There are deadlines to meet, customers to satisfy, and (let’s face it) the important dollar to chase. You work hard to build your contracting business. Finding ways to streamline the regular functioning is an ongoing process. Today, we present five “tools” for you to use in making your business run a little more smoothly.
Close the door!
Even if you decided to start your own construction contracting firm because you didn’t like your former boss’s real or implied closed door policy, you really need to close the door sometimes.
Both doors. Close the virtual door as well as the actual door – for a half hour or so. If you’re a morning person, close the door in the morning. If you function at your best later in the day, that is the time to close the door. Make this a regular part of your daily routine.
Use the private time you enjoy behind the closed door to plan, assess, gather your thoughts, refresh, breathe. A word of warning — it may be harder to teach yourself to take this time than it will be to teach those around you to honor this time. But, it is worth it!
Say “No” like you mean it!
Whether your contract is with your ideal client or that pesky frequent-change-order dude there are still times when you simply need to say, “No, I won’t be able to do that.” It isn’t because you don’t want to satisfy your customer, your colleagues, your staff, or whoever has made the latest request. It is because you are the one responsible for setting your healthy boundaries.
It’s not uncommon for the owners and managers of construction contracting firms to over-extend themselves. (Heck, even we bookkeepers can find ourselves in this quagmire on occasion.) Bad thing is, too many “yeses” leads to too many “stresses.” Learning to say no and avoiding the guilt trip that accompanies the response frees you to make the “Yes” call on the important matters.
Get, learn about, and use good Apps and Tech Tools!
You already know that using the right tool for the job is imperative. Don’t neglect the right tool for your office.
A couple of apps we use and recommend frequently are Hubdoc and Knowify.
Hubdoc is all about document automation, it lets you turn paperwork into data which is actual useful.
And, Knowify is a tool for managing your entire contracting business in one place.
Oh yeah, we ought to let you know, we have an entire series coming up all about these two apps as well as a few others. We’ll give you the “down low” and let you know how to put them to good use in your construction contracting business.
*Update* Check the first in this series about apps we recommend. It is all about Hubdoc.
*Update* Here is another article by our Technological Operations Leader, Steve Lewis, letting you know more about Knowify
*Update* Find out all about Jobber and how it can work for you.
*Update* Look at what Steve tells us about CoConstruct — cool stuff!
*Update* Steve let’s us in on the story about 17hats.
Build the Team you can count on!
It is hard to get good help these days.
Especially in the construction industry.
Here are some ideas as well as links to some of the places you may want to search for that “good help” you’re in need of.
Field or shop employees
Whatever forces (and there are many) have brought about the difficulty of finding skilled tradesmen and tradeswomen in the construction industry these days, there are still some methods which may be worth trying to find that “just right” new hire.
This rather lengthy but quite informative article is worth perusing if you’re having difficulty finding and keeping excellent field and shop staff.
We noticed a couple of local sources for schools which you may wish to contact. One is at the high school level, and you can go to the website here and the other is college level, access it here.
Two sources found here and here are available if you’re willing to pay for staffing.
And, if you simply want to pay for ads you can check out Monster or go with one or more of the local newspapers.
Plus you can try one or more of these 5 no cost or low cost methods of advertising your need for skilled workers
- The tried and true, longstanding method of word of mouth is still viable and useful. Tell your present employees, your friends, your colleagues, your social contacts what type of person and skill you’re searching for.
- Hang a banner on your shop or office building.
- Place a Craig’s List ad.
- Put an ad on your website.
- Create a clever video ad to be used on all your social media sites.
While it may seem easier to find office staff there is still the need for caution and due diligence when you’re ready to hang out the “help wanted” sign. Some places or ways you may wish to try are the local newspapers and Craig’s List for simple ads, word of mouth, on your website, or through a staffing agency.
And, because we ourselves are an outsource firm we can’t pass up the opportunity to mention outsourcing as a viable alternative to in-house help. You may want to hire a virtual assistant for administrative tasks, or find a marketing guru, seek a social planner, or . . . well you get the picture. Whether you need someone long term or for a one-off there are plenty of outsource sources available.
Having the right people on your team will also allow you to delegate more easily. Of course, building your team will take time, yet once they are in place, your shop and office will be better prepared and better qualified to get the job done!
And lastly, 5 Simple Tricks to Shrug off the procrastination monster!
- Think about what excites you. Decide why this task will help you reach your goal.
- Change your perspective. Who will benefit when you get this job done? Your client? Your family? Your employees? Envision their pleased reaction when you complete the task at hand.
- Make and use a to-do list. Whether electronic or on paper this list is vital. Checking off completed items not only gives you a moment of satisfaction, it also gives you the boost to carry on.
- Devote small increments of time to a big task. Avoid overwhelm by predetermining daily time or space limits regarding that one big thing that really must be completed.
- Be realistic. Set reasonable targets. Unrealistic targets feed procrastination – you’ll be tempted to think, “Why start on this, it’s impossible to get done.”
All streamlining is about is finding the right time to do the right thing. So now is the time to choose the next right action. When you find you have distractions or doubt, come back to this essay. You’ll find something to help get you back on track. Run with it!