HoW to: Improve Consistently

The house of worship (HoW) market has a unique consistency: Sunday comes every seven days for church services. This regularity is both a boon and a challenge for the women and men providing ProAV production to congregants conditioned to the high production values of stage and screen outside of their churches. It is because of this cadence that there’s an opportunity for a how-to for systems integrators and manufacturers to help church tech leaders and volunteers improve consistently.

Continuous Improvement

There’s an axiom that if a person were to improve by just 1% each and every day, they would be 37 times better in just one year. While there is value in this habit-building for micro improvements, there’s also a tremendous advantage of eliminating little mistakes. New York Times best-selling author James Clear says that “subtraction is more practical than addition” for improvement.

“In the real world, it is often easier to improve your performance by cutting the downside rather than capturing the upside. Subtraction is more practical than addition.” – James Clear

The key takeaway is to help church clients identify not only big best practices, but to also make lots of consistent little gains and reduce lots of consistent little errors. Even in the long-game of 1% improvements per week for churches, 52% improvement in one a single year is substantial! Every worship leader, church tech and senior pastor would be thrilled to see a 52% gain with their pro AV investment.

In the ProAV industry, systems integrators and manufacturers alike are keen to see repeat business from highly satisfied clients. Heck, even if 1% of mistakes were eliminated each week in churches, the net result of helpful support, consistent practices and ongoing training would be money well spent and revenue easily earned.

Continuous Delivery

Once your teams are learning together and increasing the consistency of the quality of their work, the focus shifts to scaling the quantity of their deliverables. In the church market, these deliverables often are the routines of preparation for technology usage. Getting ahead of the curve through better planning, documented processes and integrated systems is equally the role of the systems integrator and the church tech end user. Ongoing training helps build helpful habits and also earns the trust of the church leadership.

One industry segment that has made huge strides in optimization like this is the software developer market. Remember when new software only came out every few years? Today, most software is developed and published in smaller updates in weeks — sometimes day or even hours — to deliver small portions of value with greater regularity to delight end-users. One of the best practices we’ve taken from software and applied to business is the concept of CI/CD, which is shorthand for continuous improvement (software developers call it integration) and continuous delivery (software devs call it deployment).

A key principle for any kind of growth is consistency. Such is the case with CI/CD. While this looks and sounds like a recipe for increasing the velocity of delivering more stuff (and it does that), speed is a by-product while the real value is in learning to prioritize, improve flow and improve measurable outcomes instead of the outputs of mere stuff.

continuous improvement-continuous delivery

The infinite cycle of learning as a result of continuously improving and continuously delivering

For the ProAV market in general, CI/CD is a game-changer. But for the Sunday-comes-every-seven-days reality for the house of worship market, CI/CD is the best opportunity to truly make consistent, weekly gains that add up to significant improvement over time.

Because churches need to do this each week, every week, the opportunity for low-hour weekly service contracts can provide the training, expertise and guidance many of these church staff and their key volunteers need to provide a distraction-free production experience with technology in support of weekend services. Applying the cost-per-service model we’ve shared here before on rAVe, the idea of selling ongoing training and support to each church is easily justified and, ultimately, completely affordable. For example, a church with just two services per weekend will have 104 services annually. 104 services for a $10,000 ongoing training and support contract is less than $100 per service for peace of mind, greater consistency in operation and the reduction/near-elimination of problematic issues faced by every church week in and week out. $200 per weekend? That’s a remarkably affordable option for just about any size church.

Continuous Revenue

With over $1 billion being spent on ProAV in the U.S. church market each year, there are revenue opportunities to deliver value far beyond the initial sale and installation. In fact, one of the most impactful business lessons for me was working for a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company where I learned firsthand the power of recurring revenue from monthly subscriptions to the software. Recurring revenue is the goose that laid the fabled golden egg.

In product sales, there are few instances where recurring revenue is possible (perhaps with the consumables for certain technologies such as lamps for projectors and light fixtures). But with services, such as on-going training, maintenance, and weekend emergency support options for churches (where the weekend is technologically mission-critical), there’s a significant opportunity for systems integrators to sell service contracts. As for the manufacturers selling into churches, there’s also a trifecta approach for providing emergency loaner or rental units of installed technology for churches which experience an unusual failure and need overnight replacements at their venues.

As a former church technical director, I can tell you I’d have happily paid for this kind of ongoing support for my multi-site venues where I could only be in one place at a time but needed expertise available at my other campuses. And as a former systems integrator selling to churches, I can attest to the genuine relief and thanks I received from countless church staff members when our team of service members helped save the weekend. There’s plenty of money to be spent when it solves problems and allows for weekend services to run smoothly.

Sunday comes every seven days for church services. There are over 300,000 churches in the U.S. alone. And there are over $1 billion dollars spent annually on pro AV in the HoW market. Isn’t it time for continuous revenue for your firm?

What say you? Is CI/CD a new way of thinking to grow your business? Comment below.