I have a friend, lets call him Bob for the sake of this post, who is interested in starting a home business. Bob has also expressed interest in my helping him to get started. The business that he is looking at starting is lawn care and landscaping. If you are thinking of starting your own home business please pay close attention to the lessons shared in this post.
Here is the thing though. I have never run a landscaping business.
This would turn off a lot of people. But I have run and helped many other home business owners to successfully market their business. And as the age old saying goes: Marketing is marketing is marketing!
Needless to say, I really want to help my friend Bob.
So the other day the gentleman who services my neighbor lawn to apply pesticide around the house and perimeter of the lawn. I immediately thought of my friend Bob and struck up a conversation with him. The Landscaper’s name was Al and he had been in the lawn care business for the past 20 years or so.
I told Al of my friend Bob and asked him if I could talk with him about how he got started in his business.
Al smiled at me shook my hand and agreed to answer any questions I might have about his business.
What you probably might not know is how often I strike up conversations with people and their businesses. The problem is 70% of the time the small business owner or entrepreneurs don’t want to talk about their business because they see everyone as their competition. Coming from an entertainment background myself I’m used to seeing this kind of attitude. Everyone is so worried that you are out to steal their customers.
But not Al. In fact he was just the opposite. Get this! He is almost at full capacity for customers that he can service and turns away more new clients than he accepts! Yes! In this economy!
Don’t be afraid to talk with people about your business…there is plenty of work out there for everyone and you’ll make some great relationships!
One of my first question was how did you get started!
Now if you talk to a lot of people that want to start a business it usually goes something like this.
I want to start a XXX Business how do I get a website or build a site?
So check this out. Al wanted to start a landscaping business so he told me that he found someone who was looking to get out of the business and bought his clients and business! This is an idea that almost never occurs to most people.
So is there a business out there that you can buy?
Think about it. Al didn’t have to spend any money on marketing and promoting his new business. He started with 30 solid customers to service on a weekly basis! And Bam he was in the landscaping business.
Oh and for those of you thinking…Yea that sounds great for him but I want a web based home business so that won’t work for me. you are soooooo WRONG!
There are tons of guys out there who sell and re-sell web businesses!
Next I asked Al several questions about marketing and promoting his business.
Let me tell you what Al does not do first.
- Direct Marketing and Advertising
- Social Media
Here is what Al relies on.
Word of Mouth and his Business Card! That’s it!
Currently Al has just under 100 accounts that he personally services all year long! Just about the only way to hire Al to take care of your lawn in the summer and keep the driveway clear of snow in the winter is to be referred by one of his e static clients!
When someone does call Al he closes the contract about 90% of the time. Why? Because when they call him they have already seen and experienced the beauty of his work first hand and they want him to do the same at their home.
This is exactly how you want to position yourself! Oh and did I mention that Al is priced around $15 an hour more than most of his competition.
Think of the power in this.
Lesson 4 (This Was a SHOCKER for me!)
I want to back up a little for this one because it was a real shocker for me. Al doesn’t have a website or use any kind of online marketing for his home business what-so-ever!
This knocked me for a loop because almost everyone in every kind of business at least has a website. But here you have a guy that is doing Great without one! Now I’ll take this a little further.
I asked him if he would be willing to let me interview him live on one of our upcoming Private Inner Circle calls.
He politely declined.
I told him about my upcoming local business TV show and asked if he would be a part of that.
Again he declined.
I had to know why so i asked him about it. I explained to him that it would likely increase his business by being on local TV. Here’s what he said to me.
“Yea…I know. That’s the problem though. I don’t want anymore clients. I have so much work on my plate that I would have to turn down 90% of the people who contacted me. I don’t have that kind of time because I’m out there taking care of my customers. So I’d rather not.”
Can you imagine being in that kind of position to where you didn’t really need more customers. In fact he has started a waiting list!
The last lesson is this. It is so simple that most of us over look it and take it for granted. So pay attention. I get asked all the time from my coaching and consulting clients how I’m able to make the contacts and build relationships with the right people.
This isn’t rocket science. There is no magic formula.
Just be open and honest with people. Don’t be afraid to walk over to someone and say Hi. Then talk with them. Get to know them and continue from there. I have no doubt that I will be talking with Al many more times in the future.
I also told him that my church is planning on having some grading done and planting new grass next summer. So he gave me his card and said he would give the church a great estimate!
If you are still in the dark as far as how to approach people just re-read through this post and I think a few things might jump out at you this time!
Now it’s your chance to get involved. I want to know how you started your home business in the comments below!
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P.S. Check out our last post and let your voice be hear! Click Here!