June 18, 2013

Where Do You Want Your Company To Be On June 18, 2014

By Paul Bieber

First choice:  123 Easy Street, with prompt-paying customers coming through the door.

Second choice:  Anywhere around Washington, D.C., where the recession didn’t really hit hard.

Third Choice:  Right here, doing the same old things.

OK, you don’t like the government, so Washington is out; well, let’s get you to somewhere else between our first and third choices.  What are you going to do to get there?  It is not just ‘going to come to you’.  You have to plan for it, work for it, and be ready when change comes knocking on you door. 

Wright down where you want to be in 52 weeks.  Make it reasonable, not stupid.  Your business probably won’t double, but a 20% increase would be nice.  And maybe a 30% increase in margin along the way.   Number a pad 1 to 20.  Write down 20 ideas that would increase your business by 20%.  Saying sell more doesn’t count as an idea.  What product are you going to sell more of, and how are you going to learn more about the product?  How are you going to advertise it–can you get co-op advertising funds from the manufacturer or distributor?  How are you going to train and motivate your employees to sell this wonderful new product?  Maybe you want to have a new or updated web site.  How are you going to go about this?  How much are you willing to invest in it?  If you don’t know these answers, write out how you intend to go about learning the answers.

What benchmark dates are you going to need.  After 30 days, what plans should be starting.  After 90 days, what sales goals have you met?  Let’s say you are going to start selling more low-e glass products.  On your list, write down that you need to learn more about low-e, and so does every employee in your company.  Go to Guardian’s, PPG’s or Viracon’s web sites.  They are just great for soft-coat low-e.  Study and learn.  Go to Pilkington’s for hard coat low-e.  You need to be able to sell both.  Next contact your fabricators (you should deal with two) and ask them to make a sample kit for each of your salespeople, in the office and on the road, showing the different products.  Ask them for their literature as well.  Learn how low-e usually pays back its investment by lowering energy costs for the client and makes offices and homes more ‘livable’.  Give your salespeople a goal to increase their low-e sales by 20% within 120 days, and if they do, take everyone out for dinner.  You don’t need to give a big bucks gift, the recognition is key here.  If your salespeople earn a percentage, they received their financial reward by selling more of a more valuable product.  If they are not on an incentive plan, maybe a small gift card would be nice.

If at 120 days you are not selling more low-e, ask your fabricator’s salespeople to ride with your crew for a couple of days.  They should do this.  Have your sales and office people visit the fabricator’s plants to see low-e being made or being handled.  Train your mechanics to mention low-e to every customer on every visit.  Plant those seeds that can grow into a sale in the future.

On your list, write down you are going to spruce up your showroom, showing more low-e products, and more colors and tints of glass that promote energy savings.  Is your own storefront a selling tool?  Make sure your business uses the products you want to sell.  Work with your prime fabricator to put up a new store front in your building, showcasing low-e and tinted glass.

OK, you’ve read enough of my words.  Start a list, make it simple and doable.  Make small steps that all together will lead you to your goal.  Good luck, I’ll call you a year from today to see how you are doing!