Communication Coach: The invisible measure of future growth

Photo: istock.com/busracav
Photo: istock.com/busracav
Jeff Korhan
Jeff Korhan

One of the greatest challenges for business owners is managing growth expectations. In the early days of my company, I focused on customers because our future depended on achieving their landscaping project expectations.

That focus came from my previous role in corporate sales and marketing. Every year we analyzed our customer base, projected our revenue goals and set out to achieve them. The problem with revenue is that it’s a lagging metric. This means you need leading metrics to gain insights and assurances into achieving them.

As a landscaping company owner, I hired a consultant who helped us track labor to analyze efficiencies that promised to predict growth. These new systems made perfect sense to me, but my production managers struggled with the mixed messages they gave our crews.

Suddenly, we were making budgets their problem. This was destroying morale and undermining productivity. We continued tracking but stopped sharing the results. Instead, we came up with a new metric.

Promising people are predictable growth indicators

The hard lesson learned from making our business a numbers game is that it negates the power of people who make a difference. As a residential design-build company, our customer loyalty was built on relationships at every level of the organization, from sales and design to production and service.

The people who show up excited about their work solve a lot of problems for customers if you empower them to do so. I was fortunate to hire salespeople and managers with these skills and got out of their way.

What was our secret?

Take a personal interest in your team members, the people who serve customers. Get to know them and make yourself available if they need your assistance. Help them understand your company is like an extended family.

When we welcomed back our seasonal workers this time of the year, we suggested they bring their spouses, friends, or family members so we could meet them. They were proud to introduce their families and show them around. Over the years we learned the names of their children and watched them grow into young men and women.

We thanked the families for their support, letting them know our door was always open to them. It was amazing how this smoothed out communications and enhanced our process for recruiting and retaining talented people.

Most importantly, it proved to be the differentiator for our company. It was the invisible metric that gave everyone confidence in achieving our goals for the season. Give it a try and reach out to me if you have questions or would like to discuss it further.

Jeff Korhan

Jeff Korhan

Jeff Korhan is the owner of True Nature Marketing, a Naples, Fla.-based company helping entrepreneurs grow. Reach him at jeff@truenature.com. Jeff works with service companies that want to drive growth and enhance their brand experience with digital platforms.

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