As industry booms, it can feel like the walls are closing in around you. After working in hundreds of cities we’ve seen these three things are the only protection you can count on.
I’ve been up against tough competition all my life, I wouldn’t know how to get along without it.” – Walt Disney
Your reputation truly precedes you. There are really two sides of the spectrum where you can guard and increase your reputation:
The Online World: With reviews (both scathing and glowing) accessible at the slide of a fingertip, potential customers don’t need to look far to know where to go. And good reviews are no longer enough. If there’s a taco joint with 50 five star reviews and another one a mile further with 300 five star reviews, which one are we going to? The majority of people are probably going to the one with 300 reviews. So guard your reputation, especially your online reputation, and you’ll find more and more people wanting to work with you.
The Offline World: it is clear that word of mouth still matters. Image the easiest new client sale you’ve ever had. More than likely, it was a referral. We trust the people around us and we trust what they believe in. I used to be a proselyte for gmail in its beta days (I still think it is great) and I turned a lot of people on to it. If you work to ensure your customers are happy, they are going to be excited to talk to those around them about your business.
So regardless, commit to quality and commit to customer service as these will provide the ability to guard and enhance your reputation.
This one isn’t nearly as robust as the one above. It’s just simple. There is no way around hard work. That doesn’t mean don’t leverage software to automate tasks that can be automated (that’s an easy line to cross though). It doesn’t mean don’t hire people to do tasks that are no longer worth your time (should a CEO be cleaning toilets?) What it does mean is putting all of yourself into the task at hand. It means constantly innovating to ensure that your company stays ahead of your competitors. It means that sometimes you’ll have to put in late nights and early mornings. But don’t do it alone. Have a team that is just as committed as you are. You don’t need to bring everything in-house, but you do want to have the right people around you to make your company not only an excellent place to work, but also to be a company that people are excited to work with.
Growth isn’t easy. Sometimes it’s not fun (though it mostly is VERY fun). But it is absolutely necessary to continuing to run a successful business. If you’re not trying to grow, you’re also going to be missing out on trends in the industry, potential to develop your staff (and bring on more staff) and more financial security for the business. Does this mean you need sacrifice quality for quantity? Absolutely not. That can ruin your reputation. What it does mean is that you need to be willing to try and vet new ideas. It means you need to be willing to invest in yourself and your business in order to grow. It means that at some point, you can’t and shouldn’t be doing everything. Hire the right people and the right companies to take over tasks are no longer a value add for you, as the owner, to be doing. In other words, buy back your time so you can focus on the true value add items.
These three items are all great in and of themselves, but when you’re able to successfully put them together, you truly can create a moat around your business that will allow it to not only exist for years to come but to succeed and change lives along the way.