Volume 7, Issue 2, March - April 2003

Branching Out
    Adding New Services That Increase Your Bottom Line
by Penny Beverage

Everyone needs change at some point—whether it’s a new business altogether or adding on new services to your existing business to spice things up. Either way, a company can increase its bottom line by selling new products and services from the same location with little added investment.

This is exactly what Dick Bass, director of worldwide franchise sales for Ziebart International in Troy, Mich., and John Byron of Glass Doctor in Waco, Texas, explained when they spoke recently on the topic at the International Window Film Conference and Expo™ in San Antonio on January 25 (see "Remember the Alamo" for related story).

Both companies sell franchises to existing businesses and provide marketing assistance in return. Both also are experts in diversification, thanks to the expanding nature of the franchise opportunities they offer.

Ziebart originally began as an automotive rust protection company, but later expanded into the areas of detailing, window film and auto glass repair and replacement, among other things. Likewise, Glass Doctor offers glass franchises that complete a number of services, from auto glass to residential and commercial glazing.

What is Diversification?
To begin branching out into other services, a business must first understand what diversification is.
“Diversification is really the addition of one or more products you can sell or fit with your existing business,” Bass said.

Bass listed a number of reasons a company should consider diversifying, including:

• selling more to current customers;

• bringing in new customers;

• using your assets more wisely;

• increasing your bottom line; and

• increasing the value of your business in case you decide to sell it.

Next, Bass and Byron suggested that you should consider a few factors, such as the state of your current business, what your competition is doing, your current business potential, whether or not you could add on services without increasing your staff by many and how much space you have available.

Likewise, Byron stressed that you have to have a specific goal for which you’re aiming.

“Keep the end in mind,” he said. “If you don’t have a road map, you’ll never achieve your goal.”
Also, a shop must decide who its customers are and woo them directly by choosing an add-on service that would benefit them.

“The way to really found out what direction you want to go in is to find out who your customers are and direct your marketing toward them,” Byron added.

Bass agreed.

“Consumers like one-stop shopping,” he said.

In addition, shops must evaluate whether the rewards outweigh the risks involved in diversifying their businesses.

“The less you put in, the more you’ll get out and the better your life will get,” Byron said.

Suggestions for Add-Ons
With so many existing glass services available, it should not be difficult for a window film shop to find something they can add on easily and cost-effectively. 

Some suggestions included rock chip repair (with just the investment of a repair kit), windshield wiper sales and installation, windshield coatings such as PPG’s Aquapel (which repels bugs and dirt for six to eight months after application), stereo systems, spray-on bedliners, scratch and dent removal and rust protection.

In addition, companies also can diversify customers (i.e., they can look for new customers to whom they can market their existing services). Some ideas include car dealers, fleet companies, retail businesses and even government entities (such as police cars and buildings requiring additional 

Making the Move
Once you decide what to add on and how, there are certain components that go into making the diversification work, Bass said. 

Among these components are the following:

• image;

• advertising;

• local store marketing (for example, contests that draw customers in);

• public relations;

• professional selling system;

• shop management;

• labor management; and

• business management.

However, while considering all of these factors, Bass said shops should still take the move into new services at their own pace.

He also said they should consider options such as franchising through a company such as Glass Doctor or Ziebart, which enables shops to add on services with the assistance of a company that knows all about them and can help them market them.

Franchises can offer insurance assistance, marketing help, a recognized national brand and a well-known image.

If the transition, be it through a franchise or on your own, is successful, it will result in a sales increase, one-stop shopping capabilities, absorption of the new overhead and an increased bottom line with low investment. 

Penny Beverage is the editor of Window Film magazine.


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