As contractors, we’ve finished with the busy winter season. Many are catching their breath in the brief transition period in between winter and spring. Then, for most contractors, things will start picking up again, steadily, until the peak of summer. It’s a cycle that repeats itself season after season, year after year, and contractors often build their businesses around it.
They are also falling for a lie about the season to come. It’s a lie they tell themselves; a lie they believe year after year.
The lie? “Things are going to busy in this upcoming season so I need to make sure I don’t get too busy.”
“… Make sure I don’t get too busy.” That’s an insidious lie and it kills businesses.
When contractors tell themselves this, it sounds like they are being prudent—making sure they don’t stretch themselves too thin so that employees don’t burn out and customers don’t get shoddy service. However, what really happens is: the contractor sets the bar too low and they hold back their business from growing as strong as it could be.
Many contractors think that the busy times is when they’ll focus on serving customers and making money, and it’s the slow times that they’ll have time to grow their business. But that’s not how it works. You grow your business in the busy times—when customers are looking for service and you are running full out.
So if you want to grow your business, stop believing the lie that you need to avoid becoming too busy and instead take advantage of the busyness to grow.
5 ways to help you grow when it’s busy
#1. Don’t limit your growth. Start with your mindset. Do you tell yourself things like, “We just need to get through the busy time,” or “I have to be careful about how much I take on during this time” or “I want to grow but I’m not sure we’ll be able to do all of these things during this busy season”? If you do this then you are limiting your growth by setting a benchmark for what you think you’ll be able to achieve. Destroy your limiting beliefs and you’ll grow bigger.
#2. Set huge goals. Start by setting huge goals. Don’t just set a goal that is similar to last year’s peak, or even just a little higher. Set a lofty goal that inspires and even scares you. Make it a goal that you think, “Wow, if we hit that, it will be game-changing for us.” Then figure out what it will take to hit that goal by reverse engineering the goal into monthly, weekly, and daily activities.
#3. Lead. One of the biggest factors that will determine your success or struggle at growing in a busy time is how you lead. Does your team see you get excited about the busy time or dreadful of it? Do they see you getting stressed throughout the busy time? Do they see a normally fun-loving business owner become focused and irritable as the busy season approaches? Your team will pick up on clues that you give, which means a positive “let’s-figure-it-out-and-enjoy-the-ride” attitude will be adopted by your team. Check your leadership approach constantly to ensure you are maintaining positivity. Remind your team that when everyone steps up in the busy time, EVERYONE in your company wins.
#4. Words matter. As you approach your busy time watch what you say to yourself, to your team, and to your customers. When busy times because challenging, words can communicate a negative attitude. For example, to yourself you might say: “I don’t know how we’re going to get through this.” Or to your team you might say: “Brace yourselves! It’s going to get crazy.” Or to your customers you might say: “I apologize for the inconvenience; it’s our busy season.” All of these phrases only HURT your business; they don’t help at all.
#5. Ramp up your marketing. When things get busy, it’s easy to pull back on your marketing. However, now is the time that people are buying, or thinking about buying, and your marketing can help them make a commitment to your company. The goal of your marketing should be fill in the gaps and extend your busy season even farther into the period when it might normally slow down.
It’s unfortunate that many contractors end up dreading the busy season because of how busy and stressful it can be. The busy season is an opportunity for you to grow. Yes, it will stretch your resources and test your mettle but it will also make you a bigger, stronger company, in the same way that a muscle only grows when it is worked harder than ever.
If you want to grow your contracting business, change your thinking and how you lead your team into this busy season. Look forward to the challenge and step into it! You’ll come out the other side as a better business that is poised for bigger things.
Mike Agugliaro is the “Business Warrior” and founder of CEO Warrior, a business consulting, training and mentoring firm, providing tested and proven methods to defeat the roadblocks that prevent small to mid-sized businesses from achieving their ultimate success. He has played a key role in building and selling Gold Medal Service, New Jersey’s largest and most respected home service company. For more information about CEO Warrior, visit www.ceowarrior.com.