At this moment, we’re seeing three main issues that trade businesses are dealing with: recruitment, retention, and time frames. In this article, we’ll dive into each of these issues so that you come away with actions you can take to position your business for long-term success. The overall takeaway is to be proactive in everything you do so that you’re prepared for any circumstance and you have the infrastructure to always succeed.
Right now, with the current economic situation improving, trade businesses are getting more work. That means some are taking on employees that they wouldn’t have normally hired in order to get projects or work done.
This may have been a good short-term fix, but investing in a long-term approach to building your staff will leave you better positioned to deliver great customer service. That’s where recruitment comes into play.
Recruitment is a lot like marketing: You should always be recruiting. However, just as you shouldn’t accept every customer, you won’t accept every candidate. Nevertheless, being proactive with a message that candidates understand will set you up for continued success.
Highlighting the unique value of your business helps significantly when looking for applicants because it makes it easier for them to assure them you are worth investing in. Applicants, for the most part, will do their part in making sure that the employer or business is reputable and qualified. This is why testimonials from current employees, especially longtime employees, are helpful to have in a visible place.
Let’s say you’ve hired one of those great candidates. Keep in mind that they most likely cannot hit the ground running. Set up an operational list ahead of time for each position and what it would take for someone in that position to be of maximum value as soon as they join your team.
We recommend narrowing down that list to about 3 to 5 tasks and giving them the resources to master them. These 3 to 5 jobs should define what is most important and valuable to you (as a business owner) and the company. Carefully consider those jobs because it could take the new hire a little bit to get into the swing of things. Keep in mind everything else that’s on their plate: trying to understand the team dynamic, learning their place within that dynamic, and learning the clients/customers that your business currently has.
You’re not going to hire everyone that applies, even if they are qualified. That’s why it’s best to keep those people engaged with your business. Just because it did not work out at that moment, it doesn’t mean that won’t be a new moment that works for both you and the candidate. Make the smart investment and put some of your marketing dollars into your recruitment efforts. As long as you’re putting in the work into making relationships, you’ll be set to take advantage of opportunities when someone you’ve wanted to bring on board becomes available.
It seems counterintuitive to think a business can have too much work, but it’s true. When there is so much work, how do you keep up with it without going into debt? Keeping a high-performing staff is the key to success. If you let one customer go by being non-responsive, the results can make a negative impact on your business that goes far beyond the revenue lost through that one potential client. You may not realize how much potential income you’ve lost, but it’s real.
Take a look at the Google reviews for businesses. Many customer complaints are focused on not just poor work, but poor customer service. When businesses are overwhelmed with work, they end up ghosting their potential customers. You may be willing to make that sacrifice now because you have more business than you can handle but think of the revenue you’re sacrificing. It’s revenue you wouldn’t have to give up but for a simple phone call to the customer and having the team in place to take advantage of these opportunities.
The challenge is to keep up with the high demands for your services as well as the struggle with staffing and supplies. This is why every excellent employee matters. Not every employee reacts to compensation or the pressure of meeting metrics. Be proactive by asking yourselves these questions:
- How does my business continue to engage our employees each day?
- What makes my employees want to work for me?
Take the time to understand what motivates your employees and makes them want to deliver excellent work.
Project Time Frames
Cash-flow management is more important than ever before because getting paid depends on completing work, but you can’t complete work if you don’t have the supplies. Compounding this situation are prices that constantly change. The supply chain issues we’re seeing today have been causing issues with project delays. You’re still paying your overhead and you’re still paying for those supplies.
Take the time to be proactive with structural changes, whether it be with employees, contracts, processes, etc.
The danger of quick growth and pulling in more revenue is that you expand your business too quickly, which will leave you with a cash gap between what you’ve invested in your business and what you can expect to receive from customers within a certain time frame. Three tips on this point we can offer:
- Don’t fund the expense of materials and labor through new sales.
- Show customers that it’s in their interest to put more down on a deposit so they can lock in a lower price when buying the materials for a project.
- Structure contracts where your business has the flexibility to change the pricing on a quoted project. This will account for situations where the cost of supplies increases before the project begins.
If you don’t change at the speed things around you are changing, you’re going to fall behind. This is why being proactive and anticipating what might come is so important.
Business owners should always be thinking ahead to the next quarter or next step. If you are always reactive, then things will begin to go wrong for your business. Yes, there are actions you’ll need to take when the market is forcing you to do it, but keep in mind the overall message: The business owners that are proactive are the ones that succeed and thrive.
ActionCOACH Tampa Bay Will Help You Master These Three Areas
At ActionCOACH Tampa Bay, we like to help trade businesses like yours take control of their operations and finances so they are in a position to win no matter the circumstances around them.
Want to learn more about what it takes to master recruitment, retention, and project timelines? Book a complimentary strategy session today or call us at 727-786-2900. Get ahead of your challenges now. The longer you wait, the more you’ll be in reactive mode. We’re here to help you change that.