This article was originally published in the May 2016 issue of Entertainment Technology Asia
Growing a Rental and Staging business has never actually been easy, but today it seems like anyone can get into the game. Competition is fierce, products and services increasingly commoditized, and getting ahead seems harder. How do you grow, make money, and not collapse under your own weight? There are three key best practices that will keep your rental business vibrant.
Learn How to Oversell
In order to grow, you must sell more than you did the period prior, consistently. If customers would cooperate by not scheduling their events at the same time, then this task is easy. However, peaks and valleys are the norm for most of us. The trick is to make the busy periods consistently larger without sacrificing quality. This requires a fearless commitment to new business alongside a dynamic operation that can adjust to fluctuations in workload. Growing, profitable rental businesses rely heavily on outsourced staff and equipment in peak periods in conjunction with just-in-time hiring and purchasing to accommodate this type of growth.
As companies grow, the tendency is for the details of a project to reside in the Sales process while Operations to forced pull information through the system. A key step to becoming a scalable business is to ensure that all projects are spawned and nurtured within an enterprise software system that all departments can access. Transparency allows information to push forward through the system. As each step is complete, it triggers the next step. Because all forecasted opportunities and projects are in an open queue, everyone in the system can anticipate and prepare for upcoming work.
Compelling Value Proposition
Your value proposition is the answer to the question, “How do you improve your customer’s condition?” In today’s information and marketing-rich world, simply saying you have great people, equipment, and service is no longer effective. Successful Rental-Stagers have to take risks to appear more valuable than their competition. The best place to start looking for your unique value proposition is to ask your best customers why they choose you again and again. Without a strong brand, you cannot consistently attract the right customers or command prices that will sustain profits.
You Need All Three
There are no shortcuts to success in this formula. If you excel at selling and have great processes, but lack a compelling value proposition, then you will generate undifferentiated, low margin revenue. You might grow, but profits won’t follow. If you have great processes and an impressive brand, but can’t exceed capacity, then the business won’t grow. Eventually the weight of existing infrastructure will eat into profits as well. Finally, if you know how to oversell and have a great value proposition, but struggle with operational efficiency, then your business will make costly mistakes that will undermine your overall efforts. You will rely on second efforts to do things well, and that is not sustainable.
When you think about the areas of your business that aren’t 100% effective: Overcoming stagnation, responding to challenges, avoiding problems, or making money, then one or more of your three keys to growth is compromised. Use the accompanying chart to pinpoint the source of your problems and work on that area first.