Win the day: Are you managing or driving your business?
Imagine your service and replacement company in peak season. The phones are ringing, technicians are running five to six calls per day (more than the two to three calls per day that they should), managers are putting out fires and tending to the needs of clients, and you, the owner, are smiling as you drive to the bank to make the deposit for the day. Life is good, right? Maybe, but what if this is a day you get home at night and reflect on the day, and say to yourself, “What did I do all day? I sure was busy but I don’t know what I actually accomplished.” We’ve all had days like this, but it should be a wake-up call if these kinds of days happen frequently. B.C. Forbes, founder of Forbes Magazine, said, “If you don’t drive your business, you will be driven out of business.” Are the owners and managers of your company managing business or driving business?
Every day, owners and managers get to choose what doesn’t get done. Said a different way, great owners and managers are intentional about how they choose to spend their time and focus on the high-payoff activities that get results. They should be specific in their actions to drive the business, not just managing it with unintentional actions. If you are telling yourself you want to start making things happen in the business, and you desire to get off the hamster wheel, something must change. No one is going to make anything happen for you. That’s your job.
Win the Day
Most well-run companies have an operating budget for the year and know the importance of establishing annual targets that define the annual win for the company. Frequently during the annual business planning and budgeting process, owners ask themselves, “Am I thinking big enough?” While thinking big is great, as a business coach I am asking, “Are your goals small enough?” Rarely are large goals achieved without smaller goals that contribute to that larger victory.
Start by defining the critical aspects of the business you can “win the day” in. When everyone on the team is focused on their department metrics and know how the results contribute to the company goal, the team gains victory for today. This puts you one step closer to the company’s overall success. Regain control of your business, and gain focus on the daily management, by defining the following to drive your business to success:
• Daily call goal for service department. How many calls does the service department need to set the technicians up for success? If you have multiple service lines, define the number of calls each department needs each day.
• Opportunity calls. You are in the service business to be in the replacement business. All calls are not created equal. The average service business will generate replacement opportunity on 30 to 35% of the service and maintenance calls ran. It is the call center’s job to know the age of equipment on the calls booked and fill one-third of today’s board with opportunity calls. This metric extends beyond the water heater, and applies to heating and air equipment, electrical panels, etc. for those in the HVAC and electrical business.
• Daily revenue goal. The company has an annual budget. How does that break down for each month, each week and ultimately each day?
• Technician daily revenue goal. How does the company’s daily revenue goal break down by technician? Each technician needs to know what they need to do to contribute to their department goal.
• Daily revenue for sales department. Just like the service department, define the revenue expected each day for the sales department. Without sales, the install department doesn’t achieve its goal and installers go home.
• Salesperson goal. How does the daily sales department goal breakdown by salesperson? Each salesperson must know what is expected of them and how each of them contribute to the overall sales department goal.
• Install crew daily goal. It’s one thing for the sales team to get the sales, but that revenue must be installed. Define what the install crews must install each day to stay on pace to bring home the win by month’s end.
Winning the day is about knowing what is required, persuading employees to support your ideas, and empowering the team to effectively drive the results in their departments, not just managing what lands in their lap. Everyone on the team must know the daily goals and more importantly, be intentional about the activities that contribute to success.
Communicate in Rhythm
Employees will have questions. Owners and managers need to be intentional about communication with the team. In the absence of structured communication, employees may end up navigating difficult situations on their own. If you’re lucky, they’ll figure it out—but why take that chance?
We all run the risk of death by meetings, so be deliberate and effective with your time. Communicate with the team in a systematic way to drive the business:
• Annual. Engage in a process that communicates the goals and strategic business plans for the year so all employees are rowing the boat in the same direction
• Monthly. Conduct a meeting with all staff to inform employees, exchange information, and collaborate requirements to drive business results. And be sure to take time to celebrate accomplishments and thank the team for their efforts.
• Weekly. Conduct weekly leadership meetings to discuss progress and drive results. Managers conduct weekly training meetings and communicate specific requirements of frontline staff. Every employee in the business has a weekly one-on-one meeting with their manager and ends the meeting with committed actions.
• Daily. Start the day with a daily huddle at the same time every day to discuss your win-the-day goals and strategies, and end the huddle with committed actions.
Communicating in rhythm effectively keeps you in touch with employees, drives results, and ensures that everyone stays focused on what is important.
Model the kind of behavior you want to see around you. When you intentionally make things happen versus let things happen, you’ll find that your employees will too. Set the goals, communicate the progress, and empower your staff to drive the business.