The Trades Business Flywheel – How To Build Business Momentum
The trade business flywheel.
(What are you talking about Jon?)
I was reading an article recently by the CEO of Hubspot, which is a digital marketing company, and he was talking about this analogy of a flywheel in your business.
It’s not particularly a flywheel but a flywheel stores momentum in an engine and it keeps spinning after you turn the gas off, and it’s got mass and it keeps turning. He talked about momentum in your business and how you could have a flywheel — momentum in your business.
Your business keeps spinning after you’ve stopped applying force. If you’ve stopped paying for ads, you’ll keep getting customers calling and looking for work even if you’re not paying for ads — that kind of idea about business momentum.
We’re mostly talking here about word-of-mouth or goodwill — the things that build up when you’ve been working in an area for some time. You’ve got relationships, people go to your site, and you’ve got presence in your local marketplace, word-of-mouth. That stuff gives you business momentum. You don’t need to always be pushing by paying for your ads to get business coming in.
He’s talking about marketing, of course. I don’t want to flog this analogy to death.
If we can agree that a bit of momentum in your business is a good thing, then I’ll go back to the analogy and talk about how you can get more momentum on the flywheel of your business, particularly, a trades business.
There are two ways to get more momentum in your flywheel:
- Push it faster and to apply force
- Reduce the friction and oil it so it keeps spinning for longer.
If you’re not actively trying to do great work and delight your customers, you’re probably in bad shape for this discussion. So, let’s assume we do a good job and you try hard.
Apply force to the flywheel
You could apply force to your flywheel by doing these things. You can:
- Ask customers to put reviews on Facebook, or on Google My Business site, or on your website.
- You can ask people to hand your cards out to other people, or a referral program and pass it on.
- Actively encourage the word-of-mouth part of your business.
- Go those extra steps to put things in place so that people not just get a good job but realise and understand enough knowledge that you’ve done a great job – the follow-up calls, the customer service calls, “Is everything still okay?” a few days later
Those cheap things to implement into your business that change it from ordinary trade to excellent, amazing, different, noticeable and notable.
Do those things and apply some force to actively delight your customers.
Reduce friction to the flywheel
The next thing is about friction – How do we reduce friction in a trades business?
Friction is the things that make it a bit difficult to do business with you, that take some of the joy out of it. He talked a lot about how we, as consumers, like things like Uber, where you don’t have to talk to a cab driver, you don’t have to call a cab company to order your cab, and talk to a person and how we like to order things online because you don’t have to mess about talking to a salesperson.
He bought a mattress online.
You just jump online, you could pay a price as you place your order, no one’s pressuring you or haggling with you over your mattress.
And it’s true. We do like that stuff, don’t we?
Recommended Reading: Your Customers want Certainty – You should Give it to Them
In a trade context, there’s a lot of friction. There’s a lot of uncertainty about:
- When you’ll show up
- Booking appointments
There’s a fair bit of discomfort for your customers between looking at your website and making an enquiry.
So wouldn’t it be nice if you could reduce some of that friction? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could book a time online for a tradesperson to come out and do your quote?
If you could know, because you could see on your phone where he was, how much longer he was going to be before he got to you like with Uber. You can see that he’s 2 minutes away. That would be quite compelling technology to use I think in a trade business, perhaps, for the smaller jobs.
Imagine if your price list was published online and your customers could come to your website and see that replacing an extractor fan in the bathroom was going to cost him $400, and they could book the job in now, and book time so you would come tomorrow with all that uncertainty gone.
And I could hear all your objections now. Let’s just understand that those are two examples I’ve given and I understand they’re difficult but imagine if you have that competitive advantage, if you remove some of that friction from your business, how many more enquiries and bookings you might get? If you could solve the problems that make them difficult.
Think about how you can reduce friction in your business – How can you make it easier for your people to book work, get prices, get quotes, etc?
Think about the booking process. Think about the level of human interaction. We would have much more self-service stuff at the initial part of a sales interaction I think as consumers.
What to do?
- Remove uncertainty about price.
- Remove uncertainty about time.
This is whether you’re a project trade or a maintenance trade. Clearly, it’s more difficult to remove uncertainty about price if you’re quoting for a kitchen or house with so many variables.
But let’s think. You don’t need to have any uncertainty. You could reduce the uncertainty and make people’s experience working with you that much nicer.
I’ve been mostly giving examples about working with consumers — somebody buying a kitchen, somebody getting their toilet fixed, but it works equally well for businesses.
Business people or people working in a business also like not having to deal with uncertainty about time or money. They also like to not have to integrate with a person and have that personal challenge while they’re still thinking about things.
I’m going to think harder on this about what I suggest to you and think about how we might overcome some of those problems in having an Uber-type of delivery of watching where your tradespeople are.
For now, soak up those ideas.
How could you reduce friction in your business? And how could you increase some of that force on your flow?
There are four ways you can engage with me:
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3. Attend my next Tools Down workshop.
4. Book yourself a 10-minute chat with me. We’ll talk about whether coaching is right for you now and if it is, we’ll go further into the process before you have to make your mind up.
It’s the new year. See you later.