5 Construction Takeaways from Archery

Construction Business lessons from Archery

5 Takeaways from Archery for your construction business

My first venture into the world of archery took place while I was still in high school. As I recall, our PE teachers chose a variety of sports and activities to keep those of us who were in our senior year interested. I chose the archery segment thinking it would be a lark, never once thinking it would be something I would be interested in after the 6-week venture. Yet it was.

What follows is a light-hearted look at what joining an archery club can do to inform your management skills in your commercial construction contracting business.

Construction Business Lesson One

As a sport, archery requires skills of:

  • precision
  • control
  • focus
  • repetition
  • determination

As a business, construction contracting requires . . . well, you know, the same set of skills.

On one level, when you send a crew to a jobsite, they must understand the basics of measuring precisely, controlling their actions, focusing on the task at hand, repeating their set of skills over and over, and having the determination to get the job done.

On another level, you as the business owner also have to bring it. The precision you bring to your managerial and leadership role sets the pace. Controlling the long-term plans as well as the day to day activities of your team is important. You must maintain your focus concerning where you are and where you plan to be in the long run. Building good business habits and practices require repetition on your part. And, you bring determination to the table with each new project and each new day.

Construction Business Lesson Two

When a person joins an archery club the oft stated club goal is “to help participants reach their individual goals while fostering a supportive team environment with a focus on safety, personal growth, and positive attitude.”

In order to present a winning team within your commercial construction business you do well to follow the same principles. It is as if you can make a checklist of the items in the archery club goals.

  • Encourage employees to reach their individual goals
  • Foster a supportive team environment
  • Focus on safety
  • Aid your team in their personal growth
  • Maintain a positive attitude

Construction Business Lesson Three

My next step to the shooting line came while in college. Archery was offered. I was interested. I took the class. It was there I learned of a few ways to protect my ever-wayward left arm from maintaining a permanent inner elbow bruise. The first step had to do perfecting my stance thus keeping my elbow out of the way of the released string. The second (back-up) step was to purchase an armguard which was not only larger but also sturdier than the flimsy guards we’d been offered in high school.

Maintain the proper equipment.

A bow and some arrows – what more could any archer need? Right? If you are an archer or have at least dabbled you know there is much more to it. The right type of bow, (recurve or compound) the correct set of arrows, (determined by draw weight and length) and the sight are just the beginning. Then, it is time to consider the armguard, quiver, and some type of release aid like a finger tab or a mechanical release. Plus, all this stuff has to be stored properly and repaired as needed.

Storing, repairing, and replacing the equipment your team needs requires diligence. Creating systems for everything from vehicle loading to maintenance schedules makes it easier to protect your valuable equipment.

Construction Business Lesson Four

After leaving college I still had a hankering to pick up the bow and arrow, see the target and release. Joining an archery club seemed like just the place to be. Besides the opportunity to hone and improve my skills, there was the competition, as well as the camaraderie.

Archery is not gender, age, or size limited. People who may not consider themselves “athletes” have the opportunity to participate.  Some even have a chance to go to the Olympics.

Building a great team in the construction field takes time. Yet, when done well . . . the rewards (gold medals not withstanding) are worth it. Consider:

  • Encourage those who may not have thought of construction as a career choice.
  • Make friendly competition part of the “game.” For example, gamify getting legible timesheets or POs turned in on time.
  • Reward safe delivery of the on time, under budget projects. Something as simple as an after-project dinner may be all that is needed.
  • Encourage and praise individuals as well as the team – often.
  • Offer classes and training, emphasizing the potential for personal as well as professional growth.

Construction Business Lesson Five

In each of my “archery phases” I had teachers as well as mentors who applauded my successes and gave me instructions concerning the areas where I could improve.

Here is a list of my personal take-aways which also work in the commercial contracting field.

  • Set the parameters of what is allowed and what is not
  • Teach safety at every juncture
  • Build ways to improve technical skills
  • Express and reinforce proper strategies (in the field and in the office)
  • Look for patterns which can be improved
  • Be consistent
  • By example teach your employees to flex their patience muscle

There you have it. Next time you see a target, think of all the examples archery gives to inform your management skills in the construction contracting field.

 

It is our desire this article (among our growing library of construction-centric informational articles) is helpful in assisting commercial construction contractors build better building businesses. 

Because we are a virtual “corporate accounting office” for commercial construction businesses we can assist you no matter in which of the 50 United States your business is located. Call to see how we can be a part of your advisory board as well as lighten your accounting burden. Get in touch here.

Outsourcing Accounting – How to know when it is time

Outsourcing accounting is how savvy contractors grow their businesses.

Outsourcing Accounting – How to know when it is time

Outsourcing accounting too soon

If you:

  1. Are an average (non-construction related) small business owner who factors in the time needed for administrative and accounting tasks you can probably wait to outsource until such time as you become quite busy.
  • Can’t identify the business result you want to see (an actual benefit to you or your business) perhaps you should wait. You must be clear in your own head about what you’re paying for and what you expect as a result. If you think of an accounting specialist as a cost generator rather than a business and profitability advisor, it is likely you’re not yet ready.
  • Are hell-bent on having your fingers in every piece of the pie. If you’re an (as yet) unconverted micro-manager who has a low trust level, it is probably better that you wait.

Outsourcing accounting when it is too late

If you:

See that your books and therefore your business is so messed up, so in debt, so unorganized, as to be on the brink of bankruptcy – it is probably too late.  

Outsourcing accounting just in time

If you:

  1. And your office staff are constantly feeling as if you have too much to do and not enough time to get it all done, it is a prime time to begin looking for an outsourced accounting provider.
  • Understand outsourcing your accounting duties can be a total game-changer for your construction contracting business, then finding a virtual accounting firm should be your next move.
  • Know you’re ready to delegate the accounting operational tasks so you can focus on tasks of a business owner designed to grow your business, it is time to pick up the phone.

Outsourcing accounting pays off

For example, you have time for networking, meeting with in-progress clients, selling your services, and developing more ways to serve both your clients and your employees.

As independent contractors, virtual accounting specialists are part of your team without the “headache” of extras. Extras such as benefits, taxes, sick pay, and so on. This article from Entrepreneur tells why outsourcing certain functions can mean better talent at lower costs.

Outsourcing accounting with the Schulte and Schulte team means:

You get the best of our extensive construction contracting accounting knowledge and acumen.

Here are a few things we are good at dealing with for you:

  • Job costing
  • Audit readiness for high-risk workman’s comp companies
  • Complicated sales tax issues
  • Payroll
  • Inventory tracking
  • Systems development and deployment
  • Financial planning

Quick checklist

This quick checklist will be of help when you’re trying to decide if you’re seeking an outsourced accounting firm just in time.

Your business is growing.

You or your staff find you’re spending more time learning than doing.

You’re drowning in administrative tasks.

Your office staff is fraught with overwhelm.

You’re running out of time to focus on what makes you money.

Your personal life is taking a toll.

 

Wondering if now is the time to outsource your accounting and back office needs? Get in touch here and we’ll talk.

5 Simple Ways a Tradesman Makes the Mental Change to Become a Scaling Business Owner

 

Before we get to the 5 simple ways to work through the mental change let’s look at an example of how mental changes or growth require process.

Teaching your kids kindness

A friend of mine once commented she would like to be able to add “kindness” to a list of traits she could teach her young children. She would like to be able to jot “Teach Kindness” on the list, teach the kindness trait, then check it off.

If you have young children, or if you’ve simply been exposed to the darling little monsters, you probably already know teaching “kindness” is a long-term endeavor. Heck, sometimes as adults we find we must pick up where our parents left off, teaching ourselves to be kind, reminding ourselves of the merits of kindness. Somewhere along the way we find the teaching of kindness is a process.

Scaling your construction contracting or service business

Turns out, scaling your business is also a process – it isn’t something you can put on a checklist and then check off after it is completed. It isn’t a destination you can point to on a map.

Yet, scaling requires a purpose and a vision. As a matter of fact, in order to scale your construction contracting business, you must develop a scaling frame of mind. You’ll need to make the mental change from being a tradesman, to being a business owner, then to being a business owner whose business is profitably scaling.

5 simple things to practice through the process of becoming a scaling contractor.

  1. Set an example of trustworthiness for your employees and crew. Integrity – it goes a long way.
  2. Be flexible, very flexible – except when it comes to your core values.
  3. When new ideas, solutions, or concepts come your way practice thinking “maybe” rather than jumping directly to “no.”
  4. Begin instilling your “company culture” into your own thought processes as well as those of your employees. “Company culture” is how you pass on the “values” of your construction contracting business.
  5. Get in the habit of surrounding yourself with other successful and goal-oriented people. For example, join your trade association, hire great people, and select your service vendors well.

When you develop a scaling frame of mind you move beyond the bounds of your craft to the realm of successful business owner.

Owning then Scaling a Construction Contracting or Service Business

In the beginning you had to:

  • Figure out the legal, financial, and operational aspects of your business
  • Understand how to communicate and negotiate
  • Learn how to promote your business, yourself, and your products or services
  • Comprehend how to keep the accounts, stay organized, and run the office
  • Grasp the responsibilities of entrepreneurship

Now, you’re ready to scale

Not simply running with the big dogs – being a big dog. You’ve mastered so much already and the time has come to master even more. In fact, you’ll need to hone the above-mentioned aspects of starting a construction contracting or service business to a greater degree.

While it doesn’t hurt to know how to pick up the tools of your trade and apply them to good use what matters more is understanding the tools inherent to being a successful business owner.

Consider this

Which is more important?

  • Knowing how to cut a short board or knowing how to cut a meeting short
  • Knowing how to paint a room or knowing how to paint the picture which your potential customers need in order to purchase a painted room from you
  • Knowing how to twist the wrench or knowing how to twist out all the information necessary so you’ll be able to go above your clients’ expectations
  • Knowing how to celebrate your personal achievements or knowing how to celebrate the accomplishments of your crew
  • Knowing how to build then install a cabinet or knowing how to build then scale your construction contracting business

Mindset matters

It is perfectly acceptable to be proud of the skills you have and your ability to accomplish the various tasks associated with your particular trade. Those skills have likely played a great part in getting you where you are now.

And, if you’re going to scale your construction contracting business now is the time to build on the additional skills you’ve been learning all along. Not every carpenter, electrician, plumber, painter, or other tradesman has the where-with-all to become the owner of a business within their discipline. But, you do! Congratulations!

Because you’ve already accomplished much, it is only a small degree of difference to begin your journey of scaling your construction contracting or service business.

Let’s put it this way, we at Schulte and Schulte don’t believe in mumbo-jumbo about wishing or thinking your way to success. We do believe it takes hard work and the proper mindset. We further believe that, while “thinking you can” doesn’t always accomplish the task, “thinking you can’t” will always achieve its goal.

There is more to learn

In an earlier article, I talked about some things you should be doing when working ON rather than IN your business.

  • Planning
  • Hiring
  • Training
  • Leading the management team
  • Delegating
  • Presenting
  • Selling
  • Negotiating
  • Tracking results

If you’re not proficient at any of these skills, begin learning and practicing. Being the leader of an enterprise which is scaling is not an easy job, but it is certainly a rewarding one and one worth putting your best efforts into.

We at Schulte and Schulte are happy to stand beside you and work with you to aid you in scaling your construction contracting or service business.