Are you building your business or chasing business? Email
Written by Jeffrey Scott   
Tuesday, October 09, 2018 05:00 AM

Chasing moneyA fast-growing company is always evolving. But if you are busy working “in” the business, then you won’t have the headspace needed to reflect on the next step for your organization. The next step is not something you plan just once a year. It’s an ongoing process and often changes need to happen at times of inconvenience.

The skills you need to chase and close business are different from the skills you need to build your business. In fact, the busier you are selling the work, the less time you have to organize your business for growth.

Ways to derail your business

  • Extreme follow up: Following up with active leads is crucial. You can’t assume the client is constantly “thinking about you” and will call you when ready. Of course, that can happen if you have good drip-marketing systems, but that is the exception to the rule. The rule is, typically, the best salespeople are relentless in their follow up. Studies have shown that it takes an average of about 10 follow-ups to close a sale whereas the average salesperson gives up after about five follow-ups.

You get the point. It takes obsession, which serves the salesperson but will not serve the company if the salesperson is also a manager, executive, CEO or owner of the firm.

  • Flexible offerings: Sales is about satisfying your clients’ needs, which means one size doesn’t always fit everyone.

An ambitious closer has the ability to adapt the services or terms to meet the client’s needs. Sometimes this means changing the actual offerings and sometimes it is changing the perception of the offerings, using different words and phrases. This flexibility is good for the sales person, but not always good for the company.

Ways to build your business

  • Spend more time thinking than doing: When someone is a great doer, and spends all their time doing, they are not spending enough time thinking. This goes for salespeople as well as leaders and owners. The owner in particular, needs thinking and planning time to work “on” the business. Though a great salesperson needs thinking and planning time as well, it’s required in smaller quantities. A salesperson may only need 20-30 minutes per day, whereas a business builder needs to spend much more time.
  • Turn down business: It is critical that your business is saying “NO” to the wrong types of clients, which I call ‘Red Light’ prospects. To say no requires a well-honed sales process with the proper screening tools in place. Saying no, allows you to focus and build your business on the Green Light Clients.

Every year you should spend time analyzing which clients are helping you build your business and which clients are actually holding you back. Be prepared to let go of the bottom 5-10 percent of your clients every year or two.

  • Analyze offerings: In parallel to understanding which clients to focus on, analyze and delineate which services to sell and which ones to discontinue selling. This can mean entire service lines or it can be reducing the flexibility in your offerings. Services that got you here may not keep you ‘there.’
  • Work yourself out of a job: Ambitious business builders—not just owners but leaders of all types—are focused on working themselves out of a job. Learning the job, then training someone else to do the job—in a way, replicating yourself—requires both a strong bench as well as strong systems. You need strength in both areas to build your business and to keep evolving your job role within your company.
  • Decide on the next structure for your business: At some point soon, your current organizational structure will stop working for you. It will have served its purpose. It takes a lot of thinking/planning time to identify what is not working and then figure out its replacement.

These changes cannot be figured out at once. It takes constant reflecting to keep uncovering the new problems and opportunities that face a fast-growing company.

Take the challenge
Make ample time daily, both alone and with your key leaders, to reflect on your priorities. Meet weekly as a team to review your results. And spend a day per month reflecting on the direction of your company and the upcoming priorities, and be prepared to reset your company’s critical actions. Ideally, do this with your coach or someone who can help you vet your ideas.

These actions will help you build your business in a strong, healthy manner and keep you two steps ahead of the competition.

About Jeffrey Scott
Jeffrey Scott, MBA, author, coach
and Hall-of-Fame Consultant, is the expert in growth and profit maximization in the landscape contracting industry. He grew his landscape company into a successful $10 million multi-discipline enterprise and is now devoted to helping others achieve profound success. He facilitates a peer group network of landscape business owners in The Leader’s Edge. To learn more visit www.JeffreyScott.biz.

This article appeared in the July/August issue of Colorado Green magazine. Read the latest issue or access past issues (member login required) at www.alcc.com/cg.

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