Organize. Automate. Dominate.

Features - Operations

If your dream is to grow and scale your business to be the powerhouse in your market, then achieve it following these three steps.

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July 24, 2019

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If there is one thing I know for sure, it is this: the ability to scale a business and dominate a local market is not something that happens by chance. After attending sister publication Lawn & Landscape’s Top 100 event this year, I realized most of the business owners I was interacting with had a very similar process they used to grow, scale, and dominate their local markets, no matter the industry. If you are looking to grow and scale your business to become the powerhouse in your market, consider these three steps: organize, automate, then dominate.

Organize

To create a business with predictable results, that can grow and scale beyond a million dollars annually, you must create systematic processes and procedures. This includes creating documentation that makes for easy delegation and replication.

Start by examining your sales systems. Remember, if your business is not growing, it is dying. To keep the life blood pumping through the heart of your snow removal company, consider creating an executable sales plan. Track this plan daily by comparing actual versus budgeted results then report these findings weekly to key stakeholders of the business.

Next, consider using an optimized new and returning client on-boarding system to get all of your clients and their service details into a streamlined schedule. This should include documentation of all job-site details at the time of on-boarding so the information is available long before the season’s first snow event.

Once your clients are ready for service, you can finally turn your attention to employee recruiting, training, and on-boarding. With the extreme fluctuations in the labor market over the last few years, top firms are making it a priority to recruit twelve months a year. These firms are recruiting for all positions within the company and are working to build a ‘virtual bench’. This approach to recruitment is putting business owners back in control by assisting them in avoiding the highs and lows of the recruitment process. Building this ‘virtual bench’ was one of the best things I ever did for my snow removal company. It allowed me to be in control of my operations, support employees consistently, and remain committed to the work we agreed to execute.

Finally, it is advised to develop a process to track all completed jobs and job costing data. This data should flow directly into a process for invoice creation and collections to ensure prompt payments so your business doesn’t get iced during the winter months.

Automate

After creating standardized processes and systems for the key components of your business, assess how leveraging technology could ensure what should happen in your business actually happens without the business owner as the single point of failure. Using technology has allowed my business to automate manual processes and connect multiple software and/or apps together to create a seamless flow of communication for both internal and external stakeholders.

The most traditionally utilized technology to ensure this type of success is a Customer Relationship Management Software (CRM). This software can handle bidding through a production rate based estimating system that can be delegated. Most CRMs can also handle scheduling, job costing, job tracking, and invoicing. Some CRMs even have accounting features, although most companies that are growing close to or beyond a million dollars in sales will utilize a two-way sync between their CRM and accounting software like Quickbooks or Xero. Specialized accounting software will allow you to, and has allowed us at Callahan’s, to run detailed financial reports to assist your accountant at tax time. When looking at technology to automate your company, it has been my experience that, if you can minimize the number of software platforms that are synced it will greatly reduce the learning curve for your team and avoid the inevitable ‘multiple systems chaos’ that could ensue if the software programs are not working in unison.

Dominate

Once your snow removal business is firing on all cylinders, it is time to set your goals and dominate your service area. Most companies are using a three-step marketing and sales approach to grow their presence in the markets they serve. First, these companies are casting a broad digital net over the entire service area through an online presence using such platforms as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Educational content is posted on the company website to improve Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for the services they offer.

After creating leads through a broad-reaching online marketing effort, companies are utilizing offline marketing to build route density. This can include direct mailers to properties around new and existing accounts. It could also include creating your company’s “dream account list” which might include 100 to 150 desired accounts surround your existing clients. Once you create the list, your team can cold call or drop in with property specific pricing. This allows you to solidify several large commercial accounts that become key to your portfolio diversification.

Organize, automate, then dominate. This was my strategy, it is the strategy of top firms, and it can be yours, too. … Do not doubt the power of this strategy in getting your business to the next level.

Finally, if your snow removal company also provides summer service, consider selling your summer services to your winter clients to increase the client lifetime value. This ensures your competition does not step in on you in the off-season to communicate with or service your winter clients.

Organize, automate, then dominate. This is the strategy of top firms and it can be yours, too. If your dream is to grow and scale your business to be the powerhouse in your market, then go for it using these three steps to success. Do not doubt the power of this strategy in getting your business to the next level.

Mike Callahan is the owner of Callahan Lawn Care and Property Maintenance in New York and has been in the snow business for 20 years. He’s a regular Snow Magazine contributor.