Whether you’ve been in business for decades, or just getting started, knowing where you stand now and where you want to be in the future can help set you on the path towards your goals. It’s a simple process but one so often overlooked, and the benefits are well worth the time. Coming up with a list of core business objectives will help you identify your speciality and target market. It’s all about recognising your personal and professional ambitions and making decisions that will steer you towards those goals.
Here are some of the steps you can take towards better understanding your business:
1. Establish your goals
What do you want to achieve? What will your business look like in the future? What areas of growth would you like to achieve?
By answering these question you’ll be able to make more productive and efficient decisions, be more focused on your goals and create job satisfaction for you and your employees.
2. Ask, could we do more?
Some businesses may be running at an under-utilised capacity. By reevaluating your offering and coming up with a new strategy, it may be possible to generate new orders or inquiries. First though, be sure you have the capacity to handle a larger number of inquiries and possibly additional business.
3. Establish your margins
Many businesses get caught in the old follow-the-leader trap, keeping margins low by buying into what other industry players are charging. But there is plenty of evidence to suggest charging cheaper prices to buy market share just isn’t sustainable.
Clients generally do look out for a better deal, but in the end they’ll go with the business they feel understands their needs. If they feel they can communicate with you and trust you will take care of their investment, there’s a good chance you’ll stand out from the crowd.
4. Know where your business is coming from
Who are my clients and how do they find me?
Document where the current business is coming from because what you can measure, you can manage. It will also help you figure out whether your current strategy will sustain the business and identify possible areas of growth.
5. Think about your unique offering
What is your selling point? What do you do for your clients that other businesses don’t?
By figuring out what is different about your business and providing a compelling offer in your marketing material and proposals, you can encourage people to take action or get in touch as a qualified lead.
6. Measure your conversion rate and cost per sale
Can I convert more queries into contracts? If you can increase conversions from 1 in 5 to 1 in 4, that’s an equivalent increase of 20 per cent in sales. It’s also good practice to take some time to establish how much it costs you to prepare a tender - what we do not measure on a regular basis we will not focus on.
7. Focus on ‘client for life’ relationships
Have you ever had such great customer service that you told everyone who would listen about your experience? Or became a loyal client because you were treated well?
Understanding and delivering what the client needs using clear and open lines of communication is at the crux of great customer service and a surefire way to keep customers coming back.
8. Offer more services
Could we generate growth by offering additional and relevant services to our clients?
One example would be a builder also offering landscape maintenance. That doesn’t mean you have to carry out the work yourself, you could instead utilise a formal arrangement with a trusted third party contractor or service provider that complements but does not compete with your business.
9.Listen to your clients
A valuable way of measuring how your business or service is performing when it comes to client satisfaction is through a feedback survey. These can be formal questionnaires, or even an informal phone call, which can give a good indication of your client’s thoughts at various stages of a project and can provide valuable information you can use to address any potential issues.
10. Communication is key
Being upfront with clients and maintaining open lines of communication throughout the course of a project will go a long way towards creating a mutually respectful relationship. From the outset, being clear on a risk reversal policy will help lower or eliminate any concerns they might have. A building contract is one of the biggest financial transactions most people will ever undertake, so it is important to consider introducing a service or procedure that would possibly alleviate a client’s concerns prior to signing an agreement.
The module Understanding Your Business counts towards your CPD points requirement for your builders licence.