When it comes to running a solid organization, there isn’t a lack of advice out there. From business books and podcasts to conferences to your buddy sharing his silver bullet over the grill, you’re likely overwhelmed with possible ideas for improving the way your HVAC company runs.
At GAC Services, we like to think we’ve figured out some of that along the way through our own trials and errors, and I’m here to share what I believe are the five most important strategic initiatives for running an HVAC company. The way I see it, the more each of us as individual companies can continue to push forward in providing stellar, review-worthy service in our markets, the better and faster the HVACR industry can continue to grow.
Overview: The 5 Strategic Initiatives
This six-part series will highlight each strategic initiative, but, today, we have an overview of the five, which are:
- Employee development
- Consistency in process
- Customer-centric viewpoint
Setting big-picture goals and figuring out what it is you want your business to be comes first (we’re talking business 101 with mission and vision here). But once those are set, what does the road ahead look like? We all know running a small business is complicated. One minute you are a customer service representative, the next could involve you cleaning the warehouse, managing an employee disagreement, analyzing numbers, and the list goes on.
The point is, many times you are working in the business to make it better for the day. But, the ironic thing is, you need to take time away from the day-to-day to plan and strategize, so you can truly make a difference in your business. Planning is one of the essential pillars you need to build a successful business.
Your employees are one of your biggest assets and can make or break the success of your business. What your employees do and how they act when no one is looking can say a lot more about your company than how everyone behaves during your weekly huddle.
We’ve found steps that help improve the workforce and promote employee development. It’s as simple as involving employees in business development, adopting flexible policies, supporting equality and diversity, setting targets and rewarding achievement, offering training and development, and creating a mentorship program.
CONSISTENCY IN PROCESS
To be a company that is viewed as great, you have to be consistently great. Think about your favorite fast-food joint (maybe the one with the arches…) — they are a multibillion-dollar company not because they have the best burgers in the world but because they are consistent in how they provide them. A value meal with fries will taste exactly the same in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and Phoenix. You know what the experience will be every time.
That’s what an HVAC contractor needs to be doing. And processes are what help you get to that extreme level of consistency for your customers.
If you don’t have processes in place, chaos can occur, and customer service can drop. Normally, your office likely functions fine — the phone gets answered, service is scheduled fairly quickly, follow-up is reliable. But what about when it’s 95°F for the first time? You might consider it a nightmare as you watch your office turn into a mess.
Processes have a big impact on executing business smoothly no matter the temperature.
In a small business, owners can draw lines. “I’m not working on X; I’m not doing this type of job.” In some cases, it makes sense when resources are limited, but we hear about companies that get overwhelmed because it’s a hot day, and they shut their phones off because they can’t handle it. That itself is not customer-centric (and hopefully can be prevented with other strategic initiatives outlined here).
The whole point of what we’re all trying to do is be great — a great company, a great small business, a great presence in our communities.
If you do the first four things, profitability should come naturally. We view the formula for profitability as long-term relationships (with vendors, distributors, employees, and customers) plus consistency. When you do these two things, you should have a sustainable business.
Look for our next article where we’ll dive into how planning should be a key initiative for your business if you want to succeed. Stay tuned!