2017 IEC National Business Summit
Thank you to all business owners, managers, chapter staff, and industry partners who gathered in Charleston, South Carolina, January 24-26, for the 2017 IEC National Business Summit. Hundreds of the top electrical contractors from across the country in Charleston, SC, for BizSum17, a tailored conference offering education sessions concentrated on pertinent business topics, networking opportunities to connect with like-minded professionals associated with the business aspects of electrical or systems contractors, and committee meetings.
BizSum17 featured a full day of expert presenters, including Opening Keynote Speaker Larry Johnson and Closing Keynote Speaker Dr. Mark Dotzour. View the highly regarded and very informative presentations from BizSum17.
Business Solutions Roundtable
The last day featured the Business Solutions Roundtable breakfast, where attendees came together to discuss solutions on topics such as Chapter 2020, Industry Insights, Membership ROI, Managing Your Managers, Marketing Your Company, Cash Flow Issues, and Workforce Shortages.
In case you missed the conference, or need a refresher of the discussions, here are some of the key takeaways from those discussions include:
- Industry Insights - Focus on being educated, diverse, and broaden your spear of influence. It's important to be willing to take a risk, and become an early adopter. Take time to step out of working in your business, to work on your business. Change your behavior - stop doing the same thing and expecting different results (and wonder why things aren't going well).
- Membership ROI - Recruit more members by becoming better at selling IEC and educating potential members on the benefits. We need to accept that recruitment is a sales process. Spend some time to research the market needs, and explore new motivators to attract new members.
- Managing Your Managers - Individual personalities is one of the toughest things you'll face. You must focus on how employees fit in your culture, and if not, how do you adjust it so that they do fit. Don't set them up for failure because they're not a good match for a specific skillset, but focus on what they can do/what they can achieve. The key issue is support, and having a proper support structure for your managers.
- Marketing Your Company - Some various marketing ideas discussed included partnering with partners from other industries, use networking sites such as Angie's List, and including your company name on the panel so that the customer knows who did the work. This also created an apportunity for repeat business and new clients if the property exchanges ownership. Increase your community outreach and brand exposure by creating contests such an "Ugly Panel Contest" and poster contests in schools for electrical safety.
- Cash Flow Issues - Key an eye on your lag time, bill your work as soon as it's completed, and always have reserves in hand (good weekly cash flow chart that you monitor). Work to initiate payment plans with clients, and negotiate deals with suppliers that help your cash flow.
- Workforce Shortages - Issues are centered around revenue and the ability to create jobs, and the retention of current and future employees. Our industry is unlike other trades in that we need an educated workforce. Solutions include making recruitment a continued campaign, measuring the effectiveness of current outreach programs, better education of the job, and benefits of being a skilled tradesman, and marketing the merit shop so that people understand who we are and what we stand for.