“I’ve just reached the $3-million-a-year mark, and now there isn’t a day that I work less than 14 hours. I can’t even imagine how hard it must be to run an eight-figure business.”
From the dark circles around his eyes, you could tell that this guy was having a hard time keeping up with his business growth.
And let’s be honest...
That wasn’t what he subscribed to when he decided to go from technician to business owner.
He used to think that once he reached seven figures, things would finally get better. But the reality is he's now getting less sleep than before.
And like many others who are in the same daring situation, he was missing one key thing that could have allowed him to grow his business without feeling overwhelmed.
The same thing that allowed me to grow to eight figures and wake up every single Monday eager to hit the office.
Because this guy was wrong about this one thing...
Running my eight-figure business hasn’t been a struggle at all.
It’s true that it wasn’t always like that. At one time, I also found myself working crazy hours and neglecting my family and friends.
But one shift in the way I conduct my business has changed the game for me...
I realized the power of leveraging technology.
In fact, when people ask me today if we are a garage door company, I always tell them: “We are actually a technology company that happens to sell garage doors.”
From who to promote, to who to hire, and which new markets to go after, technology plays a key role in all my decisions.
So, if you’re tired of putting out fires and want your business to be fun again, I'll show you how you can start leveraging technology for your business as well. It all starts with the advice below...
Inspect what you expect
First thing, get out of your bubble.
I only realized the full potential of my business when I went out to visit other shops.
Before that things were rough. I still remember the day when my team was looking forward to their Christmas bonuses, but I didn’t have any money in my business account. I had to cash in miles from my credit card to be able to give them something. I felt so bad that day.
Even though I was working my tail off to run the business in 12 states, we were still losing money.
It was only when I saw the technology, ideas, and strategies that were being used in other industries that I finally understood why I was struggling so much to keep up with my business growth.
Because I didn’t have a system to keep my team accountable, no one would feel responsible for the tasks we needed to do, and they would always blame each other whenever things didn't go as planned.
But using technology, I could finally inspect what I expected.
So when I put the right systems in place, the people who wanted to do better started to shine, and the ones who were not up for the task couldn’t hide anymore.
And guess what?
After a few months, I fired my CFO.
Before, everything seemed to be perfectly fine because our revenue was growing year after year.
Now, thanks to technology, I could see that our profits were stagnant. With that information in hand, I could make such a difficult decision as letting go of my CFO.
And today that tough decision is paying off big time for my business.
Avoid being the blind leading the blind
That was a tough one for me.
I like to think that I am always right. That I have the best ideas. And that since I am the owner, I know better than other people.
You know, we all have our egos. But when you get your ego out of the way, and let data dictate your decisions...
That’s when things start to go in the right direction.
Because without data to support your decisions, you’re just a blind man leading the blind. It gets you nowhere.
Now, the reason most business owners get overwhelmed with data is that they try to implement everything at once.
If you’re just getting started, these are four key metrics that you as a home services business owner should focus on:
- Call booking rate: I see many business owners make the mistake of investing more in marketing when their call booking rate is not even close to 80%. If you’re doing that, you’re simply throwing money in the bin. What’s the point of getting more calls if you’re not converting them?
- Conversion rate: Getting appointments is one thing. But converting them into jobs is what truly matters. If you’re not tracking conversion rate, how would you know what needs to be improved? Or how would you know which technicians are doing a good job and which ones aren’t?
- AOV: This one stands for Average Order Value — in other words, how much your customers typically spend with you. The more your technicians are able to upsell, the higher will be the AOV.
- Cost per acquisition: Acquiring new customers is the holy grail of every business. So, if you want to know if a marketing tactic is worth pursuing, you need to figure out how much that marketing tactic is costing you to acquire a new customer. That way you can double down on what’s working, and stop pushing what’s not.
And these four metrics are all related. For instance, if it costs you $100 to acquire a new customer on Google, but the AOV of these customers is $200, then this is a clear winner as long as your overhead is less than $100.
Without knowing the AOV, you might have thought that $100 was too expensive and not worth it.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that numbers mean nothing if you don’t know where you are headed. Setting goals is what will help you and your team have a clear understanding of what needs to be improved.
I always say “start with the end in mind.”
And don’t think small.
Right now, my end goal is to get to $1 billion a year. I then ask myself, “What do I need to do to get there?”
Once I have a clear answer, I share it with my team, and we set the goals for each one of those four metrics.
Never go to a supermarket when you’re hungry
You know what happens when you do this, right?
You go into the supermarket and buy everything. Including things that you don’t really need.
The same is true for hiring.
If you wait to hire only when you need to fill a role, then you’ll end up making mistakes. And hiring mistakes are expensive.
Ever heard the expression “always be selling?”
My motto is “always be recruiting.”
If I go to a restaurant and the staff member at reception provides outstanding service, I instantly give that person my business card and tell them to call me whenever they’re looking for a new job.
I am always scouting potential new employees, and I encourage the leaders in my company to do the same.
But I don’t stop there. I also run ads 24/7 in places like Facebook to attract the best candidates.
Right now, I am getting hundreds of applications every single month.
And do you want to know how I handle all these applications?
You see, I believe that processes determine the people, not the other way around. So, we use technology to filter out the bad apples, and also to identify the top candidates.
That way we can spend time only with the best.
And thanks to technology, today we don’t even need to hire as much as we needed in the past. In fact, before we hire for any position, we first ask ourselves: “Would it be possible to automate this job?”
And if we realize that we do need to hire someone, then we ask ourselves another question: “Do we need to hire in-house, or can we outsource this job?”
Because with all the tech tools available today, managing outsourced workers is that much easier.
Build your army
The hard part of making the shift from technician to business owner is to accept the fact that now you have other people making decisions for your business.
But it’s only when you embrace this idea that you start to grow for real.
I used to be a one-man army at the beginning. Everything had to go through my table before getting done.
Today is different.
I encourage people to make their own decisions. Why? Because people are way more committed to the outcome if they believe that they had a say in the decision. That way I build an army that has skin in the game.
One easy way to give voice to your team is to use technology to collect their feedback. Create a system that everyone can weigh in, and then use that information in your team meetings to decide which feedback to implement next.
Aside from feedback, I also like to use technology to reward my top performers.
I have people on my team making six figures a year. When I say that to other business owners, they think I am nuts. But what they don’t understand is that the more people you have in your team who are tied to the profits of your business, the bigger your army is working to drive your profits higher.
So, if I have an employee bringing in millions a year, I don’t mind giving away part of the profits.
Just think about it for a second.
What would you prefer? Pay an employee $60K a year who earns you $200K, or pay $200K for an employee that brings you $1 million?
That’s why I have systems to reward my top performers. The better they do, the more they earn.
Understand what drives you
I left this one for last because without understanding what drives you, there’s no technology in the world that will help you build a great business.
When you decided to become an entrepreneur, you knew this journey had its ups and downs.
And during the rough times, the only thing that really keeps you moving forward is knowing your WHY.
WHY you’re doing what you’re doing.
WHY you’re involving yourself and other people in this pursuit.
That’s what will keep your head up even when everything seems to be going downhill.
In the beginning, when it was just me, my drive was making a living for myself.
If that’s you now, it’s totally fine to have a WHY that’s centered on you when you’re just getting started. But as you grow and start getting more people to help, you will need to review your WHY and decide what you are trying to accomplish with your business.
Today my drive is to build my legacy.
I have a home service business that’s doing $40 million a year, and we’re expanding like crazy. And despite that, I still find the time to write this 2,000+ word article just to help other fellow entrepreneurs achieve their dreams with their businesses.
I spend one hour of my time every week interviewing world-class entrepreneurs on my podcast.
I’ve written a book sharing all of my secrets, and I give it away for free. (I only ask help to cover handling and shipping.)
And I am always looking for new and better ways to help the industry grow.
For many, that would make zero sense. But since what drives me today goes beyond just growing my business, I find the motivation every morning to put myself out there and be a role model for other home service business owners.
So, before trying a new, cool tactic or strategy, ask yourself: “What drives me to do what I do?”
Once you figure this out, stick it on your wall, and communicate it to your whole team.
For more insights from Tommy Mello on how to achieve your million-dollar ambitions, listen to this episode of The Sharpest ToolTM podcast.