I’m sure many of us got similar remarks from friends or coworkers who spy on us using Google Earth.
Now, imagine you actually have a lawn that needs a little trimming. However, you lack the time to do it yourself. You need somebody to do it for you. You could google a company that offers this particular service. You could browse their site and if you like what you see, send them an email. The company would then contact you to make an appointment for one of their people to measure up your lawn. After some work with a spreadsheet they might send you their quote by e-mail. You would look at their offer – compare it to others – and you could chose to use their services. Or not. Typically this process takes a few days.
Barrett Ersek – founder of Happy Lawn of America – is in the lawn mowing business. His company keeps your lawn green and free of weeds – much like the competition. His rates are roughly the same as his competition. Yet, he managed to grow his business from $0 to $10 million in revenue in four years time. How?
By using Microsoft Map-point to measure up your garden Barret can send you a quote instantly. It takes Happy Lawn of America three minutes, not three days or even three weeks (the industry average) to close a deal. Effectivelyhe has reduced his sales cycle by a factor 10.000.
Gabriella Alemanno’s used software to compare Italian cadastral maps with satellite pictures. Like this the Italian Ministry of Economic affairs discovered two million ghost houses dotted all over the Italian countryside. The results? Over 800.000 legalising procedures worth nearly half a billion tax euro in taxes. Thousands of Gabriella’s could not do this in the past 40 years; it took her a mere four. (In a similar case the Greeks discovered thousands of undeclared swimming pools and with it thousands of tax evaders.)
Barrett, Gabriella and the Greeks all found something wrong or wasteful. They also figured out a way to severally reduce it. Barrett calls this the ‘factor X‘. It could be time, or costs or some annoyance that is really bothering you and your customers. Every industry or market has one. All you need to do is find it.
And solve it.