Along with improving customer service, the handbook should help empower employees to make good decisions and work more independently. This will free up Brett and Brian to, as they say, work more "on" the business and not so much "in" it. That's a delicate balance.
"Working 'in' the business is what we love to do, especially Brian," Brett says. "Plus, I don't think it's all that practical, at least from our perspective, to say we aren't going to work in the business. What we want to do is empower our employees as much as we can, and spend less of our time doing things that aren't helping improve service and grow our business. That's what this reinvention is all about."
The Ice Cream Man is Coming!
Brett and Brian Santo have invested a lot of time, emotion and money in their new Sunnyvale
store. By creating a unique shopping destination, the husband and wife duo are hopeful that
more high-end consumers will come check them out.
In the meantime, they aren't forgetting the customer segment that's helped them build up their multi-million-dollar dealership: landscape contractors. Many landscapers were MMI Power Equipment customers years ago when they were just small operators. Now their businesses have grown—and changed. Thus, the Santos have had to adapt their approach accordingly.
"Once these guys start approaching a million a year in revenue, they start doing most of their own maintenance in-house," Brett points out. "We keep an eye on that, and work closely with them so they understand we can continue to be their parts supplier, and, of course, equipment retailer."
Where a lot of MMI's commercial customers now have mature businesses, more small operators continue to hit the scene. A couple days a week, Brett drives around the area looking for crews. She'll pull over, and take a bottle of water or popsicle to a laborer. She hands him her business card, and maybe drops a folder with brochures in their truck. Brett says it's amazing how often this results in a visit to their store.
She's also looking at having an ice machine installed at the dealership, so landscapers can fill up their coolers when they stop by the dealership. It's just another way MMI Power Equipment can say thank you.