Green Industry Business Burnout - Causes & Cures
While reading a national green industry business forum, I came across a thread on business burn out. It's almost like an undiagnosed illness in a certain segment of small business owners. This usually happens where the level of skills and investment to enter the business world is very low. If you are or have been an entrepreneur, most likely you have experienced burnout as you struggled against seemingly insane and unending competitive pressures, or worked your tail off tirelessly to succeed.
Three items seem to predominate business burnout. I hate what I do, or should I throw in the towel thoughts haunt owners. Most frequently mentioned are clients and employees. The third, lurking beneath the surface and not shared too willingly, are bank accounts and net worth that fail to grow. This results in personal incomes that just are not what they could and should be, or less than what could be earned working all your hours for a good employer. All items contribute to the mental fatigue.
Set aside the fact that some companies do not take into account the demographics of their market place, choosing to try and operate in an area with clients lacking enough discretionary income. Solutions do exist for the other problems if one seeks out the knowledge to solve them. The trick is to do this before it’s too late, and still be financially able enough to invest in business education and build a comprehensive plan to improve.
Let’s examine some problems and possible solutions. If your clients are always complaining to you about your crews work, marketing, sales process, communications, hiring and training may be the culprit. A good client starts with first generating good leads. You must attract your ideal client that fits services you perform, the way you operate, marketing methods and marketing materials. When you speak with a prospect, their needs, wants and expectations must be explored to see if they fit your ideal client profile. If they don’t fit, don’t take the job.
Eliminate surprises if the client seems to be a fit, by explaining in detail, what they will experience doing business with you. If you are both on the same page, ask for the sale right then saying something like, “we can start your work next week. Is that ok?” The best questions frequently start with “what”, and require a simple yes or no answer.
When it comes time to do the work, pull your crew together and explain in detail, you and your clients expectations and outcome of the work being done. Always, always, always be sure that your crew is completely trained in the tasks they are required to do. Common sense is not common, and people frequently do not learn by osmosis. Skills do not develop by chance.
Develop standard methods of performing your work and what order it is to be done. Teach it and require that the entire crew be onboard to gain consistently high customer service. Hire quality people willing to learn and pay them accordingly.
Finally, you can’t do any of this without adequate income. Like the prior components, profit needs to be planned and not taken as what’s left over or left to chance and guessing. You can't ask other companies on the internet "what would you charge" or "what should I charge". Fortunately there are easy to learn, easy to use methods of calculating your real costs of production and adding a planned profit margin. Positive results will quickly show up on your profit and loss statement and later your tax return.
No matter if your business is young, mid stream or you want to sell and retire in a few years, attention to these details will pay dividends in the form of increased income and net worth. Growing your profits is my business.
Please tell others about how you have engerized yourself and your business.