How to Develop Core Values and a Business Plan for Your Home Services Business
Congratulations! You are a business owner, for good and bad. Maybe you are just opening up shop, or you’re looking to move from 3 locations to 10. It’s a wild journey full of ups and downs and a whole bunch in between.
The challenges you face change daily, including keeping the phone ringing, keeping customers happy, and growing your business. Do you have a plan in place for how to hit your goals? Do you have a good set of company core values and a culture that people want to work for?
A business plan that you visit each quarter and year can be a great starting point to your growth, and at the heart of that plan should be your core values, or who you want to be as a business.
If you don’t have a business plan and core values or if you are just looking for an update, here are some tips to consider.
Start With Your Core Values
Deciding who you are as an owner and a business will be your North Star for growth: at the center of every decision you make. It can also be something you look back at during hard times to remind yourself why you did this in the first place.
Chances are pretty high that you have at least thought about this—maybe you’ve even written out a full company plan. If you haven’t done this yet, take out a paper right now, or type it in a Google Doc. Write down your answer to the following questions.
- Why did you get into this business in the first place?
- What are your goals? Where do you want to be in 1 year, 3 years, 10 years? (Company size, communities you serve, adding more products or services)
- How do you want the community to view your company?
- How do you want the community to view you as the owner?
- What are some values that you want to be associated with your company?
It may seem a little silly, but scribbling these thoughts down is critical to long-term growth. So take time to let your mind wander, even draw an idea for that new logo or truck you thought about when mowing the lawn the other day. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to use these thoughts to develop your core values.
“The biggest part of our 5-star success is our core values.” Mark Cline, Service Manager of Yochim plumbing
Develop Core Values
Developing core values for your company will help you grow your business, take care of your customers, and hire the right talent. They will be a guiding light to how you work with everyone and ensure your employees provide the same care to your customers that you would give them.
“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” —Roy Disney
Your values should answer who you want to be as a plumbing business. They should be a part of who you are with your customers when hiring people and in your marketing. It takes time, but the steady effort will help your core values become associated with you in the community.
For example, you may have a core value of “put your customer first.” This is a great value to have, especially in the plumbing industry that thrives on repeat and referral business. For this to truly become a core value, you’ll need to be an example of that to your employees.
That could involve offering 24-hour on-call emergency technicians or same-day service. It could also be as simple as having technicians put disposable shoe covers on their shoes before entering a home. These would be examples of not only writing “customer-first” as a core value, but also showing it in your business.
Some Common Core Values to Consider
There are definitely some common themes when it comes to successful businesses’ core values. Here are a few you could consider.
- Customer-first – We take extra steps to make sure customers have a great experience.
- Community-focused – We want to become a piece of the community that can’t be replaced.
- Clean, fun work environment – We want to provide a place where people want to work.
If you’ve been doing this for a long time, you probably already have a set of core values established—just make sure to write them down and refer to them often. Write 3–5 down and think of ways you can make sure they come through in your business. That effort can be fun and will pay for itself in the future.
Don’t forget to reinforce your values
You need to commit to your core values and find ways to bring them into your business. For example, you could:
- Immediately reinforce when employees put your values into action with simple comments like “Good job with putting our customer first there.”
- Recognize an employee each week/month for each value
- Ask interview questions that relate to your values
- Display your core values in break rooms and review them in company meetings
- Make sure customers are seeing those values by gathering feedback
It’s one thing to say you have values and another to truly embrace them. Having a clear set of core values also makes bringing new employees into the company easier. The core values provide a clear definition of your company and what you stand for.
Write out your business plan
With your core values in place, start to pencil in a business plan around it. There are a lot of things you can include in a business plan. There are also a lot of business plan templates out there that can help you get started, but here are some elements to put some thought into. Many people will also try doing a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats), but for this guide, we are going to focus on just the basics.
Ideal target customer
When developing your business plan, write out who your ideal customers are. It could be as simple as “people who need a service technician within the community that I serve.” It could also be more robust if you do some research on your existing customer base and include information around demographics, jobs, salaries, family size, etc.
The more you know about your target market the better. It can help to do quarterly surveys of your customers to continue to add different information and update what you know.
We know you know this… you see their vans driving around, you hear their commercials. You either want to be them or want to bury them. Knowing your competition will help you understand ways that you can make your business stand out more. Understanding your competitors will help you identify your company’s competitive advantage – or what sets you apart from others.
For example: maybe you have 24-hour service, and your competition does not. That would be a “competitive advantage” and should be something you include in your marketing, even on your vans or trucks.
Not all competitive advantages will last forever, so always be thinking about ways you can stay ahead. Here are some examples of competitive advantages you could consider.
- 24 Hour services
- Same day service
- Good reviews
- Pricing on website
- Online scheduling
- Fast lead response
This is the fun part! As you may know, marketing these days is much more than billboards and direct mail coupons. The majority of marketing is currently being spent on digital channels like Google, Bing/Yahoo, Facebook, and others. Also, a huge piece of marketing for home services is having great website management and tools like online scheduling and online payment processing to improve your customer service. Here are a few things to consider when it comes to marketing.
At the moment, your website is the center of your digital marketing presence. It will be a place that people can go to learn more about your business, read or view the content you are creating, and see the brand you are trying to establish or grow.
Investing in a good website is crucial for any marketing strategy. Your website should include a lot of things including;
- Who you are
- What you do
- How to contact you
- What areas you service
- Customer reviews or testimonials
- A blog for tips and tricks content for customers
- Pictures of your business and your team
Many home services companies will have a team create and manage the website or hire someone in-house to work on all things marketing. It’s up to you how you want to grow, but having additional hands and experience may help you reach your goals faster.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
There are a lot of reasons to invest time in researching search engine optimization guides or partners, and how you want to get started with SEO. If you want to show up on search engines where your customers are looking for home services businesses then you should spend time here.
There are a lot of technical aspects to SEO that can be helpful to find an SEO partner to invest in but at the core, it’s having good content that is helpful to your customers and finding ways to get other businesses or people to share that content.
SEO is an investment that can take time, but it will lead to good customers that cost a lot less.
Facebook Business Page
If you don’t have one, you will definitely want to learn how to setup your Facebook Business Page. Many times, your Facebook business page will show up in search results even ahead of your website. At the core, you want to make sure that it has these elements
- What you do
- How to contact you (multiple if possible – phone number, messenger, chat,etc.)
- What areas you serve.
A Facebook business page can also be a great spot to post content you are writing for SEO purposes, share seasonal discounts, or even host a live event to show people how to do simple tasks like changing a furnace filter.
There are many channels where you can spend your money on marketing, but having a strong advertising strategy will ensure that you don’t waste money on ineffective marketing. Here are a few spots to look into spending some of your budget on.
- Google Search Ads: You have probably seen Google ads a million times. They are the search results that come at the top of the list. You can see an example below for a search of plumbers in Los Angeles.
With Google, you can focus your money only on the areas that you serve and with the customers you want to have. Once you have spent enough with Google, you can even upload an email list of customers to try and get additional customers just like them.
Google Search ads can provide the volume and customers that you need to grow your business.
- Google Display Ads: You have seen these as well. They will sometimes show up when you’re browsing the Internet. They are generally visual and have a clear goal: “Buy these clothes” or “Set an appointment with us.” Display ads have the same ability to find your ideal customer for you, as well as letting you market to people who have already visited your website.
Display ads can be a great way to bring customers into your store or website with a visual connection. For a full overview of how to get started with display ads for your business, check out this helpful guide.
- Facebook Ads: These ads are what show up in your Facebook Feed. These are also visual and can guide your customer to take action. “Set an appointment today” or “Get your free plumbing line diagnostic.” You can choose what you would like to market.
Like with Google, you can also have Facebook find your ideal customer within a specific area you work in, or based on other demographics, like age, income level, etc. For a full overview of setting up a Facebook ad, check out this handy guide.
The last part you will want to consider for your business plan is a financial and sales summary. This information will help you to see the health of your business and will also be information you can show to banks or outside investors who may want to help grow your business. It should include pieces like;
- Projected income
- Projected expenses
- Debt-to-income ratio
- Money coming in
- Desired form of financing (bank, outside investor, family/friends)
You can also include budgets for marketing, sales, running your business, employee salaries, etc. Having a clear insight into your financials and having visual reporting dashboards for all of your numbers will make it easier to see how well your business is doing.
Having a business plan and clear core values will be a foundational piece for your future growth. Establishing who you want to be, what your marketing and financial plans are, and what customers you service will be guidelines to refer back to frequently.
For some, business planning is the worst part of owning a business, and for others, it’s the best. But for every small business, having a plan is the first step to future success. If you are looking for a partner in building your business, or want our free complete guide on building your business give us a call at Scorpion for a free consultation.
Posted In: Management, Sales & Marketing
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