A strategic plan helps a HVAC business organization optimize its efficiency and impact. It’s usually created when you are reaching the end of the previous strategic plan or want to make positive changes to your business.
You don’t have to write a book or shut down the office for a week to create an effective strategic plan. In fact, you can create a strategic plan in just one day. It doesn’t even have to be perfect or elaborate. Just get a few of your key people in a quiet place and get started.
We have worked with one-truck companies and corporate giants that benefited greatly from a plan with just these five steps:
The mission statement summarizes the what, how, and why of the HVAC business organization. A mission statement typically describes your business organization in terms of its:
Purpose - why your business organization exists, and what it seeks to accomplish.
Business - the main method through which your staff tries to fulfill this purpose.
Values - the core values that guide your staff as they pursue the organization’s purpose.
For example, the mission statement of one of our clients is as follows:
Our Commitment: We are committed to providing the highest quality and performance in all aspects of our service and replacement business.
Core Services: Design, fabrication, installation and service of heating, air conditioning, indoor air quality and ventilation systems, as well as electrical, temperature and humidity controls.
Core Strengths: Experienced leadership, excellence, trustworthiness, loyalty and pride in our reputation for quality workmanship and teamwork.
Success for Employees: Provide fair compensation, security, trust, recognition and a good working atmosphere.
Success for Customers: Provide quality, competitive pricing, trust, partnership and our ability to meet clients’ requirements.
To write a vision statement, simply answer this question: What will your business look like in 5 to 10 years?
For example, the vision statement of one of our clients is as follows:
Vision Statement: We shall become the area’s premier heating and air conditioning service provider, offering the lowest cost possible, superior installations, maintenance and repair services. Being the premier service provider does not mean being the biggest, but it does mean being the best in terms of value, customer service, employee talent and consistent, profitable growth.
Profile your customers in relationship to your business strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) by answering these questions:
How customers choose between competing HVAC providers:
On-time delivery – Arriving at the worksite on time. If the technician arrives late, without the customer being informed, it will be hard to overcome the negative first impression.
Professional call handling process – Providing a high-quality total customer care call experience that is seamlessly made up of: the customer service representative answering the phone promptly and purposefully; the technician or sales rep using a professional onsite call handling process; opportunity survey forms; and upfront pricing. Studies show that nine in 10 homes have multiple installation defects. Thus, the use of proper customer and system survey forms helps your technicians and sales reps to show customers their unique options, as well as sets the stage for future option recommendations in regard to:
Professional image – Making a good first impression with the appearance of your website, advertising, clean vehicles, clean uniforms, sales rep, and the clarity of your invoices, service agreements, customer call handouts, survey forms and proposals.
Eliminate liability and technical risks – Offering credible upfront pricing for service repairs and installations, guarantees, warranties and assurances, observed work delivery standards, liability coverage, employee background checks, drug testing and safety training.
Quality assurance – Adhering to industry and manufacturer repair, installation and safety guidelines, use of start-up, test and verification procedures to assure you delivered as promised.
Below is an example of a SWOT analysis for a typical contractor.
• We show up on time
• We back up all of our work without question.
In this step, establish your five-year long-term goals and then identify the one-year objectives and goals that will help move you toward your five-year goals, which are typically based on beating your key performance indicators (KPIs).
Here is an example of objectives, goals and strategies of a typical contractor:
The owner will enroll in the Ready-Built HVAC Contractor program to build and host a new website, as well as to train staff on proven processes and forms, and also to support staff in the implementation of professional processes and forms in service and sales.
The purpose of the action plan is to outline the tactics or specific set of actions over the next 90 days that lead to achieving your goals and objectives. Assign responsibilities and deadlines for each goal to ensure the plan is implemented. This 90-day action plan will become your Strategic Plan. Every 90 days, review plan for completion and identify yet another 90-day set of actions to drive toward goal achievement.
Here is an example of a 90-day strategic plan from the above example contractor:
All HVAC business owners want their service and sales force to be more productive. What should you monitor and measure? Daily number of calls ran, daily actual hours billed by technician, average daily hours billed per service ticket, daily number of service agreements sold by technician, daily number of replacement leads, daily number of call-backs by technician, and installation actual hours billed to job versus budgeted.
At times you may need to adjust the budget’s projected resource allocations to stay on track when outside forces, personnel or budget issues affect financial performance. Monthly financial and daily labor monitoring allows you to track progress, spot potential problems and adjust business activities without compromising your objectives and goals.
Wendell Bedell is CEO of www.GrowMyHVAC.com, a division of Building Services Institute, Inc., the nation’s premier online HVAC staff training and process implementation support membership organization, focused on helping contractors grow and become more profitable. His email is wendellb@GrowMyHVAC.com. For a FREE no-obligation customized 2014 Strategic Business Plan simply go to http://bit.ly/contractorneedsanalysis or call 800.240.2823.
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