As a painting contractor, I understand the ups and downs, the challenges and victories that come with the territory of running a business. Today, I am excited to share with you five simple actions that, if done consistently, can have a significant impact on your enterprise. I have seen these actions work in my own business, my clients' businesses, and countless others. The beauty of these actions lies in their simplicity. They revolve around concepts you're likely already familiar with, but perhaps not utilizing to their full potential. The key is consistency. It’s not about monumental, one-off actions but consistent steps that keep you moving forward.
1. Job Costing – The Art of Knowing your Figures
The first action to transform your business is job costing every project. Suppose you sell a project for $10,000. Upon completion, take a moment to sit down and analyze what you spent to produce the job. This includes labor, materials, permits, and anything else that contributed to the project. Compare your total expenditure to the initial estimate. Job costing is a powerful tool for providing real-time knowledge and awareness of your business's financial health. Moreover, it offers you the opportunity to make adjustments on the fly.
For too many of us, the reality of our business's profitability only comes into focus once a year, during a meeting with the accountant. By job costing each project, you can shift from being reactive to being proactive about your business’s financial health.
2. Gross Profit – Securing Your Financial Success
The second action revolves around a commitment to achieving a 50% gross profit. Using our $10,000 project as an example again, this means having $5,000 left after you produce the work. This leftover money serves as your salary, covers other overhead costs, and ideally leaves a net profit in the business.
Committing to a 50% gross profit will help you get out of the financial rut faster. You’ll make more money, and, paradoxically, you'll work less for more profit. You can achieve a 50% gross profit by pricing your work correctly and being selective with your clients. This doesn't mean turning away potential customers, but rather aligning your business with clients who value and respect your work. This strategy will subsequently improve the quality of your referrals and repeat business.
3. Long-term Vision – Steering Your Business Towards a Defined Horizon
The third action is about creating a long-term vision and achieving absolute clarity about your business’s future. What are your non-negotiable values? What is the purpose of your business? What are your brand promises? What do you really want? By defining these parameters, you will save time, money, and progress faster towards your goals.
Clarity also applies to knowing the numbers: how many leads do you need? How many projects do you need to do? What does your closing rate need to be? What is your average job size? The clearer you are about these elements and the more you track them, the less time you waste and the faster you progress towards your goals.
4. Quarterly Priority – A 90-day Sprint towards Success
The fourth action is about setting a quarterly priority for your business. This priority should align with your vision for the year and be broken down into a 90-day run. Rallying your team around a quarterly priority ensures everyone is rowing in the same direction.
Focusing on one main goal for the company at a time means you can accomplish four significant goals by year's end. For example, in our company, we once dedicated an entire quarter to raising our gross profit. We discussed it, trained our team, measured it, and consistently made it a topic in every company meeting. As a result, we saw a 20% improvement in gross profit.
5. Content Creation – Building Authority and Becoming the Go-to Expert
The fifth action involves creating three to five pieces of content every day. For businesses on a tight marketing budget, content creation is a low-cost, high-reward solution. Content can be shared on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, or your own company blog. It can also be distributed via emails to your clients containing tips and educational content.
By committing to creating daily content, you build your brand, establish authority, and become the go-to expert in your industry. Over time, this will reduce price objections, decrease marketing costs, and increase referrals. If you create three pieces of content per day, that's 90 pieces of content per month. Over time, that kind of consistency will undoubtedly generate positive results for your business.
In conclusion, these five actions – job costing, achieving a 50% gross profit, creating a long-term vision, setting a quarterly priority, and creating daily content – are not radical concepts. They are simple, proven strategies that, when done consistently, can create big changes in your business. They provide the foundation for business growth, profitability, and success.
Remember, the results come from consistent application and patience. This is not a sprint, but a marathon. But with these strategies, you can confidently face the race ahead, knowing you have the tools and techniques to reach the finish line successfully.