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Stepping Over Dollars to Pick Up Dimes


The first time my dad, Irving, cautioned me about stepping over dollars to pick up dimes, I was still a kid in the business. So, I asked him, “What does that mean?”

He smiled, and in a soft but knowing voice replied, “The urge to save a few bucks can cause you to miss out on big dollars. It’s smart to spend wisely but there are times you have to invest in yourself and your business if you want to make real money. The trick is to work hard on the right things and trust that you will work hard to make it all work out.”

He continued, “There will be times that you’ve had a less than stellar season and money may be a little tight but your trucks don’t care. All they know is they must get fixed or replaced. And the few bucks you’d be tempted to save today will assuredly lead to much more costly expenses or missed opportunities because  a vehicle out of commission is bound to happen at the very worst possible time…when you’re busy.”

Okay, I get it. I know things may be slow and money may be tight. But, here’s what I know you’re company won’t get healthier if you cut too deeply or you cut the wrong things in a misguided attempt to save a few dimes.

My dad also told me, when it came to stepping up in tough times, “Things get easier if you act like you’re going to be in business for awhile.”

So if you want more calls, you have to spend money. The goal is to spend it in a way that gives you the biggest bang for the buck. When money gets tight, the knee-jerk reaction is to cut marketing. This is a prime example of saving dimes and throwing away dollars—because without marketing, your phones are going to go dead and/or stay dead.

In fact, dead times are actually the best times to be doing intelligent marketing. It’s got to be testimonial-based marketing and you need to focus on three main marketing drivers to take your marketing from buck shot to rifle shot.

The ones I like best right now are:

  1. A series of laser-focused direct mail pieces that leverage great testimonials
  2. Online and email marketing that also leverages great testimonials via things like the search engines, websites, blogs and emails.
  3. Acquisition of companies that span the “Mild to Wild” spectrum. That means everything from obtaining old phone numbers to buying real companies.

These are proving to be winning strategies right now. Will they cost some money? Yes!

Will they generate dollars? Yes!

A good start is to read my blog post How to Get Great Testimonials and Make Them Count and begin this process. You’ll be glad you did.

Looking for ways to cut business costs? Read my blog The Right Way to Cut Business Costs.

Better, make this the year you finally build your operating manuals. I have a great starter pack that’s already 90 percent done and comprehensive video tutorials to go with them. Check it out.

Al Levi teaches contractors how to run their businesses with less stress and more success through his book, seminars, webinars and his exclusive 1-to-1 consulting practice.

 Also check out Al’s latest business adventure as part of Zoom Franchise Company at www.zoomdrain.com/franchise-opportunity. It’s a living example of the power of manuals and more— in action.

More Ways to Become a 7-Power Contractor

The 7-Power Contractor book lays out 7 simple business powers to help you run your business with Less Stress and More Success. And now, it's available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook.

The Build Your Operating Manuals (BYOM) Program provides you with 90% done manual templates plus step-by-step instructions on how to edit them, roll them out, train with them.

Get Your Life Back: 7 Secrets of Super Effective Time Management will show you where you time is really going throughout the day so you can begin to get some of it back immediately.

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