Culture Secrets of A Service Business Founder
by Mike J. Agugliaro
The Culture Secrets of a $30 Million Per Year
Service Business Founder
I didn’t get anywhere with my service business until I started focusing on culture. These are the service business culture secrets I’ve picked up along the way.
Is your service business struggling to find new customers? No matter how much effort you put into service business marketing, you don’t seem to get anything back.
Maybe you’re spending all of your time in the business. You barely ever see the wife and kids. Even when you’re at home, you’ve got your face buried in your phone, answering emails and texts from your team.
Or, perhaps it’s your team that’s the problem? They don’t seem interested in doing what you need them to do. The bare minimum is enough for them. Anything more seems like too much effort.
I bet I’m pretty close to at least one of the problems in your service business.
In fact, I’m sure of it because I’ve dealt with these service business problems first-hand.
My name is Mike Agugliaro and I know the root cause of all of these problems.
It’s your culture.
A crappy culture leads to all sorts of problems. You need to sort the culture out before you can start improving.
And I’m here to help.
But first, let me tell you a little bit about my journey.
My story starts when I founded a little electrical service business in New Jersey with Rob Zadotti. At the time, I didn’t really know anything about running a business.
As far as I knew, you just got your electrical license and started a business. That seemed to be the way that everyone else did it.
That obviously wasn’t enough. We ran into all sorts of service business problems in the first few years.
Put more and more hours into the business. That meant more time spent away from family. And it led to both of us burning out.
About a decade in, we realized that we couldn’t work any harder. We needed to do something else to grow the business.
I’ll be honest…I almost quit at that point. I’d poured my heart and soul into the business and couldn’t solve its problems.
But I didn’t quit. Instead, Rob and I used that moment as a turning point and decided to focus on figuring out how to really grow the business.
Just a few years later, we had a $32+ million/year business that employed 200 people.
In 2017, we sold that business and started CEO Warrior. Today, I’m dedicating myself to helping service business owners solve the problems that hold them back.
And service business culture is one of the big ones.
I’ve been to the top and I’ve been to the bottom. These are the secrets I’ve learned on the journey.
Service Business Culture Secret #1 – Establish the “Why”
Why do you think your people show up for work?
It’s about the money, right? You pay them and they do the job. That’s all the motivation they need.
That’s not entirely accurate. Your people are less interested in the money itself and more interested in what the money buys.
That’s their “why”. And it’s different for everyone. Some may have a family to take care of. Others may have medical bills to pay.
Maybe you’ve got a budding rock star who just wants a new guitar.
The point is that the “why” is crucial when building a service business culture.
You need to help your people see the connection between their work and their “why”.
Robin Burrill found herself with unenthusiastic people. She had lost sight of her “whys” and lost any passion for her work in the process. With CEO Warrior, her business enjoyed a complete turnaround.
Part of that came from finding her people’s “whys” and using them to inject enthusiasm into the business.
Finding the “why” helps you with your recruiting. You can look at a candidate’s “why” and show them how you’ll help them to achieve it.
Here’s the point.
The “why” tells you what your people really want. Build your culture around delivering it to them.
Service Business Culture Secret #2 – Create a WOW Service
Here’s the dirty secret about your customer service.
It’s always one degree worse than what you think it is. So if you think you offer great customer service, you’re merely good.
And if you think you’re good, you’re probably mediocre.
Yet every service business I see says that it offers the most amazing customer service ever. They use their customer’s names, they’re polite, and they look professional.
If that’s all you’re doing then you’re just doing what 99% of other service businesses do.
If customer service is to become a part of your service business culture, you’ve got to provide a WOW service.
You need to make the service so stunning that it leaves your customers speechless. They fall in love with you and want to use your services again and again.
Here are a couple of things that I do to create a WOW service:
- I get my team to call the customer 15 minutes before they arrive. They establish a rapport and might even pick up a coffee for the customer.
- Ask questions about the big picture issue rather than the specific problem that customer called about.
- Offer several recommendations so the customer has options.
Those are just a couple of basic examples. The key is that you provide a service that your competitors haven’t even thought about.
Service Business Culture Secret #3 – Create Accountability
If you’re familiar with my Nine Pillars, you already know how important accountability is when building your culture.
If you’re not holding yourself to a standard, the business will struggle.
Just ask Ted Puzio:
Ted came to CEO Warrior readily admitting that his business didn’t have a clear vision. There was no plan for success, which meant he couldn’t hold his team accountable.
Building accountability into his company’s culture helped him to boost revenue from $800k to $5.2 million.
We need rules and we need people to hold us to those rules.
The most important thing is that you’re accountable to yourself. Set the standards that you need to meet and don’t allow them to waiver. If you start slipping, you create service business problems. Your people see your standards slip and follow your example.
When you can safely say that you maintain the standards that you expect, focus on the team. Set targets, create rules, and challenge them to be the people you need them to be.
Hold them accountable for what they do.
Service Business Culture Secret #4 – Lead by Communication
Becoming a better leader means becoming a better communicator.
Think about it. You’re the one who sets the standards, provides instructions, and offers corrections. These things are the bedrock of your service business culture.
If you’re not a great communicator, you can’t get your points across. That means your people don’t know what you need them to do.
You need to lead by communication.
And that starts with you building a rapport with your team. You’re not the person who’s just barking instructions at people.
You’re somebody that your team looks to for inspiration and support. And that extends to the personal as well as the professional.
When you build a rapport, you understand your team better. They see that you care and respond in kind.
Service Business Culture Secret #5 – A Good Team Starts With a Good Leader
What happens to your team when you’re not leading them properly?
Just ask Dan Wilson:
Dan Wilson became a warrior in 2018. Back then, he felt frustrated with his team and with his own abilities as a leader. He was on the verge of quitting and his team could see it.
The culture wasn’t great. The business struggled with strained relationships between the crews and office staff.
With CEO Warrior, Dan became a true leader for his people. This helped him to iron out the cultural issues and define a direction for his business.
Here’s a simple fact.
Most people are followers. That’s not meant to be an offensive thing. It just means that most of the people in your team look to others to help them move forward.
You’re the leader that needs to inspire them.
That means you have to get out of the service provider mentality. You’re not the person who’s installing systems and doing the little jobs anymore.
You’re the person who’s defining the vision and setting the standards for your followers.
Stop working in the business and start working on it. That’s how you become the leader that your team wants.
I’ve learned a lot about building a great culture in a service business.
Of course, every business has its own challenges. But the big secret is that almost all of them come back to culture problems. If you don’t have a great culture, you don’t have a foundation.
That means every other aspect of the business will fail.
Ask yourself if your culture is what you need it to be right now. If it isn’t, start putting these secrets into practice.
And remember that CEO Warrior can help you to create true transformation.
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