What is your company’s blind spot?
We’ve all been through it before: Cruising down the road, we flip our turn signal on and hear a horn shriek just as we start to move over. “Where in the world did that car come from?” would be the safe way of explaining what ran through our mind. If we were lucky enough to hear the horn and swerve back right away, then at least we avoided the crash. However, some of us aren’t so lucky. As we veer, we find ourselves right in the fender of the car beside us. We were victims of our blind spot.
Although driving experiences may seem a little off topic, there is an important connection to make here: Every business has a blind spot. But the question that most business leaders need to ask themselves is, “Do I even see it?”
I didn’t ask what the blind spot is, and there’s a reason for that: Most business leaders don’t recognize they have a problem. If they saw it, they would do something about it, or at least we think they would.
As NSCA’s executive director, I fill a very interesting role. Because I spend so much time talking to owners and leadership teams within our community, I get to see so many things. There are some very well run businesses in our industry: full of energy and driving great profits to the bottom line. But they all have things they can do better.
So what is your company’s blind spot?
Spending so much time with our members has helped me recognize major areas of weakness. For most integrators, they fall into one of these buckets:
- Project Management: I heard a long time ago about the 95% Rule: Integrators tend to get through about 95% of a project, and then they trip over themselves for the last 5%. This may be apparent within the organization, but many integrators don’t realize how often they struggle to finish out projects. Even worse, many clients don’t tell you that the systems you installed don’t work properly; they keep it internalized until the next project comes around, and then they don’t hire you. Many integrators lack systems to properly manage all aspects of a project, and this is an area that leaves a lot of money on the table.
- Technical Aptitude: With technology evolving at breakneck speed, many integrators don’t know what they don’t know. With so much technology convergence happening, a lot of integrators aren’t keeping up with the times. Some of this is driven by networking and IT, but I’m sometimes surprised by how little some integrators know about technologies that directly impact their customers.
- Financial Management: Margins in this industry are tight, and they aren’t necessarily getting better. The push toward diversification of revenue and more services helps, but many integrators haven’t gotten there yet. With cash flow always a challenge, and profits never seeming to be high enough, it’s important to know how to look at every part of the business to increase profits and improve cash flow management. Even incremental improvements of 1% to 2% can make a huge difference in sustaining and growing your organization.
- Marketing and Business Development: Many integrators struggle to tell their story in a way that helps customers understand what they do and, more importantly, why they should work with them. With digital marketing and social media pushing change even faster, integrators have been struggling to keep up.
Do any of these sound like challenges you’re facing?
At NSCA, the recognition of these industry-wide challenges spawned a way we can do more to help. To help solve your problems, we need to be connectors: essentially, a conduit to help businesses find their blind spots and then find ways to do something about them.
If you missed this year’s Business & Leadership Conference in Tampa FL, then you’re probably hearing this news for the first time: With the goal of offering more value to our members and the industry, we launched our Member Advisory Council (MAC). This group of industry experts has decades of experience in several of the topics we’ve talked about here: sales, digital marketing, finances, business strategy, among others. These industry leaders are partnering with NSCA to help provide strategic assistance and coaching so integrators and manufacturers can evolve beyond their blind spots, spending more time focusing on growing their businesses and improving their bottom lines.
If you haven’t discovered your company’s blind spot yet, don’t assume you don’t have one: Sometimes we don’t see our blind spots very well.
To learn more about how the Member Advisory Council can help your organization, visit nsca.org/mac.