Marketing

What is the one compelling reason someone should use you and not your competitor? If you struggled answering that question you are putting yourself at a distinct disadvantage in your market and need to carve a ‘Niche’ for your business.

Most builders and contractors know that in order to generate the most clients, profits and sales, they must come up with their own “Unique Selling Point” (USP) and make their products or services known to their selected market. This section will show you how to come up with the most creative USP and Guarantee for your business.

Would you like to establish your name or brand and set yourself apart from the competition?

Having your own Unique Selling Point (USP) will help you set yourself apart from other businesses in your market, target your market more effectively, and create more effective marketing campaigns.

For more specifics on how we can help your business in this area, contact us direct to book in for your free “Strategy Session” with one of our expert Business Coaches. Lets talk about your business and see how we can take you to the next level.

CaseStudy:

Industry: Plumber

Challenge: Creating uniqueness or a compelling reason for your marketplace to choose you over your competitors

The Cause: 
Stuart always believed the only reason his clients chose a competitor’s quote over his was price. As a result, Stuart spent a lot of his time ensuring his prices were competitive and wouldn’t come in too high. This ensured Stuart’s profits were kept to a minimum.   

The business pain: 
Stuart couldn’t understand why clients who knew him well would still choose to work with a ‘fly by night’ plumbing company over his, just because they came in cheaper on the quote. Stuart was running around quoting everything that came across his desk. He did big jobs, small jobs and medium jobs. Some were private jobs and others were commercial. Stuart was being all things to all people and it was costing him time, money and a lot of frustration. One day Stuart was struck with sobering realisation that the only thing he had to differentiate himself from his competitors was price. This hurt, because he knew he offered so much more, he just wasn’t saying it.

The personal pain:
Stuart had some friends who were also plumbers. One in particular was doing three or four times the revenue that Stuart’s business was doing. This was all very well but there were a few things Stuart couldn’t ignore. Firstly, his mates plumbing company started five years after his. He could remember when Craig first started out and how he had volunteered advice on getting started. That was four years ago. Last year they compared numbers over a couple of beers at the end of the financial year. Stuart was startled to find his mate’s business doing close to double the net profit percentage that he was. On top of all this, Stuart’s mate also enjoyed the privilege of an overseas trip once a year. But the thing that concerned Stuart the most was how much less his mate worked than him.

The solution: 
Stuart realised something needed to change and he quickly got to work developing a compelling reason why his clients should use him as opposed to his competitors. He needed to put together the most promotable and best message possible that truthfully represented the “service” he offered. Stuart wanted to come up with something that was a true reflection of who he was and what he did.

So he set about answering the following questions to find his answer:

  1. List your three biggest competitors…
  2. What do they do well?
  3. What do they do poorly?
  4. What would the average person say about each of these competitors?
  5. What is ‘unique’ about them?
  6. What ‘guarantees’ do they have in place?
  7. How are these guarantees promoted?
  8. How ‘genuine’ are these guarantees?
  9. What can’t each of your competitors guarantee?
  10. What can they do that you can’t?
  11. In an ideal world, what would you like your customers to see as the main point of difference between you and your competitors?
  12. If there were one phrase your customers and prospects used to describe what you do now, it would be…
  13. Describe who the average customer is for your industry…
  14. Is the current market place growing or diminishing? Please explain.
  15. Is your typical customer different from the generic industry customer you have described?
  16. Describe your current average customer…
  17. Describe your ideal future customer…
  18. In what four ways do you perceive that you are genuinely different from your competitors?
  19. What can you do that no one else can?
  20. What are the five things about your product or service that you take for granted, that your customers don’t know about?
  21. What are three things your best customers say about you?
  22. What are three things your worst customers say about you?
  23. What are the two things that annoy your customers the most when dealing with businesses in our industry?
  24. What are three problems or frustrations that buying your product/service solves?
  25. What are the three major benefits of buying your product or service?
  26. What frustrations do customers experience when trying to find your product or service?
  27. If you were a customer, why would you dislike buying from you?
  28. Describe the sort of customers who dislike buying from you… and tell us why?
  29. Describe the sort of customers who love buying from you… and tell us why?
  30. If you could easily overcome any two of your customers’ frustrations, what would they be and how would you overcome them?
  31. What is your current written guarantee?
  32. How is this different from your guarantees of the past?
  33. How do customers react to your current guarantee?
  34. What three additional things will you be able to fully guarantee within the next  months?
  35. Now take some time to complete in your own words, your own using all of the information above.

 

After completing the extensive list of questions Stuart eventually settled on a Unique Selling Proposition that he was happy with. He would offer his customers the following guarantee:

“We guarantee to return your call within 24hrs, show up on time and leave your place spotlessly clean or we will pay you.”

The Outcome: 
Stuart’s guarantee put him in a position to compete for higher-margin jobs and gave his customers the compelling reason they needed to use him over his competitors. Stuart soon found himself in a position where he could be more selective with the type of jobs and the customers he worked with. His business finally had an identity and soon developed a solid reputation in his chosen target market.

For more specifics on how we can help your business in this area, contact us direct to book in for your free “Strategy Session” with one of our expert Business Coaches. Lets talk about your business and see how we can take you to the next level. 


Finance

Do you have adequate financial controls? 
87% of the builders we’ve worked with had little or no financial controls when we started working together. By far the biggest draw back for our new clients is their lack of financial systems and a pricing strategy that relates to their breakeven point. This section will give you a basic understanding of the essential financial controls you need to run a profitable business.

Would you like the peace of mind of knowing where every dollar coming in and out of your business is going?
Having accurate and updated financial systems allows you to make more informed decisions. You’ll know your cash position on jobs and which jobs are more profitable and why. This alone could lead to better strategic decision making.

CaseStudy:

The Challenge: Lack of adequate Financial Controls

The Cause:
John has had always been a good electrician. His clients like him and they keep coming back. Finding the work has never been a challenge for John. His real concern is managing the money and having his financial ducks in a row, so to speak. John has been running his business out of his bank account and doesn’t make use of the five cornerstones of any solid financial controls namely:

  • Updated Profit & Loss statements
  • Balance Sheets
  • Break Even Point
  • Cash flow Forecast
  • Debtors and Creditors System

The Pain:  
John feels the tension in his shoulders every day and the migraine headaches come and go. Most days John feels sleep-deprived from a lack of quality sleep the night before. When he climbs into bed he has “monkey chatter”, those thoughts that keep running through his mind until the early hours of the morning.

John never feels like he gets a true break from his business. On weekends and holidays he spends time on the phone to clients or team members fixing problems. When he’s not on the phone his mind constantly races with what needs to be done or worries of what might go wrong.

So far it’s cost John a marriage and is starting to affect his health as well. It’s as if he can feel himself aging prematurely. What happened to business supposedly being fun he wonders?

The Solution:
John finally got some direction and learnt that getting his financial controls in place would not be as difficult as he thought. He just needed the right guidance and tools. Here’s the simple six-step process John followed:

A System for Managing Finances: The first thing John did was find a financial system that could capture his critical numbers. He quickly discovered the popular options were Quickbooks and MYOB. John chose MYOB for its user-friendly functionality. The program also came with easy to follow tutorials, which taught John how the system worked.

Outsourcing the Bookkeeping:  The next critical step for John was to outsource his bookkeeping to someone who was familiar with using MYOB and who would spend a day a week feeding all the debtors and creditors information into the system.  Having accurate financial information is essential and can only be achieved with accurate input. With this in mind, John made sure he found a bookkeeper with a strong reputation and solid reference checks.

Understanding the numbers: John soon learnt what the important numbers were for him to understand and review in his profit and loss statement. Namely:

  • Total Revenue
  • Cost of Sales
  • Gross Profit
  • Fix costs
  • Net Profit

Reviewing his Balance Sheet every quarter became a regular event for John. John also set aside time to check his cash position on a weekly basis.

Once John was familiar with his Profit and Loss numbers he felt confident to start setting profit goals for the months ahead.

Break Even Point: By using the Break Even Calculator John soon calculated the Break Even Point for his business. He now knew exactly how much money the business needed to break even each day, week, month and year.

Cash flow Forecast: Next John started using a cash flow forecast. This was possibly the most powerful tool John had ever used to manage his finances. As opposed to just looking back at his numbers in retrospect, John could now look ahead at his cash position over the coming 12 weeks and make more informed decisions.

Debtors and Creditors System: John soon had his bookkeeper working two full days a week using the debtors and creditors system he’d set-up. As soon as any of his debtors went past 14 days, John’s bookkeeper would send an email reminder to them using a pre-written letter giving them a gentle reminder. There was also a letter and phone scripts for 30-dDay, 60-day and 90-day accounts.

The Outcome:
Within 6 months of implementing the new financial controls, John reached a point where looking at his financials became his favourite part of the business. He couldn’t wait to see the latest figures and assess the results his new sales and marketing strategies had generated.

John knew exactly how much money was going in and out of his business to the very last cent. Having that level of control boosted John’s confidence and gave him piece of mind beyond measure. John’s financial information was now being kept neatly and meticulously in solid financials systems, instead of his head.

Tinkering with the numbers and making more informed decisions because of it, allowed John to see his business as a ‘game’. For the first time in years, John was having FUN.

For more specifics on how we can help your business in this area, contact us direct to book in for your free “Strategy Session” with one of our expert Business Coaches. Lets talk about your business and see how we can take you to the next level. 


Delivery

Are you delivering every job consistently on time and on budget? Do you suffer from bottlenecks, delays and inefficiencies that need immediate attention?
One of our private clients thought he had a fool-proof system for handling work orders from start to finish. Unfortunately, he had a few bottlenecks in the process and eventually he ended up with two-month period of invoice outstanding which created some cash flow problems for him. This section will help you fix the delivery problems in your business.

Would you like the peace of mind that comes from delivering jobs on time and on budget every time?
Proper job planning, materials ordering and scheduling allows you to better eliminate inefficiencies in your business. This will ensure you save money and time and run a more streamlined operation.

For more specifics on how we can help your business in this area, contact us direct to book in for your free “Strategy Session” with one of our expert Business Coaches. Lets talk about your business and see how we can take you to the next level.

CaseStudy

The Challenge: A lack of Operational Systems
The Cause:
No time working ‘ON’ his business left Mark with a business that was totally dependant on him. Mark was always too busy doing the work to find time to develop the structure and organisation of his business.

The Business Pain:
Having a business that ran with no organisation, structure or predictability meant that Mark was the business. If he took himself out of his business there was nothing left. Because of this the business often experienced bottlenecks or hold-ups that inconvenienced clients and damaged Marks reputation as an electrician.

The Personal Pain:
There was always more to do than there were hours in the day. It was the same old story, day in day out, week in week out. Mark’s life was becoming a busyness routine and he was beginning to feel like a hamster on a wheel. His personal life was taking serious strain and his long-term girlfriend had already decided to move on to greener pastures. Mark knew that something had to give; he couldn’t keep working all day and then doing paperwork till 10pm each night. Employment wasn’t looking like such a bad option after all.

The Solution:
After receiving consultation and guidance from his business coach, Mark went to work putting steps in place to improve the operational systems in place and hopefully maintain his sanity at the same time.

Mark followed the following sequential steps:

Document and pictured all tasks in an Operations Manual

Drew up an Organisational Chart for the business

Flow-charted all his business processes and eliminated bottlenecks

Quality assurance checklists

The Outcome:
By completing the above operational processes, Mark was able to put his business in perspective and dramatically improve his level of control. Mark was able to make better business decisions and mapped out a clear path for the growth of the business.
For more specifics on how we can help your business in this area, contact us direct to book in for your free “Strategy Session” with one of our expert Business Coaches. Lets talk about your business and see how we can take you to the next level. 


Capital

Do you have adequate financial controls? 

87% of the builders we’ve worked with had little or no financial controls when we started working together. By far the biggest draw back for our new clients is their lack of financial systems and a pricing strategy that realtes to their breakeven point. This section will give you a basic understanding of the essential financial controls you need to run a profitable business.

Would you like the peace of mind of knowing where every dollar coming in and out of your business is going?
Having accurate and updated financial systems allows you to make more informed decisions. You’ll know your cash position on jobs and which jobs are more profitable and why. This alone could lead to better strategic decision making.

CaseStudy:

The Challenge: Lack of adequate Financial Controls

The Cause:
John has had always been a good electrician. His clients like him and they keep coming back. Finding the work has never been a challenge for John. His real concern is managing the money and having his financial ducks in a row, so to speak. John has been running his business out of his bank account and doesn’t make use of the five cornerstones of any solid financial controls namely:

  • Updated Profit & Loss statements
  • Balance Sheets
  • Break Even Point
  • Cash flow Forecast
  • Debtors and Creditors System

The Pain:  
John feels the tension in his shoulders every day and the migraine headaches come and go. Most days John feels sleep-deprived from a lack of quality sleep the night before. When he climbs into bed he has “monkey chatter”, those thoughts that keep running through his mind until the early hours of the morning.

John never feels like he gets a true break from his business. On weekends and holidays he spends time on the phone to clients or team members fixing problems. When he’s not on the phone his mind constantly races with what needs to be done or worries of what might go wrong.

So far it’s cost John a marriage and is starting to affect his health as well. It’s as if he can feel himself aging prematurely. What happened to business supposedly being fun he wonders?

The Solution:
John finally got some direction and learnt that getting his financial controls in place would not be as difficult as he thought. He just needed the right guidance and tools. Here’s the simple six-step process John followed:

A System for Managing Finances: The first thing John did was find a financial system that could capture his critical numbers. He quickly discovered the popular options were Quickbooks and MYOB. John chose MYOB for its user-friendly functionality. The program also came with easy to follow tutorials, which taught John how the system worked.

Outsourcing the Bookkeeping:  The next critical step for John was to outsource his bookkeeping to someone who was familiar with using MYOB and who would spend a day a week feeding all the debtors and creditors information into the system.  Having accurate financial information is essential and can only be achieved with accurate input. With this in mind, John made sure he found a bookkeeper with a strong reputation and solid reference checks.

Understanding the numbers: John soon learnt what the important numbers were for him to understand and review in his profit and loss statement. Namely:

  • Total Revenue
  • Cost of Sales
  • Gross Profit
  • Fix costs
  • Net Profit

Reviewing his Balance Sheet every quarter became a regular event for John. John also set aside time to check his cash position on a weekly basis.

Once John was familiar with his Profit and Loss numbers he felt confident to start setting profit goals for the months ahead.

Break Even Point: By using the Break Even Calculator John soon calculated the Break Even Point for his business. He now knew exactly how much money the business needed to break even each day, week, month and year.

Cash flow Forecast: Next John started using a cash flow forecast. This was possibly the most powerful tool John had ever used to manage his finances. As opposed to just looking back at his numbers in retrospect, John could now look ahead at his cash position over the coming 12 weeks and make more informed decisions.

Debtors and Creditors System: John soon had his bookkeeper working two full days a week using the debtors and creditors system he’d set-up. As soon as any of his debtors went past 14 days, John’s bookkeeper would send an email reminder to them using a pre-written letter giving them a gentle reminder. There was also a letter and phone scripts for 30-dDay, 60-day and 90-day accounts.

The Outcome:
Within 6 months of implementing the new financial controls, John reached a point where looking at his financials became his favourite part of the business. He couldn’t wait to see the latest figures and assess the results his new sales and marketing strategies had generated.

John knew exactly how much money was going in and out of his business to the very last cent. Having that level of control boosted John’s confidence and gave him piece of mind beyond measure. John’s financial information was now being kept neatly and meticulously in solid financials systems, instead of his head.

Tinkering with the numbers and making more informed decisions because of it, allowed John to see his business as a ‘game’. For the first time in years, John was having FUN.

For more specifics on how we can help your business in this area, contact us direct to book in for your free “Strategy Session” with one of our expert Business Coaches. Lets talk about your business and see how we can take you to the next level. 


Administration

Do you need a piece of rope to find your way out of your office? Can you ready draw on accurate information about your business or an individual job?
Without proper paper flow and strong administration your business will flounder and never reach its full potential. Your administration serves as the “Control Panel” for your business and needs to be kept in good order if you want to stay in control of your business. Strong administration allows you step back and make more informed decisions about your business.

Would you like to install a system that allows you to discover, check and regulate your team’s Key Performance Indicators?
Strong administration also allows you to regulate your Team’s performance in key areas.  Once you and your team are ready to start using KPI’s for your business, you must focus on the areas of business that need urgent attention, keeping in mind that KPI’s expose weaknesses and areas of improvement. Remember, the main goal is to ensure that 80% of your results come from 20% of your abilities.

For more specifics on how we can help your business in this area, contact us direct to book in for your free “Strategy Session” with one of our expert Business Coaches. Lets talk about your business and see how we can take you to the next level.

CaseStudy:

The Challenge – Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s)

Tim’s building company has been through a lot of ups and downs over the past 15 years. Being the proactive guy that he was, Tim constantly looked for ways to improve his business, particularly regarding the performance of his team on-site. 12 months previously Tim decided to change the direction of the business and chose renovations as his niche. He set his sights on becoming the number one renovations company in the state and made it the company goal to exceed customer expectations on every job. This was a lofty ideal, which Tim wanted every member of his team subscribe to, to collectively raise the performance standards of the company. Following the launch of the new vision for Tim’s business there was a significant change in the behaviour and attitude of his team on-site. The efficiency was up, absenteeism was down, and everyone worked together like a close-knit team. The outcome resulted in improved profits for individual jobs and the company as a whole. However, the success was short-lived. In the space of a few months, the newly acquired performance standards started to drop, and his team fell back into their old habits.

This caused Tim untold stress and frustration. He couldn’t for the life of him understand why his team couldn’t apply themselves consistently and maintain the level of performance they’d held for the previous eight weeks. The question running through Tim’s mind was, “How can I measure the performance of my team so that I can hold them accountable to the newly assigned performance standard and keep it there?”  

The Cause:
Tim lacked a measurement system in place to track the performance of his team or the ‘critical distinctions’ in his business. This gave Tim no way to ‘back stop’ the new performance standards his team achieved. Although Tim directed a lot of his frustration at his team, in fairness to them, they were only human and, like all people, they need accountability, focus, guidance and direction.

People are creatures of habit, good habits die quickly and bad habits die-hard. Because of this, Tim recognised his lack of systems for measuring the ‘critical distinctions’ or ‘key performance’ areas of their work performance.  

The Business Pain:
Although most of the jobs Tim’s team completed were of good quality, they struggled to maintain the consistency that he was after. Tim felt intense frustration and often anger when he received complains from clients due to poor workmanship.  Lost profits on jobs due to basic mistakes was another thing that angered Tim. He also noticed that when he was on-site or close to the ‘coalface’, performance automatically improved. This also frustrated Tim because his objective was to spend less time on-site and more time working on strategic areas of his business.

The Personal Pain:
After 15 years in business Tim felt like he was going around in circles. If he wanted efficiency and job quality to improve, he had to roll up his sleeves and do it himself. As soon as he stepped back, things automatically slipped back into their old ways. His relationship with certain team members started to sour and caught himself snapping at people and often felt bad afterwards.

Tim’s bad work relationships spilled over into his personal life and his relationship with his partner Sue was deteriorating as he often took his bad mood home with him.

The Solution:
Tim sat down with his coach and reviewed the critical areas of his business and followed the following steps to identify and measure his KPIs.

  • He started with the bigger areas and narrowed it down to the more specific ‘critical distinctions’ in his business he needed to improve. First he got clear on the KPIs for his business, then each department or area of the business, and finally each individual within the business. Tim found the KPI selector his coach gave him very helpful with this exercise
  • Once the KPIs were identified, Tim needed to put a system of measurement in place for each KPI.
  • The selected KPIs were then drawn up for each team member.
  • Each team member received their KPIs in a one-on-one, face-to-face session, which also explained what the KPIs were and the benefits of the KPIs to them as team members.
  • KPIs were measured and recorded by each of the relevant managers or team members and the results reviewed each week, month and quarter at the quarterly reviews.
  • Finally, the top 10% of KPIs were identified and team members were given incentives on their performance with these KPIs.

The Outcome:
By putting meaningful KPIs in place, Tim had a new level of control over his business. He now knew exactly which areas of his business were performing well and which weren’t. This allowed him to channel his resources into the areas that needed it most.

Team members were accountable to achieving results with their respective KPIs. Those who did were given incentives and received promotion, while those who didn’t received the relevant training or were moved into more suitable positions.

Finally, Tim was able to step back from his business and had the peace of mind that it was no longer dependent on him. He was able to achieve new performance standards and backstop the performance of his team with stricter adherence to KPIs. Subsequently, Tim’s home life became a lot more tolerable for everyone. Tim was also able to take time away from the business to travel with his family and he was playing golf one afternoon a week again. Tim was back in love with his business and now he understood what people meant when they said business is a game.

For more specifics on how we can help your business in this area, contact us direct to book in for your free “Strategy Session” with one of our expert Business Coaches. Lets talk about your business and see how we can take you to the next level.