- THE MAGAZINE
No one is a better (or more prolific) procrastinator that me. And it is no secret that putting things off in business can be bad. But there is a much more insidious danger out there than procrastination!
Here’s the deal. When you procrastinate at least you know you should do a chore - you are just putting it off! But too often cleaning and restoration contractors don’t just delay important tasks - they ignore them! Or worse!
Far too many clueless entrepreneurs don’t remotely grasp how bad their businesses are suffering because of their stubborn refusal to face reality! So they merrily sail along fooling themselves that they are brilliant entrepreneurs, where in reality their business (and life) is floundering. In this case, ignorance most definitely is not happy bliss!
Three common areas that are in serious need of my “git ‘er done” philosophy for the average cleaning or restoration contractor are
- website development/SEO
- financial analysis
- a consistent commercial sales program.
Confession time: For years I’ve been guilty of promoting a “Suck it up and just do it” philosophy. And true, there are times when you as the owner or manager jet need to get down in the trenches and git ‘er done! But if your personality isn’t suited to a task, then you probably should not do it long term. However, as the owner or manager of your company you are still responsible that these often ignored areas “git done.” So let’s focus on the word “delegate.”
That’s right, if you personally can’t (or won’t) do website development, financial analysis and consistently make outside sales then you must delegate these areas to someone else! Your business mission becomes making sure these tasks get done and done right!
So let’s talk websites and the related subject of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Now even the most technologically backward business owner should realize that few people today go to the Yellow Pages when searching for a carpet cleaner. So a beautiful and functional website that sends a silent message about your professionalism is essential!
But remember, even the very best website is of little value if your prospects don’t find it when doing a search for a local carpet cleaner. This is where SEO comes in so that when a homeowner types in their location along with “carpet cleaner,” your website pops up on the first page.
Remember, the primary purpose of your website is to attract and impress people looking for a carpet cleaner. After all, your current clients already know and love you!
So it is essential that you “git ‘er done” by developing a great website and focusing on SEO. But before you rush off and buy Websites for Dummies and SEO for Beginners (yes, these are real titles) let’s stop and reflect.
I’m always fascinated by carpet cleaners who ridicule DIY homeowners who foolishly try to clean their own carpets instead of hiring a pro. And yet these same cleaners will hack together their own business website that looks like it was designed by a third grader!
Sure, a misguided DIY homeowner using a rental machine could have saved time and money by calling in you - a professional. But with a bad website, thousands of potential customers will click away in a heartbeat! So an oblivious cleaner-turned-amateur-website-designer is potentially losing thousands of dollars in current and future work and doesn’t even know it! And here is the funny thing…
Our cleaner/amateur website designer thinks they are “gitting ‘er done.” But this cleaner could have used those agonizing and frustrating hours fumbling through a DIY web building program actually cleaning carpets. Then they could have invested those same dollars with a professional website designer. This business partnership could have easily and quickly developed a great website that transforms Internet surfers into long-term clients!
So if you want to “git ‘er done” by hiring a professional web expert who and what should you look for? (Remember that “gitting ‘er done” means delegating authority and not abdicating responsibility!)
- Are they a professional designer? You want your site to portray you as professional. So find someone that doesn’t just “do” websites. You need a pro to “strategically design” your website to attract and then convert visitors into customers.
- Do they have industry knowledge? Find a designer that understands our industry, or at the very least has worked for other on-location service providers. You don’t want to spend hours explaining the ins-and-outs of a service business versus retailing.
- Can they provide a complete marketing package? You need more than just a website! So look for a complete online marketing package that will include SEO, social media outreach, etc.
- Will they make ongoing changes and updates? A website should never be a set-it-and-forget-it project. So find someone that will give your website long-term support. Your website should evolve and grow with your business.
- Are they confident of their skills? Find someone who will guarantee their work in writing. If you don’t like the way things are going within the first month or so you can cancel and get some or all of your money back.
- Will they listen to and accept input from you? Yes, I know. You are “just a carpet cleaner.” Yet you do know your flock.
- Is the chemistry right? You are looking for a long-term strategic partnership here. And you’ll be spending a lot of time with your web designer. So hopefully both of you can enjoy each other’s company and have the same philosophy and goals in business. And finally, remember one of my favorite sayings…
- “Clearly defined expectations are the basis for all successful business relationships!” So “clearly define” (in writing) what each of you will bring to the party. What deadlines will be met? What will the initial site development cost? How will changes be billed? How much will the ongoing support cost? What happens if you want to change designers?
Once again, don’t abdicate everything to even the best web designer. This is your business and no one cares more about it than you. So yes, you should know the basics of website design. All of us (including website designers) do better if our feet are held to the fire!
So quit procrastinating/neglecting/ignoring your Internet marketing. Instead, just “git ‘er done!” Use the above steps to build, or re-build, your website and SEO into a customer magnet! You’ll be amazed on your return on investment since you’ll be doing what you do best - cleaning carpets while creating delighted customer cheerleaders!
In Part II we’ll focus on how to delegate the often neglected commercial sales and financial analysis so you can “git ‘er done” and still have fun!
(Author's Note: Part of my “gitting ‘er done” for this article included looking to a website expert for advice! So my thanks to Joe Burnich of Big West Marketing (carpetcleaningwebsites.net) for helping me with some of these web designer selection questions)
For the free “What to Include on Your Website Checklist” that Steve uses with his Strategies for Success students, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org