By Jeffrey Scott
Pass this on to all employees: It is not enough in this economy to wait for the boss to tell you what to do. If you want to grow your career, you have to think and act like an owner or CEO. Ask yourself, “What would an entrepreneur do to help our company grow?” Here are some answers.
1. Bring in prospects
The success of your company depends on its ability to attract new clients; but this is not just the role of marketing. Everyone in the company is in sales.
How can you help the company gain new clients? I find that the best way is to give a talk in front of potential clients, on a topic about which you are an expert. For me it might mean giving a talk on leadership or time management to contractors. For you it might mean giving a talk at a local arboretum or trade association. Selling can also mean passing your business card to people you meet on the street or at the deli, for example. Whomever you meet, collect and pass along the good contacts you make to your sales team. Help the company grow, and you will too.
2. Find efficiencies
For every dollar a company saves, it is 8 to 20 times more valuable to the company than making a dollar in new sales. Why is this? Because that dollar saved goes right to the bottom line. It is pure profit. In my experience, efficiencies can be found in the following areas:
Call-backs from a client,
Go-backs due to incomplete work,
Downtime due to equipment failure,
Inaccurate or incomplete paperwork.
Put on your thinking cap, and find ways to help. If you are not sure where to start, ask your boss where he or she is trying to improve efficiencies. The fact that you care will be appreciated. Increasing job efficiency can start with taking an extra walk around before you leave a client’s property. You can’t go wrong by raising your head, opening your eyes, and taking a bigger look at what is going on around you.
3. Bring a “yes” attitude to work
You can single-handedly lift the attitude of your crew, and even your department, by having a consistent, outwardly positive attitude. The attitude of few influences the attitude of many.
Be optimistic no matter the challenge, even when others seem negative. Lift other people’s outlook by keeping yours high. This includes saying “yes” when a peer or supervisor asks you for help. Just say “yes,” and find out how you can help. Positive attitudes are infectious — bring a “yes” attitude to work, and you will become instrumental in improving your company’s can-do spirit.
4. Generate referrals
Your clients will refer you when they are wowed by your work and by the impression you make each day you are on their property. Every customer contact is an opportunity to make them happy that they hired you. It starts with a genuine smile and a wave hello, and an extra touch like picking up their paper or garbage blowing around. It is further supported by a genuine question to see if there is anything else they need, and it ends by leaving a job site cleaner than you found it.
Office staff can make your clients feel “special” each time they call in. When you find out the name of the caller, repeat it and give them a phone-hug. For example, “Mr. Smith, I am so glad you called. How can I help you today?” Say this with enthusiasm, and you will be remembered and referred. I guarantee it.
5. Learn valuable skills
One way to increase your chances of earning a raise is to learn new skills that your company needs in order to stay competitive. What skill should you learn? If you are not sure, ask your supervisor for suggestions. The more you learn and apply in a productive manner, the more you can earn. But don’t do it just for the money.
Life is a journey, punctuated by learning new skills. The more skills you master, the more you will feel motivated and satisfied by your work, and the more confident you will become. Do it for the internal satisfaction.
6. Bring a higher standard to work
Owners like employees who are focused and want to do things right. But since no one is perfect, there is always room to improve. Where can you improve your focus and workmanship? Where do you have go-backs, or where do you spend excessive time? Where are your clients not 100 percent thrilled with your work?
Start with reflection:
On Fridays, identify one thing you could improve from the previous week, and commit to improving on it the following week.
Make notes at the end of each day on how you did to improve.
Keep a little black book of improvements.
Find one specific area each week to improve on.
By the end of a full year you will have improved in more than 50 areas. That will have a huge impact with yourself, your clients and your company. Sweat the details, and your clients and boss will notice.
Jeffrey Scott, MBA, is a business consultant and author of “The Referral Advantage” and “The Leader’s Edge.” At age 34 he took over and built his landscape business into a $10 million enterprise. He now facilitates peer groups for business owners in the green industry who want to transform and profitably grow their business. To learn more, visit www.GetTheLeadersEdge.com, e-mail Jeff@jeffreyscott.biz or call 203-220-8931.