First and foremost you have to reinvent yourself. You don’t have to destroy the mold and begin from scratch, but you must add the following essentials to those parts of your business that work.
Become the most visible contractor in your target area and field of expertise on the Internet and world wide Web. For example, optimize your search ability by enhancing Google ad words or by joining lead generation performance groups like ServiceMagicPros.com, Quinstreet.com, QualitySmith.com, etc. Search me Fairfield County under roofing, remodeling or kitchen and bathroom remodels at Scgabc.com.
Create and maintain your brand as better than the rest by entering local, state and national awards. We won four awards last year: Silver Whole House Remodeling award from Qualified Remodeler, HOBI (State of Connecticut) HBA award for Outstanding North Stamford Home Remodel, Connecticut Better Business Bureau award for Excellence in Website Marketing Message, and Top 200 Exterior Grossing firms and Top 500 Remodeling firms by Qualified Remodeler in 2011. Good press gets your name out. You can put it in your local newspapers, tell potential clients, etc.
Keep all your professional designations and certifications up to date. It is most important to differentiate your name brand from everyone else; that is why I have seven certifications and 22 initials after my name—not to impress as much as to pre-qualify my higher level of expertise and specialization in the complex and diversified field of general building science and construction.
Create a diversified business model that combines the ability to build large or small projects, provide turn-key or a la carte remodeling and maintenance repair services and consider developing different brands within your original organization. In addition to Stephen C. Gidley Inc. & Associated Building Contractors, which concentrates primarily on home improvement projects involving the design-remodel of residential additions and alterations, I opened another company named 1-800-Paint-Job of Fairfield County LLC. I also have a self-governed thriving house painting enterprise and started Affordable Handyman.Com LLC to handle my customer’s smaller routine handyman needs at a lower hourly rate than I charge for crews of lead master carpenters.
Finally, leverage social media with emphasis on posting business updates to your business page on Facebook, tweet regularly about your ongoing business events on Twitter and, if relevant, join LinkedIn for professional networking.
There is no limit to effectively creating, utilizing and maintaining your market presence in today’s technological era where searches on smartphones can find your company. You want to be there on top when the buyer goes looking. Good luck and enjoy your business growth as you change to meet the times.
Stephen C. Gidley, GMB, CAPS, CGP, CGB, CGR, CRPC, CR, is president and chief executive officer of Stephen C. Gidley Inc., Darien, Conn.