4 Tips to Keep Your Business Thriving

A slow period in your business can make you feel like you’re sinking, but there are ways to get out ahead of those problems

4 Tips to Keep Your Business Thriving

Michael Williams

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In our industry, when things get slow, you feel like you’re in quicksand. It’s like you’re moving, but you’re slowly sinking.

Maybe the phone isn’t ringing as fast as it’s supposed to and it seems like bills are coming in quicker than they normally do. But you have to stay focused, and you have to keep working.

I see so often that when times get tough, a lot of people quit. Instead of throwing in the towel, you have to get busy and do what you used to do to make the phone ring. I always tell people, “Never get comfortable — that’s when the phone stops ringing.”

Always stay hungry and aggressive. That quicksand feeling happens to all of us at some point, but it’s all about your mindset. The mindset you should have is that it will always get better.

The phone will always ring as long as you’re always out there plugging away and staying in front of your customer. What has worked for me in the past and still works for me today is staying visible — letting people see you’re out there.

Stay visible and let people know how to get ahold of you. Make sure you have a very visible phone number on your truck so people can call you.

This business is hard, yes, but it’s worth it. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, and I know a lot of you feel the same way.

If you’re a small business, I know what you go through — because we all went through this at some time or another. Even big companies go through slumps. If you see morale is down in your shop, and even if your numbers are down, treat your guys to lunch or dinner. Let them know things will get better but they have to be out there every day pounding the payment, letting people know you’re here.

Other ideas to boost morale are to take your employees to a ballgame or treat your team to time at an amusement park. Have an “open shop” day where your employees can bring their kids to work for an hour or two so they can see what their father or mother does for a living.

Staying visible and staying positive has never failed for me. I know it’ll work for you too. Company morale starts at the top. If you’re the leader, then lead with positivity.

That quicksand feeling can happen at any time of the month and any time of the year. What matters is how you handle it. It’s all mental; you have to stay in the right frame of mind. Nothing lasts forever. Slow times are just like the weather — if it’s raining, sooner or later you know it’s going to stop and the sun’s going to come out.

You have to knock on doors and put out flyers. Network. Go to plumbing supply houses. All the things you did in the beginning of your business to make your phone ring — the things you stopped doing after seeing some success. So often we think if we do it once, we don’t have to do it anymore. That’s not true. We have to do it every day. You have to be consistent. You have to make sure you use every option that is in front of you.

1. Make sure your phone number is everywhere. If you deal with suppliers, post your phone number with them; if you deal with different companies as a subcontractor, make sure your phone number is with them. Make sure your phone number is visible on your truck.

2. It’s very important to make sure you answer your phone. If the phone rings, don’t discard any of those calls. Check on former customers to see how they’re doing. Send them thank-you cards. A lot of times we look for new customers, but we already have plenty of business — we just don’t stay plugged into it. You must check on your customers. Treat your customers like family because they are the ones helping you take care of your family.

3. Stay positive. Stay around positive people, people who are making it happen. If you have competitors around you and their phone is ringing, never be too proud to find out what they’re doing differently. Every little bit helps in business. It’s like a puzzle: We need certain pieces in place so we can finish the picture. It’s also important to remember when you go into business that it’s a marathon, not a sprint, so take your time. Cross your t’s and dot your i’s, and always be looking to learn.

4. Give your employees bonuses. Let them know they should always be drumming up business wherever they go. Remind them that the more business they get, the more money they earn. Make it a game or competition. An employee of the week program where the winner gets a small bonus is always a motivator. It gives them a reason to want to drum up more business.

Another important thing to remember is to always provide excellent service so you keep the customers you already have. Let your employees know when they’re in a customer’s house to always go the extra mile and leave it better than they found it.

If you keep doing these things all the time, the phone won’t stop ringing.


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