This is part one in a five-part series concerning Steps to Scaling Your Construction Contracting Business. You can see the introduction to the series by clicking here.
No matter where your particular sandbox is located there are times when you need to cooperate with others in order to get your sand castle built. Finding ways to establish connections that make sense boils down to the old report card standard, “Plays well with others.”
I can’t recall how many times my dad (who went from driving a lumber supply truck, to slinging both a hammer and a saw, to supervising major commercial construction projects) told me, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Dad worked that bit of wisdom – all the time.
Growing your construction contracting business is more than simply getting more and more customers; it is about growing alliances, meeting new people, forming partnerships, building networks. It’s about establishing and nurturing relationships.
Relationships come in all sizes
Some of the groups of people and organizations you’ll want to consider when deciding to establish relationships and networks are:
- Service providers
- Former employers or coworkers
- Professional associations
- Service organizations
- Present and past employees
- Neighbors (both personal and professional)
Focus on helping others and facilitating connections
Whether you participate in coopertition (cooperation with your competition) or you offer pro bono services through a service organization, whether you form an alliance with a subcontractor whose business offerings compliment your own or you help align your supplier with a new customer, all along the way you’re putting in the building blocks which help establish you as a major player in the industry.
If your only thought is about how you can meet the next guy to sell to, you’ll miss out on a lot of relationship building opportunities. It takes time, it doesn’t happen overnight, and doesn’t usually fit well into a step-by-step plan of building collaborations. As a matter of fact, if you’re not a natural “connector” you’re likely to have to grow a pair . . . of ears.
Volunteer, be purposefully helpful, look for opportunities to help others and to reach out even if there is no obvious or immediate payback. It means going beyond the vertical ties or people in your immediate circle. When you purposefully expand your network, you open up your relationship base which becomes an excellent foundation for aiding you in scaling your construction contracting business.
Your call to action
This article on Small Business Trends offers some good advice concerning building solid, strong, lasting business relationships. It will give you some food for thought.
After you’ve read the article, begin to purposefully think in terms of building relationships and helping those with whom you come into contact on a regular basis. Be open to new opportunities to assist others in both small and large ways. Strive to be “that guy,” the one everyone knows can get things done – because he has connections. “Plays well with others,” really is a good thing, a good thing worth getting really good at.