When and How to Say NO —
Most entrepreneurs start their businesses by saying YES to every opportunity that comes their way. They know how expensive advertising is to generate leads and how important it is to be in front of customers as much as possible. They also understand the importance of sustaining themselves and supporting their investment. Eventually, they either create enough income to survive or fail.
As PCOs start to grow their businesses and gain efficiencies required to attain net income after they pay themselves, they need to assess all the time they took on work that they should no longer be doing, This self-examination could uncover a service offered or an account they took that their competition was happy to give up.
I have a client who was selling a gutter product designed to keep gutters from ever clogging—ever! They bought ladders, trained staff, and advertised to get leads. This business grew but not without the normal number of issues that any new product or service can bring. After three years of offering this life-changing product, they consistently spend about a third of every staff meeting on the innovative gutter product. It now represents less than 3% of their total sales and zero income. They carry about $10k of inventory. Their company (like most) also deals with staff shortages.
After some brief intervention and review of the numbers they stopped the gutter offering and wrote off the inventory. The pest control operations benefitted from the immediate labor infusion. The customers were notified and all warranties were honored. Customer response was crickets.
With all the issues PCOs deal with—labor being the biggest—they need to focus on what they do best, do it well, and steadfastly watch their margins. Sometimes saying NO to a new sale may be the best sales you don’t make.
Pest & Lawn Director, Cetane Associates