Tis The Season… To Think Strategy! (Part 1)

Setting your Goals

It’s December… January will be here before you know it!

Hopefully you’re doing snow removal and gearing up for a great winter season. If not, your season may be pretty much in the books.

For many of our Landscape and Asphalt company clients, 2015 is basically done. But that doesn’t mean it’s time for rest; it just means it’s time to get serious about planning for next year!

2016 is right around the corner, which makes it a great time to ask yourself some serious questions about your plans for the coming season. Questions like:

  • What are your goals?
  • Where do you want to be this time next year? …
  • How do you plan to get there?

So today, we’re starting a 4 part series on planning for 2016.

Part 1 – What are your 2016 goals?

When we talk to our customers, we see lots of different ways they set up goals, ranging from simple revenue goals to detailed, very specific goals for efficiency, profitability and operations. Setting goals can be challenging, and we wrote a detailed article about Goal Setting earlier this year. You may have very specific goals, which is ideal, or you might just be getting started with goal-based planning. But wherever you are in the process and whatever your goals are, we’re betting some of them relate to 4 common themes we see with many of our customers:

Some Common Goals

Across a number of different companies, we see four general themes many businesses have in their goals for 2016:

  1. Identify new business opportunities.
  2. Win a greater % of our new business opportunities.
  3. Execute work better/faster/cheaper.
  4. Make more margin on each dollar of revenue.

The Goal of Efficiency

The next three articles in our series will deal in greater detail with the first three of these goals, each of which supports the fourth goal, increasing your margin. But there’s another margin-improvement strategy that works across your operation, and that is one of gaining better operational efficiency.

For many of our customers, the biggest challenge is having enough resources to both execute current workloads and devote resources to growth. So for many, the main goal is simply to become more efficient across the board, so they can gain scale. If they can perform better throughout their business, they can go after new business. And becoming more efficient will help drive toward your other goals.

Process and Technology

Of course we often read about how you can gain efficiency through process improvement. We wrote a detailed article about Process this year too. And if you want to drive automation and consistency as part of an efficient process, the use of Technology, especially through Business Automation Software can be a huge step forward.

But I know lots of businesses who have largely resisted technology so far. Either they don’t think they’re ready or they don’t want to make a big investment. Or in some cases, they just don’t think they have the time to invest in becoming more efficient. As a software company ourselves, we have some thoughts about that.

Our Experience

Here at Go iLawn/Go iPave, we’ve been down that road ourselves. We’ve implemented major business automation software, ranging from CRMs and ERPs to marketing and email automation and analytics. And, frankly, our results have been mixed. Some of these tools have become indispensable, while others may not have realized their full potential yet.

In short, technology is not a silver bullet; it won’t solve all your problems. But technology can provide the best available tools to help you solve many of your toughest operational challenges. The trick, in our opinion, is to match your level of investment to the level of commitment you’re ready to make. If you’re 100% committed to automating your processes, a good ERP might be a good place to start. If you want to ease your way into adopting technology, maybe you should start with standalone software that automates specific parts of your process.

Finding Balance – Our Take

If you’re concerned about over-committing to new technology, one strategy is to start off with technology that benefits you quickly, so you see a financial return as quickly as possible. And as you gain the experience and confidence to move forward with more ambitious projects, plan strategically and choose tools and vendors that can help you minimize disruption. As customers, we see ease of use as a big plus too, because tools only help you succeed when you use them.

How we Implement This in Go iLawn / Go iPave

When we consider our Go iLawn / Go iPave customer, there’s a sensitivity to ease of implementation. We make powerful software tools with deep capabilities, but we make it so you can get value out of them right from the start.

A novice can get Go iLawn and be proficient using it as a property assessment and job estimating tool in under an hour. Yet there’s much more value to be had if you integrate our measurements and images into your sales process. And there’s even more value you get by using us for operations and execution.

Go iLawn / Go iPave can be used as a standalone tool from day one and as an integral part of a system of automated tools to help you gain efficiency and profitability. We think they offer a great way to start looking for more efficiency. Give us a call at 800.270.6782 and see how it can work for your business.

Don’t Overlook Goals – They Drive Performance

But in many ways the most important thing may be simply to HAVE goals you’re working toward. And the best way to ensure that you have goals to work toward is to Set Them Now!

And Don’t Miss the Rest of the Series

In the rest of this series, we’ll focus on some tips and tricks to help you execute your plans to:

  • Find new business (in Part 2)
  • Win more sales (in Part 3)
  • Execute more efficiently (in Part 4)
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