A Business Growth Lesson From the All-YouCan-Eat Buffet
ave you ever been to an all-you-can-eat buffet? So many different salads, entrees and desserts. As a kid, I went to one of these buffets with my parents and I couldn’t stop eating. I ate so much that I actually got sick. It wasn’t pleasant, but I learned an important life lesson that day: Just because you’re at an all-you-can-eat buffet, it doesn’t mean that you have to eat until you get sick. This past year, I was reminded of this lesson as I witnessed some of my clients struggling with full plates. Due to the strong economy (and to some great coaching!), many of them are experiencing an all-youcan-eat buffet of leads flowing into their businesses and they’re complaining about being swamped, scrambling, and pedaling as fast as they can to keep up! When I ask why they don’t just take a pass on some of those leads, they all have a similar list of reasons as to why they could never do that. That’s when I share my story of how too much of a good thing can actually be a bad thing.
Why it pays to practice portion control Just because you have an unlimited buffet of leads doesn’t mean that you have to load up on all of them. Pursuing too many leads and uncontrolled growth can
expose your weak spots and hurt your business in many ways. Here are just four possible negative consequences of uncontrolled growth that you should consider before following up on your next lead: ■■ Attending to more leads than you can handle can increase the time it takes to respond to each call, shorten the time you have to spend with each prospect, and reduce follow-up after the proposal is delivered—which can tarnish your image and reduce your close rate. ■■ Explosive growth can hamper your ability to deliver. It makes it harder to schedule your customers in a timely fashion and give them attentive service. And it stretches your field managers and crews, which can reduce oversight, lower quality, and cause more problems and rework—resulting in lower customer satisfaction, fewer referrals and reduced profits. ■■ Too much business may force you to hire lessqualified people and shortcut their training, which will reduce productivity. It can also stress out your team, reduce your employee satisfaction, and cause higher turnover. ■■ Finally, businesses that are stretched tend to significantly cut back on important, but not urgent, business-improvement projects (such as strengthening your hiring process, finding ways to increase productivity, or developing your team for the future), which can hurt future growth and profitability.
Growth is a choice. Choose wisely. Before you decide to pursue leads and the additional growth that can follow, I highly recommend that you meet with your team and discuss the possible consequences noted above—as well as the potential positives of taking on additional business. Then intentionally choose your growth strategy, engaging your team to ensure that everyone is aligned and prepared to implement it. If you choose to say ‘no’ to higher growth, you can raise your rates and implement screening strategies to reduce your lead flow, which will increase profits and ensure that you are working with your ideal customers. If you choose to say ‘yes’ to higher growth, involving your team will help identify the actions you need to take to successfully accommodate your higher growth rate and ensure that you and your business don’t suffer from the bounty of the buffet.
BILL SILVERMAN is the owner of Springboard Business Coaching, dedicated to helping contractors lead growing, profitable, sevenfigure businesses that can thrive without them. SpringBoardBizCoaching.com
Nov/Dec 2018 | inPAINT
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