Herman Blog

Chris Bianchet

Recent Posts

3 Ways to Reduce Risk as a Systems Integrator

Written 2017-05-18 by Chris Bianchet

Being a successful business owner means not only knowing when to take a calculated risk, but also recognizing how to reduce other risks.  Of course, there are many factors that go into running a successful AV business, but reducing risk is something you have more control over than you may realize.  There are many areas that a company can open itself up to risk that can be costly. Consider these 3 ways to reduce risk:

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New Year’s Resolution #1: Avoid these Common AV Mistakes

Written 2016-12-27 by Chris Bianchet

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, isn’t it? Sure, so long as your AV installation projects are wrapped up, profitable, and your customers are happy. After all, isn’t that the goal of every business? Ring in the new year with great results, happy customers, and smiling employees?

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Customer Centricity: The Value of Service First in Building Life Long Customers

Written 2016-11-30 by Chris Bianchet

In my career in the AV Industry, one of the things that has been a tough pill to swallow time and time again has been the amount of turnover that I’ve seen with customers. It often felt like one day we were celebrating a new customer win, only to have one little issue with a project or service agreement go badly and off they ran to the next integrator. Sometimes, we would see the customers come back a few years later as they moved through several integrators and none were able to meet their demands.

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How we went from an Idea to #110 on the Inc. 500 in 4 years

Written 2016-10-04 by Chris Bianchet

I still remember the feeling of making the decision to start Herman Integration Services.  After a long stint in the AV Integration space, I knew there was an opportunity, but that didn’t make such a big change any less scary. After talking to David and Jeffrey Wolf, my partners in Herman-IS and the owners of Herman Pro AV, I knew we had something good. We had a combination of a need in the market, an understanding of the business, AND we had what felt like really good timing. In my experience, these are the ingredients to starting a successful business. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t say I was scared. I’ve never met a successful entrepreneur that wasn’t a little scared (Although some may not be willing to admit it). 

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How to Get the Most out of AV Labor Subcontractors

Written 2016-08-02 by Chris Bianchet

Perhaps one of the most difficult things about being a subcontractor in the AV Industry is the way we are most commonly engaged. Let me paint a picture.

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How Serious Are You About Creating a Recurring Revenue Model?

Written 2016-07-06 by Chris Bianchet

For as long as I have been in the AV contracting industry, I have been around and part of the endless conversations about the importance of recurring revenue. “We need more service revenue” and “we need more predictable recurring revenue” are the echoing refrains coming from the owners and leaders of our integration firms. I have also watched this talk fall flat time and again as companies try to act. Integrators take only small steps, if any, toward truly reinventing their businesses to be service focused, recurring revenue generating machines.

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Do You Know the Cost of Your Own Labor?

Written 2016-05-05 by Chris Bianchet

At the end of every project, integrators tend to do a rundown on their project costs. They factor in their installation labor, engineering, programming and then they apply that against their costs to come up with a profitability on the project. If they charged more than they spent, they take a little sigh of relief, because as we know, estimating labor can be a bit of a gamble.                 

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Are you Charging Enough for Your Most Limited Resource: AV Labor?

Written 2016-03-03 by Chris Bianchet

Having been around the AV integration industry for some time I have witnessed a lot of change. From rapidly eroding product margins to CRT becoming Plasma becoming LCD becoming LED and so much more. We are, without question, in a time of constant change and with that constant change comes both opportunity and challenges for integration businesses.

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Validating Outsourcing With a Data Driven Approach

Written 2015-10-22 by Chris Bianchet

Here’s a sobering statistic: Did you know that it has been estimated that the costs incurred due to the turnover of one employee are somewhere between 16 percent (low paying jobs) to 213 percent (for highly educated or specialized jobs) of their annual salary? While the disparity is great, the underlying meaning here is that businesses cannot ignore or underestimate the high costs involved in losing any staff members.

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Why Meaningful Change Is So Hard for AV Integrators

Written 2015-08-05 by Chris Bianchet

I can’t even begin to say how great this year’s Infocomm was. After a couple of decades in the AV industry, you would think attending the same show every year would wear on you, but it actually invigorates me. When I see so many friends, colleagues, and clients in one place I end up so excited and optimistic about the year ahead, and especially about the future of our industry.

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