2 Old School Businesses that can succeed in the digital age...if they play their cards right

1.     Construction and maintenance service businesses

Here, I am talking about HVAC, plumbing, electrical and other technical, skill-based services.  While AI and robots may make many office jobs obsolete, I think we have a good while until a robot can come to your home to fix a broken pipe or install a new A/C unit.  In these examples, I am referencing in-home applications but, the same advantages translate to larger, more vertically integrated construction and maintenance service businesses.

Why they can continue to win…

I already referenced their skill-based and geographical nature.  Electricians are trained, not born and an electrician based in another state is of no value to you when you need to re-wire that old house you are fixing up.  Those two facts alone ensure the survival of the industry itself but, not the survival of your service business

Steps to ensure survival…

While the digitization of the world may not impact the direct service, you provide.  Installing a toilet is still installing a toilet, there will be (and already has been) a significant impact to how you get and retain business.  Word of mouth has gone the way of social media and is more powerful than ever.  A recommendation (& negative rants) on Facebook from a customer will be out there forever influencing the buying decisions of future customers so, it’s best to realize this and manage your business as such.  Respond to comments in social.  Incentivize reviews on social/digital platforms and interact with current and potential customers on social by providing them information relevant to your service (e.g. tutorials on how to know when to call them versus DIY).

Skilled labor is on the decrease while demand remains steady.  That is assuredly leading to a shortage of qualified employees for service businesses.  Those companies with an inside track to talent will be a step ahead of the competition.  Whether they train their own or arrange preferential placement status with local technical schools, securing a healthy pipeline of solid talent is a must have line-item in their strategic plans.

2.     Eldercare

I’m not revealing any crazy secrets here.  America is aging.  And as such, the services related to aging are experiencing higher demand.  Whether we talking senior housing, transportation, concierge services or even hospice, the volume of aging Americans is creating business opportunity for those willing and able to jump into the market.

Why they can continue to win…

High demand, high demand, high demand.  Senior housing centers are popping up all over the place.  With such rapid growth, be weary of localized ‘bubbles’ when selecting where to apply your efforts. 

Steps to ensure survival…

Businesses can set themselves apart if they can master the art of catering to two completely different demographics.  On one hand, the seniors in their care need to feel well cared for and comfortable with the service.  And on the other, their children.   This segmentation impacts every aspect of business.  For example, marketing will need to translate to new and old school methods.  While social media marketing may be effective in marketing towards the children of seniors, other methods may be necessary to connect directly with seniors themselves.

One thing never changes with time when it comes to service industries.  Those that provide the most positive customer experiences will win.  Investments in this area transcend generational gaps and are even more critical when you are dealing with the health and well-being of someone’s loved one.

If you or your organization would like assistance in building your strategic plan, facilitating the leadership planning discussion, mining the metrics for the business or just want to see if you are on the right track, reach out to me at steve@stevebazemore.com.