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SA5 | Growth on Fire

Published on November 27, 2018

What is the hardest part of growing your business?

Facing your problems ALONE.

Couple the business challenges with personal dilemmas and you've got yourself a powder keg waiting to explode.

SA5 took on those issues and MORE this year by revealing to attendees how to overcome your biggest challenges, cope with the things you cannot change, and inspire you to fix the things you CAN change.

Want to attend SA6? Get yours now, before we're sold out!

SA5 Conference, Day 1

Jonathan kicked off SA5 with a mesmerizing talk on creating the changes you most want to see in your business and personal lives.

Life can be like a set of dominoes: once you push one down, the rest are bound to follow...

Rube Goldberg

Dominoes: Creating Chain Reactions for Growth

Using a VERY cool Rube Goldberg Machine (watch the video here) and dominoes as analogies, Jonathan likened those machines to chaos… ORGANIZED CHAOS.

“If you think about your path through business and life, it’s very much the same,” Jonathan said.

“It’s going to twist and turn and never play out in a straight line.”

But if you’re setting up your dominoes correctly, planning, being intentional about how you’re going to achieve your outcome, it will be much quicker and less difficult to get there.

You have to start a chain reaction in your business growth. Once you tip over one domino, the rest will fall. But in order for them to fall, you have to plan out each domino.

Imagine your business goals as dominoes.

You have to set up different steps to accomplish that goal.

  • Plan them out.
  • Set them up.
  • Knock ’em over.
  • Watch’em the all fall.

Jonathan even provided everyone who attended a Quarterly Goals worksheet to get started.


Here’s the big takeaway:

The name of the song in the video at the beginning of this talk is “This Too Shall Pass”.

Consider that for a moment.

Even the biggest failures will eventually pass. Think about how many times you’ve felt stuck in a rut.

What happened?

You got out.

Most business owners fail or plateau because they get so overwhelmed at the idea of growing their business. They don’t know where to start… what to do next… or who to turn to.

Have a Plan

Your solution starts with an honest assessment of what needs to get fixed.

  • A plan.
  • A who.
  • And massive action with accountability.

Once you put your plan in place you won’t feel so overwhelmed because, like the Rube Goldberg Machine, while it won't be a perfectly straight path, you’ll know exactly where you’re going and how you’re going to get there.

What’s Up Next for Service Autopilot?

Right at this very moment you have access to two cool new features of Service Autopilot that John Caldwell, our fearless CTO, showed to the crowd: our new Team App and our integration with SendJim.

John Caldwell

John also elated the SA5 crowd with some AMAZING things coming up next for Service Autopilot. But you’ll have to wait until they are released to hear about them!

Best Practices and Winning Strategies for 2019

When Jeff Harkness, founder of Three Point Group, took to the SA5 stage, he provided vital information on how you can increase your profits through great financial practices and strategies.

“Leadership isn’t about titles, positions or flowcharts,” Jeff says. “It’s about one life influencing another.”

Key Takeaway: Jeff says the 5 winning foundation blocks to creating a winning business are…

  1. Safety: Do you have insurance on your team? Is your business safe to work at?
  2. Retention: 92-93% retention should be your goal.
  3. Profit: Are your gross profit dollars 50% or better? FYI: Gross profit dollars are more important than percentage.
  4. Culture: Is your business a good place to work?
  5. Growth: Growing PEOPLE, not net numbers. If you don’t provide growth paths, good leaders will leave because they don’t see a future.

SA5 Conference, Day 2

Dominating Your Market with Jonathan

Jonathan roared back on stage to kick off Day 2 with a talk designed solely on increasing revenue growth by focusing on these key marketing areas of your business machine:

  • Sell new clients
  • Sell existing clients more
  • Raise prices on new clients
  • Raise prices on existing clients
  • Reduce churn
  • In order to feed that marketing machine, you need to know…
  • What is the Long Term Value of your client?
  • What’s the cost to run a marketing campaign?
  • What can you actually afford to spend?

Jonathan showed the room just how Online and Offline marketing can work in tandem to get your desired results.

He explained, “Online marketing helps you cast a wide net, while offline marketing is laser focused.”

His Key Takeaway? Consider 2019 a testing year. Start small and test your Facebook ads. Test your email marketing. Test your doorhangers, 9 arounds, etc. Be sure to track your numbers, gauge your results, make a few changes, then test again.

What Do Zombies, Babies and Bacon Have in Common?

Brian Carter had the answer.

A marketing industry leader and bestselling author, Brian motivated the SA5 crowd to use the single best form of customer engagement… SOCIAL MEDIA.

Being actively engaged with your customers and prospects leads to becoming “ubiquitous” - being everywhere, all the time. And when you’re constantly in front of your audience on social, engaging with them, they’ll remember you. This can be done through posting top of funnel videos on Facebook, placing paid ads on Facebook, Instagram posts, etc.

If you’re not on social, YOU SHOULD BE. Social media engagement on average leads to 50% more sales.

Brian Carter

Key Takeaway: Customers are loyal due to 86% like and 14% trust. The more they engage with your business, the more probable it is they’ll like your business. This will lead to trust in your business, which makes them loyal to you.

Loyal customers mean they’re more likely to stick with you, when your competition tries to poach them later on.

And the 2018 Biggest Badass goes to...

Biggest Badass 2018 Winner


Kirk, owner of Wellspring Landscape Services near Austin, Texas, took home the Biggest Badass Award this year. We had BY FAR the biggest and best nominee pool than ever before. Kirk was up against some stiff competition including fellow Academy members Kyle Hardtke and Jonas Olson.

It takes a lot of hard work to receive the Biggest Badass Award, but it also takes hard work to become a nominee.

We appreciate these guys and everything they do. Next year, we hope to see one of YOU as our next Biggest Badass!

Leveraging Automations

Chris Volpe, Training Manager for Service Autopilot, presented several powerful Automations to a thirsty crowd of SA5 Automations users and those wanting to learn more.

Chris explained how to best use Automations and revealed 3 brand new Automations for conference attendees:

The 3 automations Chris gave away are…

  • Damage Case Notification. Either/both To Do is created and then an email or text message is sent.
  • Modifications. Either/both To Do is created and then an email, text message or another To Do is created on the client’s end.
  • Important Updates. Get important date emails sent when a special event, such as a bank holiday or client anniversary, occurs.

Want to grow your business on autopilot? See the power of Automations here.

Calculating Client Lifetime Value

Service Autopilot's Product Owner, Chris Sims, captivated the audience as he taught everyone several ways to calculate Client Lifetime Value.

Chris Sims

CLV is the client’s value for the entirety of their customer journey. When determining the customer’s lifetime value, you have to subtract the Cost of Acquisition (the money you spent to get your client).

One way you can calculate CLV is through: Time (12 x Sales x Clients x Profit)

Time is referring to the 3-year average customer lifespan with your business (the average customer lifespan in lawn care is 2-3 years). Sales are referring to the average invoice amount. Clients are referring to the number of invoices per month. Profit is referring to your profit margin.

The customer journey moves in stages of…

  1. Attract
  2. Engage
  3. Subscribe
  4. Convert
  5. Excite
  6. Ascend
  7. Advocate
  8. Promote

Key Takeaway: In order to avoid spending too much money on advertising, you should always know your Customer Lifetime Value and the Cost of Acquisition. Those numbers will help you create a reasonable marketing budget.

SA5 Main Room

Growing Yourself into a Leader

Roy Heintz has used his leadership skills to build Atlanta’s Reliable Roofing into one of the largest roofing companies in the business. He brought his high level of business success strategies to the SA5 stage and taught everyone how to be your own champion.

Roy provided thoughtful (and thought provoking) encouragement and tips on how YOU can be a great leader. He also defined what constitutes a great leader.

Key Takeaway: EVERYONE has the potential to be a great leader, if you’re willing to put in the work. Great leaders do great things. The only way to truly be successful in both your personal and professional life is to be a great leader by example.

Good leaders educate themselves.

“Leaders are readers,” Roy says.

The 3 steps to help you achieve greatness as a leader are…

  1. Eyes. Have a vision of where you want to go.
  2. Muscles. Have the strength to follow through with your vision.
  3. Heart. Have the heart of an enthusiast.

Read to lead: the 11 best books from SA5.

SA5 Conference, Day 3

Biggest Mistakes You’re Making when Pushing Through to $1 Million

By Day 3, Jason Cupp was on a roll, teaching us how to break through to $500k, then push through to $1 Million. He said there are several major mistakes business owners are making that prohibit them from reaching this goal.

Jason Cupp

Those mistakes are:

  • Not understanding your financials / creating a budget / knowing costs
  • Not understanding good vs. bad debt
  • Under-pricing your work
  • Not setting up or paying your taxes
  • Not setting yourself up legally
  • Being under-insured
  • Not having mentors or advisers to help you
  • Growing too quickly
  • Not having attainable goals
  • Not developing a great company culture
  • Buying stuff for the sake of buying stuff. Only buy things that’ll make you money!
  • Not planning properly
SA5 Crowd

Caring for Yourself and Your Team

Mindy Ashley, our Director of Member Support, conquered the SA5 stage as she discussed the importance of self-care.

Mindy gave away the secrets to creating a healthy, happy work environment for everyone.

Key Takeaway: Lack of self-care is A LOT more common than you might think, and it’s likely happening in your own business without you even realizing it.

These four areas of focus will help you take care of your team AND yourself…

  • Stress Management
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Physical Health
  • Mental/Emotional Health

Don’t ever be afraid to seek out resources that’ll help you through the rough patches.

Building a Self-Motivated Workforce

Martha Woodward, a Service Autopilot Certified adviser and co-founder of Quality Driven Software, enlightened the audience with…

  1. What it means to be transparent.
  2. How it can benefit you and your business.

Martha explained that there are three essential elements to this concept…

  1. Transparency
  2. Scorecard
  3. Consistency
Martha Woodward

Key Takeaway: Being transparent and honest with everyone on your team is vital to promoting a self-motivated workforce. If your team is happy, then your clients will he happy.

Consistency is a cycle. As a business owner and leader, you are are an example that sets the tone for your business. If you’re consistent, then your team will be consistent.

You can be transparent in your business by being open and honest when it comes to:

  1. Attendance
  2. Quality scores
  3. Client comments
  4. Bonuses
  5. Prices
  6. Complaint processes
  7. Promotions

“Transparency SHIFTS responsibility back to your team,” Martha says.

Screaming, the Sales Lion

This is not an exaggeration:

Marcus Sheridan, known as the Sales Lion, jumped off the stage and ran around the room, screaming into his microphone.

Marcus Sheridan 2

He taught us that building content that answers questions is the way to keep your audience engaged - especially through the use of video marketing.

Marcus shared that “social video generates 1,200% more shares than text and images combined. You don’t have a social media presence if you don’t do video.”

He went on to explain that people need to:

See you...

Hear you...

Know you…

… BEFORE you, as a business, do them. And if you can make that connection with them before they search for you, they will trust you more. Trust is HUGE when making a sale. Often times people produce video content but don’t integrate it into their sales process.

Marcus’ Key Takeaway? If you follow the simple strategy of producing content that answers customers’ questions, you’re bound to increase your sales and marketing pipeline.

Truly the MOST EPIC Party

SA5 wrapped up with the MOST EPIC After Party we’ve had to date! The House of Blues did not disappoint. See how the party lasted well into the night...

2018 After Party

Want More SA5 Action?

Be sure to check out our upcoming Profit Roadmap Podcasts with even MORE insights, tips, and exciting stories from the 2018 Service Autopilot Conference. 

We can't WAIT to see you next year!

Lisa Marino

Lisa Marino is the Sr. Marketing Director for Service Autopilot. She uses her 17+ years in direct marketing, sales, and product development to push entrepreneurs beyond their limits. She's passionate about helping others grow their businesses through time-tested marketing techniques. When not writing, you can find her belting out a mean Stevie Nicks at a local karaoke night.


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