You’re the beneficiary of our failure.
“I didn’t fail. I just found 2000 ways not to make a lightbulb.” -Thomas Edison. Call it what you want, but these 7 things we got wrong. We could deny getting it wrong, but what good is that? Owning failure has much greater benefit for you, our target market, to reap. Greater value comes to you because of lessons failure taught us.
Here’s where we failed and found a better way.
1. Pricing Failure– More than once we paid dearly for underquoted projects. Quoting errors revealed our great need for a design build process. It was obvious. When you carefully design and clearly scope a project (making all selections upfront), pricing is accurate - even the very best "educated guesses" aren't as accurate. Implementing the design build process gave our business long term stability. After all, what good is a lifetime warranty when a business doesn't survive?
2. Identity Failure – We tried to be a “do it all” contractor. Any project, regardless of size, scope or budget, we tried to make work. Big fail. This approach gave us no identity. No focus. No niche. Our customer base showed us we have a strength – renovations. Design build renovations became our exclusive niche. We no longer try to do it all. Instead, you now have a highly specialized renovation contractor.
3. Communication Failure – Verbal communication is one of our strengths, but it created a problem. We relied too heavily on it. Important details were being communicated in conversation, but forgotten. Who remembers all conversations perfectly? Not us. Not our customers. We made follow-up emails mandatory after important conversations. Now the phrase “I thought you said….” isn’t necessary because it's in writing.
4. Finishing Failure– Who wants to live in a home continually “under construction”? A good renovation contractor wants your project finished as much as you do. “Project dribble” is phrase we coined to describe the plethora of little issues that keep projects from finishing on time. Eventually dribble got our full attention, and we found proactive was to prevent it. So your estimated date of completion isn't delayed by dribble.
5. Lead Generation Failure– We used Service Magic, a lead generation company, in the early days of our business. Big mistake. It didn't take long to figure out you, our customers, are the best referral partners. That shouldn’t be a shocker. When you’re happy with our service and quality you talk about it. (And many are talking.) So we canceled Service Magic, and put even more effort in delighting you, and strengthening client relationships. It's a win-win for you and us.
6. Giving Failure– We’re passionate about giving. “Generous Giving” is one of our core values. And giving “too much” to charity has never been a regret. But, we have given too much to non-charitable causes. We pumped too much time, effort, and insights into projects that never materialized, and toward customers who never moved forward. We figured out charging a small consultation fee is a great way to gauge a client's level of commitment. Now business efforts are more aligned with you, the paying customer, and charitable efforts with those in real need.
7. Acknowledging Failure Failure– Why are so many business owners unwilling to acknowledge failure? Maybe they feel threatened by transparency. We see it different. “Building Trust” (which is both our tagline and our passion) requires straightforward communication, even when we get things wrong. Talking about failure once made us squirm. Not so much anymore. We’re quick to tell you we’re not perfect, but as you see from this blog, we take full ownership of failure.