Tag Archives: service sector

Cut costs, not customer experience

Here’s a quote from a recent blog entry by Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and is the author or co-author of 12 books including “What Were They Thinking? Unconventional Wisdom About Management.” Not all cuts are the same. Management, which is invisible to the customer, seldom cuts itself, because no one thinks they’re redundant. … The companies that will do the best are those that recognize their own particular “moments of truth” — the small but crucial experiences that matter… Read More →

Everybody has an off day

My recent trip to Colorado (that I alluded to in my earlier post) started off under rather unusual circumstances. A normally short, 5-minute check-in process in the College Station airport turned into a half-hour-plus study in human behavior. One airline ticket counter employee was having a particularly difficult time checking in a lady and her happy-go-lucky, bouncing young puppy dog who obviously had no idea what it had in store over the next several hours. The other ticker counter employee was handing the rest of us by herself… Read More →

ANLA Management Clinic Blog

In order to stimulate interest in the 2009 ANLA Management Clinic, ANLA developed a one-day blog entitled Managing Through Tough Times. For one jam-packed day, industry leaders, including business owners, consultants, and editors, provided ideas for managing costs, driving sales, targeting new customers and motivating staff in the midst of strong economic concerns. Check out these thought-provoking (and action inducing) blog entries by clicking here.

Coping with a down economy

As promised, here are a few strategies to consider for coping with a down economy. Some of these steps are radical, while others are a more milder form of defense. Implement them according to the conditions you experience in your market area. Conserve your cash. Don’t spend a dime on anything that isn’t absolutely necessary to your operation. Examine every personal expense you have to find alternatives to any spending patterns. Refinance anything and everything you can. Stretch out the payments because getting cash later on will be… Read More →

How to Sell Services More Profitably

In the May issue of Harvard Business review, an article by Reinartz et al. puts forth the notion that firms frequently believe that adding value in the form of services will provide a competitive advantage after their products start to become commodities. When the strategy works, the payoffs are impressive, and a company may even discover that its new service business makes more money than its products. But for every success story, anecdotal cautionary tales remind us that most companies will most likely struggle to turn a profit… Read More →

The Home Depot "Index"

Home Depot Inc. said Tuesday that fourth-quarter profit fell a sharper-than-expected 27% after the declining housing market hurt demand for its building and home goods supplies and the outlook for 2008 remains “challenging.” Declining housing and credit markets have hurt consumers’ appetite for home supplies provided by Home Depot and rival Lowe’s, which said Monday that profit dropped 33%, with sales at stores open at least a year declining 7.6%. To reduce costs, Home Depot said in January it would cut 10% of its headquarters staff, following moves… Read More →

One step closer to recession???

Recession worries surged, slamming financial markets, amid signs that service businesses may be stumbling. A key barometer of the strength of the service sector dropped to its lowest level since October 2001 and suggested those businesses are now contracting. ISM’s Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index registered 41.9% in January, indicating a significant contraction in business activity in January from the seasonally adjusted 54.4% registered in December. This is the first contraction in the non-manufacturing sector since March 2003, when the index registered 46.3%, and the lowest Business Activity Index… Read More →

Economics of Bidding and Estimating

Landscape service firms must do 2 things if they are to make money in today’s competitive Green Industry environment — (1) develop an accurate estimate of hourly field-labor costs and (2) develop a system to fully recover overhead expenses. Once this is accomplished, generating realistic (and profitable) bids and estimates becomes a much more straightforward task. Benchmarking the firm’s performance relative to similarly-sized businesses is also a mandatory managerial task for those who desire to see their business grow and prosper. More detailed information can be found in… Read More →