The Whole Team

The whole team includes professional advisors and experts.

The whole team

When you run a commercial construction subcontracting business, it is vital to have people who know what you don’t know on your team.

It goes beyond the people on your payroll, to include your consultants, advisors, and other experts. These professionals step in to allow you to create a Whole Team. Some examples may include:

  • Accounting
  • Estimating and Takeoff
  • Compliance and Legal
  • Business Coach
  • Human Resources (HR)
  • Information Technology (IT)
  • Virtual Assistant (VA)
  • Tax Preparation
  • Systems Development
  • Marketing and Social Media

The bottom line is a reliable and candid advisor who understands construction is a valuable business asset.

There is no reason to know the answer to everything. What you need to know is where to get the correct answers.

“Now, will you kindly tell me, WHY I should clutter up my mind with general knowledge, for the purpose of being able to answer questions, when I have men around me who can supply any knowledge I require?” – Henry Ford

The team isn’t whole

Sometimes you have a lack of knowledge, and other times you have a lack of hours. Finding folks who can fill the gaps gives you peace of mind as well as a piece of time.

Frequently, the way you know you need help beyond those you have in your employ is when you run into a knowledge wall, a skills wall, or a time wall.

It isn’t a matter of not being smart enough. You’re plenty smart!

You’re intelligent, or you wouldn’t be in the position of owning a construction business that has grown large enough to necessitate additional professionals. For example, you know how to put geometry and calculus to work in the field, but you may be uncertain of how correctly interpreting financial reports makes sense in the back-office matters of sustainability and profitability.

Finding team members

But, where do you go to find the people who offer the whole team services and advice you need?

Joining and being active in your industry association gives you ample opportunity to mingle with people who can lead you to the specialized professionals you need.

Look through the ads in The Blue Book or other comparable services.

Peruse industry-specific magazines and websites for articles as well as advertisements concerning your needs.

Perhaps most importantly, seek recommendations from others. They may include:

  • Your other advisors and their networks
  • Fellow subcontractors
  • General contractors

Developing the whole team

Jumping into the area of whole team building takes time and isn’t always pretty. Finding just the right people with just the right expertise for your construction business doesn’t happen overnight. Yet, when done correctly, it is worth the time and effort.

Three important factors:

  • Find people who know what you don’t know.
  • Look for folks who stay abreast of their industry expertise.
  • Seek specialists who want you as a person and as a business owner to succeed.

 

We desire to familiarize you with business concepts, which will make it easier for you to be a better commercial construction subcontractor through our blog posts. Some are new ways of looking at things, and others are refreshers. 

The Profit Constructors Provide Contract Document Management and Advisory Board Level counsel for small to medium commercial construction subcontractors.

So you can Run With the Big Dogs! Call us 866-629-7735

Technology Isn’t the Focus, Business Is

Technology in your construction subcontracting business should be for making your business better.

Your technology choices

Finding technology that is relevant to running your subcontracting business is easy. Right? *Beep* Wrong! Finding tech is easy. Finding tech that is relevant is a totally different picture. Two starter questions to answer are:

  • Can we afford it?
  • Do we (really) need it?

Answer these further questions and they will help clarify the answers to the initial two:

  • Will this be advantageous to our clients?
  • How can this make it easier, more efficient, and more effective for our employees?
  • Does using this put us in better sync with our suppliers?
  • Do our strategic partners benefit through the use of this?

You see, putting tech to use makes sense, only if it benefits the relationships you’ve already established within the parameters of your construction business.

Technology is way cool

It’s readily apparent tech is causing things to change rapidly in the construction industry. Think about the brick laying robot.

Give heed to the construction safety wearables.

And of course, there is the much-lauded aerial intelligence tool found in the camera equipped drone.

Fun stuff!

Technology is good – yet beware the pitch

Not long ago, Tonya attended an event (Scaling New Heights 2018) dedicated to connecting the accounting world to the suppliers of accounting technology as well as the people who provide relevant services. There were classes, keynote speakers, networking occasions, time for product perusal, and friend making as well as friend reconnecting opportunities.

Tonya came back from Georgia with a refreshed mood and enlightened perspective concerning how to better serve our clients. All good stuff, right?

Well . . . there was this one tiny little rant. Seems a few of the developers and providers of SaaS and app technology hadn’t read her right at all when trying to make their pitch. When the pitch began with, “If you get your clients to use our ‘stuff,’ you’ll make more money,” she was Not Impressed. On the other hand, when the pitch began with, “You’ll be better able to serve your clients by adding our ‘stuff’ to your lineup,” she was ready to listen.

The Schulte and Schulte stance

In our dealings with our clients, our goal is to go beyond being a trusted advisor. It is our intention to become transformational advisors to each subcontractor with whom we have a relationship. We don’t simply plug in the numbers. Our intention with each client is to help them grow their construction business.

One example of how we better serve our clients is, we do the homework involved in finding the right tech to aid our clients so they become data-savvy business owners who, in turn, are then better able to serve their clients.

3 technology thoughts

Prioritize what is most relevant and valuable.

Finding just the right tech to make your life easier is not the goal. Finding just the right tech so you can serve your clients better is.

Look for people you can trust to advise you concerning your choices. (Like us!)

 

Interested in discovering if we’re the right fit for your accounting and systems needs? You can get in touch by calling 866-629-7735 or checking in here. Let us know you would like to take your place on our waiting list.

5 Mistakes Construction Contractors Make When Trying to Scale

Mistakes construction contractors make when trying to scale

Mistakes construction contractors make when trying to scale

Trying to do it all

Superman you’re not. KAPOW! Nor are you Wonder Woman. SNAP! So, as we say in our office, DWI (Deal With It.) We also say LIF (Life Isn’t Fair) but, that’s another story for another time. Now, we’ll concentrate on the fact that if your intention is to scale your business, you must have key employees and advisors in place in order to think strategically and focus on growth.

From the back office, to the front office, to the shop, and in the field, having people in place who can help you carry the load is the difference between wishful thinking and decisively moving forward.

And, if you wear all or most of the hats in your construction business, your goal is to replace yourself one position at a time. Finding every task you presently perform yourself and delegating them to your employees and freelance advisors is a sound business tactic that will move you forward more quickly.

In addition to your lawyer, your insurance provider, your bonding agent, your tax preparer, and your loan providers you do well to consider having excellent freelance advisors on board. Everything from virtual assistants, to human resource experts, to accounting advisors, (That’s Us!) will free you up to find ways to work on your business rather than in it.

When you’re able to delegate, (in-house or out) you have the precious commodity of time. Time to spend judiciously planning for the next steps that are about to take place.

Chasing squirrels

Dug, the dog in the movie “Up” is delightfully fun, because he is the ultimate squirrel chaser. And, because he is so easily distracted he is the perfect example of what it sometimes feels like to be the owner of a construction contracting company. You know, there are squirrels at every turn.

It is downright hard not to chase idea after idea and change after change. Squirrels make it difficult to settle with one (good enough) option. Perhaps it is business objectives, marketing strategies, client types, or even (hold your breath) other business ventures.

And, the squirrels can be as subtle as offers for business trainings which seem attractive but don’t really push you forward in meeting your immediate goals. Another insidious squirrel can be found in the purchase of tools or technology that aren’t needed.

One way to deal with squirrels crossing your path is to take note of them. If an idea, thought, or offer attracts your attention, write it down. In other words, keep a squirrel list. Then quickly decide (use your leadership powers to be decisive) if they are good, mediocre, bad, or future squirrels. Sometimes the simple tactic of “sleeping on it” will help you decide. Other times you may wish to visit the people from the above section, (your in-house and outside advisors) before making a decision.

One last thought on squirrel chasing – don’t become befuddled by the off chance you should have followed that one “great” squirrel. You’re in the construction industry, there are tons of squirrels in the construction forest. Another will be along soon enough.

Neglecting to think like their clients

Clients focus on the end product, not the process. Construction clients don’t like the changes you force on them. They do not want to be disrupted. They simply want what they want when they want it. Yet the very nature of the beast we call “construction contracting” means you’re disrupting the lives of your clients, be it for only a day or for many months.

Try putting yourself in their shoes. Suppose when you went to buy a car you were told that for the next six weeks you would have to figure out another way to get to work, to the grocery store, or to the movies because your car would be out of commission. Not only that, you would have to spend some time daily watching as piece by piece your new car was assembled . . . in your driveway. Not a pretty picture. Yet, depending on your trade you may be asking your clients to endure something very similar.

And your clients who (remember?) want what they want when they want it, are probably not all that prepared to have you disrupt their lives. You can help them get over that hurdle through constant and honest communication before, during, and after the project.

Oh yeah, don’t forget this part. Clients HATE surprises. Clients will be more understanding of a temporary defect or delay if communication comes first from you.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a service provider, a general contractor, or a sub; it doesn’t matter if you’re on a commercial site or a residential site, there is always a client and you must always consider ways to think like your client.

Failing to document their processes

You may have heard someone joking on one of your social channels that if there are no pictures – it didn’t happen. That is fun and funny. Yet the truth is if there are no documented systems there is no scalable business. If you want your business to grow, you must have systems in place with written instructions concerning how the processes work in order to maintain the system. If it is all in your head, then by golly, it is all in your head that you own a viable construction business.

Wendy Tadokoro from Process Street tells Why You Need to Document Business Processes. If you don’t know, check out the article, it’s eye opening.

Now that you know why, it is time to learn a lot about how (and more about why.) Sam Carpenter wrote a book titled Work the System. You can find the book and other helpful information on his website. It is worth the time it takes to check it out. He offers insight into how to build a successful business through the use of documented processes. His story of how the business he was about to lose was turned around from the brink of disaster is captured throughout the book. If he can’t convince you how important the process of process capture is, then probably no one can.

Forgetting that trimming fat is part of scaling

Much like starting up, scaling up requires some belt tightening or fat trimming in order to make it through. It isn’t simply a matter of hiring more hands, finding more work, and making more money. If your additional labor, travel, or equipment costs eat up the additional money you make on a variety of jobs you’ll find all you’ve gained is more headache.

What scaling really means is finding a way to increase your profits. Increasing your profits means finding ways to earn more money while not spending more money.

Inefficiencies exist in your present organization. Some systems are in need of repair or should be eliminated. Other systems need to be developed.

You may even have some people who will no longer fit into your company for any number of reasons. Perhaps they don’t want to grow, can’t see your vision, simply don’t gel with the rest of your staff.

Focus on operational efficiency.

Then focus on motivating your team towards a common goal of scaling up and being relentless in achieving it.

Is your bookkeeper stuck in the old way of just doing the books? Then we would love to show you what modern bookkeepers do. As accounting advisors, we help you drive profitability. Give us a call to set up a consulting session. 866-629-7735