The 7-Power Contractor Approach to Mastering Your Business
The recipe for success
What I discovered when implementing systems in my family’s plumbing, heating, and cooling business was that there weren’t really a million things to master. There were just seven. Seven “power” concepts that enabled me and my two brothers, the third generation in the company, to run it with a lot less stress and a whole lot more success.
The first and most important concept is Planning/Leadership Power. Planning power is about working on the right thing at the right time in the right way. The first step is to get everyone in a room and find out what everyone is working on. You may be surprised (I know I was). Then, put everything everyone’s working on on one master list. (Our first one had more than 100 items.) Add projects and habits that will help you overcome or eliminate important obstacles to the business of making more money with less stress.
Then, you’ll want to whittle that list down to the 30 things you think will most effectively remove an obstacle or generate revenue for the company.
Once you have those 30 things, pick five and focus on those until they are done. Once one is done, promote something from your top 30 list. The leadership part of this power is about synching up even more to make sure the decisions you make will get you there as quickly and as profitably as possible. For most people, simply getting all their projects on one list and narrowing it down to five is big progress.
Operating Power is about making sure all your policies are in writing and procedures are in place for 80 percent of everything your company does. This moves things from the subjective to objective.
It’s not enough to create the policies; you also have to get people to buy in by inviting them to have some input into what those policies and procedures are. They also will help make sure you don’t miss important details of the job that might not be so readily apparent. It’s the only way to ever get buy-in, but there are tricks and tips you must learn so you do this the right way and avoid the pitfalls.
Financial Power is about knowing the difference between real world and tax accounting. Real world accounting is the type of financials and accounting it takes to run your contracting business in real time and on real numbers. It’s also about getting to a known financial position, so you can monitor the health of your business in real time and make good decisions based on that data. Finally, it’s about knowing how to reach the correct selling price and then resolving to charge that amount no matter what because it will enable you do the things you need to do to provide great service. Industry legend Frank Blau often said, “The customer pays for everything because it’s in their best interest to do so.”
Staffing Power is all about three things:
1. Finding the holes in existing staff and fixing them if you can;
2. Finding holes in newly hired and experienced staff and fixing them if you can; and
3. Building them from scratch versus always trying to rewire them. It’s what I did at my company and have been teaching contractors like you for 15 years now. It’s the best thing you can ever do at your company.
To help you get started on this path, you need to always be recruiting, hiring, orienting, training, and retraining.
Here’s what you need to know. Great staff always finds ways to make money; poor staff, no matter what you pay them, always end up costing you money.
So, where is your money better spent than on energizing Staffing Power?
Selling Power is up next, and it involves creating a documented sales process. You need to be teaching techs and big-ticket sales people to sell in a system that promotes ethical selling, which means it’s always in the customer’s best interest first. That’s the only way the company and the staff can win over the long haul.
Marketing Power is about getting the right amount of calls from the right customers at the right time.
Marketing Power requires you have a marketing plan in writing. And that marketing manual addresses the three keys to Marketing Power: budgeting, where marketing is a percentage; allocation, where you identify the three key drivers that get the majority of your marketing dollars because they provide the biggest bang for the buck; and the calendar, which has you proactively working on your marketing execution ahead of when you need the phones to ring.
SALES COACHING POWER
Sales Coaching Power is rewarding techs, big-ticket sales people, and installers with money they create, not money out of your pocket.
“Whoa, that sounds great. How does that work?” Well, it’s a great thing but only if you are at a known financial position first. If you aren’t in control of what’s coming in and going out, implementing a program like this will hurt your company more than it will help.
Over the coming months, I’ll be digging into each of the seven powers in greater depth so I can share more information that will put you on the path to mastering contracting at your company.
Publication date: 3/27/2017