How to grow a small business: Is yours ready?
Entrepreneurs use marketing and relationships to expand their companies. Many also explore franchising for new opportunities and revenue streams.
Savvy owners of independent businesses understand that marketing and relationships aren’t one-shot deals. Both require ongoing efforts and nurturing.
Home service contractors who aren’t part of a franchise face challenges with regard to these endeavors, says Rachelle Kemp, a technical services specialist and franchise consultant for The Grounds Guys. Owners who opt for the franchise model buy into designated territories. Still, Kemp says the size of the area isn’t as important as top-quality customer service.
“The territory isn’t where you grow your business; it’s the customers,” Kemp says. “It’s not just about increasing the customer base. It’s about taking good care of the customers they have.” When existing clients “see good results at a good price,” they’ll refer others, she says.
Conversations and connections
Kemp says many independent owners reach out to Dwyer Group because their businesses have hit a plateau. They don’t know what to do to get over that hump, she says: “They see that we have systems in place to expand and succeed.” Teaching people to be better business owners is a priority, Kemp says.
Other potential franchisees talk with Dwyer Group representatives because they are doing well but need clarity on how to add a specific service to their offerings. “Our systems provide that,” she says.
Dwyer Group’s Neighborly initiative unites the company’s growing roster of individual businesses in one consumer-facing brand. For example, a Grounds Guys customer might have broken glass that needs replacing. Customers who trust the landscape team can get a referral to a local Glass Doctor shop, Kemp says.
“We have more than 200 Grounds Guys franchisees, so it definitely helps,” she says. “The connections and networking help with ‘one-stop shopping’ with all different Dwyer Group brands. We take care of any maintenance problem inside or outside of a home or commercial building.”
Once an independent business owner commits to Dwyer Group, Kemp says, there are two steps:
- They attend orientation. “It’s a bird’s-eye view of the Dwyer Group and Grounds Guys,” Kemp says. The weeklong business training gives new folks an opportunity to learn about the company culture and the code of values.
- They work with a franchise development consultant. Each Dwyer Group brand has franchise developers who help newcomers prepare, launch and grow. There are methods for maintaining mowers, pruning plants and using trimmers, Kemp says. “New shop owners may come to us and say they’re making money. But at the end of the month, they pay the bills and have nothing left.” Many, she says, are unfamiliar with basic profit-and-loss statements. Kemp says franchise consultants wear different hats and help people run their businesses more efficiently.
In the end, people who follow the proven systems that Dwyer Group provides don’t feel as overwhelmed, so they stay focused and motivated.