Here is a topic that I feel is among the most timely and relevant topics because of all the business uncertainties as a result of the effects of the Coronavirus. It is my opinion that being very business cautious is wise at this point of course. However, I believe that this could be an excellent time to research more efficient methods in every aspect of your business. To all of my clients (and to all of you reading this column) I am stressing the utmost importance of becoming much more “efficient” with your time, energy, financial and other resources – and cutting waste!
As I pointed out in my column last month, it is so important to prepare accordingly in order to achieve the high level of success that you want from your substantial time and financial investments. I also wrote that “It is so wise to become more efficient in all aspects of your rental business.”
Of course, cash flow challenges are a major concern for many rental companies now so “hunkering down” to ride out the financial impact of the Coronavirus is a natural reaction. While “hunkering down” is natural and needed in times like these, it is so important to use this time as constructively as possible and begin by doing serious, in-depth efficiency research. Even if you are currently lacking funds or other resources to put toward the implementation of many of the findings of your research, you will have found what to invest in just as soon as you are able to invest.
Here are just a few other thoughts and a couple of examples regarding efficiencies:
- Advanced technology in software can certainly help a rental company to make more efficient use of employee and management’s time. It can reduce costly purchasing and other errors, help to maximize R.O.I., help to maintain proper stocking levels, increase customer satisfaction through quicker transactions and much more. Advanced technology can really be “a game changer”. But be sure to do proper research so you are getting objective information and not just a sales pitch. Too many people have invested in the wrong solutions for their rental business.
- Another example is more efficient marketing. Instead of a hit-or-miss, try a little bit of this and a little bit of that, approach, dig deep into the possibilities (like social media, paid internet ads, etc.) and your research will likely, in time, yield a sizeable return on your marketing investment. There can be huge opportunities in developing a broader set of marketing strategies that target the customers you are trying to capture.
- Remember that your company is different in many respects from fellow rental business operators so be careful not to blindly follow their strategies in your company. For a wide variety of reasons, what apparently worked for them may be the exact opposite of what you should be doing.
- I believe that it would be an efficient use of one’s time to do this efficiency research during this scary time instead of being totally consumed with worry. In other words, plan now for what objectives and strategies you will be incorporating either now or when you can fund them so you’ll be ready to “pull the trigger” on implementing them. Nobody knows but it’s possible that this virus will be around and causing us grief for 18 months or more. (Hopefully there will be an effective vaccine by then and we will get a handle on this terrible virus much before then.) So, it would be a shame to lose this time of opportunity to do serious research.
I believe that our great country and the equipment rental industry will certainly rebound in time. I also feel that the rental companies that have used this terrible time to research and start the process of developing a true culture of having a much higher level of concentration on strategic efficiency management practices in every aspect of their rental company will emerge stronger and more apt to capitalize on upcoming lucrative opportunities.
Again, it may be difficult to even consider anything that will in time involve investing when you are in a “hunkering down” mode now. But, consider this period as a time for investigating more than necessarily investing now. Just think how often in the years leading up now, everything was so busy that there didn’t seem to be enough time to really delve into certain avenues to increase efficiency and make your company grow and prosper.
Even during these extremely crazy, tough, painful times, it is healthy and wise to think of and research your company’s future needs in terms of equipment, technology, personnel and facilities.
Dick Detmer is a nationally recognized consultant, lecturer and writer with 40+ years of experience in the equipment rental industry. In 2018, he celebrated the 30th anniversary of his business, Detmer Consulting Inc., and his column in Rental. Dick can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, (309) 781-3451 or by visiting his website www.detmerconsulting.com.