Time for Some Reflection

As we prepare to close the book on 2023, take a step back to look at your business’ big picture and determine if any changes — small or large — are in store

We’re in the final month of the calendar year. You can probably guess where this is going. What lies in wait for you in 2024?

If it’s been some time since you did a thorough audit of where your business stands in relation to your goals, now is as good a time as any to step back and take a look at your big picture. It can be easy to get trapped in the groove of your daily operations for long stretches of time, with little consideration of whether you’re actually on the correct path for achieving long-term plans.

Is everything on track? Or are some tweaks warranted? Or maybe the business goals you initially had have completely shifted?

Think about those questions as you read this month’s issue. December’s editorial theme is diversification, so naturally we’ve profiled a couple of companies that aren’t shy about making changes to service offerings or operations as necessary to meet their objectives.

Take Bulldog Contractors out of Jefferson, Texas. It started in 1978 as a home building and remodeling contractor. Today the company handles plumbing, drain cleaning, septic pumping, septic system repair and installation, and electrical work. It’s a result of the company continually assessing how to meet two main goals — provide a high level of customer service and work efficiently. Like the company’s decision to expand into septic service in 2004. Septic systems are common in Bulldog’s rural area and the company found that when customers called with plumbing issues, the odds were about 50/50 that the problem was actually a septic issue, says Jeff Keller, Bulldog’s general manager.

“We started pumping and repairing septic systems to better serve our customers and add another service feather to our hat,” he says. “Plus it made us more efficient than having to rely on a subcontractor to come out for a septic system problem.”

Or consider the company’s decision several years ago to stop offering free estimates. Bulldog charges anywhere from $95 to $125 for service calls, depending on the person’s location. But the charge then gets waived if Bulldog ends up getting hired for the work. Keller took a step back and realized that the free estimate policy was producing a lot of wasted time. A small operational tweak that has since produced big dividends.

“It’s one of the best things I ever did,” Keller says. “What it does is pre-qualify customers to make sure they’re serious. There are too many tire-kickers out there. There were days when I’d literally drive around all day long, doing estimates and not get a single job. You end up wasting so much time dealing with bottom-feeders who only are concerned about the price. You have to value your time.”

So take a little time as the year comes to close and think about where you are versus where you want to be and assess whether the things you’re doing are helping you get there.

Enjoy this month’s issue and the rest of the year. See you in 2024.


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