Some of these are focused on those common problems that never seem to change, kind of like those personal resolutions to lose weight (you won’t be the only one starting a new diet in January). Others are geared to helping you keep up with the rapid changes in the building materials industry and the world in general.
1. Raise Your Prices
Whether you actually raise your prices or not, think about how to make your products more valuable in the eyes of the customer. Customers will pay more for products that they feel are worth more.
Even if your product is the exact same as the competition’s, you can still do this. Making it easier to do business with you can be a great way to make customers see your product as being more valuable.
2. Appoint a Defensive Coordinator
Most companies are too focused on gaining new customers that they forget to develop strategies to retain the existing customers. If you have a goal to grow sales by 3% but lose 1% you will need to grow by 4% to meet that 3% goal.
Just like a football team, you need to appoint someone to be your defensive coordinator and help you retain customers. (Stay tuned: I’m going to write more about this in the near future.)
3. Redefine Marketing Success
Most building materials companies measure their marketing department’s success in terms of activities rather than results. If success at your company looks like “we got the website done on time, on budget and the boss likes it,” you are wasting money on marketing.
Measure your marketing on the metric of results. Focus less on “did we get the new website up on time?” and more on “did the new website actually grow sales?” Keep marketing accountable the same as your sales team.
4. Improve Customer Service
No matter how good your customer service is today, it can get better.
Measure your customer service’s performance from the customer’s perspective. Have your sales team reach out to customers on a regular basis and ask them “What are we doing right and what could we do better?”
5. Enter a New Market
If you think there is an opportunity for your business to grow into a new market priortize growth in that market. These opportunities can range from multi-family, panelized or factory-built structures, design-build, online sales and more.
The key to succeeding is remaining patient and staying at it. Remember, you’re entering a new playing field, expect mistakes to be made– but don’t give up.
New markets give you fresh customers to sell to along with multiple other benefits as well.
Note: One of the least understood reasons to branch out is it keeps your team sharp. They’ll need to grow their skill sets to remain relevant.
If you don’t expand your reach it’s like you’re playing against the same team every day. You will settle into a routine and in today’s rapidly changing world that carries negative consequences.
6. See the Forest
Interview new sales employees, marketing employees, and customers right after they start working with you. Do this within six weeks.
Why? It will help you get unstuck from the “this is how we’ve always done things” and “this is how this business works.” mindsets.
New customers and employees aren’t bogged down in tradition yet. They will see things that you don’t see. But you have to act quickly – within 90 days. After that time they will assimilate and lose insight.
Remember there are extremely valuable insights to be gained this way and getting them is free!
7. Do a LOT More Online
No matter how much you’re doing online, do more of it – a lot more. Improve your website, generate more content, beef up your SEO, automate your marketing, hone your email marketing or strengthen your social media presence.
Here’s the thing. You can’t do it all. Pick something you do well and do it. Make your goal to be better than your competitors
Invest in making your website the best website in your product category. Fill it with the highest quality online content, the best performing SEO, and the most effective social media. Pick one, dominate it, then move on to the next one
Following through on resolutions is hard, professional or otherwise. My suggestion: Pick one or two resolutions for your company and get your team involved. Use accountability to move both your career and your company forward.