COVID-19 is Affecting the Entire Business World
First and foremost, all of our customers that have been impacted personally or professionally are in our thoughts and we want you to know that we are here for you and that we are doing everything in our power to protect our employees, while continuing to provide you and your customers with the highest service levels in the industry. GMS is standing strong. We have taken action and want to keep you informed on what we are doing to combat Covid-19:
- Non-essential employees are working from home
- Deliveries and visitors have been highly restricted
- Employees are following CDC guidelines around social distancing, hand washing and cleaning of our facility
- I’m happy to report that employee morale is higher than ever
- Our employees are essential to our success and they are proud to be on the front lines doing what they can for you and all of the homes and businesses we protect!
Businesses of all sizes are under intense pressure to figure out new ways to work and slow the spread of the virus. The majority of states consider security businesses essential and as such many of our employees must still report to work. While shelter in place and stay at home executive orders are continually evolving we must do our best to stay informed especially related to the geographic areas we serve.
We have never tested the old adage that “cash is king” on such a global scale in the history of humankind. As businesses scramble to preserve cash to support continued operations there is hope through the federal government’s stimulus package and SBA loans. I encourage all of you to apply for these loans even if you don’t think you need it today. We don’t know when all of the restrictions will be lifted or whether or not the virus springs back up and begins shutting down the world’s economies at some point in the future.
During this time let’s come together. We are stronger when we align our goals around helping one another. Your customers are also being forced to lay off, furlough, or outright terminate employees. Some of your customers that operate non-essential businesses are being forced to close which may potentially put them out of business. Ask how you can help to support your customers today.
GMS is here to support you and as such we have assembled a team of experts to help our customers get through these incredibly challenging and uncertain times. Whether your concerns are related to insurance, legal matters and contracts, how to take advantage of stimulus packages or other financial assistance, or general best practices, we are here to help every business survive this pandemic and come out even stronger in what will become a new normal.
I originally wrote the article below for Security Business magazine’s February Edition with the intention of having the readers evaluate their businesses with a Spring-Cleaning mindset. With COVID-19 affecting all businesses the items below are even more important today.
Evaluating the Nooks and Crannies in Your Business
You Might Be Surprised by How Much Money You Could Find That’s Waiting to Go to Your Bottom Line
By Robert Few
Holiday bonuses are great! Did you get one or give some this past year? We have all likely received them at one time or another. It could be a nice gift card, extra check in the mail or a special award or gift given to you at the annual holiday party. They make us feel good because they provide that little extra that we may not have been expecting.
Let’s take a little time as we settle into 2020 to evaluate some of those forgotten areas of your business and give yourself a little bonus in the process. Following you will find some questions to ask yourself and your team members to help you investigate those forgotten nooks and crannies within your organization.
Areas to consider:
General Business Administration
Do you or your employees have subscriptions to things you never or very rarely use set to auto renew annually? Evaluate these before you pay the bill this year. When I audited my expenses this year, I found hundreds of dollars being spent on things I was no longer using. A LinkedIn subscription, a few domain names, a few other memberships that I was no longer using to the fullest extent, or seeing the return on my investment, that’s a few hundred dollars I can allocate somewhere else this year. Having a good hard look at the P&L every year is something my clients expect of me, and year after year we find additional areas to save.
When was the last time you did a competitive analysis in your market on what you charge for equipment, monitoring, service etc.? Are there easy ways that you can capture a little bit more from each customer that will make a meaningful impact to your bottom line? Time and time again I hear from clients that they have not raised their prices in years or worse, ever. If you have only been in business for 5 years, you have already seen the cost of labor, fuel, and materials all go up. This means your margins are being reduced! If you have been in business longer than 5 years, it’s even worse. When you look at the value you are bringing to your customers, it’s easy to justify a price adjustment. Have you looked at service plans as another revenue generating machine? There are many ways to offer more services and charge a fair price. Have you called a plumber or HVAC tech on a Friday night or weekend? They understand their value and have no qualms charging for it!
When was the last time you worked with vendors to ensure you were receiving the best pricing possible at your current volume levels? If your business has been growing and you have been buying more from vendors, you now have higher bargaining power. Leverage it!
So many of us have a head down mentality to our business. Not because we don’t want to be able to sit back and spend some time just thinking about our business and the direction it’s taking, but because we are just so darn busy. One job to the next, an install here and a few service calls there. By the time we are done for the day or week, we are just that, done.
I help clients all the time pick their head up and check on the overall health of their businesses. A lot of times we find some pretty quick wins on the financial side. Our equipment pricing has not been updated since we started out, our central station pricing is still the same, auto insurance, vehicle leasing, all these vendors usually have tiered pricing. It is very rare to meet a vendor that is going to automatically give you volume discounts without being prompted. I learned from a previous client the importance of a quality quarterly vendor review meeting. Every three months review the business you are doing with each of your vendors. Are you truly partners both focused on your growth and success? You should be.
When was the last time you evaluated your website? Is all of the information on your site up to date? Have you had some exciting wins with customers that you should be celebrating on your website? Was your company featured in any local news that you should be linking to or highlighting your job well done? Are you paying for any plugins or services for your site that are no longer needed? Are there updates needed to the platforms, credentials, copyrights etc. that need to be updated to ensure your site is secure, optimized and running as smoothly as possible to capture as many new customers as possible? Consumers and business owners no longer have the time or patience to wait for a page to load or videos to play. Make sure your customers and your potential customers are satisfied with every interaction with your business, including your online experience.
Are you fully leveraging social media? Social media is here to stay and ever changing. If you are not active on social media, you are not leveraging the easiest and often free marketing tool at your fingertips. Whether you are a large multi-regional company or a traditional small business, social media is the great equalizer. Every employee from salesperson to installer to service rep to owner or telephone support person should be celebrating your company on social media. When I work with clients, one of the first things we do is implement a social media campaign and policy. Get your customers to start talking about you, liking your page, sharing your page, who needs the yellow pages and ad words!
How much are you spending on employee benefits and perks? Are they working or could you offer something even more compelling to reduce your attrition and recruiting costs? When I speak with clients, the one question I always ask is what is your greatest challenge? Retaining great employees is always at the top of their list or close to it. How do you compete with the guy down the street? It used to be money, right? The more you pay the more loyal an employee.
Well in today’s competitive market that is changing. Yes, wage is still very high on the list, we all must eat, right? But what should not surprise you is that in this current market, employees are more concerned with recognition, growth opportunity, and a general feeling of being a part of something bigger. Are you tapping into this cultural and generational trend? An annual review of what perks work and what perks don’t is a must in today’s climate. If you need help with this, just ask!
I work with a diverse group of clients from across the country and every business is different. Some run extremely tight, lean ships and watch every penny and believe it or not we often uncover areas that have simply been overlooked and therefore an avenue to capture savings. Others are so busy that they tell me they haven’t thought about certain aspects of their business in years because they haven’t been the squeakiest wheel or at the top of the list of fires to put out. These are often goldmines of opportunity to recapture money that is going out the door unnecessarily. Regardless of which type of business you run, I urge you to push pause and get some help from a qualified outside professional that will look in all the places you may think are in order, or even more commonly those daunting areas that you avoid on purpose.
About the Author
Robert Few has over 25 years of industry experience. Today, Robert is President and CEO of General Monitoring Services, Inc. and Managing Partner of The Connection Xchange, LLC (TCX). Robert was also recognized as one of the Top 20 under 40 by SSN and in 2017 he received the prestigious Sara E. Jackson Memorial Award from the Electronic Security Association (ESA). Feel free to reach out to Robert at 201-838-0091 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.