In most areas of the country, first quarter is a slower season for hardscape installations for multiple reasons. Weather plays a major factor in that some areas are either too icy or rainy to get much work done. In addition, homeowners are spending less time outdoors and not in the mindset to improve their outdoor living spaces. They’re also recovering from holiday expenditures and may not have the disposable income to invest in their homes during this time of year. This slowdown presents an excellent opportunity to take stock in your business and engage in activities that will improve operations and help you prepare for the busy season. Here are the top 5 things you should be actively doing now to get ready.
1. LEARN SOMETHING NEW
First quarter is the ideal time to learn something that will help you and your business grow. Learn a new business skill – whether it’s a new installation technique, new business software or how to operate a drone and shoot project videos. Plan to attend a Belgard University event or an ICPI or NCMA certification class. Schedule a free custom Lunch & Learn on new product installation techniques. Browse the Belgard Video Instruction Library. Look for online training courses on various business topics. Attend industry trade shows. Never stop learning and growing.
2. LOOK FOR OPPORTUNITIES TO IMPROVE EFFICIENCIES
Building a better business is not just about increasing sales, it’s also about increasing efficiencies. The faster you can turn quotes and jobs around, the better your profit margins will be. Read the Belgard Contractor’s Corner blog on Hardscape Installation Labor Saving Ideas for ideas on how to improve labor efficiencies. There are also many crew-management software apps that can help improve the way you do business. If you are not already a member of the Belgard Contractor Program, now is the time to apply and take advantage of programs like the Belgard Design Studio 3-D rendering services, Belgard Preferred Payment financing program and the new Belgard Contractor Rewards Program.
3. FINALIZE YOUR MARKETING PLAN
If you do not already have a social media marketing program, now is the time to set one up. For more information, read our Social Media Marketing 101 series:
If you already have a social media marketing program, read our article on Ideas for Improving Your Social Media Marketing. For marketing materials, Belgard Authorized Contractors have access to the Belgard Marketing Agency, which provides free digital ads for digital marketing programs, free designs for co-branded printed pieces, and other marketing materials. You should also reach out to your Belgard Representative or your local Belgard Authorized Dealer to get copies of the new 2020 Belgard Catalog. To download a regionalized digital version, click here.
4. NETWORK. NETWORK. NETWORK.
Belgard University events and trade shows not only present opportunities to learn, they present opportunities to network with other industry professionals. This networking provides resources for business efficiencies and best practices as time goes on. First quarter is also a good time to network with realtors, builders and developers, which could open the door for business opportunities. Attend Chamber of Commerce events and real estate open houses. Visit development construction sites. Also, look for online networking opportunities through LinkedIn and industry Facebook groups.
5. INVEST IN YOUR CREW
In the current labor shortage environment, it’s important to look for ways to improve employee retention. One important aspect is to make crew members feel valued, which isn’t just about how much they are paid. Send crew members to a Belgard University event. Work with Belgard team members to organize a custom Lunch & Learn. Organize a “family day” event. Setup incentive programs based on performance and work ethic. Enroll your business in the Belgard Contractor Rewards Program and share some of your rewards with your crew. Help them understand that they are not just workers, but part of a team…and when the team succeeds, everyone benefits.