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Archive for the 'business' Category

The Taxing Task of Taxes

Taxes

That dreaded time of the year has arrived and tax season is upon us.

If you’re like many of the restoration owners I work with, then either March 15th or April 15th is a day of significance to your business, whether it’s a day that takes you another step closer to your goals or a day that makes you shiver in your boots.  Whichever side of the spectrum you fall on, preparation is key here.  Preparation is what will allow you to climb over the hurdle of Tax Season, and preparation is what will make your business profitable.

Preparing for the Next Year

If you’ve ever been told to put your money aside in a piggy bank for a rainy day, then you’ve been told a sage piece of advice.  A huge component to paying taxes off without needlessly dipping into distributions is by putting the money in a safe place for a more appropriate time, say March 15th or April 15th.  This means putting the money aside when you get it, meaning, collecting a percentage of topline sales each month and putting it into an account for safekeeping.

A few tips here:

  1. We advise you make this account with a different bank from your other banks.  Name it “Taxes.”
  2. Start with your very next deposit.  Calculate the percentage of taxes you need to pay on your topline sales, and put it in your new account.
  3. Don’t touch this account at all except to put money in and to withdraw it on Tax Day.
  4. It’s been our observation that many owners will inadvertently use the money in this account for various fires and expenses, and will completely miss the point of putting money aside in this account in doing so.  You will not be successful this way, so don’t dip into this account except to pay taxes.

In Conclusion

Once you’ve followed these steps, you’ll already have your taxes set aside for the next year.  There won’t be any worry or fret come Tax Day, as all of the money will be in the Tax Account ready to go towards taxes.  The amount of headache and frustration this has saved our clients is nothing short of clinical.

We’ve developed all of these steps with the Profit First methodology, specifically with our Cash Accumulation Management Program (CAMP).  Profit First believes that in order to be a profitable business owner, you need to intentionally allocate for profit first.

BDA is built on the belief that we can help restoration and construction owners eliminate entrepreneurial poverty so that they can become more profitable and worry less about their business.  That’s why we’re offering you a complimentary gift in form of a Profitability Report in partnership with Profit First.  Contact me directly by email to schedule an initial discovery call to discuss your profitability.

May the Profits Be With You!

John Capponi, CR
Operations and Management Consultant | Business Development Associates, Inc.
john@gobda.com | Cell: 407-745-7698

How to Know What You Don’t Know

If you’re an entrepreneur, you understand the fundamental problem of not knowing what you don’t know. Most entrepreneurs learn the hard way, on the job. It’s this situation that causes us to ruefully say to each other, “Well, it was cheaper than a master’s degree from Harvard”.

When it comes to your salesforce here are a couple of things you don’t know (but you can!):

  1. Why do my top salespeople outperform my lowest ones by a factor of 300-500% or more?
  2. Why do the new salespeople I hire rarely succeed, causing me to deal with a revolving door and lack of traction in the sales department?
  3. How can I hire people that look a lot like my current top performers who will not only stay with my company but join the ranks of top producers?
  4. Is there something other than the salesperson that is causing my sales efforts to falter and my salespeople to fail?

If you would like the answer to any of those questions, I’ll give them to you during a free, information only telephone conversation. Simply give me a call to schedule 847-386-6556 or email me at tim@gobda.com.

Developing Your Company’s Meeting Rhythm


What Is a Meeting Rhythm, and Why Have It?

When you think of a meeting, what comes to mind? Boring? Repetitive? All over the place? Perhaps it feels unproductive, as studies have shown that many employees and business owners we’ve spoken with have come to the conclusion of.

Then why have meetings?

Most big and successful businesses that are growing quickly have meetings that are more productive and organized. That’s what a meeting  rhythm is- a schedule of productive, organized meetings that are planned in advance and have a set agenda to improve communication, efficiency, and profitability.

What Kind of Meetings Should We Have? When Should We Have Them?

Our  industry in particular should engage in daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual meetings.

Your meetings should have this in common:

  • Planned in advance, with an agenda.
  • Team members come prepared with their discussion items.
  • Don’t allow discussions to get off topic
  • Start by asking “What are your biggest wins?”

Daily Huddles

Each department gathers its team members in the morning and takes 7 – 12 minutes to discuss what they’re going to do in the day. Everyone should stand up, quickly express their needs, progress made from yesterday’s activities, production priorities, and any issue they might face today.

Weekly Project Field Coordination Meeting

Discuss open jobs and what constraints are blocking work flow.

Agenda:

  • Schedule and priorities.
  • Progress, milestones, and accomplishments.
  • Quality control and customer relationships.
  • Field issues and crew needs.
  • Job approvals, permits, inspections, or other document needs.
  • Jobsite management and safety.
  • Job site cleanup.

Monthly Project Meeting

Bring the managers of each business function together for a 45 – 60 minute meeting each month. Have them show you the progress on each one of their jobs.

Agenda:

  • Schedule and completion dates.
  • Jobsite requirements and cycle times.
  • Status of change orders.
  • Job Cost Reports- budget versus actual.
  • AR and AP.
  • Quality, safety, customer, supplier, equipment, etc.

Quarterly Management Team Meeting

Take all employees offsite for a 90 – 120 minute big-picture meeting every three months. This could be at a large office, warehouse, or other off-site facility.

Agenda:

  • Company’s direction.
  • What’s been successful and what’s not.
  • Biggest challenges.
  • Overall company progress and any  new goals.
  • New or updated procedures.
  • Questions, comments, concerns, or suggestions.
  • Employee awards.

Annual Meeting

Bring your management team off-site for a 1-2 day meeting. This could be at a hotel or a meeting room.

Agenda:

  • Year-end company performance.
  • Where is the company right now? Where is it heading? How are we getting there?
  • What are our Big, Hairy Audacious Goals? Develop new ones if necessary.

Summary

Having planned, transparent, productive meetings is imperative to the growth and profitability of your company. Employees will experience greater job satisfaction, will be more engaged, and will be more driven to achieve goals. Good, productive meetings are what’s going to improve communication, efficiency, and profitability in your business.

Are you taking steps to make your meetings a success? To help you get in the rhythm  of running a profitable business, Business Development Associates (BDA) is offering you a FREE Gift in the form of a Profitability Assessment that is a value of $1,997. Contact me directly by email to schedule an initial discovery call to discuss your profitability.

May the Profits Be With You!

John Capponi, CR
Operations and Management Consultant | Business Development Associates, Inc.
john@gobda.com | Cell: 407-745-7698

One Sales Success Formula

While there are some overnight sales (and business) successes, when you dig a little deeper you find that those overnight successes were more likely 20 years in the making.

And that tells us something important.

One formula for sales success is doing the right things (proper marketing strategy and sales process delivered by the right salespeople) over an extended period of time during which the message (and the service/product) is refined, tweaked and perfected.

And voilà! After months or years or decades—the breakthrough! The “overnight” success!

So, if this is the case, tremendous effort over lengthy periods of time with delayed gratification are going to be required. So how do we “stay the course” as we invest in our future success?

Now, I’m not a particularly religious guy but one client shared a Bible passage with me that I think of as words to live by for people of any faith. Here goes:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

We have to do the footwork but God will handle the heavy lifting (if we let Him!)

Labor Productivity is the Key to Profitability

As a restoration company owner you must measure productivity to know if the money you spend on labor is paying off in terms of output (revenue). A labor productivity ratio is the simplest way to find out if you are getting the production you need. When you use this ratio on a regular basis you will be able to keep a sharp eye on your employees’ productivity.

Labor productivity is the number one key to profitability and is best measured by the Labor Efficiency Ratio (LER). This ratio indicates the productivity of all labor (production, sales, and management). You will need to measure each labor segment and monitor productivity per labor dollar and make adjustments as you see the LER decreasing. With the downward pressure from the insurance industry you can no longer wait for six months or longer to see if things improve. Adjustments must be made as quickly as possible when you begin to see a decline in your LER from previous periods.

The Direct Labor Efficiency Ratio (DLER) is calculated by dividing Gross Profit (minus direct labor, benefits, and employer burden) by the direct labor cost. For example, if your company had a Gross Profit of $4 million and a direct labor cost of $1 million you would have a DLER of $4. This means that for every $1 you pay your production employees the business receives a $4 return on that investment.

Here are some tactics to improve your Labor Efficiency Ratio:

  • implement an effective scheduling process
  • provide a quality back-office support Team
  • reward your productive employees for performance
  • recruit, hire, and on-board high-performance employees
  • implement and integrate lean processes
  • boost employee morale
  • set clear and attainable goals
  • reevaluate your staff on a regular basis
  • give praise and recognition.

At BDA, we believe that every restoration business owner has the right to expect that their company can deliver to them what they want out of life- freedom and the ability to create wealth.

Make it a prosperous month!  Stay tuned for next month’s article.

John Capponi, CR
Operations and Management Consultant
Business Development Associates, Inc.
john@gobda.com
Cell: 407-745-7698

5 Keys to Surviving & Thriving in Today’s Restoration Industry

The changes brought about by the fluctuating weather patterns, the economic collapse of 2007/2008 and the maturation of the restoration industry have created major challenges for restoration contractors.

The constant downward pressure on margins, increasing competition, skilled labor retention issues and a reduction in weather-related work has many restorers working harder than ever doing what they have always done to get business—except it’s no longer working.

While there are no “magic bullets” to change the current situation, a clear eyed look at the realities of the market is essential. Business owners need new ideas, information and thought processes to use as building blocks to create a new future.

There is a way that restorers can break free from these destructive circumstances and “entrepreneur” their way to a new business reality!

Check out the recent C&R article, “5 Keys to Surviving and Thriving in Today’s Maturing Restoration Industry,” authored by BDA President, Tim Miller. You’ll learn five objectives that can make a positive change in the short, medium and long term. Tim previously addressed this topic during his keynote address at the recent 2015 RIA conference. If you missed the keynote or not able to attend the RIA conference, now is your chance to still take advantage of this powerful information!

Click here to view the C&R article, “5 Keys to Surviving and Thriving in Today’s Maturing Restoration Industry“!

Why Weather, Hope and Good Luck are Not Business Strategies

Come join BDA at the RIA Convention & Expo in Vegas next week, where BDA President Tim Miller will be presenting the second keynote address on Friday, May 8th, from 8:45-9:45 AM. The Keynote is entitled: ” Why Weather, Hope and Good Luck are Not Business Strategies: Five Keys to Surviving and Thriving In Today’s Ever More Challenging Restoration Industry.”

During this keynote, Tim will discuss the changes brought about by the fluctuating weather patterns, the economic collapse of 2007/2008 and the maturation of the restoration industry in relation to how they have created major challenges for restoration contractors.

The constant downward pressure on margins, increasing competition, skilled labor retention issues and a reduction in weather-related work has many restorers working harder than ever doing what they have always done to get business—except it’s no longer working.

While there are no “magic bullets” to change the current situation, a clear eyed look at the realities of the market is essential. Business owners need new ideas, information and thought processes to use as building blocks to create a new future.

Restorers that are looking to break free from these destructive circumstances and “entrepreneur” their way to a new business reality will benefit greatly from this keynote, and learn five keys that restorers must consider to make a positive change in the short, medium and long term.

Come join us for this exciting and informative keynote address, and visit the BDA team at Booth #306 during the Expo hours. See you in Vegas!

LinkedIn’s “Sponsored Updates”; Tips for Restorers on Content Marketing

alt="linkedIn content marketing for restorers"
LinkedIn recently announced the addition of “Sponsored Updates” to their product suite, allowing members the opportunity to get their content in front of other LinkedIn members that are a match for the content of the update, even if those members are not following their company profile.

In the constant battle to win the content war, LinkedIn, much like Facebook, is offering another way for members to get their content put in front of the right people, and hopefully clicked on and read (while the social media giant makes a pretty penny of course, watching companies battle for market share via their platform).

Facebook, unfortunately, learned a hard lesson about going too far with using the personal information of their members for their former “Sponsored Stories” advertising product, ending up in a lawsuit that was said to be a potential revenue loss of $103 million. Facebook would then modify and re-market the same idea of paid advertising for content, slimming their 27 ad unit options to half the amount and making other modifications.

Done correctly and consistently, like any paid social media initiatives, the LinkedIn “Sponsored Updates” could be a great boost for companies as part of a larger integrated campaign for the product or services the paid update’s content is steering the B2C or B2B audience to. And, creating content that is compelling to the audience and speaks to their needs will always draw in higher click-through and conversion metrics.

As part of “expanding their content ecosystem,” LinkedIn’s new Sponsored Updates will allow for content to appear in the homepage feeds of targeted, prospective business partners or customers. Updates can be seen on both PC and mobile applications and will be marked as “sponsored” to the viewer.

For those purchasing the product from LinkedIn, you can choose either CPC or CPM pricing and track the effectiveness of the content through analytic tools provided by LinkedIn.

Tips For the Restorer:

By now, you have probably heard about content marketing and how it can help you boost your business. Creating viable content that keeps people watching your page, sharing your posts and hopefully, recommending and using your company’s services and products, is key to content marketing success. Be sure to share more than just about your restoration company–remember, it’s not all about you !

What do people really want to read about?

About themselves of course, and the things that affect them ! There is certainly a time and place to share content about your restoration company in your content marketing strategy-but be sure to engage and share things that your reader will find interesting. Instead of talking about the fact your restoration company performs mold remediation, share information about the dangers of mold in the home, for example. You’ll see your likes, retweets, shares and more start to improve!

And when your restoration company does great things, be sure to share that too. Did your company get involved in a community event? Did individual team members do something above and beyond? Share it! This is a great way to express your reputation-online!

And of course, be sure that social media is a piece of your overall integrated marketing plan, versus your only sales and marketing method! In today’s over saturated world of communications, restorers must have an effective strategy and accompanying plan utilizing several communication outlets to break through the clutter of communication in order carry out that strategy so they can predictably grow their business not only from a mass marketing perspective, but also through their 1:1 direct selling efforts.

If you’re a restorer looking to predictably grow your business, Business Development Associates might be the solution you’re looking for. Although we’re not a perfect fit for everyone, we’re helping many restorers across the country to predictably grow their business using a proprietary and proven marketing and sales system that generates millions in new business. For more information, call 847-386-6556 or email info@theBDAway.com.

Insight Into The Customer Lifetime Value of Your Digital Customers

A recent study from marketing company Custora, who analyzes customer retention and acquisition, provided insight into the lifetime value of customers, based on the digital medium from which the customer came.

The study shows shows the varying Customer Lifetime Value of digital customers, with PPC (Pay Per Click), referral and even e-mail topping the list, beating out Facebook and Twitter in regards to obtaining a higher quality customer.

alt="Customer Lifetime Value Chart"

For customers seeking a product or service via the search engines directly (IE: Google) or click on ad specifically of what they are looking for, these results are easy to account for because those channels utilize the intent graph (the consumer is looking for something specific). Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter will have to use their graph searches to redirect the customer to the product or service they seek.

Another result that came out of this study is that rural area customers tend to be more valuable and loyal over time, as their choices of vendors are more limited due to their living area. The Wyoming customer, for example, is 28% more valuable than the average American.

Tips for the Restoration Contractor:

While this study proves to have compelling information to help you see where valuable customers through digital efforts can come from, it’s important to incorporate a variety of digital and non-digital tactics to not only prospect for new business, but also, to make sure that they will be the kind of customer you want. The study makes a strong point for digital marketers to not put all their eggs in one or two baskets, in particular, Facebook and Twitter, who have made great strides to provide advertising, targeting tools and other strides in order to build a stronger (and more profitable) user community.

While SEO and PPC can bring in several to handfuls of leads a week, are you finding that those customers are jobs you are wanting to take on? Recently, we spoke with a prospective client who was receiving numerous leads a week through their PPC efforts, but 90% were the types of jobs they did not want, and thus, their return on investment was not what they had hoped for either.

On the flip side, we also have restoration contractor clients who see decent work come through their digital marketing efforts. But, it’s part of their overall marketing mix, and contributes as another source of business. As we mentioned before at the beginning of this blog…don’t put all your eggs in one (or two) baskets!

The most effective way to ensure a steady and predictable stream of work is to make sure that you not only have the right tactics in place (SEO, PPC, Direct Marketing Tactics, etc.), but also, the right sales reps in place and a dynamic way to hire, train, coach and manage them. Check out this article on “How Managing Your Salespeople is Different From Your Techs” to give you a flavor of what we are talking about.

And most of all, you’ve got to have a strategy as the foundation of your marketing plan, that supports the tactics and the sales force.

If you’re a restoration contractor looking to predictably grow your business, you should take a few minutes to visit us at www.gobda.com. While we’re not the perfect fit for everyone, we are a sales and marketing consulting agency helping restorers all over the country through proven and proprietary programs that help them to generate millions in new business. Now doesn’t that sound like an egg you want to have in your basket?

Facebook Modifies Ad Offerings for Enhanced (and Simpler) Advertising for Marketers

In a press conference yesterday, Facebook announced that it will be simplifying its product offering when it comes to advertisements. The first step will be taking their current ad units from 27 to half that amount and helping marketers match the the type of Facebook ad they will need to their advertising goals such as in-store sales, online engagement and more.


Other changes include:

1) Removing the “Questions” ad product for Pages, as marketers can simply use the posting function to ask a question and receive comments.

2) Removing the “Online Offer” ad product, as marketers lean towards using the “Page Post Link” ad to drive people to promotions on their respective websites.

3) Marketers will no longer have to purchase “sponsored stories” in addition to the ad itself. Facebook will automatically include social context to a “Page Post Photo” ad which will eliminate the extra step of creating sponsored stories.

4) All ads will look more consistent as well, in efforts to have a more cohesive visual look. This not only reduces the number of types of ads, but, Facebook is also hopeful this will help marketers optimize their ad campaigns for digital and mobile.

The changes will start to appear in the coming weeks with a full roll-out over the next six months, and are a response to many marketers complaining that Facebook advertising “was too complicated for the marketers to figure out”, according to Andrew Bosworth, Facebook’s Director of Engineering and Design for ads.

As Facebook continues to deal with the growing pains of being a publicly traded company and the ongoing balance of creating both happy Facebook’ers and investors, advertising will be one of several (if not many) challenges they will face.

Tips For Restorers:
For the restoration contractor engaging in social media, choosing whether or not to advertise on Facebook or any social medium, can be a challenge on several levels. It’s important to remember that in social media or any marketing and sales activity for that matter, that you ask yourself these primary questions:

“Who is it that I want to engage with through this activity?”
“What are my goals out of engaging in this activity?”
“Is what I am saying relevant to target?”
“Is this the best bang for my buck?”

Social media is a moving target, but, by answering the above questions (and whatever other questions necessary), and disciplining yourself to be consistent in your efforts, you are setting the path towards success (and more sales!).

If you’re a company in the restoration and cleaning industry, and looking to find a predictable way to grow your business using a proven sales and marketing process that includes social media and a host of other activities that fit your marketing mix, Business Development Associates may be a good fit for you. Contact us at info@theBDAway.com or call us at 773-777-9956.



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