Are you a Service & Repair owner in the wireless industry who is thinking of growing your business? Wondering what you need to think about to take that next step and prepare for the leap? One word needs to come to mind, and that is scale. You need to ensure you are scaling everything from top to bottom before you plan on growing.
The repair industry is different than others, like pre-paid/post-paid businesses, because it is made up of a lot of smaller retailers —all who want to expand. But while you may have high aspirations of growing your business and adding locations, you can’t effectively do this if you are not ready to scale operations. According to a Huffington Post article, 50% of small businesses fail in the first four years.
This failure can be attributed to a variety of things, including attempting to see rapid growth without having an operational strategy in place. The best way to ensure you are going to be ready for the additional business is to think about your company architecture as a whole, and have procedures and policies in place that are scalable from day one of opening new stores. Here are a few things to consider when making these changes:
Partners are the most important aspect to scale
The biggest part of scaling your business is ensuring you have the best possible partners in place; this is crucial. There are a multitude of partners in the Service & Repair industry to choose from who are very good at what they do. While you may feel that your business can replicate the skills that these partners offer, many retailers find that it is just not possible —these partners are experts in their field and ready to help you succeed. You need to do what you do best, and insert partners where appropriate, letting them focus on helping create scalable growth. These are a few of the key areas where a partner may make all the difference:
- Parts & Manufacturing. A partner in this area will be able to pull into your supply chain and work with your current POS. It is even better if the supplier is integrated with your POS as it will save time and money when ordering and receiving products.
- Training. If you do not have a training system in place for both your sales staff and technicians, your anticipated growth will be hindered. Ensure that your technicians are certified and providing top-notch repairs because, in Service & Repair, you’re not just selling products and services, you’re selling experiences too. Having a qualified partner to train technicians and staff this will allow you to focus on scaling. An integrated online customer appointment scheduling option is a very valuable resource that gives the customer the ability to see your stores hours, schedule an appointment and drop off their devices; this will make you stand out in this industry and provide a competitive advantage. It will also help you to better staff stores and see what elements provided by your business customers are most interested in. An integrated system and a expert partner will make you a force to be reckonned with.
- Buyback & Trade-In. Having a way to automate credits back to a customer through your POS will ensure a smooth operational flow for your staff and a positive experience for your customers. It is also an effective way to differentiate your revenue stream and increase your profits.
The “doing it all” employee
Many times, in a smaller company, you have that one employee who does everything. They order and receive all inventory, are responsible for operations and finance, train new hires, and prepare reports for your company, all while likely being your top technician. With one person at the helm of every operation, scalability is not possible. Where would you be if that employee was to get sick, or even quit their job? It’s a scary thought, but this potential reality could cripple a business in a matter of weeks. You need to be automating as much as you can in your company, starting at your retail stores and reaching all the way up to the operational level. The option of just adding more staff as your business grows does not address inefficiencies and will not assist you in organizational expansion.
Cutting out the human element
In order to see scalability and sustainable growth, cut out as much of human element as possible, and not just in the back office. For example, automating your POS data to pull directly into your financial and payroll system is a must, to save time and lessens mistakes. Having a few employees in charge of this data input can take hours and human error is inevitable. Enable your business to choose what info from your POS you require and have it directly integrate into your financial and payroll systems; no more using the manual excel tracking. Profits and payroll should be a focus — without employees you don’t have stores, and without understanding what’s in the bank you can’t run a business. You can’t put a price knowing your numbers are 100% correct.
Reconciliation is Key
Once you have automated processes and solidified scalable growth, the next thing to focus on is reconciliation. You need to be reconciling everything! From the inventory you received, to what your vendor sent you, to what the employees cashed out with to what money went into the bank. Anything and everything needs to be reconciled so you are understanding where discrepancies are and this has to be done in a timely fashion. Reconciling cash outs two weeks later does not help understanding where money is lost. Stay on top of your finances by implementing a daily process setup. Having processes automated are going to help you make everyday reconciliation possible.
Be Ready for Anything
In an industry like Service & Repair, you need to be ready for what’s coming next. Look forward to the next year, be ready for any disruptions or changes on the horizon, and scale your business to be ready for them. Be open to these disruptions; they are going to come and it will benefit your business more to be ready than to try and fight them. We are already seeing these disruptions as technological advances like smart home systems and drones becoming more popular. Looking ahead at what it will take to repair these items, and the changes needed in your company will ensure you are ahead of the game. Remember to scale where the industry goes and delve into what you will need to be repaired, not just being focussed on what today brings.
In conclusion, if you want to grow your Service & Repair business, you have to be ready to create scalability and automate processes. If you’re looking for other ways to compete and win, check out our whitepaper, The Right Fix: Winning with Mobile Device Service & Repair.
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