*Originally published on CEPro.com
The coronavirus pandemic has caused many businesses to fail this year, but most integrators are still in position to improve their businesses while customers work remotely.
“I would like to…but I’m too busy” is something I’ve thought or said countless times over the years. I would like to take this course, update my website, learn more about social media, get this certification, etc… but I get too consumed with the daily workload.
Additionally, I am typically traveling 125,000-150,000 miles per year. One of the great benefits to me personally and professionally during the pandemic, is my new-found free time and ability to use fewer excuses to act on my wish list items.
Over the course of 2020, I have invested a lot of time in my business and my personal life to make many improvements. Most notably my wife and I are now empty nesters. We sold our home for the past 15 years and moved into a brand-new place. We have been very busy now loading it up with exciting, new technology to elevate our new lifestyle. I also completed my Master Scuba Diver Certification, which has been over 10 years in the making.
On the business side, I have made countless improvements: updated my website, participated in numerous podcasts (for the first time in my professional life), joined panel discussions (also a first for me), added new product lines to my business, written articles, and added a content-rich education component to my website. I also drafted and delivered new education content for sales and business development which is now available on my website.
The pandemic reminds me of 2001 when I was working for an integration company as the 9/11 attack occurred and rocked the USA, having a profound effect on countless lives and businesses, including the one where I was employed. While business was down, we had to dig deep and create opportunities for the business in the future. So, how do we best invest our (extra) time during this downturn? We develop new opportunities or set the stage for success in the future.
I would suggest some of the following actions or initiatives:
4 Ways to Improve Your Integration Business
#1: ENGAGE WITH YOUR CUSTOMER BASE
During the pandemic, each of us is spending more time at home and considering what updates we can make to our home and lifestyle to make time at home more enjoyable. In my neighborhood, nearly every one of my neighbors has jumped into action and started tackling projects around the house. I can’t recall a time when I have had more friends and family calling or texting me questions about new technology they want to add to their home. I am confident that many of your clients are also considering some of these upgrades, and you don’t want them wandering off to a competitor!
About a month ago, I created an email blast to be used by dealers to introduce their clients to some exciting new products from the brands that I represent. The blast also included an invite for the consumer to have a free video consultation over Zoom or a similar platform.
I would be happy to share this with CE Pro readers for free and you can quickly and easily update it with relevant content from the key brands and products that you offer in your business, or use it as a template to create your own!
#2: POLISH UP YOUR IMAGE
Over the years I have looked at countless integrator websites and very often, I’ve noticed they have not had much attention paid to them over the past few months or years. Very few featured project photos, testimonials, details about the team and their training, certifications or experience, or a recent news section.
Consumers are investing a lot more time into doing online research, especially for the significant investments professionals in our industry offer to their clients. Make sure your online presence is polished and represents your company and team in the best possible light. This is a great way to establish credibility with potential new clients.
In the past, I have created beautiful project portfolio books that I would bring when meeting with new clients offsite. You can easily create these books, via many online services like Shutterfly.
#3: REVIEW YOUR PRODUCT OFFERINGS AND PROFITABILITY
When business is slow it is critical to watch the cash flow and profitability, every job and dollar is invaluable!
A good exercise to ensure greater success on each project is to carefully review which brands or products are creating the best profit opportunities for your business and ejecting the ones that are draining your valuable resources of time and money.
#4: GET SMARTER
I would argue that there has never been a better time in our world history to access education remotely. For example, many of CEDIA‘s courses have moved online, making it easier than ever before to earn certifications and gain some further industry education.
I invested in gaining my CEDIA Outreach Instructor education earlier this year and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, while also making some great new industry connections in the process.
I do believe that our industry will recover very well from the downturn this year. Housing starts are incredibly strong, and consumers are interested in investing in elevating their lifestyle at home. Make sure when they are looking to make this investment, you have the knowledge, credibility, and a brand that is looking its best!