Scaling a Home Services Business Into a Multi-State Powerhouse (Part 1)
Jesse Stoddard, Fractional CMO has helped home services business launch, grow, expand, and scale to dominate their territories since 2017. As one example, he took the helm as Chief Marketing Officer of an attic and crawl space remediation company and grew them from $14 million to $18 million annual revenue in one year. He shares how he was able to help them scale in this multi-part case study—this week focusing on the first stage of the company’s growth.
First, What Not To Do
When you think about it, it’s a little crazy to expect anyone to have expertise in all of these areas. But the fact is, most business owners start with the wrong idea about marketing.
They think that marketing is just one thing. For example:
- “My ad budget is $500 a month, so that’s my marketing budget!”
- “I’ve got Facebook ads going right now—so that’s my marketing!”
- “I hired somebody who calls themselves a social media expert, so they know SEO, PPC, and graphic design, right?”
- “My CAC (customer acquisition cost) is $150, so every customer is worth exactly the same and therefore I can never pay more for a customer, regardless of media.”
The problem with these statements (and many others) is that they oversimplify marketing. Marketing isn’t just your ad budget or even one single channel—it’s a complex system comprised of several subsystems working together to achieve overall success for your brand.
So the first thing to do is make sure you are not myopic and looking at marketing with only one lens. Look at your personal attitude about marketing and begint to expand your horizons. This starts with the understanding that marketing is a complex system that will require focus and hard work to master.
Next, Audit Your Assets
Now it’s time to evaluate your company’s assets. By assets, I don’t mean your balance sheet or cashflow statement. I mean marketing assets, which can be many intangible things. The following questions can help you determine what your company needs to scale:
- What are the results coming from each asset (campaign, advertisement, media channel, marketing team, referral source, strategic alliane and partnership)?
- What type of leadership is required to achieve your goals with each asset?
- Are there any gaps in your leadership that could hinder growth?
- If you’re planning on growing into a multi-state chain or franchise, make sure you have a team of leaders who fill the necessary skillsets. Is the person leading sales and marketing able to do everything they need to do at their current growth stage? At the next growth stage?
- How much money is available for each asset? How much money could you make available, assuming an attractic ROI? How fast can you make that money available to capture market share?
- Does the revenue coming in match up with the cash flow needed now and in the future (think one year out)? Can you grow without running out of money or getting yourself into debt?
Identify what worked in the past and do it again!
Identify what worked in the past and do it again! The bigger a company gets, the more marketing campaigns they seem to be running. Marketing is essential because it drives business, but we get bogged down with more advanced strategies when some simple ideas work just as well.
As entrepreneurs we love shiny new objects and we constantly want to solve problems. It’s what makes us entrepreneurs. However, it is a double-edged sword. We so strongly believe we must be fixing broken things that we will even subconsciously break things in order to be “fixers.” We will create problems to solve if there aren’t any.
In other words, we often overlook successful campaigns from the past, simply because they are “old” and we feel the need to tinker and mess with everything. The truth is that if it worked once, it’ll likely work again. If you ran it last year in the current season and it worked really well, chances are you can run it again and get a similar result—without changing a thing!
Here are just a few examples to look for an adapt to your business:
- Low Hanging Fruit: analyze your business and look for opportunities where you can reap huge rewards without much effort. Who are the easiest to reach customers? Often it is in the customer list you currently have; you can up-sell, cross-sell, and attempt repeat business or referrals. Sometimes it is in reclaiming lost customers with a special lost customer campaign, or doing the same with great follow up on unconverted leads.
- Sometimes, the simpler, the better: don’t overthink things. If something worked in the past, repeat it!
- “Throw them under the bus” sales technique (This one works great): Call back clients who missed out on a special offer from your company and make sure they didn’t miss out because of something your team did wrong. Even if your team did everything perfectly, you could still offer that same special to keep them from feeling bad about missing out! A sales manager can call to take another attempt on a sale lost by the sales representative, or to give the prospect to another salesperson. They can simply say something to the affect of, “I’m sorry, but Bob was having a bad day and we don’t feel he was able to fully represent our company or our solution in the best way possible for you. We feel we can do a better job, if you’ll let us, and even save you some money. We’d like one more chance to get it right, and we’d like to send Susan out to take a look at your home. We feel she is a better fit for you because X and Y.” Then, Susan goes out and redoes the bid with a fresh perspective and possibly an added offer on top. This extra effort can be worth it when closing the sale means a higher-ticket sale, or if it feels like the customer was already on the verge of buying.
In the end, it’s all about the process of building a solid foundation from the bottom up. It’s easier said than done, but if you want to build a successful home service business, it’s what you need to do. And in order for you to do that, it’s important that you take the time to properly plan out your business operations before jumping in and getting started. That way you can avoid costly mistakes down the line and focus on building a business that has a solid foundation and is built to last.