consider this, if you could generate a complete design and cost estimate with the push of a button and only had to choose which profit to go with, wouldn’t you spend more time trying to win higher margin jobs? Instead, the proposal process is so expensive and time consuming that once you have started the process, you cannot afford to lose opportunity. You end up selling on price instead of selling your craft. Then you do it again. Workload increases and margins shrink.
Every small business has “the elephant in the room.” It might be you. Sure, you want to grow and make more money. At least make more money. I mean, growth is isn’t really a thing is it? You aren’t required to do that – there’s no rule. You never intended to have an empire, just a good living. Am I right?
My old boss has a saying, “We are in business for fun and profit. If we are not making a profit it’s not any fun.” All projects start out fun and profitable. What happens next is really up to us.
Perhaps it is because I have spent so much of my career as an operations manager. Or, maybe it is because that the success or failure of businesses often pivots based on the performance of operations. In any case, I truly enjoy seeing a well-run operation.
Have you ever walked into a store and been immediately pressed by a salesperson or greeter with offers of help? It is a practice that generally yields quick results for the shoppers that want to expedite their search. “Can I help you?” the greeter asks. “Could you tell me where the coats are?” you reply. There was a time when “Just looking” wasn’t allowed.
The end of the year is a special time for me. It is time for reflection and I don’t do it often enough. Next week – the New Year – will be time for new directions, but the week between Christmas and New Year’s has always saved for thinking…and cleaning.
When I ask, what prompted you to start your AV business? The answer I hear most often is, “I started this company because people wanted my expertise.” They will quickly add, “I was never trained in business. I don’t think of myself as a salesperson.” Designer, programmer, technician, visionary, or specialist – small business owners are typically everything other than a salesperson. Yet, every business owner I have worked with is by far the best salesperson in their company.
I have a love-hate relationship with financial dashboards. The longer a specific report has been in use, the more likely I am to find a stagnating metric. You see, dashboards have a magical power to keep numbers in check, which on one hand is intentional, but on the other hand – corrosive.
There are a lot of self-proclaimed experts out there but it doesn’t take much to spot the posers. Spend a few minutes on Linkedin or Google your expertise and read a few blogs. The more information there is on your chosen subject, the less chance you have to distinguish yourself.