What a roller coaster year!
Many of you achieved ground-breaking results, and yet you are tired and glad it’s over.
I get it. But what did we learn?
Upon reviewing my notes from last year, here are my top 7 lessons that greatly impacted our industry.
1. Pay Heed To Cyber Security
The crooks are now playing the long game, taking their time to figure out your business. This includes setting up false company URLs and all sorts of maneuvers.
Every company needs better cyber insurance and a top flight IT expert.
There are many easy things you can do.
The BIGGEST need is cyber training for your team, because they are your weakest link when it comes to constant hacking threats.
It’s not a matter of “if” you will be attacked, but when.
2. Use AI And Technology For Big Gains.
This was the year of ChatGPT and AI.
This tidal wave is growing and will make your business and people smarter.
It’s a whole new world.
One study showed that AI empowers your below-average and average people to be much more productive, i.e. it will level up your team.
How about the normal tech?
We still see firms deploying new software but then not make full use of it.
Every firm should have someone dedicated to getting the most of each operational software or app.
If you buy it, then employ enough resources to buy into it!
3. Your Residential Business Is Worth Something, Too
As more buyers enter the residential market, we will see the value increase.
On a call with a private equity firm, he mentioned commercial maintenance firms are going for 4-7x earnings (ebitda), and residential DB firms are going for 3-5x cash flow.
I have also heard of firms getting more, and I have also heard of firms getting much less, especially if you are small or desparate.
To support your value:
- Grow your recurring revenue, and make your install look like recurring revenue, too.
- Make your business a threat to the big players in your market, and they will pay attention.
Is your business salable?
Transform yourself from “operator” to more of an “owner”, and everyone in your firm will benefit – even if you are not selling.
4. Relearn How To Market and Sell.
This past year marketing leads slowed down and order-taking was no longer the norm.
This was the year to double down, embrace professional marketing and stop doing DIY social media.
The same goes for sales – I helped many to upgrade their sales team and processes, invest in sales training, and not take sales management for granted.
Some of you are halfway through this transition; finish up in 2024 what you started in 2023.
5. Invest In Real Talent.
Top performing companies have recognized the value of investing in top talent.
You should be willing to pay 5, 10 (and maybe 20k) more for the right person to lead key areas of your firm.
Stop comparing yourself to your local landscaper, and instead compare yourself with other high flying companies in your region.
The Talent Rule: The companies with the top talent will rule.
6. Work Harder On Your Relationships At The Top.
Hiring the right people is half the battle.
Getting the most out of your team is the key to speed and success.
Deep, honest, radically open conversations will greatly benefit your strategy.
Spend time bringing honesty and clarity to your strategy, processes and key roles.
Use a strategic facilitator (like myself) to lead annual planning in order to uncover more blind spots and create more Ahas.
It’s the only way to make profound jumps in your planning.
7. Get a Better Handle On Your Numbers.
An observation my team made:
“The number of companies that do not have a handle on their numbers is concerning. Even larger firms in the 5-10M range”
If you don’t have accurate, timely KPIs you can never hold your team truly accountable.
And without accountability, you will never achieve greatness.
Your Challenge: Increase accountability up and down your organization
Take time to ensure everyone is in alignment with your 2024 strategies and vision.
Increase accountability from the top down using KPI’s, and get everyone owning their area and pushing for that extra yardage needed to win this year.
Welcome to 2024!
Regards, Jeffrey Scott!
P.S. We are starting up a new high-impact Leader’s Edge peer group, March 4-6.
We have only 5 spots left, so act now if you want to get involved! Register here.
“We’ve been working with Jeffrey and the peer group since 2018. It has been an incredible resource for growing professionally and personally, continually improving our business, team and profitability — while meeting like-minded individuals and making friends along the way.”
Anthony Olender, Ocean View Landscaping, Long Island, NY.