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6 Strategic Secrets to Dominate the Waste Management Industry

May 31, 20248 min read

If you're reading this, I know you're not content with just being another cog in the waste management wheel. 

You want to be the king of the garbage heap, the sultan of scrap, the emperor of affluence. 

Well, I've got good news for you. 

After years of studying the strategies of top companies both inside and outside our industry, I've distilled it down to 6 key concepts that will help you dominate the waste management game.

1. Borrow someone's road. 

Let me ask you a question. When you're driving somewhere new, do you forge your own path or do you use a map? Unless you're a masochist, you use a map, right? Well, the same principle applies in business. Why reinvent the wheel when you can learn from those who've gone before you? Some of the most successful waste management companies got to where they are by adapting strategies from adjacent industries. They looked at what worked for logistics companies, for manufacturing companies, for technology companies, and they cherry-picked the best bits. That's called working smarter, not harder.

Take Rubicon Global for example. They saw how Uber disrupted the taxi industry and thought, "Hey, we could do that with garbage!" So they created a platform that connects businesses with independent waste haulers, just like Uber connects riders with drivers. By borrowing Uber's road, they've become one of the fastest-growing waste management companies in the world.

So don't be afraid to look outside our industry for inspiration. Study the greats, no matter what field they're in, and adapt their winning strategies to your own business. Stand on the shoulders of giants and you'll see further than you ever could on your own.

2. Partner up. 

In the old days, waste management companies tried to do everything themselves. They collected the garbage, they processed the garbage, they disposed of the garbage. But the world has changed, my friends. These days, the most successful companies are the ones who know how to partner up.

Think about it. By joining forces with a company that specializes in, say, recycling, you suddenly have access to their expertise, their equipment, their facilities. You can offer your customers a more comprehensive service without having to invest in all that infrastructure yourself. It's a win-win.

Look at Waste Management, Inc. They've partnered with countless companies to expand their capabilities. They work with recycling facilities, with renewable energy firms, with manufacturers who take their recycled materials and turn them into new products. By collaborating instead of competing, they've become the largest waste management company in North America.

So don't be a lone wolf. Find a company that complements your strengths and join forces. Together, you can provide a better service to your customers and grow your business faster than you ever could alone.

3. Be an open book. 

In the past, businesses kept their strategies close to their chest. They thought that secrecy was a competitive advantage. But in today's world, transparency is king.

Think about it from your customer's perspective. They want to know what you're doing with their waste. They want to know that you're handling it responsibly, that you're working to minimize your environmental impact. If you're opaque about your operations, they'll assume you have something to hide.

But if you're upfront about your strategies, if you share your sustainability goals and your plans for achieving them, you build trust. You show your customers that you're not just another faceless corporation, but a partner in their own sustainability efforts.

Take Recology for example. They're incredibly transparent about their operations. They publish detailed reports about the waste they collect, the materials they recycle, the emissions they produce. They even offer tours of their facilities so customers can see their operations firsthand. As a result, they've built a reputation as one of the most sustainable and trustworthy waste management companies in the business.

So don't be shy about sharing your strategies. Be an open book. Show your customers that you have nothing to hide. Transparency breeds trust, and trust is the foundation of any successful business relationship.

4. Wear a white hat.

In the old Wild West, the good guys always wore white hats. They were the ones fighting for justice, protecting the innocent, making the world a better place. Well, in today's business world, you want to be the company in the white hat.

More and more, customers are looking for companies that don't just make a profit, but make a difference. They want to work with businesses that share their values, that are actively working to solve social and environmental problems. If you can show that your company is one of the good guys, you'll attract loyal customers who will stick with you for the long haul.

Look at Rubicon Global again. They've built their entire brand around the idea of "doing well by doing good". They talk about their mission to end waste, to create a more sustainable world. They partner with environmental organizations and support sustainability initiatives. By positioning themselves as a company that cares about more than just the bottom line, they've attracted customers who share those values.

So think about how your company can wear a white hat. Can you invest in more sustainable technologies? Can you partner with environmental organizations? Can you support community initiatives? By aligning your business with a higher purpose, you'll not only make a positive impact on the world, but you'll also build a brand that customers are proud to support.

5. Eyes on your own paper.

Remember back in school when the teacher would tell you to keep your eyes on your own paper? Well, that's good advice in business too. 

It's easy to get distracted by what your competitors are doing. You see them launching a new service or expanding into a new market, and you feel like you have to follow suit. But here's the thing - you're not them. You have your own strengths, your own resources, your own unique value proposition. If you spend all your time trying to copy your competitors, you'll never develop your own identity.

Instead, focus on your own innovation. Double down on what sets you apart. Invest in research and development to find new, better ways of doing things. If you're constantly pushing the envelope, constantly staying one step ahead, your competitors will be the ones trying to copy you.

Take Waste Connections for example. They could have tried to compete with the big boys by offering the same services in the same markets. But instead, they focused on what they did best - serving small to mid-sized markets that the big companies often overlook. By staying true to their niche and continuously improving their service, they've grown into one of the largest waste management companies in North America.

So don't worry about what your competitors are doing. Keep your eyes on your own paper. Focus on innovating, on serving your customers better, on being the best version of yourself. That's how you stand out in a crowded market.

6. Jab, don't hook. 

In boxing, a jab is a quick, light strike that's used to gauge distance, to test your opponent's defenses, to set up a more powerful punch. It's not meant to knock your opponent out - that's what the hook is for.

The same principle applies in business. Many companies make the mistake of going for the knockout blow right away. They pour all their resources into some big, splashy initiative that they think will transform their business overnight. But more often than not, those big bets don't pay off. They're too risky, too expensive, and too difficult to pull off.

Instead, the most successful companies take a more iterative approach. They test the waters with small, fast, cheap experiments. They launch micro-innovations and see how the market responds. If something works, they build on it. If it doesn't, they learn from it and move on. By jabbing instead of hooking, they minimize their risk and maximize their learning.

Amazon is a master of this approach. They're constantly launching new services, new features, new products. Some, like Amazon Web Services, become massive successes. Others quickly fizzle out. But by constantly jabbing, by continuously experimenting, they stay ahead of the curve and maintain their position as one of the most innovative companies in the world.

So don't put all your eggs in one basket. Don't bet your company on a single, massive initiative. Instead, embrace a culture of experimentation. Launch small, fast, cheap projects and see what happens. When you find something that works, you go for the hook.

There you have it, waste warriors - six strategic secrets to dominate the waste management industry. But knowing these secrets is just the first step. The real challenge is putting them into practice.

It won't be easy. You'll face resistance from those who are comfortable with the status quo. You'll encounter setbacks and failures along the way. But if you stay committed to these principles, if you keep pushing forward even when it's hard, I promise you - you will come out on top.

So, go forth and implement these strategies. 

Borrow someone's road. 

Partner up. 

Be an open book. 

Wear a white hat. 

Eyes on your own paper. 

Jab, don't hook. 

Do these things, and you won't just be another player in the waste management field. 

Do you want to know more?

Text me INFO at  +1(727) 307-2695, and I’ll be happy to help you.

All the best


The Waste Management Whisperer 

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Sam Barrili

Sam Barrili I'm known as the go-to guy for helping waste management companies execute growth strategies I started my journey in this field in 2009 when I finished my degree in Toxicological Chemistry and joined a wastewater treatment company to develop its market. Since then, I helped dozens of waste management companies in America and Europe increase their annual profits by over 25 million dollars thanks to my SAM Method.

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