As the year draws to a close, it’s natural to take a moment to reflect on the past twelve months; the good things; the bad things; successes; proud moments; and the things that we’d rather not mention!
But while reflection serves a useful purpose in helping to learn from past experiences, most of the energy and thought that goes into running a successful home service business is best invested in the future; the plans, goals, strategy, and objectives for the coming year.
With the start of 2012 imminent, here are three New Year Resolutions that home service businesses should consider implementing to increase efficiency and productivity, for a head start in the new year.
1. Review your website content
It may seem obvious but the content on your website is what draws attention to your products and services; it generates demand and interest. But what is less obvious is that your performance in Internet search (i.e., how far up the list you appear in Google when someone searches for information that is connected with your business) is not just based on the quality of the content, but also on how recent this is: how often you refresh and update your website. Search engines like new information; it makes you appear fresh and new. Your first resolution for 2012 is: Refresh the content on your website (even just a little).
2. Promote your services
Start the year with a drive to increase demand for your products and services. But here is a problem: many customers will have little spare cash available after the Christmas season so what can you do? Consider offering special January offers to tempt them to part with their cash or partner with a daily deals website such as Groupon. Your second resolution for 2012 is: Tempt customers by offering them something irresistible (in limited quantities, of course!)
3. Change the way you work
Many home service businesses have operated in the same way for years, and for one simple reason: it works. But that doesn’t mean in today’s more competitive market that this is the best way of working. Challenge yourself; question the way you work; see if your working methods can be improved; invest in a comprehensive service management solution. Your third resolution for 2012 is: Change the way you work. If you see perfection, then look again…
As the year starts, plan ahead for a successful and profitable year. What other resolutions will your home service business be following in 2012?
With the holiday season already upon us, trading for some home service businesses may suffer and slow down. Whether business is booming or not, offering gift certificates to current and potential customers during the holiday season is a great revenue generator. It is also a free and easy way to promote your business but it’s surprising how many businesses do not consider adopting this so here are three reasons why your company should consider providing gift certificates this holiday season and how you can implement a gift certificate program.
Why Gift Certificates?
1. It’s a Great Gift
Knowing what to buy for a loved one is a chronic issue that many people suffer from at this time of year. A gift certificate for house cleaning, lawn care, a repair service, or even a plumbing service is both thoughtful and helpful. Whether your loved ones have a leaky tap, a filthy house, or they are enduring a case of mice, providing them with the chance to better their home (something they probably won’t spend their own money on) is creative and easy.
Making gift certificates available gets your name out there. It promotes brand awareness because you are increasing the number of people that will hear about your business and then utilize your services. Purchases of the gift certificates to give to their friends or family (who may then tell others), creates discussion and interest in YOUR company.
3. Generate New Business
One of the best things that gift certificates can do is generate new clientele, and more business during the slower periods of the year. Slower periods are mostly a seasonal issue faced by home service businesses but by providing gift certificates you gain control and add new businesses and revenues while your competitors continue to suffer.
How to Implement Gift Certificates at Your Company
- Plan what types of gift certificates you are going to sell, and set affordable prices. Are you going to sell an entire service, (i.e. one full house cleaning), or are you going to provide a monetary value that can be used to pay for services of the customer’s choice?
- Make sure that you are tracking the gift certificates you sell. Ensure that you have captured the email address and phone number of the purchaser, and record the gift certificate number and amount in your CRM database, or an Excel spreadsheet.
- Have a graphic designer or print company such as Vistaprint create a gift certificate for you that you can have printed. It is best to get them professionally printed to promote a strong image. If you want to make it even easier for customers, you can offer e-coupons, gift certificates that you email to the recipient. Make sure you include your company’s name, contact number, website, and address.
- Promote the fact that you offer gift certificates. Include some blurb on the bottom of your customers’ invoices stating that you have gift certificates available. Include a note in your company holiday card. Post signs at your office, and advertize in local newspapers.
As a home service business, have you ever offered gift certificates before? Was this a successful initiative? Post a comment and tell us more!
All businesses face pressures and the risk of closing their doors if things don’t work out. As a small home service business, you’re probably feeling some pressure to ensure that your business survives and you’re sometimes under some stress, whether it’s noticeable to you or not. While there is no recipe for guaranteed success, here are three basic mistakes you can avoid to increase your chances for long-term success.
1. Targeting Everyone
If you’re Apple or Walmart, then you can probably get away with trying to target the mass population to buy your products because breadth often comes with being a big company. But as a small business you need to be more careful and focused about where you exert your efforts. This is called market segmentation and creating a target market. Here you need to understand what’s driving your customer; their needs and reasons for buying. If you target too broad a market then you may quickly find yourself overstretched with insufficient resources to cope.
2. Not Sticking With Your Brand
It takes time, but customers recognize your brand – the logo, color, message, words. Everything. Changing this often and with no structure confuses your target market meaning that they will not identify you and then forget you. Pick a brand. Pick an identity and stick with it. It is also worth it to spend a little money on developing your brand identity. In the graphic design world you need to spend more to get better quality. Doing this initially will save you money in the future.
3. Ineffective Pricing
This may seem obvious as your pricing strategy drives sales of your products and services. Set this too high and customers may switch to a cheaper competitor. But setting too low can have disastrous consequences because you may not cover your costs and raising the price afterwards doesn’t mean more revenues for you; increased price deters demand and will cause you to lose customers. The price therefore needs to find the balance between revenues, costs, and demand. Setting the price low doesn’t necessarily mean you’re undercutting the competition; you may actually be driving yourself out of business.
Evaluate your business. Are you using these three tips to ensure that your business is on the path to success? If not, trying focusing on these as they are a good place to start. It may save you in the future. Best of luck!
Welcome to Service Proz’s new blog, “Building A Better Business.” This blog gives home service businesses advice on how to start and run their companies as well as to keep you up to date on the latest business news, tips, and tools of the trade. Many small businesses do not have the time, people, or expertise to continually improve their business so Service Proz is here to help you to build a better business.
As the leading provider of an easy to use, well tuned, and well developed workforce management solution for small service businesses, Service Proz understands what it takes to run your business smoothly and efficiently.
So sit back, relax, and let us help you transform your service business into a better and booming business.