Studying the decisions made by successful industry peers has proven invaluable for PCOs, and many progressive PCOs have taken this type of learning to the next level by studying the habits of successful businesspeople from other fields.
Although observing what other pest control companies do is essential when making industry-specific decisions, establishing regular observations of non-industry businesspeople better equips PCOs to adapt to changes — such as the COVID-19 pandemic — that are not limited to the pest control industry. By also considering what other businesses are doing PCOs can make more informed decisions. Additionally, having a broader pool of advice-giving and example-leading businesspeople to to call on helps PCOs find their true niche.
Francie Hinrichsen, successful entrepreneur and founder of Illinois-based digital marketing and consulting company Simply Integrated, discussed the applicability of her business practices for PCOs in her presentation at the 2020 Purdue Pest Management Conference. Hinrichsen, who earned a BA in communication studies and an MBA from Ball State University, shared four habits for running a successful business.
HABIT #1The first habit Hinrichsen discussed was to embrace the power of small decisions through changing thought patterns. The entrepreneur said that oftentimes people fail to recognize the impact of small decisions because their understanding of the world has been shaped by shortcuts.
“Successful people are not successful because they got lucky,” Hinrichsen said. “Successful people are successful because they have successful thought patterns and behavior.”
She explained that to actionably change thought patterns, business owners should start each morning playing forward how they want their day to look, and then evaluating how they spend their time. By challenging your brain’s “autopilot” you can begin to truly adjust the way you want to feel and behave and, in turn, begin investing your time in things that lead you closer to success, Hinrichsen said.
HABIT #2Following her emphasis on small decisions, Hinrichsen discussed the buying cycle and how habit #2, delivering the right message to the right person at the right time, is important to becoming a successful business owner.
Hinrichsen first identified the four stages of the buying cycle — awareness, consideration, purchase and after sale — and noted that marketing messages must consider which stage of the cycle the target leads are in. Sales-y messages only work once customers have come to know, like and trust you through the awareness and consideration phases, Hinrichsen said.
“Unless you have developed that rapport with them, unless they have come to know ‘I can trust you’ and consider your business as a solution to their needs, your sales-y message only sounds like static on the radio,” Hinrichsen said.
“Know what flavor of gum [your customers] chew. Not just where they live and how much money they make.” — Francie Hinrichsen
Hinrichsen then explained that to actionably apply information regarding the buying cycle, business owners must clearly identify their target market so that they can craft a message that resonates with such targeted customers.
“Know what flavor of gum they chew. Not just where they live and how much money they make,” Hinrichsen said.
The entrepreneur also noted the old adage “People don’t buy a drill because they need a drill; people buy a drill because they need a hole,” to encourage business owners to sell the problem they solve and not the product they sell. By properly identifying a market and the challenges it has, and marketing on the ability to solve such a problem, pest control companies can successfully deliver the right message to the right person at the right time.
HABIT #3The third habit for successful business that Hinrichsen discussed is to invest time and energy into relationships.
“Successful business is about so much more than profitability statements. It’s about so much more than ROI. And it’s about so much more than year-over-year growth,” Hinrichsen said. “Your effectiveness hinges on your ability to create community.”
Humans naturally crave positive interactions with other humans, so automating the people side of business can have a negative impact on morale, Hinrichsen explained.
To foster better relationships with employees, Hinrichsen suggested looking for opportunities where you can use time typically spent by yourself, such as car rides or lunch breaks, to instead spend time with others. She even suggested supervisors create a “happy hour” at the end of each week to celebrate individual and team wins and promote positivity.
HABIT #4In concluding her presentation, Hinrichsen introduced her fourth and final habit for successful business: embrace change. The business owner explained that the only thing that ever stays the same is change, especially in our technology-driven world.
“The only way we could leverage this caliber of change is to lean in, embrace it and build it into our best practices,” Hinrichsen said. “It means we must develop forward-thinking decision-making ability and build out business not just for what is, but what could be.”
To best embrace change, Hinrichsen suggested beginning by looking at business operations and recognizing that the world is changing too fast for the approach that “We do it this way because we’ve always done it this way” to work. Identifying outdated inefficiencies is important in running a successful business, she said.
Hinrichsen further suggested getting comfortable with feeling like you don’t know it all, adopting a fail-fast and fail-forward mentality and hiring employees smarter than you. She emphasized that business owners should take hold of the exponential opportunities there are to learn — such as podcasts, blogs, YouTube videos, audio books and more — and not fear failure.
“Let’s start looking at failures as the springboard, the trajectory, that’s going to lead us into the next phase of success,” Hinrichsen said.
Hinrichsen added that hiring employees smarter than you and developing a culture where such employees feel comfortable to present you new ideas is an important way to embrace change and foster growth.
In her closing statement, Hinrichsen encouraged PCOs to “lean into the uncomfortable” to propel their businesses to greater success. “You are in control of your success,” Hinrichsen said.