People: Find the right people, and treat them right. If you treat them right, they’ll take care of building your brands by ensuring that customers are happy.
Systems: I’ll fall back on another quote: “People don’t fail, systems do.” Make sure you have a step-by-step playbook of repeatable processes for success in your business.
Always be branding: Every moment is a moment to build and market your business and brand. Never forget that.
As a part of my series called “Five Strategies I Used To Grow My Business To Reach Seven Figures In Revenue”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Brian Scudamore, founder and CEO of O2E Brands, the banner company for 1–800-GOT-JUNK?, WOW 1 DAY PAINTING and Shack Shine. He’s a strong believer in ongoing personal and professional development, and enjoys building out a platform for others to own their own businesses.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I never set out to build a junk removal company. When I first started, I was just looking for a way to pay for college! I was sitting in a McDonald’s drive-thru reflecting on my next step, when I saw an old pick-up truck. And the seed was sort of planted from there — within a week I had my own pick-up and was ready to haul junk!
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began at your company?
One of the biggest turning points of my career was when I had to fire my entire company. It wasn’t anything personal against those eleven people; it was simply that I hadn’t hired the right people. It was tough at the time but it taught me a really valuable lesson that I still take with me today: it’s all about people.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
One of my mentors in the early days of the business was Greg Brophy, the founder of Shred-it. He gave me great advice about never compromising on the quality of the people you bring into your organization. This has really stuck with me throughout the years, and is something that I’ve always kept top of mind.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I’d have to go with Walt Disney’s “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” When I was younger, people told me I couldn’t succeed without a college diploma; and yet I proved to myself and to a certain extent others as well that I didn’t need one to find success in life. I approach every situation that I find myself in with the lens of “what’s the possibility in this?” After all, that’s kind of the fun in it all, isn’t it?
Ok super. Thank you for all that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. We’d love to learn a bit about your company. What is the pain point that your company is helping to address?
The goal of our brands is to take ordinary businesses and make them exceptional for the customer. We saw an opportunity to help people take care of their homes, especially when it came to tasks that many don’t have the energy nor desire to deal with. Each of our 3 brands achieves this goal in different ways. With 1–800-GOT-JUNK? we make junk disappear at the point of a finger; with WOW 1 DAY PAINTING we take care of painting your home in just a day; and with Shack Shine we take house detailing to a new level. Today, with everyone spending so much more time at home, we’ve seen a huge surge in demand for these kinds of home services.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
It’s hard to imagine how the company went from a guy with a beat-up old pick-up truck to an international home services brand. But we stand out because a) we’ve created brands in very fragmented spaces and b) our professionalism in typically “dirty” industries has set us apart from the competition.
When you first started the business, what drove you, what was your primary motivation?
In the beginning, it was really just a way to pay for college. But then, I saw a much bigger opportunity to pioneer an industry and I wanted to see it through. It was an exciting time in home services (and still is!), and I suppose you could say the rest was history….
What drives you now? Is it the same? Did it change? Can you explain what you mean?
What drove me back then was the opportunity to build a successful business for myself and my family. Today, I’m driven by helping others succeed. I love that we provide a platform for others to build a business by using a proven recipe. I’ve gotten the opportunity to live my dream of business ownership, and I want others to be able to do the same. Franchising might not sound sexy, especially when it’s in home services, but it’s allowed countless people to live the lifestyle they’ve always wanted.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
We’ve got such an exciting opportunity in front of us with our three brands — to help people take back control of their destinies and live out their dreams of business ownership. We’re really putting all our chips on franchising, because we want to continue to find great Franchise Partners to build out the footprint of all our brands.
The topic of this series is ‘Five Strategies I Used To Grow My Business To Reach Seven Figures In Revenue’. Congratulations! Seven figures is really a huge milestone. In your experience what was the most difficult part of being able to hit your first million-dollars in sales revenue?
When it came to hitting the first million, it was all about finding the right people. I might sound like a broken record, but it’s true!! Firing an entire team wasn’t an easy decision, but what I realized was that I simply didn’t have the professionally-spirited people I needed to revolutionize an industry.
Could you share the number one sales strategy that you found helpful to help you reach this milestone?
Especially in the early days, it was all about capitalizing on the power of free press: guerrilla marketing and other low-cost strategies that would help us stand out. As it turns out, it worked! Who would have ever thought a junk removal company would be featured on Oprah?
Does your company have a sales team? If yes, do you have any advice about how companies can create very high performing sales teams?
Probably our biggest sales teams are the front line employees within all of our brands. The ones driving the vans and the trucks, they’re the ones out there doing the work: interacting with customers, putting out door knob flyers, and selling the business by putting the word out there.
Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “Five Strategies I Used To Grow My Business To Reach Seven Figures In Revenue”. Please share a story or an example for each.
- Vision: You should have a clear vision to share with your people, and have a vision of where you’re going. Remember that ‘Alice in Wonderland’ quote? “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” Know where you’re headed.
- People: Find the right people, and treat them right. If you treat them right, they’ll take care of building your brands by ensuring that customers are happy.
- Systems: I’ll fall back on another quote: “People don’t fail, systems do.” Make sure you have a step-by-step playbook of repeatable processes for success in your business.
- Grow where you’re planted: Find an unserved or underserved market that you want to disrupt and eventually own.
- Always be branding: Every moment is a moment to build and market your business and brand. Never forget that.
What would you advise to another business leader who initially went through years of successive growth, but has now reached a standstill. From your experience do you have any general advice about how to boost growth or sales and “restart their engines”?
Here’s something I remember doing in the early days: I would call my largest customers, one by one, and ask them how we could do more business together. My advice? Listen to these customers. If you can figure out a way to do more business with your largest customers, growth will come.
In your specific industry what methods have you found to be most effective in order to find and attract the right customers? Can you share any stories or examples?
The power of storytelling in business has never failed to amaze me. When you’re working in a somewhat unsexy industry like home services, you’ve got to get creative with storytelling. By leveraging free press and guerilla marketing techniques, we’ve been able to take a fragmented space and built amazing brands, but at the end of the day what we’ve managed to do best is tell our story.
Based on your experience, can you share a few strategies to give your customers the best possible user experience and customer service?
People say always put the customer first, but I disagree. If we take care of our employees, we don’t have to worry about our customers. Our employees will take care of them, and as a result growth, profits, brand reputation and everything in between will follow suit.
As you likely know, this HBR article demonstrates that studies have shown that retaining customers can be far more lucrative than finding new ones. Do you use any specific initiatives to limit customer attrition or customer churn? Can you share some of your advice from your experience about how to limit customer churn?
My philosophy on this centers around making it easy. If we can make it easy for customers to do business with us, they’ll come back. A prominent example of this is our online booking engine: someone can book an appointment and schedule a truck to haul their junk in less than two minutes. We’ve created an easy, friction-less process with 1–800-GOT-JUNK? and we’re doing the same with our emerging brands WOW 1 DAY PAINTING and Shack Shine.
Wonderful. We are nearly done. Here are the final “meaty” questions of our discussion. You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Always imagine big possibilities. Don’t box yourself in. Think big, because you really never know what could happen from the planting of that little seed of an idea. I never could have imagined that a way to pay for college would have one day turned into a business across multiple continents, but here we are 🙂
We are very blessed that very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
To be honest, I’m more fascinated by seemingly ordinary people than by famous people. When you meet famous people they’ll often disappoint you, but people that I meet on a day-to-day basis? They rarely do. I think about all our Franchise Partners who took a chance and made the leap to business ownership and are now able to live out their dreams — that’s pretty incredible in and of itself, don’t you think?
Thank you so much for this. This was very inspirational, and we wish you only continued success!