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3 Tips You Can Learn from this Successful Local Irrigation Company

You might be thinking,

“My company has NOTHING to do with irrigation, HOW IS THIS GOING TO HELP ME?”

Trust me. This information will help you – whether you run an irrigation company or you do something entirely different. Often times what matters is the person(s) behind the business. Here is how a local irrigation company owner grew a successful local business by listening and adapting to his customers’ needs. 

Scott Hulihan of Hulihan Territory was a recent guest on my radio show, Hard Work-ah with Pete the Job Guy.  Scott shared his advice on how to keep moving forward in the small business world. His secret: adapting. On a past show, I used Blockbuster and Netflix as an example on “…adapting to the customer and their evolving needs.”

If you want to listen to this example from the show, click here.

I was talking about innovation, disruption, and lack of adaptation. Even though customers were showing interest in another way to rent/watch movies, Blockbuster essentially said, “This is what we do. This is the way that people like it. We have to give the people what they want.”

However, it was not what the people wanted… anymore. Do you know what people wanted? They wanted to watch movies in the home, without going down the street to the Blockbuster. The customers wanted to watch movies in the comfort of their own home via streaming with the click of a button. And Netflix, well, they heard their customers’ problems, and they adapted. 

So you might have a business plan with products and services, but if your customers tell you they want a little something different or you’re not currently serving them, you need to adapt to the customer’s needs in order to continue the business, or you will be obsolete to them.

Now, back to Scott Hulihan — during high school, Scott got a job working for his gym teacher, who taught him how to cut grass and install sprinkler systems. After he graduated high school in 1988, he bought his gym teacher’s equipment and continued to serve the same customer base. He learned a lot as a young entrepreneur, and he continues to learn more about his customers’ evolving needs and adapt his business accordingly. He shared this with us:

Be Patient, Stay Consistent, Stay Focus

My advice to any entrepreneur that is first starting out, it doesn’t come overnight. You find yourself working very hard and the days are long, and things can be pretty ‘lean’ initially.  Then you see your friends put their suits on and go to their office jobs that have a steady salary …and when you’re talking about my type of business, installing irrigation systems, you can easily start to think that ‘the grass is greener on the other side.’ So, there’s going to be times you second guess yourself and your decisions.  That is precisely when you have to stay focused.   The straighter you stay, the more focused you are, the quicker you’ll get there.  Also, have a strong support system.  I relied on the advice of my stepdad, and my mom and brother were also an important part of the business.” –Scott Hulihan

Adapt to the Customer’s Needs in Each Season

From the beginning, the company started as purely an irrigation company. Over time, Scott got certified for well-drilling, taught it to his employees, and then added it to his list of services. Scott also decided to add Christmas lights installation to the list after noticing there was a gap in the market for Floridians. Which worked out well, after seeing that irrigation and well-drilling slow down in the colder months.

This is the 16th year we’ve done Christmas lights. I was looking at a landscape magazine, and out in Utah, areas like that where they get snowed in, the landscape guys can’t do anything else, so they hang Christmas lights.  And I said to myself, “Well, you could do that right here in Jacksonville.  Even though it’s a warmer climate, people still want Christmas lights.”  And so, I started that as a keep-the-guys-busy type of deal and it’s really turned into a super-profitable busy time of year for us.  My customers love it.” –Scott Hulihan

Scott found a way to withstand seasonality by adapting. He:

  • observed the same market in another location (competitive analysis)
  • asked his current customers if they have this need
  • learned the new trade and got really good at it

 

Understanding the Customer’s Needs

To understand the customer’s needs, there needs to be an established relationship. Building a good relationship will not be hard if you already deliver consistent and exceptional service. If you are already delivering a good service, then ask yourself these questions:

  • How can I expand this current relationship, or rather, how can you solve more problems that your customers have? 
  • What will make the current process easier for them?

 

These tips are the difference between a business owner and a successful business owner. Are you applying this tips to your business or considering to start a business? Let me know at Pete@PeteTheJobGuy.com

To listen to the full conversation, click here.

5 Free Solutions to Keep Your Employees Healthy and Focused

Laura Nolan, Health Solutions Executive at Humana, is a strong advocate for bringing a healthy lifestyle into the corporate office environment. We spoke the other day and she spoke passionately about how health solutions can positively affect output for any company AND the community.

Here are the numbers:

  •  Productivity losses linked to absenteeism cost employers $225.8 BILLION (or $1,685 per employee). Source: CDC, International Monetary Fund
  • People going to work when they’re sick (presenteeism) accounts for nearly TWO-THIRDS OF THE TOTAL COSTS of worker illness. Source: Harvard Business Review
  • More than 48 million workers—or 38 percent of the U.S. working population— have no paid sick leave. Source: NHIS, 2008
  • Companies that have exemplary safety, health and environmental programs OUTPERFORMED THE S&P 500 by between 3 and 5 percent. Source: Fabius R, Thayer R, Dixon BA, et al. 2013

And then it hit me:

Why aren’t all companies already doing this? It would save them so much money!

After 16 years with Humana, Laura has to say this to employers:

“…with wellness, each and every employer should consider it. Even if they aren’t, [or if] they don’t have the funds with the budgets to purchase a high tech wellness program for their employees, anything that you can do to think outside of the box [to ensure your employees are treated well.]”

There are BILLIONS — okay, maybe not billions – but a lot of apps out there to help you and your employees on their health journey!

Check out these other articles:

The best 8 Apps for a Calm, Focused Mind by Huffington post

15 tools that will help you stay focused by Product Hunt

 

Personally, I’m old school and if I try to take a break, I try to do it away from tech. So, here are some of the things that are free (or close to free) that can help you through the day.

 

1.     Set up reminders to take a break

“[At Humana,] twice a day I get an email that tells me to be mindful and to take a moment to meditate, to stretch or to do yoga and it’s linked to YouTube videos, so right. They don’t want me sitting and stuck at my desk all day zoning out and becoming less productive because I’m in the zone, so twice a day I get an email.”

 

This takes time, yes, but overall a free alternative and makes you (your company) an ‘accountability partner’ to your employees’ health journeys.

2.     Stretch

Do some chair yoga! This sound intense, but even just not looking at your computer, or stretching forward while sitting down will do your body some good! Our bodies take so much physical strain from sitting. YES, you heard correctly! Or as Laura would say: “Sitting is the new smoking.”

3.     Dance

Now for those who follow me on “the” social media, you know that I don’t waste any time. In the morning, I like to get my blood pumping! Some mornings I spend at The Gym Jax, but in the office, I like to dance…with my office! We usually do the YMCA, we blast the volume, share some laughs.

Check out this sweet video of us in action. AND YOU’LL LOVE THIS: I did the #inMyFeelingsChallenge, check it.

Are you in Jax? Check out some classes at The Gym Jax here or listen to our other podcast episode about The Gym Jax, here.

4.     Walk it Out

Bring your phone, don’t bring your phone, whatever you choose, just set a timer to 5 minutes and see how far you can walk away from your desk! Whatever you do, the point is to get those legs moving and your brain a break from going 100MPH all morning/afternoon.

5.     Play a Game

Get your office involved, too! Arren was telling me about her college job: she worked at the Dean of Students office and at 2:55pm every day the entire office gathered and would play a game. The games would range from doing icebreakers, light team building activities, and or just being in the room together silent and listening to classical music – just something unrelated to work!

So there they are, 5 free, easy solutions to get your employees happy, healthy, and more productive.

Keep workin’ hard my friends!

 

 

To listen to the full conversation, click here.

Four Things You Didn’t Know that Recruiters Do For You

1. Guide you before, through, and after the interview process

Patricia: So, what’s really important for them to do is I try to provide as much information about the company and about the job description and they need to do their homework. Everybody’s got to do their homework. I can’t do it for them. So, when I mean homework, it’s more like going to the website of the company, figuring out information about the company. Who’s the president? How long has the company been? You know, what’s their mission says and then not only that, but the expectations of the job.

Patricia: So, we would give tips on what to mention or what questions to ask. A little bit of a mock interview. [For example,] what would you like, what are some questions that you’ve thought of to ask the company afterwards? Because when an a company interviews you, a lot of times at the end they’ll say, ‘so do you have any questions for us?’ Your answer should always be yes, here are a few good ones, you know, and because they want to know that you’re invested in that, you’ve thought about it. So, I like to ask them, ‘what would you ask them?’

I actually had one person say, ‘oh, well I went online, I went online, and, and notice that you had a couple of bad reviews. What are some things that you as a company are going to do to improve your reviews online?’

I said, ’that is not a question. [laughs] So, I’m so glad that I asked you what you’re going to ask them.’

So, that it’s important for us to know what they’re going in. I don’t want anybody going rogue, you know, and asking some crazy thing.

Recruiters are your professional coaches. They give you professional tips on any and everything you need to know so that you land the job (and keep it)! They are your help before, during, and after the interview process.

Recruiters can typically help with your resume. They understand the company so they know how to make your resume more appealing to the company and they know how to highlight your strengths. Recruiters can naturally prepare you for interviews through practicing difficult to answer questions and through encouragement.

Also, our recruiters at SNI Companies go the extra mile and ensure to deliver in small ways like:

  • calling before and after the interview
  • sending reminders of the time and location of the interview as well as
  • how to dress
  • what to say
  • reminding you to write/send a thank you note.

These are all small things that you don’t have to stress about so you can focus on landing the job!

Going even further, even after you land the job, our recruiters can still help you. They can assist with orientation, questions you may have (but are not confident to ask to your employer). They are still there to assist you.

2. Help you identify our value to the company and market yourself

Patricia: Knowing how are you going to sell yourself to that company because hey, you know, not everybody’s in sales, but when you’re looking for a job, you’re in sales, let’s be real. So, you have to be able to identify with that, what you’re going for and how to market yourself. So, doing that homework, quote unquote, research on the company is, is very important.

I like to call research, “due diligence.” This is a law term but it can be applied to this situation; it means: “reasonable steps taken by a person in order to satisfy a legal requirement, especially in buying or selling something.”

Due diligence is required. Conducting this due diligence at the level companies are expecting will give you the answer on how to market yourself to the company. Understanding the background, the goals, the needs, the problems/pains of the company will propel you above the other candidates. This knowledge and your skills will form your value which is answering how you will fill the gap between their problems/pains and their goals.

3. Bargain your salary for you

Kumi:  I always, actually, advised the candidates never to discuss money in an interview. And also I always let them know like that’s what I’m here for. You don’t ever have to talk about money. That’s my job… one of the things that we’re able to do is, we would not have them go to that interview or be put in that process with that knowing the ballpark of what the range is for the position offering.