During this time, it's important not to repeat the mistakes some large corporations are making in other industries. As an essential business, we've proven more than once our reliance about market variations, and despite this great advantage, we must focus on long-term strategic decisions while investing in short term results.
Re-think your marketing process to acquire new customers NOW!
In periods of crisis, the first thing companies stop doing is marketing. This is a terrible mistake. Let your competition stop marketing and profit from the empty space to capture a new audience more easily.
Cute pictures are cool. They participate to smooth over the situation to your audience, but we've seen those now. And everybody does it because it is easy, quick and free.
Thankful notes are nice. They put your community involvement at the forefront and participate in creating loyalty from your customer base, but they are not enough to boost your business or maintain growth.
Pushing for the future to be now is the way to go. Despite this crisis, people have concerns for the future beyond the economy. They understand how important the local economy is, circular economy seems much more attractive, recycling took another hit, medical waste is surging. What are we doing to resolve these issues? Demonstrate the steps you are taking, show your values, prove your point with the actions you are taking and promote those. Show your prospective clients how you are adapting to this crisis, and what it is making you accelerate on.
Trigger emotions. Locked in our houses, we are missing the thrills of life: our friends, our families, and things we used to take for granted. Make us believe you are the waste management company of the future, not the one that's expecting a "back to normal" that will never come. You can make us think back in a few years and say, "that crisis made the world a better place".
This is the perfect time to reshape your business model
Our whole business centered around moving tons of waste from one place to another to dispose of it in a harmless way. More than 70% of trash still goes to the landfill. We know that a landfill is a well-engineered, controlled environment that is a cornerstone of waste disposal strategy in every country. We also know that we can do better if we embrace change. To do so, we need to understand what we throw away, we need to understand what could be recycled, reused, rerouted elsewhere in the waste stream in order to prevent it from going to landfill.
We are a service industry beyond waste. Our duty is to educate the population, suggest alternative solutions to landfills, and provide a frequent hauling service that is a sanitary necessity. Our mission is not to dispose of trash, our mission is to value this material. With this mindset, we can change the way we operate our industry. We provide so many small services to our customers and community that help them navigate the complexity of our industry. We should acknowledge those and value them.
It's time to find a solution to financing recycling. We know we cannot sustain the status quo. Many items that we throw to the landfill could be recycled. Most of the time, it is a financial issue that leads them to the landfill. We do not have a customer for the raw material, and it will be too costly to transform it back into raw material. We do not consider it a priority to invest in necessary infrastructures to transform this material. Those are all bad reasons. The world keeps producing and buying raw material, therefore there is demand. It's all about producing it at the right price. Yes, transforming a plastic container into sellable raw material is more expensive than manufacturing the same new plastic. But the whole cost shall not be on the shoulders of the raw material buyer.
Our pricing should be more than weight. Landfill pricing reflects the cost of disposing of material that uses airspace. It does not reflect the fair-value of losing access to this potential raw material forever... That's where we can bring a significant change into our industry. By including it in the disposable price, the costs of recycling, reusing, rerouting elsewhere in the waste stream, according to what type of material or product we throw away, would be a game changer. It can generate massive value for the waste industry at the haulers’ level, the transfer station level, the MRFs would benefit from it and the landfill life would increase significantly, alleviating the pain to continuously ask for extensions or fight for a new opening. The focus should shift to which type of material the customer is throwing away, instead of how much does it weight, and how much airspace will it take. We initiated this thinking by charging for mattresses, sofas, and other bulky items in many areas, to cover transportation costs. It's time to go beyond that now and push the waste industry into the 21st century for good.
Embrace change with more powerful digital tools
Embracing such changes on our business model, or simply adjusting to the current situation forces us to rethink certain processes. That's where the integration of more digital tools enables our people to keep doing what they do best, in a safe and efficient way.
Increase Revenues: Wastack Smart Camera. This tool allows you to ensure that special items you charge for are billed to your customer before they leave the premises. This camera is enabled with AI that will detect specific items or materials that you are progressing on for your recycling, or reusing programs. Check this business case where a transfer Station increased its revenues by 10K$ a month thanks to this tool.
Connect with client: Whereby. This software allows you to connect just like Skype, but with a click instead of creating an account. Super easy to set-up, there is a free version that will meet the majority of your needs.
Video Marketing: Loom. This software allows you to leave a video message in an email to your customers and therefore create faster, trustworthy relationships while respecting current social distancing guidelines. We know how important it is to see each other. They also have plenty of other use cases for this video platform that you may find interesting.
Team collaboration: Teams/ Slack. They redefine company communications, organizing through channels, and integrating bots that simplify certain tasks. Both platforms are advanced and user friendly, though we prefer teams because of the full integration of documents in the Microsoft Suite family.
Remote access: LogmeIn is a remote access to allow your people to connect to their professional desktop from anywhere. Particularly useful for your sales personnel and accountant team. These two roles are critical to generate income and bring in cash for the business. You always want them healthy and well. The best way to ensure that is by keeping them at home. You can try LogmeIn for free with your personal computer.
If you have other ideas, suggestions to help us all through this period, do not hesitate to share. Stay safe, keep moving forward, and remember: it's going to be okay.