…in the long run. As a window cleaning business owner, you have probably noticed that for some it’s getting more and more challenging to do business especially in these times, and only a few will ultimately survive in the short term and even less in years to come. Things are changing, businesses are failing and only the strong will survive and prosper.
Will You Survive?
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Know it – your competitors are getting smarter, more aggressive, maybe even a little shady. Some are even pushing the envelope on ethics just to win more customers and grab more market share. Many are becoming more talented when it comes to social media channels and marketing strategies. Some of your competitors are learning to dominate local marketing like never before.
The result is, any edge or angle you had in the past may be fading away. Only you know if you are struggling to keep up. You know if your competitors are catching up or have already catapulted past you and are creating distance. You know if you are falling behind, losing pace.
Meanwhile, your customers and prospects are only making it harder. Many seem to be looking for the best service at the cheapest price, right? Almost like they’ve been trained by Amazon and Target to expect as much. And you know what else? If you don’t submit to their “demands” some will even threaten to give you a negative review that could hurt your business. Other price sensitive customers are digging and researching costs to find any “dirt” they can so they can question you on the numbers you write on the invoice, like they want you to have no profit. Go figure!
And you know I’m only scratching the surface. Social media is only getting noisier, marketing and advertising costs are going up, ultimately making it harder for us window cleaners to be heard and be seen. And you know what? I haven’t even touched on the difficulty you may have getting people into your company so you can train them and serve your growing customer base at the highest level.
Fortunately, you are reading this and I’m here to say it’s not all bad. At Window Washing Wealth, after researching, testing, and implementing we’ve identified two key ways that the smartest, most successful window cleaning businesses win… and I’m going to share these with you in this article so you can build your success plan.
#1: LEARN TO GROW
First, start learning. Leaders are readers. Between books, audibles, podcasts, conventions, mentors, experts – reach out and learn, absorb. There are so many opportunities to gain knowledge and grow. You can’t just rest on your laurels and keep doing what you’ve always been doing. That’s a recipe for disaster that will crash and burn, killing your company… in time.
Leaders are Readers
Let me ask you this? Have you seen a Corona typewriter lately? A Blockbuster video store? These were massive companies that we would’ve bet good money on that they’d be around forever, right? The problem was they were resting on their own laurels and did not bother to learn how to evolve while the marketplace was shifting. Today, I think Blockbuster has one location in CA somewhere. And Corona typewriters would be found at the local nostalgia store. Unfortunately, that is the fate of window cleaning business owners who think they can continue doing what they’ve always done and enjoy the success they’ve always enjoyed. Not so.
The better way is to learn. No need for college to get a degree; no need to buy a franchise in hopes of, you just need to seek out those who have built successful window cleaning companies and have what you want. You need to connect with them and find out how they do it. I’ve done this year after year since the early 2000’s, especially at conferences, seeking out the best of the best, striking up a private conversation and seeing what makes them and their companies tick, really tick. What do they ‘really’ do?
Make this the year you catch up with your learning to put your company on track to grow like you have not grown before.
#2: ACT TO GROW
The other success factor you need is action. Meaning once you learn something – you know it, it’s in your brain, but now it needs to be implemented and put to use to better your company. This is the other challenge. And it’s a big one! When I tell those looking to grow and learn, some say “I am learning. I’m part of an organization, and follow a forum that is helping me.” And I reply with, “Great. Tell me the last time you got something actionable from them that you can use to grow your business?” and “did you actually roll up your sleeves and implement what it was you learned?”
You see, most don’t. They listen, and say they will have to ‘try’ that too. Many may start but they won’t follow through. There’s no accountability with themselves or with the organization. Why? Because action is much harder than it sounds. For example, when you listen to a podcast, read through a forum, or attend a live or virtual event, and get concepts, and strategies or in many cases theories, it takes a tremendous amount of work and fortitude to turn those learned points into action and they end up not getting done, leaving you back where you were. And it becomes frustrating, because you STAY STUCK.
One approach is networking with like-minded individuals working toward a common a goal. Maybe you meet 3 or 4 people at a conference or on a forum and organize something. Set up roundtable discussions virtually, giving each other action tasks and keeping each other motivated with monthly calls. Accountability is the key. Unfortunately there’s still too much room for error in implementation if the other attendees are working off of theory, but it is a start to make headway.
Another and better approach is finding an expert, a mentor who is doing what you want to do, or is where you want to be, and has the strategies you can learn from. Then, turn those strategies into actions. There’s an immediately noticeable difference because there’s actual accountability leading to incremental step-by-step successes all leading to accomplishing your vision over time. There is an acute difference between trying to act on concepts versus actually acting on strategies.
Want to grow? It’s not hard. It’s Simple: Learn and Act
That is your success plan. It seems and is simple, but in reality, very few actually do it. Start by finding an expert and learning from them. Then build what you learn into actionable steps. I will say that is the hardest part.
Revisit this simple plan over the next year and if you find yourself struggling or notice your competitors are catapulting, it’s usually because you are not doing one or both of these things.
I’ll give you an example of these two important factors in my own business.
Back in 2009, when the market crashed I found myself pulling my hair out because I was losing storefronts and knew I had to make some quick decisions. I had a significant size commercial storefront division – 2,000 regularly serviced stores, so you can imagine my agony. Back then, that’s all I did – storefronts. I made the decision to start a residential window cleaning division (with ancillary services). This was brand new to me.
I did what I mentioned above. I read books, I reached out to those that already had successful residential window cleaning businesses, I ordered CD’s and DVD’s and began studying, learning and implementing. I even hired a “coach” to help me through. All was invaluable. This was not going to be a one-man show operation. It was going to become the largest residential window cleaning company in my metropolitan area. That was my vision. What’s yours? In less than 5 years my residential division was doing $500,000 in revenue with a strong net profit, starting at $0. I may not have been the fastest kid on the block like others, but I was growing steadily year after year and knew where I was going.
Further along, I continued studying and learning what I could from every source I could find, most often outside the industry of window cleaning. The little bits and pieces of golden nuggets I learned and re-developed into my own for my business proved to be invaluable. I put together what I call:
- Price Positioning Principles
- Growth Trajectory Formulas
- World Class Service Elements
- Market Domination Models
…and so many more things.
And then built a complete Company Systems Blueprint detailing every process, principle, document, form, strategy, marketing campaign, etc., etc., etc.
Today, ten years in, my residential division alone is averaging 350 to 400 homes per month and growing every year. Want to know the most beautiful part? I learned how to put it all on auto-pilot.
Your success hinges on your ability to learn and act so you can grow and remain competitive in the marketplace. Learn from me, learn from someone, just learn and then act and implement. It really does make all the difference in getting where you originally intended to go when you first set out on your journey of entrepreneurship. Most give up and just stay stuck. I’m telling you, building a really cool window cleaning business with “people” in your organization is not that hard when you learn the steps to get there. Til next time!
Jim DuBois is founder of Squeegee Pros, Inc. out of Mooresville, NC and is the creator of WindowWashingWealth.com. Visit the site for a FREE MARKETING REPORT, BUSINESS BUILDING MANUAL, and AUDIO CD. Window Washing Wealth is a coaching program that specializes in aggressive marketing tactics, systems implementation, and growth trajectory execution – all leading to market domination on auto-pilot. We are changing the way window cleaners do business. Email questions you’d like to see answered in this column directly to [email protected] or call 704-451-0409.