Regarding website strategy I used to give the advice that you should have a multi website strategy, that you should buy domain names optimized for your industry in that city. So if you were lawn care it would be something like lawncaredallastexas.com or it would be cleaningmiami.com, something of that sort. Not necessarily those exact domains but you’d have your core website and you’d have multiple additional websites selling specifically for a city and for a service type. That advice hasn’t held up in at least a year. I’m not quite sure how long now but where I’m going with this is it’s not that you don’t do it but it’s a very much down the road strategy now if you want to do it.
I wanted to correct some advice that I’ve been giving for a long time and it was right at the time but today things have changed. Google changes their algorithms all the time every year. The strategies in marketing when it comes to online marketing evolve. I do not recommend now having and spending the money on a bunch of separate websites. I recommend spending your money on one website, making it fantastic, putting a lot of work and your SEO effort into that site.
Now if somebody says you should have a second site they could be right given the scenario and the situation. I’m just saying for the vast majority of companies trying to have 10 websites no longer makes sense. You should have one. You should put all of your energy and time into that one website and make it the site that dominates the market when your potential client is searching for someone like you.
Here’s how I recommend you setup your profit and loss statement. Inside your accounting system more than likely is QuickBooks I recommend that you turn on a couple of things. If you look at my screen you’ll see that I have September 2014. That would be the current month. The month thereafter, August 2014 was the month before, so it’s last month. Then the third column is percent change. You’re looking at the percent change in revenue or expenses from August to September. For every line item on your profit and loss statement you’ll have a percent change column that will indicate again the change between August and September, between this month and last month.
The fourth column is this month, so if we’re in the month of September right now then a year in the past, so this calendar month last year, what was our revenue, what were our expenses, all of the line items, all of the rows that show up in your P&L will show up here, so you’ll have your 2014 for this month and 2013 for this month last year, as that way you can compare year over year.
Then I would also turn on a fifth column which is the percent change for this calendar year, this month’s calendar year versus last year say in calendar month. In my example it would be the percent difference between September of 2013 versus September of 2014. You can quickly scan this report every week and you can see if any of your expenses are out line with last month. You can see how you’re doing compared to last year and then you can look at the percentage of every expense and all of your revenue all in one quick snapshot to see how you’re doing.
I think this is the ideal way to setup your P&L. If you want to you can do exactly this on a week by week basis. I just happen to look at it on a monthly basis but you can have this setup as week one, week two, week three, week four. You can get even more creative about it but these are the recommended columns.
I had a really interesting weekend. This past Friday I’m at the office. We’re going to do a system update for service autopilot. Around two o’clock in the afternoon I just have this insane headache. I don’t normally get sick, I don’t normally get headaches, and it’s just driving me crazy. By 10 o’clock that night we’re still at the office. We have a team at the office. We’re going to do an update. I have to go home. By Saturday around two I’m in the emergency room and they’ve just told me that I have to have my appendix removed. I’m about to get prepped for surgery. My 12 year old gets injured with a slight tackle. They bring him into the same emergency room thinking that he’s got a broken shin. Basically in the course of 24 hours everything is upside down. I feel horrendous.
Now I’m a person that eats healthy. I take good care of myself. I haven’t always because I work like a dog and I’ve always pushed, pushed, pushed so I’ve let things slide, but for the most part I absolutely consider myself ahead of the game on eating and health and working out compared to most people, so this really threw me for a loop. I just could not understand why I am having a problem with my appendix. What did I do wrong?
Here’s my point. I think this is probably the most important video I’m going to record all year. If you’re like me and you’re working really hard and you’re focused on your business, you’re trying to take care of your family and you focus on that stuff to the detriment of your diet, to the detriment of sleep, to the detriment of working out and granted I was doing things right but I still feel like I got a little bit of a wakeup call, a little bit of a reminder that in 24 hours everything changed. I’m in the emergency room. I’m going to have my appendix removed. My son is in the emergency room. Everything changed in 24 hours. Everything worked out fine. It’s all good. I’m back at work. He’s fine. But things can go fast and everything you’ve built, everything you’ve worked for if you’re not taking care of yourself could be for naught. If your family is done with you and they leave you because they get no attention it’s for naught.
This is a reminder that today for the rest of this week really to be thinking about how are you taking care of yourself so that all that you’re building, all that you care about, all that you’re working on will still be around after you’ve built it. Or that you can even get to your goal. You’ve got to have the energy to get there. I got a bit of a wakeup call, a reminder better said. Hopefully this will encourage you to assess what you’re doing in your life and how you’re taking care of yourself.
This is a reminder why you are worth more money than you are charging, and your team is worth more money than you’re charging. I have to constantly remind myself of this too because I am convinced I under press on everything just like most of us do.
You’re looking at a picture of inside the door of one of my cars. I got to tell you a quick story. This car doesn’t have a door handle on it. You push a little bitty button and the door pops open. It’s all electric. About three years ago I take this car and I hardly drive this car. If I do it, it’s not on the road usually.
I took this car to the dealership about three years ago to do something else. They look at this and they say it’s probably about 3000 bucks to fix. It just didn’t sound right to me I said, “No, I don’t want to do it right now. It’s easy enough for me to put my hand through the window and pop open the emergency release on the door.”
I then take it to the guy probably a year ago that does mechanic stuff on another car that I have. He says, “You know what, I’m not 100% sure but we need to start with replacing this one thing in your door. It’s about 1000 bucks. And then after we do that we’ll move on to the next thing.” A week ago I have my car. I say “No, let’s not do that either. It just doesn’t sound right. I don’t know why but it doesn’t sound right.” So a week ago I take my car to a guy that does race prep work and he probably bills, I think he bills me $150 an hour for labor. This is the picture he texted me on my phone. I pay him $150 for an hour of diagnostic work and he fixes it. It’s a wire in the door.
This is the reminder, what your clients are paying you for and what they’re paying me for is expertise and know-how. They’re paying us to know how to solve things and solve things fast. If you’re providing some service and that service is a $40 an hour service if you can do it faster than everybody else you’re worth more money. You should get $50, $60, $70 an hour for that service. You’re worth more, because you know more, because you have experience, because you’ve been doing this a long time and you have the right answer and you have the right answer fast. That is difficult to explain to the client but that is critically important to remember when you’re pricing your services.
… or all your best leads are coming from? Do you know where all your best clients live? How well do you understand the geographic details of your business? So if you don’t know that and I bet you don’t because most of us don’t, I highly recommend buying a wall map. It’s going to cost you several hundred dollars. There’s some sites you can go to and custom order a wall map for your area. They’ll laminate it. They’ll mail it to you. You unroll it, put push pins in, hang it on the wall.
Then what I’d recommend is get a couple of different colors pins, green, red, blue and every time you’re on the telephone and you talk to a lead you spin around in your chair and you stick a pin in the map for where that lead is at. Every time you sell a new client you spin around you put a different push pin into that map to represent the client.
Now get a map that’s at street level. You want a street level base map of the geographic area that you serve. You may even take it a step further which I personally did in the past and I recommend for clients to have two different push pins, maybe even for leads. The first push pin color for clients is the one where you get off the phone and you think, “You know what, I like this client. They’re going to buy a lot of stuff. They’re pretty cool. I like talking to them. They’re friendly. They’re great. I think they’re going to pay.” The other push pin is for the client you get off the phone and you say, “I sold a client, that’s awesome, but yeah, you know, the conversation was okay. I just didn’t get that one fuzzy feeling where we feel like they’re going to be awesome.”
Take it one step further down the road you’re looking at your wall map and you’ve got a client hanging on your wall and you’ve got that push pin in there that represents they’re a great client, but they’re slow payers, they cause you problems, they complain, whatever. Change the pushpin out with the other color, the one that represents they’re not your perfect client.
Do this for a year and see what you learn about where your best leads come from, where your best clients live, where they come from, what the best markets are, who you want more of. You’ll learn an awful lot about your business based on geography. It’ll change your entire attitude about your market and I guarantee I’ll break down some assumptions that you currently have. I did exactly that five years ago. I should’ve kept doing it. I learned a lot from it.
Oh by the way, quick tip, when you put your map up do not hang the map directly on the wall. Hang it on a particle board, hang it on something because when you have to paint the wall, move offices, whatever, it really sucks to pull 2000 push pins out of your map. Put it up on the wall in such a way you can just lift the whole board off, move that board to a new wall without having to move your push pins. I made a really bad mistake the first time I did that.