Contractors say it all the time “How do I expand my plumbing business?”
If you run your own business, you understand fully how difficult it can be to achieve growth and to find success in a given industry. In the plumbing industry, this is just as true as ever given the sheer amount of competition that exists in the industry.
That is why, after you have gotten your business off the ground, finding a way to maintain growth is so essential. If your company remains stagnant early on, it likely will not last all that much longer. Granted, your company does not have to become a behemoth, but it does need to grow in terms of its presence in order to find continued success.
Expanding and growing your business can mean something different for each business owner. Maybe you are simply looking to expand by eventually adding employees. Maybe you want to grow our profitability and revenue. Or maybe you want to find a balance in your life that just isn’t there.
Whatever the goal, it is important to know what you are looking to achieve in order to grow your business to the level that you want it to achieve. Don’t worry about becoming a giant; look for steady, reasonable growth that can lead to positive things for your business.
But how to achieve this? Here are a few helpful tips to get your business on the right path towards growth and expansion heading into 2020.
Pick an area that you want to grow in
Stating that you “want to grow” is as vague as it gets. There are so many different areas that a company can grow and expand that it helps to know specifically what areas you want to grow in. Having clear, concise goals can make it easier to focus in on those goals and put you on the clear path towards achieving those goals.
Don’t be afraid to be as specific as possible with your growth goals. Maybe you want to grow profit, perhaps you want to grow revenue. Or maybe you want to grow the number of trucks you deploy, the number of employees that you have on the payroll, or the number of customers that you have.
Whatever the goal, make sure that you narrow it down to a few specific areas. The key here is to make reasonable goals for yourself and your business. You don’t want to get too carried away with this – trying to expand in too many areas will leave you unfocused and will defeat the purpose – so make sure that you limit it to just a couple of areas at a time.
You can also attack this in a bit of a different way. Consider how each area impacts the other areas of your business. For instance, instead of focusing on adding to the number of trucks that you deploy, think about expanding the number of employees on your payroll. This way, when you grow the number of employees that you have, you are forced to grow the number of trucks that you deploy.
This strategy can help you to determine where you want to see growth. If you feel like expanding in one area could trickle into others, you might put a greater priority on those areas. Ultimately, it is important to know what your goals are and where you want to expand the most. And it is just as important to know why you want to expand.
Setting these goals will help you get some focus involved and will allow you to clearly work towards making those goals a reality.
Envision what you want
This breaks down your goals into a bit more specific a category. Instead of saying “I want more employees”, think about what the end result will look like by the end of a year, two years, and five years. Much like creating these goals is to eliminate the vagueness of wanting to expand, envisioning what it is that you want will help you determine the best way to get there.
Let’s take the “I want more employees” goal into account. Consider that not all employees are created equally. Do you simply want to grow the number of employees that are on the payroll? Or do you want to find the kind of employees that are versatile and valuable, that you can delegate to and ultimately trust?
Knowing what you want out of these goals helps to refine the vision down even further and give you something more concrete to focus on. This can be far more difficult of an endeavor than anyone might realize. After all, you are trying to implement consistent growth area by area. This requires patience that not every business owner possesses.
Speaking of, focusing on these goals can help you to develop patience as a business owner. Patience is essential to the success of your business. If you don’t have patience, how are you expected to grow your business? Growth rarely occurs overnight unless you have a truly revolutionary idea or marketing campaign and those are so few and far between that they may as well not exist, not reasonably speaking.
Having the patience to work towards your goals and to see them develop are vastly important. By working steadily towards these goals, you will develop the patience you need as a business owner and will develop an invaluable skill along the way.
You can even take it one step further by writing out the details to each of your goals. This will give you something concrete to focus on and you can even create something of a checklist to follow as you continue to work towards those goals.
Create steps to aid in the development of your goals
Envisioning the goals that you want to achieve is certainly an important step in the process. Without this, you can’t begin to create the kind of progress that your business craves. But how can you expand upon that vision and make your goals something attainable? How can you actually begin the work towards achieving those goals of growth?
The best way to do this is to do this is to create steps as you go. Change rarely happens all in short order; it happens over time and often in a slow and steady manner if you are doing it correctly. Without steps in place, you might lose sight of your goals because of the time that it takes to develop those goals and achieve them.
Creating these steps gives you a path of growth to walk down and see the results as you go. Let’s say that you have a goal of adding a dozen new employees over the course of one year; this is, on average, one employee per month. Knowing what your goals are here gives you an idea of what you should be averaging, but keeps you on track in the event that you have months that are faster or slower. For instance, if you hire two employees in one month and none in another, you know that it averages out and that you are on the way to achieving your goal. This is a great way to keep yourself on track and to prevent those highs and lows from throwing you off of your path.
It is also important to think about the necessary actions to complete those steps. Perhaps you have to implement some marketing into the mix or there are resources that you need to make that step happen. Knowing what you need to get to that next step can make it all the more realistic to achieve and will help keep a progression towards that goal. There are a ton of little actions and steps that go into achieving a goal; the more that you can implement and adhere to, the better the chance that you achieve that step or goal.
Create the necessary metric
There are some goals that are less tangible. For example, maybe you have a goal to increase the amount of revenue that you accrue during a given year. That is a metric that you can calculate as you can track your numbers over a given period of days, weeks, or months and compare it to where you were the previous year.
But there are some goals that don’t have those metrics to make it easy to see how your company is developing. It is for those goals that you need to develop a metric for yourself. Determine how it is you can measure the progress that you are making and to know when you might be able to cross that goal off your list. Without these metrics, you might find yourself aimlessly and blindly searching for progress, unsure of when you actually achieve it.
Find unique ways to track these goals that might not have solid numbers to them. Maybe you want to improve the quality of your business’ work. This can be achieved by perhaps campaigning for reviews from customers as you complete each job. You can then compile the reviews left and determine how you are faring. This will give you something tangible to work towards even if there aren’t solid numbers to go on.
The key here is to make any of your goals tangible even if the numbers are not there to back it up. If you can do this, you can give your goals a level of focus that will only stand to benefit your company and the growth that it hopes to achieve over a given period of time.
As you can see, the name of the game towards growth for your company is to set clear, concise goals that give you and your company purpose. When you don’t have those things, it can be easy to lose focus and to stray away from the things that you need to do to make your business find continued growth over a given period of time.
Get the help that you need
One major issue that business owners can run into is the hero syndrome. Simply put there are too many business owners who want to do everything themselves and don’t ask for the help that they need along the way. The simple fact of the matter is that, if you want to run a successful business that seems proper growth, you have to know when to delegate and where to ask for help. It is the way of business whether you want to accept it or not.
Where and how you get that help can vary. Maybe you take the time out to read something like a magazine article or a book on the topic at hand. Maybe you end up watching a few educational videos on YouTube to help you along the way. Or maybe it means finding someone to lean on, a person or people that you can depend on to help you achieve the goals that you have set forth for yourself and your business.
Because most plumbers are hands-on kind of people, it can be difficult to lean on others. But the fact of the matter is that you cannot possibly expect to know everything, learn about everything, and handle all areas of the business yourself. You need dependable, reliable help. Whether that is in the form of other employees, consultants, or whoever is ultimately up to you.
Businesses that don’t look for help in the right ways are often the ones that fail the quickest. Being successful does not mean doing so by yourself; it means knowing where and when to seek the help that is necessary to achieve a goal. And if you are achieving goals, your business is making progress and showing growth. And that’s the whole point of this article, is it not?
Put that pride aside and reach out for a little bit of help. You will find yourself and your company making the strides that you desire because you weren’t afraid to ask for a helping hand. Businesses thrive when people work together and that shouldn’t be different for your business.
Re-assess, make corrections where necessary, and push forward
One of the most important things about trying to attain a goal is to make sure that you are always trying to find ways to improve the chances that you will achieve that goal. Rarely does a plan get put into place that doesn’t encounter some difficulties or issues; this will likely be true as you implement the plan that you deem necessary to achieve the goals towards growth that you have set forth.
Re-assess the goals that you have set forth and the progress that you may or may not be achieving. When you re-assess the steps that you have outlined, you can properly identify where you are finding success and where your steps need work. Not only that, you keep that focused eye towards your goal by looking at it to see where you are having success and where you need work. This is a way to keep your eye on the prize while taking those necessary steps towards improvement.
Of course, re-assessing is all fine and good but it won’t do a whole lot of positive things if you aren’t willing to make changes. If you find that one of your steps is not showing the progress that you hoped for, don’t just put it out of mind and hope it will improve. Determine where you can make the changes that will make it a successful step. Again, you aren’t likely to create universally successful steps; one or more of them will have issues that need tweaking. Be willing to look at that.
Ultimately, the biggest and most important thing that you need to remind yourself along the way is to keep going. Growth and development rarely occurs overnight; it is a marathon, not a sprint. It can be easy to lose focus and sight of those goals because you want to see a substantial amount of development in short order. But being able to stay focused, keep your eyes on the prize, and continue working is what you will need to do to develop the amount of success and growth that you are hoping to achieve.
This is a good lesson to learn for anything in life, not just your business. There will come times in other aspects of your life where there are hindrances or roadblocks; telling yourself to keep going is how you will power through those detrimental instances and find yourself on the other side, oftentimes more successful than when you started.
It can be difficult to keep these things in mind, but it will also help with your overall patience towards your goal and keep what you want in your mind’s eye. Goals and progress require work; this is a universal truth. Keep your head up, your eyes forward, and focus on the things that you can do to improve your chances of success. Ultimately, if you put in the work and remain patient, you will see the results.