What a stressful year 2020 was: forest fires, hurricanes, civil unrest, a hotly contested presidential election and COVID-19 shutting down everything from high schools to Hollywood. Good riddance to a year that was bad enough to take Mr. Jeopardy and James Bond away from us.
But for every yin, there is a yang. Nickelback made a huge comeback last year … psych! Just kidding! Seriously, though, Schopen Pest Solutions had a record-breaking year in 2020. We were up double-digits again, despite the pandemic hurting our numbers in March and slowing us to a crawl in November and December.
Now, here we are in 2021: The Year of the Ox. I wish I knew what this year has in store for us. Unfortunately, vaccine or no vaccine, I feel like 2021 is this dark, empty highway with danger lurking around every corner. It can’t be as bad as 2020, can it? 2020 was a year that had potholes hiding every few feet. Every time I dodged one hole, I swerved right into the next. But now 2020 is in our rearview mirror and 2021 is the open road ahead.
If, and that is a big if, we get some normalcy back in 2021, here are the top items Schopen Pest Solutions will be working on for expansion and growth:
⦁ Staying healthy. On Election Day, Nov. 3, one of my employees felt sick. We sent her home, but it was too late: Within the week, eight employees were sent home either because of COVID-19 symptoms or because they were in direct contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus. My entire immediate family got sick, and we all tested positive, as well. The week we got sick, Illinois was posting record numbers of cases — and the positivity rate was nearly 20 percent. Because of the high infection rate, many of our clients were sick or rescheduled due to the fear of getting the virus.
⦁ Opening a Wisconsin office. We have maxed out our McHenry, Ill., location. We no longer have enough office space and parking to accommodate growth. Therefore, we will be opening up a second branch. Our goal is to have it up and running by May 2021.
⦁ Creating a sales team. I spent last winter preparing a commercial sales division for the spring of 2020. Obviously, with so many businesses closing their doors in April and May, we didn’t get that chance. After I get our Wisconsin branch operating, and if/when COVID-19 slows down, I will finally get the people in place to create a sales branch of Schopen Pest Solutions. I’m looking at a June 2021 launch.
⦁ Splitting the corporate office from the McHenry branch. When I purchased and renovated the McHenry facilities three-and-a-half years ago, little did I realize how quickly we would fill up the 8,000-square-foot building. Creating a Wisconsin office will help ease some of the overcrowding, but I also feel like we need to have some separation from the McHenry branch and upper management. I would love to move my accounts payable and accounts receivable staff, as well as the general manager, sales manager and operations manager, into a separate office space.
⦁ Creating a working budget. Three years ago, I gave a presentation in Phoenix, Ariz., on the importance of having a budget. As a result, I worked on my own budget for days. I put together a beautiful pie chart, breaking down all of my expenses. Unfortunately, I haven’t touched it since. Three years later, my company is twice as big and a budget is critical. I will be working this winter with my general manager and billing director on a budget. We will never go this long without a financial game plan ever again.
⦁ Implementing KPIs for office and sales staff. I have some really good key performance indicators (KPIs) in place for my technical team. Now it is time to work on KPIs for my office personnel. I have some relevant categories I will begin implementing this month. Once the sales team is up and running, I will have KPIs ready for them, too.
⦁ Budgeting for outdoor advertising. I tried billboard advertising in 2019, and I loved it. But in 2020, I didn’t renew — just as a cost-cutting measure because the pandemic was in full swing. This spring, I definitely will reinstate our billboards because it helped us a lot with our brand recognition.
⦁ Celebrating our 15-year anniversary. April will mark our 15th year in business. We will hold a promotion or contest to celebrate, although I’m still working out the details.
2021 could be another outstanding year for Schopen Pest Solutions. Even with modest growth, we likely will hit the $3 million mark. Good luck to all of my pest control friends and families. I wish you the best this year, and hope you stay safe and healthy.
SCHOPEN is owner and founder of Schopen Pest Solutions, McHenry, Ill. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach him via Twitter: @schopenpest; Instagram: @peteschopen; or Facebook: Schopen Pest Solutions, Inc.