Sustained Planning for Long-Term Business Success: Plan to Serve for the Next 100 Years

This article was written by Louis Cole, founder and president of Emecole, Inc. the precursor of Emecole Metro LLC.

Do you expect to live to be 100 years old? Probably not. But what if the business you founded lived that long and provided income for heirs and important insulation, sealing, waterproofing and indoor air quality services for your community? While a quality basement waterproofing contractor may assume that he has done good work, it does not necessarily mean he has met the expectations of his customer. Doing good work is only the beginning. If contractors master the way they present themselves and their crew, then the great service they provide will naturally earn excellent word-of-mouth.

Regardless of the industry, new business owners will inevitably run into a series of challenges – one of which is sometimes maintaining motivation. According to Roy Spencer, owner of Perma-Seal Basement Systems in Downers Grove, Il, maintaining motivation and confidence begins by planning for the long-term. “When you are building your business, embrace the attitude that you’re going to be doing this work for the rest of your life,” says Roy. “Think of the early years as your first brick in the wall and it has got to be straight and solid. It has to last.”

In the beginning, we all make mistakes, and there will certainly be setbacks. How such mistakes are rectified and what we learn from them can have a significant impact on your success. “Build policies and habits that could be the basis for a company that survives 100 years and several generations. Having that perspective will profoundly change your day-to-day decisions. It will also help put things in perspective. Mistakes happen. Correct them; take responsibility and move on.”

Some homeowners are apprehensive when having to hire a contractor. How the contractor conducts himself from the very beginning can make the difference between getting the job or not. When the homeowner hires a contractor, he or she is placing a good amount of trust towards the individual or company. While each customer is going to have a different set of priorities and expectations, they most likely will have one thing in common – they appreciate superior effort, honesty, communication and an overall job well done. “All clients have expectations,” says Roy. “They expect service people to clean up and have a certain level of professionalism. This can include a crew leader introducing his crew, interacting with members of the family and always politely explaining each stage of the work. When you do something that makes a client go WOW, they’ll actually bring it up at work the next day. That’s a more active referral base, rather than a passive one.”

A business that works overtime to provide superior service and is honest will build itself a positive reputation. Regardless of the amount of advertising a company may do, nothing beats the word of mouth. Having a strong awareness of the community will only help. “Whether you know it or not, people are watching. In the years to come, you want to be able to hold your head up.”

As the basement waterproofing industry continues to grow, customers will have a variety of choices when hiring contractors. It’s planning for the long-term and going the extra mile to make your customers feel important that will set you apart from those who don’t. “Make people feel comfortable in their own home and they’ll invite you back and introduce you to their friends.”

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