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!
I recently had my carpets cleaned by a great company, Shannon Carpet Cleaning, as part of my end of tenancy agreement. By the time Mr. Shannon had finished cleaning the full apartment (even the bathroom is carpeted, yuck, I know, but let’s not go there!), only an hour had passed and the carpets looked spotless and smelled amazing. When it was time to pay, he handed me a hand written receipt and a printed postcard with the company’s information on it: an approach that left me bewildered. Let me explain why.
After paying, we launched into a ten minute discussion about SEO (search engine optimization) spurred by his asking where I had found his company. I had simply “Googled” carpet cleaning in my area, and Shannon Carpet Cleaning popped up as the first option that wasn’t a paid for advertisement (this is called ‘organic search’). As I regaled my tales of difficulties that home service businesses run into in establishing their presence online, Mr. Shannon seemed surprised. He explained this by commenting that while SEO might sound complex and forbearing, once you understand the concept it is easy for even a small business owner to implement. In fact, he added, it is a huge mistake not to. I agreed, knowing far too well the importance these days of search engine optimization, particularly for the competitive home service business market.
This conversation left me puzzled for the rest of the day. How could a perfect businessman, who does great work, provides good customer service, and understands the value of a strong online presence, miss such an important part of the business transaction: professionalism through-and-through. To the customer, having your home serviced is just as much about the overall experience as the end result. A lady with leaky pipes wants a clean, trustworthy plumber that doesn’t track muddy water through her house, and has a guarantee at the end that the pipe is well fixed. A corporate business who needs their windows cleaned wants a professional who comes during a quiet time of day, and dresses in an identifiable uniform to match expectations within their building.
I was looking for a seamless end to my home service experience with a printed invoice and consequential receipt, perhaps with a coupon for services next time. It is important for home service businesses to realize that impressions are important. Running your business in a professional and memorable manner helps you to keep customers and attract new ones. This is hard to do if you are using a planner to manually schedule appointments, and a receipt pad to track payments. Research a workforce management solution that is right for your business. The extra cost will be easily met by the added customers you will gain from streamlining your business. Letting a workforce management system work for you will transform your business into one that appears to be a successful thriving business with many employees. So let the software do the work for you and leave your customers with a smile on their face, by giving them a great end-to-end home service experience. First impressions surely count, and so does the complete experience.
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.