By Kaitlyn Ersek on Nov 30, 2015 9:53:15 PM
When it comes to being a lawntrepreneur, there are a lot of ups and downs; and it’s difficult to know when the next ebb or flow will occur. While we can’t predict the future, we can certainly plan for it. As 2015 winds down, consider spending time to prepare for 2016 and whatever adventures this year brings.
What should you consider when creating your 2016 strategic plan?
Marketing and Sales
Okay, by far the most exciting part of creating your annual Strategic Plan is thinking about all the sales you’re going to make! Growth is always a fun problem for a business to have. But, there are several key things keep in mind when creating your marketing and sales plan.
Acquisition Cost: The first thing to consider is how much it costs your company to acquire a customer. By understanding your acquisition costs, you can decide how much you are willing to invest in your marketing and sales budget. If you have a $100 acquisition cost and you’re goal is to reel in 100 new customers, you will need to invest $10,000 in marketing and sales.
Which Tools to Use: The second thing to consider is how you’re going to use your marketing budget. What method works best for your area and your customer segments? Door-to-door sales? Telemarketing? Direct mail? Social media? There are a lot of cool tools in your sales arsenal and it’s important to keep track of which tool works best. If you haven’t measured your sales tools performance in the past, consider dedicating some time to that this year. We recommend providing special offer codes for each segment. When a prospect calls in and provides their special offer code, you can track and see which methods are the most popular and utilize those tools more often than the others.
How Often Do You Market: If you expect to get a lot of customers out of one round of post cards, think again. When it comes to marketing, your company should constantly be reaching out to prospects. Sometimes it takes several postcards or forms of marketing and sales before a customer says yes. Consider ensuring that your prospects are touched every three weeks for optimal results. Learn more about this awesome concept here.
Do You Sell or Do You Story Tell: When designing a marketing and sales campaign, consider how you sell your services. In a recent blog article by Seth Godin, Seth pointed out that each time Steve Jobs appeared in public, he was selling something. Yet, despite his job as champion salesman, people lined out the door to hear him showcase his latest toy. Why is this the case? Each time Steve Jobs was before a crowd, he wasn’t just selling, he was telling a story and that story resonated with his prospects and clients. How can you tell your company’s story in such a way that you become the Steve Jobs of lawn care?
Want some more help? Consider attending one of Marketing Suzanne’s webinars to gain access to a free marketing plan template and to put your plan into action.
Despite a lack of an appetite for finance, it’s always amazing to consider the fact that you can understand the general health of your company based on three simple pieces of paper – AKA your financial statements. Sometimes it’s necessary for us to go back to the basics, review our P&L and other financial statements and examine the overall health of the company. Perhaps the most handy statement to review is the P&L or income statement. When looking at your P&L, be sure to review your Cost of Goods Sold (COGS), Gross Margin and Gross Margin Percentage.
COGS: Your COGS represent the direct costs attributed to the production of services sold. What does that really mean? Simply put, your COGS tell you what it costs for you to do business. If your COGS are too high, it’s time to take a look at your expenses to see if you’re spending/investing your money properly.
Gross Margin: Your gross margin is the percentage of sales revenue retained after incurring COGS. In other words, it’s the money left in your wallet after all the direct costs are taken in account (think direct labor cost, fuel, fertilizer and truck). Keep in mind that gross margin doesn’t take in account management costs like marketing, sales and accounting. Your gross margin will give you an idea of what kind of money you can use to invest in your business for 2016.
Gross Margin Percentage: Your Gross Margin Percentage is:
Total sales revenue – COGS / Total sales revenue. Make sure your gross margin percentage is kept relatively high. One of the awesome things about lawn care is the high gross margin incurred. Try to keep your company between 40% - 60%. Of course, this number varies depending on pricing, product quality and density of your customers.
Want to learn more about the P&L, click here to watch a recorded webinar on the subject!
Company Culture Health
Sometimes Strategic Plans aren’t only about the money. After all, if you’re team isn’t running efficiently, you can’t possibly hope to reach your sales goal for 2016! Take a look at your team. How can you better maximize your team players? Is there something that you as a leader can be doing better to motivate your employees? When looking at the overall health of your company’s culture, consider these three things:
Core Values: Have you created core values for your company? If not, read this article on creating core values. If you do have core values, do you and your team really live by them? Try incorporating your core values into the daily life of your company. Name an all-star employee that lives by a core value or tell stories of when an employee practiced a core value. Check out this list of ideas on how to better incorporate core values into your company’s daily life.
Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG): Your BHAG is a goal that’s so audacious as to be inspiring, but not too out there as to be unreachable. The goal’s purpose is to motivate your company and community (that means investors, clients etc) to root for your success. At Holganix, our BHAG is to eliminate:
100,000,000 pounds of nitrates
25,000,000 pounds of phosphates
100,000,000 ounces of concentrated pesticides from entering the universe by 2018.
It’s a pretty big goal, but with each jug of Holganix sold we come closer and closer to reaching it. What’s your BHAG? Click here to learn more about setting BHAGs.
Creating your 2016 strategic plan won’t keep away the adversity that comes with running a business, but it can help unite your company and accomplish your sales goals for 2016. Start working on your strategic plan now, before 2016 arrives. When you hit your goals, let us know! We love to hear your success stories.