This interview is part of the “Think Again” series, in which Businessing Magazine talks to small business owners about how their businesses have evolved and how things don’t always go as originally expected. In this interview, we asked Mitch Goodz of Good Sounds in Newport Beach, California about how his company has grown and changed in his more than 40 years in the residential AV and smart home industry.
Tell Us a Little about Your Business and the Clients You Serve.
Good Sounds is a low-voltage integration company specializing in the design, engineering, and installation of smart home control, whole house audio and video, networking, lighting, and security camera systems for the custom residential home market. Our client base consists of homeowners, many of whom are repeat customers, developers of estate properties, and high-end residential builders.
How Has Your Business Model Shifted over Time?
We focus on our strengths that come from forty years of hands-on experience in the custom home building industry. We have the ability to take on very difficult and complex projects that other integrators do not have the skill set to handle. The bulk of our work comes primarily from existing business contacts and referrals, and we have been able to move away from highly competitive bidding wars for new construction projects.
How Have You Had to Adapt to Industry Changes, Economic Ups and Downs, Market Shifts, in Order to Continue Growing Your Business and Gaining Success?
Continual growth and education to stay up with the most current technology is a must! It is also a full-time pursuit. Focusing on proven products and partnering with reputable manufacturers is another key to success in our industry. Keeping a “lean and mean machine” mentality in the day-to-day operations of the company has allowed us to survive the volatility inherent in our industry. Partnering with a top-notch, talented, and dedicated marketing firm to build and maintain our website also keeps us visible in an industry that can be somewhat invisible to the average client.
What Expectations Did You Have about How the Market Would Perceive and Consume Your Products or Services and Which of Those Expectations or Assumptions Have Turned out to Be Accurate?
We had a lot of ideas starting out and quickly realized that this would be a learning process as we dedicated ourselves to building a business that we were passionate about. One expectation that proved itself accurate from inception was that if you provide customers with honesty, responsibility, accountability, and value in what you are selling, and then deliver what you promise, you will build a clientele that will support the growth of your company. In the excitement to sell electronics systems, we never forget to sell service first, and then let the quality of our work and the products we provide speak for themselves.
Which Expectations Have NOT Turned out to Be Accurate and in What Specific Ways Have Things Turned out to Be Different Than You Expected?
When we first started out, we had this grand idea that we were going to take the custom home building industry by storm, delivering much needed products and services to both homeowners and builders. We quickly learned there is really no “custom home building industry” to speak of. Those building custom homes are typically very small companies—mostly one-man shops and mom and pop operations. Most are fiercely independent by nature, and either not at all interested in adopting “new technology” and welcoming custom electronics systems into their projects or, at the very minimum, highly suspicious of “AV guys”.
We discovered that our zealousness to meld audio and video components into entertainment systems was not looked upon as an upgrade to a custom residence from the perspective of the builder, the interior designer, or the architect, and that this was going to be a tough sell. As a company, we had to adjust our approach to sales to include directly soliciting to potential clients and then focus on the builder relationship through proving our worth as part of the construction team.
What Has Surprised You (in Both Positive and Negative Ways) about What Clients Want from You, or How They Interact with Your Business?
We have been able to build relationships with a number of long-standing clients that have grown beyond just a typical business/client relationship. I truly believe that treating the customer with respect, standing your ground when needed, providing transparency in business dealings, and being honest and accountable in all aspects of our work have earned us the role of a trusted team member. I am truly humbled by the number of highly successful individuals that we have had the good fortune to work with who have become business mentors to us. This makes all of the struggles and ups and downs over the years worthwhile.
What Lesson(s) Can You Share with Others about the Importance of Strategic Planning, but Also the Need to Be Nimble and Adaptable in Order Remain Relevant and Successful?
Make plans but do not lock yourself in place and put the blinders on. Constant evaluation of your business is a must, so that you are aware of how well or not well your plans are working for the bottom line. Stay focused on your goals, but understand that flexibility and adaptation are your friends in getting you there. Find an edge for your business that you can exploit to differentiate yourself from the competition.
Where Can Readers Go to Learn More about Your Company?
You can learn more about our company on our website: https://goodsounds.net/.