Being Patient in an Impatient Construction World

being patient pays off

Being Patient for the long-haul

Learning to be patient takes . . . well, it takes a modicum of patience. And, I’m among those who’ve had to learn the hard way how impatience is a sure-fire way to run smackdab into trouble – quickly.

As a matter of fact, you and I both know it is often the case that we should take time to wait prudently to make the best logical move. Yet, we live in a fast-paced world where opportunities, bids, safety mishaps, product shortages, and lack of skilled labor can make us feel as if the proverbial walls are closing in. Then you must make decisions. Which will it be?

  • Time to act!
  • Time to be patient.

Patience plays a part in our short and long-term business results.

Limited knowledge or skill sets may be challenges you face when you rush your construction business along hoping for fast results. Patience to learn more about the business of being in business is worth the time it takes.

Yet, be careful. Failing to act when necessary is one way of using the “patience card” when what you’re doing is procrastinating.

Being Patient through relationships

Patience gives you an added ability to treat other people with kindness, a sense of decency, and respectful regard. That in turn, increases the possibility they will respond back to you in the same way.

Cultivate patience to increase good relationships with:

  • Partners
  • GCs or owners
  • Employees or subs
  • Suppliers and service providers
  • Family and friends

 

Being Patient pays off

What you gain are:

  • Personal Grit
  • Fortitude to make decisions
  • Ability to wait for the RIGHT opportunities
  • Positive recognition among your peers
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Stronger profits

What others say about being patient

“Patience is the companion of wisdom.” Saint Augustine

 

“Each life is made up of mistakes and learning, waiting and growing, practicing patience and being persistent.” Billy Graham

 

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” John Quincy Adams

 

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” ― Aristotle

 

“Only those who have patience to do simple things perfectly ever acquire the skill to do difficult things easily.” James J. Corbett

 

“Patience is a virtue, and I’m learning patience. It’s a tough lesson.” Elon Musk

 

“How poor are they that have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degrees?” William Shakespeare

 

“All men commend patience, although few are willing to practice it.” Thomas a Kempis

 

In the end, being patient IS a big deal!

Savvy construction contractors understand delay doesn’t equal denial. And they see that success begins with patience. It is then strengthened with commitment. And continues with the due diligence necessary for excellence.

Patience takes time and conscious effort to master and is often the factor which sets successful construction contractors apart from Joe Blow Contractor.

 

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. 

Providing Accounting, 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

Employee Handbooks and All That

Employee Handbook information and guidelines

Employee Handbooks for reading pleasure? 😵

I was asked to help write an employee handbook for Schulte and Schulte recently. And I yawned. Like, you know.

Employee handbook = boredom induced coma.

In that regard, it was in some ways an easy task.  A lot of “copy and paste” was involved. It was a very difficult task  in other ways.   What must be included and what is optional?

Therefore, there need be only three rules it seemed to me. My (tongue in cheek) suggestion:

  1. Don’t be an asshole
  2. Dress appropriately for the occasion
  3. Give back any digital or electronic devises provided to you for company business when you leave.

Who could ask for anything more? 😜

Tonya was correct when she laughed, I suppose. She then pointed out my first rule may need to be better defined. For example, I needed to include information about confidentiality and data protection.

Also, I wasn’t allowed to inject my “voice” in the document.  That would have meant (at the very least) I would have made fun of some of the legal sounding terms which were included. See what I mean? This was a difficult task.

Employee Handbooks for starters

As a result,  writing an employee handbook means you need an understanding of the company and its culture. Because . . . wait for it . . .  employees tend to do what they think is best. They do what they think is best according to what they THINK leaders want of them.

In other words, your initial chance to tell your employees what you want of them comes in the form of an employee handbook for your construction contracting business.  Of course, it isn’t your only chance. Yet, it is a good start.

So, if you’ve gotten this far, and you’re thinking it is time to build or update your Employee Handbook, read on.

What to include in your handbook

Some of the important ideas and concepts which should be included are:

  • purpose and values
  • policies
  • business model
  • employee benefits
  • company culture

And,  you may wish to consider using some or all of these sections:

  • Employment contract types
  • Personal and Professional Development
  • Immigration Compliance
  • Equal Opportunity Employment
  • Confidentiality and Data Protection
  • Dress Code
  • Mentor Program
  • Workplace Harassment
  • Safety Requirements and Expectations
  • Cyber Security and Digital Devices
  • Conflict of Interest
  • Compensation Status
  • Timekeeping Reporting Procedures
  • Paid Time Off (PTO) Policy
  • Holiday Schedule
  • Witness / Jury Duty
  • Voting Time
  • Employment Separation
  • Employee Acknowledgement and Agreement

Employee Handbooks aren’t rocket science

This article, from Workable is a good place to start if you want insight for revamping or building your own Employee Handbook. They even offer, “tips to flesh out your own employee manual matching your company’s requirements.”

However, before you begin building your employee handbook, understand this. Unless the text clearly indicates otherwise, an employee handbook can be considered a legally binding document between an employer and employees. And, in most cases, courts consider an employee handbook to be an extension of the employee contract.

So, I guess on further thought, making fun of the legalese within the employee handbook would probably not be a good idea. Unless, of course, you happen to find a judge with an overly ripe sense of humor.

Above all, I agree with Workable concerning the putting together of your Employee Handbook.

In addition, they say, “Keep in mind that our employee handbook examples and relevant advice are not legal documents and may not take into account all relevant local or national laws.”

They go on to say, “Please ask your attorney to review your finalized policy documents or Handbook.”

Similarly, I agree. Write it. Or have someone in your employ write it. Then, ask your attorney to approve or correct it. Pretty simple.

Employee Handbooks with pizzazz

In conclusion, if you would like some inspiration, you’re going to enjoy this. It is worth the time to look over a group of Employee Handbooks listed at i-Sight.  They list a dozen examples which are fun, different, or have interesting takes on Employee Handbooks.

 

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. 

Providing Accounting, 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

Building Castles and High Rises

Building company culture into your team.

Building streams

This report is going to follow two diverse streams which converge to make one river of thought. The first stream has to do with an encounter on a modern city sidewalk and the second with a look at the building of a medieval castle.

Building high rise office structures 

On Tonya’s and my recent trip to Salt Lake City, we had occasion to walk from the convention center to a nearby grocery store. Therefore, we passed through a covered sidewalk which was designed to allow foot traffic to pass safely by a project under construction. As we walked, we noticed three construction workers scurrying past us in the opposite direction. I, being that kind of tourist, asked, “What are you building?”

The quick response from the fellow in the lead was, “America, one building at a time!”

Kapow!

Both Tonya and I were elated with his answer.

In addition,  may I suggest if the people on your crew answer the same way, you’re likely doing something right.

Building an ancient castle in the twenty-first century

Castles aren’t easy to come by these days. Come to think of it, they never were.

For instance, there is this interesting project going on now in France. The folks involved are building a medieval castle with the tools and techniques of the 13th century. The building is expected to be completed in 2023.

An interesting finish date, considering the project first broke ground in 1997. Not bad for a project which, from its inception, was expected to take a quarter of a century to complete.

This castle isn’t to live in. This castle is a classroom in progress.

Guédelon is the world’s biggest experimental archaeological site – and some would say the most ambitious too.”

In other words, stonemasons, blacksmiths, carpenters, woodcutters, tilers, rope-makers, dyers, the builders of the castle seem to look at their part of the project in two ways. For the first way they discuss what they’ve learned. Then, in the second, how proud they are to have been able to contribute.

The streams converge

Above all, what strikes me concerning these two stories is the pride these builders take in their work. Whether the answer is, “I’m building a castle,” or “America, one building at a time,” the question is always out there – what do you do? Where do you work?

Building the answer into your company culture, helping employees see how their contribution matters isn’t always easy. Yet it is worth it.

And, the key is to inspire.

As a result, this is where the river begins to flow.

It is a crazy idea which the folks naming military operations have used successfully for a few years now. Don’t get me wrong, it was they who got it wrong many times along the way until they began to understand how useful the nicknames they used for their operations could be. This article, Naming Military Operations is a War of Words, from the USO website is lengthy, yet quite informative concerning the power of a name.

Building great names to encourage your team

The simply corollary for you as a commercial construction business owner is to use the art of naming projects in such a way as to shape perceptions, boost morale, and reinforce policy objectives. It is a subtle yet effective way to encourage your employees to “own” the importance of each project.

Here are some examples, so you can see what I mean.

You could call your job building the new emergency hospital by the hospital’s name (and bore your staff) or you could use the name “Mission Life Saver.”

If your crew is providing work on the new Mercedes Benz dealership, consider naming the job “Project Hot Wheels.” Or, you might try “Mission Luxurious Rides.”

Did you get the grocery store contract? Think about calling it “Project Nourishment.”

3 ways to find memorable names

  1. If you’re into word play and developing great project names – do it yourself.
  2. Perhaps there is someone in your office or on your crews who would enjoy providing the names – give them the privilege. Do you have word-wise teens at home? Give them the task.
  3. Ask your team members for suggestions – then choose the best one. Or combine a few of the suggestions to come up with the top name.

Another way to use the nicknaming strategy

You can use the same strategy of nicknaming for your in-house projects.

Shop organizing day becomes Operation Thunder.

Documenting office systems can be given the nickname, Project LifeBlood.

And, choosing a new office or shop location might become Mission Possibilities.

You get the idea. The nicknames add an importance level to your various jobs as well as in-house projects.

Building Castles and High Rises and Everything Else

The work you take on in your construction contracting business is important! Be sure your team knows that.

 

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.  

Providing Accounting, Contract Document Management, and Advisory Board Level counsel for small to medium commercial construction subcontractors.

So you can Run With the Big Dogs. 866-629-7735

Brand Personality in Construction

Brand Personality including logos and such

Brand Personality is made up of many different (and some moving) parts.

How many times have you heard a product or service being noted as the “Rolls Royce” of their industry? Good thing the folks at Rolls have worked so hard to provide both an excellent product and an exemplary Brand Personality. Otherwise, those claims wouldn’t mean as much.

Yet, there is much more to a Brand Personality than hood ornaments or company logos.  Let’s face it, it isn’t as if you can choose a logo and decide you’ve done all you can to brand your construction company. Throw in some company labeled shirts and hardhats and you’re making inroads in the brand personality game. Yet, there is so much more to it.

Here is a short list of some brand personality building tactics:

  • Putting great wraps on your vehicles
  • Setting up your audacious website
  • Delving into the latest (and greatest) social media channels
  • Being a guest on some well-chosen podcasts
  • Volunteering within your trade association’s network
  • Donating to support children’s sports or other activities
  • Attending general contractors’ meet and greet or appreciation events
  • Participating in needs-based construction events such as Habitat for Humanity

Some more subtle brand personality building tactics:

As you can see, developing a brand personality in your commercial construction subcontracting business takes time, is ongoing, and is likely to evolve as you grow. There are no magic formulas, no silver bullets, and no easy ways out when it comes to building brand personality.

Yet, looking at the whole picture gives you more ideas to try and inspiration to keep working on.

Time out for transparency

While doing research concerning how to be better at delivering the Schulte and Schulte message, I came across this fun little article at Career Addict. It is titled, 12 Examples of Brand Personality to Inspire You.  It really is inspiring.

And, while reading, I kept thinking of various companies I know of which fit specific personalities.

Further transparency – What follows are 3 examples of Brand Personality as seen on Instagram. None of these examples are clients of ours. As a matter of fact, none of them fits the bull’s eye of our target clients. Because after all, we specialize in helping small to medium commercial construction subcontractors Run With the Big Dogs.

And, one of the firms highlighted (we believe) is primarily a service company rather than a construction contractor – 3 Mountains Plumbing. The other two – AFT Construction and Spain Commercial Inc. – are general contractors who do business with the folks we DO consider our target market (you know – those subcontractors I mentioned.)

Brand Personality on Instagram

First example

3 Mountains Plumbing found on Instagram at 3mountains.plumbing

From the Career Addict article, we see them as an Entertainer Brand:

“Entertainer brands champion values such as spontaneity, charm and humour. These brands seem to enjoy helping their customers discover the fun side of life. Examples of entertainer brands include Dr Pepper and M&M’s.”

The folks at 3 Mountain Plumbing take a difficult subject (who wants to think about all that goes on in those pipes and fixtures?) and turn it into something to laugh about. Also, their rhythm and consistency make remembering them easy. I must add, they make excellent use of color in branding.

Second example

AFT construction  found on Instagram at aft_construction

From the Career Addict article, we see them as an Emperor Brand:

“Leadership, determination, respect, dominance, influence and wealth are values that are associated with emperor brands. Good examples of emperor brands are American Express, Porsche and Rolex.”

Brad Levitt and his team hire professional photographers to take glamorous photos of their high end, custom projects. And, they leave no doubt concerning who their target market is and what they can offer the folks within that target. There is no room in their marketing calendar for rants or “tool bribery” posts. They aren’t trying to teach fellow contractors how to accomplish building tasks, nor are they passing along building “tips.” I hasten to add; Brad is quite generous with helping other contractors learn the ropes concerning being in the construction business in other online formats.

Third example

Spain Commercial Inc.  found on Instagram at spaincommercialinc 

From the Career Addict article, we see them as a Wizard Brand:

“Wizard brands specialise in taking the ordinary and transforming it into the extraordinary. Wizard brands champion values such as imagination, surprise and curiosity. Good examples of wizard brands are Apple and Pixar.”

Kayleigh is the “marketing department” for Spain Commercial. Unlike AFT where their emphasis is on the finished product, Kayleigh’s emphasis is on the people and the process. She is exemplary at getting folks to see that “ordinary” acts at each stage of the construction process ends in the “extraordinary” at completion. Plus, Kayleigh’s passion for telling the story of Spain Commercial simply rolls off the screen and into your mind. The story unfolds one image at a time making it possible to imagine how this company will service their clients well.

How does your company stack up?

Take another look at the Career Addict article and see if you can find which brand personality type your construction contracting firm fits.

Our perusal of the article made us think Schulte and Schulte fits as a Source Brand.

From the Career Addict article:

“Source brands embrace knowledge and enlightenment. They champion values such as truth, objectivity, education, discipline, clarity and commitment. They are the brands that we look to for information, advice and insights. Examples of source brands include Bloomberg, eMarketer, Forrester and Mckinsey.”

What is your brand personality?

How well are you doing at getting the message across to your present and potential clients? We hope this article has given you food for thought as well as a commitment to presenting an excellent brand personality.

 

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. 

 

Providing Accounting, Contract Document Management, and Advisory Board Level counsel for small to medium commercial construction subcontractors.

 

So you can Run With the Big Dogs. 866-629-7735 

Financial Acumen for Construction Contractors

Getting all the signals right when it comes to financial acumen.

How Financial Acumen puts you ahead

When you gain financial acumen, you understand how to use financial reports along with all the accompanying metrics to monitor your commercial contracting company’s performance and make proper adjustments.

Think about it. When you make decisions based on both historical and predictive indicators you gain a better outlook for success.

Therefore, gaining financial acumen means you possess a solid understanding of what drives your company’s profits. You “get” how financial decisions form the backbone of your business.

Therefore, it is about following the signals – and knowing which signals to follow.

It affects your employees  

Your employees and subs want to know that your business is viable and capable. They want a secure company which provides stability for them and their families. Check out this article from businesscollective.

It isn’t enough that you’re a “nice guy” who has an “excellent vision.” If you don’t have the moxie to pull off the difficult financial decisions, finding good people who will stay the course goes up in a puff of smoke.

General Contractors must see your Financial Acumen

While there are different requirements made by different general contractors it is typical that they want to see financial data. They will collect and analyze it to determine the stability and adequacy of your construction company’s financial resources to perform the work.

They will look at your financials in order to gauge annual sales volume and present net worth. Often, they will go on to analyze financial ratios such as working capital, total assets, sales assets, and retained earnings.

This is a quick example of what general contractors are looking for.

You benefit by growing your Financial Acumen

Of course, the down-and-dirty is being able to support yourself and your family. Yet, there are other, more subtle ways you benefit through growing your financial acumen.

  • Able to hold your own in a conversation with fellow contractors or other business leaders
  • More ability to analyze data and interpret key performance indicators
  • Greater understanding when dealing with lenders
  • Better able to develop business plans or personal objectives in line with your goals and strategy
  • Growth of decision-making skills
  • Increases your financial understanding and confidence

Final notes  

It isn’t our job to wipe your plate clean of financial concerns. It is our job to help you put the right things on your plate. We’re here to help you follow the right signals.

The signals which will aid you in building a healthy construction contracting business through gaining financial acumen.

 

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. 

Providing Accounting, Contract Document Management, and Advisory Board Level counsel for small to medium commercial construction subcontractors.

So you can Run With the Big Dogs. 866-629-7735  

Focus for Construction Contractors

Focus on Focus. It's good for you.

Focus for Construction Contractors

Focus is a core factor of business success

Yet focus, simply for the sake of focus makes no sense. Because, let’s face it, focusing on a screen (be it large or small) is rather an easy accomplishment. Think TV viewing, social media, or electronic games.

Or you could find yourself focusing on the daily minutia in the office or on the site and never on the growth of your construction contracting business.

So yes, focus is core. Yet, when building and using your focus “muscles” it matters what you focus on.

The choice

Here’s the deal. You get to choose. Choose between being busy or being effective. The matter is made simpler (not easier) when you realize there are only three areas on which you as a construction contractor need to focus.

Before we get to the three, I’ll mention there are those who believe there are only two areas on which you need to focus. They say the two areas are client satisfaction and making a profit. And, I agree they are important. The only other area I and a few others are suggesting is important to build your construction business is the third area, that of employee well-being. So, there you have it. The three places which call out for your focus are:

  • Client satisfaction (What do your clients need?)
  • Profit (How can you make money?)
  • Employee well-being (Why will your best employees stay with you?)

How you spend your time, which tasks you take up, where you aspire to learn more, what you choose to delegate, even what you decide to dump, should all be based on these three focus areas.

Focus – a story of how that looks

The other day I was chatting with a friend on the phone. I mentioned to her that a certain “office helper” around here had recently gotten into reading Harry Potter. Because my friend is a retired school teacher, she laughed and said yes, she had read the first Harry Potter book. She read it because she knew her students would be reading it and she wanted to have a working knowledge.

I asked if it was a good book. Should I take the time to read it so I could be better at discussing it with the “office helper?” Her response reminded me of a focus folly. She said, “Oh it’s alright. But it isn’t, like some of my books, one I could curl up with in my soft easy chair and be still reading when the firemen carried me out of my burning house.” Now, that is focus!

With that in mind, here are three focus follies in which you don’t want to find yourself.

Wrong Focus

Have you ever known someone who was super excited about the wedding, yet had given little to no thought to the marriage which would follow? The wrong focus can seem so “right.” Yet, having focus is of no use when you’re focusing on the wrong thing.

Over Focus

One of our “office helpers” is quite excited about an adventure the entire crew will be taking later this year. While the rest of us are happy that we’ll be going to Universal Studios Hollywood, this “office helper” believes our destination is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™. (Yep, the same office helper mentioned above.) No matter how many times we let her know there is more to be experienced she returns to her point of focus.

No Focus

There is someone I know who runs to the store for a new toilet paper supply when she notices the last roll is almost empty. After bringing the toilet paper home, she then runs back to the store for the eggs she wants to use to prepare breakfast. On her way to work, she stops in at the convenience store to pick up a snack pack to be used for that day’s lunch. On the way home from work she picks up a few steaks for the grill. Then as the meat is being placed, she remembers there are no sides for the evening meal.

At this point, she enlists one of her children to run to the store to purchase some deli sides because there is no time to bake potatoes or cook a vegetable. Later in the evening, she runs to the store to purchase shampoo (after she steps out of the shower and puts back on her clothes.) Lest you think I’m exaggerating. I’m not. She will tell you herself this is how her day goes – because she doesn’t have time to get everything done. Do you see the irony there?

Putting the puzzle together

Obviously, avoiding the focus follies is important. Learning how to be better at focusing on the right things is the next step. This article, 5 Steps To Finding Your Focus, from Fast Company says, “. . . determine what gets done by using filters, such as your deadlines, values, available time, or resources, and arrange your day around the things that are important–big or small.”  Be sure to check out the article to see how to put the 5 steps to use in your commercial construction business.

 

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. 

Providing Accounting and Advisory Board Level counsel for small to medium commercial construction subcontractors.

So you can Run With the Big Dogs. 866-629-7735

Delegating in the Construction Arena

Delegating helps you grow your construction business

Delegating in the Construction Arena

Delegating: a leadership tool

Every day you send people into the field or to their desks to accomplish a variety of tasks. You’ve delegated a certain portion of the work to each of them. How well they perform is based on their skill level and on how well you’ve delegated.

Therefore, your job isn’t to accomplish the things your employees or subs are tasked with. Furthermore your job is to see to it they have the proper understanding and the correct tools to get the job done.

Delegating requires trust

Before you can trust someone to accomplish something, he or she must climb your “trust ladder.” Some of the steps they must climb are:

  • Show up on time
  • Be competent at their work
  • Be dependable

Once these rungs are accomplished there are a few other steps which must be taken. You want your people to:

  • Tell the truth
  • Admit when they don’t know something
  • Admit when they’re wrong
  • Do the right thing even when they think no one is watching
  • Listen – truly listen

When these trust levels are met then you:

  • Trust them with your resources
  • Trust them with information
  • Develop relationships

I can’t go on without mentioning that sometimes trust is broken. When it is, this article from Frank Sonnenberg discusses how best to deal with the situation.

Delegating takes guts

Just like you can’t seat every pipe, pound every nail, or swish every brush, you already understand you can’t perform every task.

Hence, there is a very good chance you’re holding on to some tasks you think only you can perform.

So, what should you do? Stop it.

From the jobsite to the office there are probably tasks you do which would be better left to others. And, it takes guts to pass them on. Most likely, the reason you haven’t already passed them on falls into one of two categories. You don’t think someone else can do them as well as you do, or you never even thought of passing it off – because you’ve always done it.

Delegating – divide the tasks to multiply the success

Delegating isn’t something you’re new at. By the very nature of the beast, construction depends on a myriad of delegation levels. Likewise, it is part and parcel of what you do. Yet, there are likely ways you can improve your delegating powers.

As an aside, if you would like to see a stunning example of delegating to the nth degree, drop in at your local fast-food joint. Not all, but many fast-food restaurants have delegated the duties of the host, wait-staff, and bussing personnel. Not only have they nearly erased the rolls usually performed by people in those positions, they’ve delegated much of their associated tasks to . . . uh, you – their paying customer. Just sayen’.

What to delegate

There is a myriad of tasks which you can pass off to others. You’ve already stepped into that realm when you hired your first employee or contracted with your first sub. Yet, there are more tasks and efficient ways you can delegate. It is quite likely there are some duties you feel you are the only one capable of handling correctly. Many of those tasks you can trust to others. Really.

In this list there is only one item included that you will likely be better off doing yourself. Can you figure out which one it is?

  • Bidding
  • Estimating
  • Sales
  • Approving change orders
  • Paying bills and payroll
  • Cultivate a strong company culture
  • Invoicing
  • Managing individual crews
  • Software or SaaS acquisition
  • Selecting new tools or equipment
  • Approving purchase orders

If you determined the one item which doesn’t fit in the above list is “Cultivate a strong company culture,” you’re right. One of your most important tasks as the leader of your construction company is to set the course. And, if you’re too busy taking care of the other tasks, you have no time for course-setting.

Delegating gives you space for true leadership

It is your job to lead the business. There are areas where you need to direct your focus once you’ve passed on tasks, responsibilities, and duties to others. Here are some areas where you can spend time once you’ve delegated well.

  • Set up and develop the brand name
  • Create and implement vision and direction
  • Form company culture
  • Understand the budget and the financials
  • Establish financial performance metrics
  • Develop long and short-term strategic plans
  • Plan recruiting and retention strategies
  • Lead, guide, and evaluate employees and subs
  • Establish criteria for success and provide leadership for achievement of goals
  • Hold employees and subs accountable
  • Delve into innovation
  • Seek opportunities for expansion
  • Stay on top of new industry developments and standards
  • Solicit advice from mentors, associates, and experts
  • Represent your company in civic and professional associations
  • Participate in industry related events
  • Assess operational situations for crisis management, safety, and escalation protocol
  • Determine solutions to project issues
  • Develop cost effective resources

Avenues to delegation

There are basically four avenues you can use to step up your delegation game.

  1. Use in-house personnel – Whether in the office or in the field, the judicious use of delegation to the people in your employ makes your company healthier.

 

  1. Engage trade subcontractors – Handing over part of the work to trusted subs is a long-standing method of increasing the capabilities of your construction business.

 

  1. Deploy outside sources – This delegation option (once only available to the wealthy) is becoming more and more necessary, accessible, and expedient. A few available options you should consider are an attorney, accounting services, a virtual assistant, marketing, website development, janitorial services, outsourced human resources, and tax preparation.

 

  1. Adopt technical systems – There are several critical processes you can automate (think delegate) through the use of software or SaaS and apps. A few which come to mind are project management, takeoffs, estimating, and job costing.

Delegating is an investment

Remember that an expense is different from an investment. Mike Harden, of The Clarity Group says, “What’s the difference between an investment and an expense? The difference is simple: one will start paying you back, and the other is a drain on your resources.”

  • Taking time to delegate is an investment.
  • Paying fees to delegate is an investment.
  • Choosing correct technical applications is an investment.

Investing in your business through delegating well is a sound business principle. A business principle which has the power to exponentially increase the value of your company.

 

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. 

Providing Accounting and Advisory Board Level counsel for small to medium commercial construction subcontractors.

So you can Run With the Big Dogs. 866-629-7735

Promoting Your Commercial Construction Business

Promoting Your Commercial Construction Business

Promoting Your Commercial Construction Business

Promoting your construction business

While promoting your commercial construction business falls under the umbrella of marketing, don’t get it confused with your other marketing strategies and tactics.

Briefly, a few things your marketing can include are paid ads, social media, blogging, sponsoring, and promoting.

Plus, while we’re removing some confusion, I hasten to add that promoting is NOT the same as having a promotion.

Think of it like this – promoting is long-term and relational, while a promotion is short-term and impersonal. Going to participate in a promotion? Get out the coupons. Going to promote your business? Get out your best behavior.

There are 3 phases when you can promote your subcontracting business and they all involve dealing directly with your potential and present clients. But before we dive into them let’s look at why you need an excellent website.

Promoting your construction business on your website

Remember, good GCs are going to do their due diligence before considering your bid. Therefore, a basic starting point is to maintain your website with your target audience in mind. What do they want to know about you? What will help them see you as a responsible addition to their team? How will they quickly gain insight into what you do and how well you do it?

  • A portfolio of your past jobs
  • Testimonials from former clients
  • Photos of your team in action
  • Pictures of your company vehicles
  • Easy to find contact information – with phone numbers and email address taking front stage
  • Links to your social media channels (which should also be well maintained)

Include on the first page, in an easy to spot space, this type of sentence, “If you would like to find out more about our company or to request that we bid on your projects, please contact us.” (Be sure to make the contact easy by providing the proper link.)

Promoting your construction business before getting the job

In the before phase take time to do your own bit of due diligence. Determine if the GC is someone you want to work with. Do they have values which align with your own? Is it apparent they pay on time? Is it their practice to deliver excellent work?

We all know there are some GCs who are simply not worth the trouble. Skip them. In construction as in life, there are plenty of fish in the sea.

Because promoting your construction business is about relationship there isn’t likely to be a list you can check off and call each step done. Yet, there are a few things to keep in mind as you enhance your promoting skills.

  • Attend GC sponsored meet and greets
  • Peruse all building plans
  • Visit the job site
  • Ask questions
  • Get bids in on time and present them in a professional manner
  • Provide all necessary documents with bid
  • Maintain your integrity

Also, be quick with compliments, congratulations, and thanks. Keep complaints and criticism to a minimum.

Promoting your construction business after getting the job

The most important ingredient to include in your mix of promoting your construction company to the GC is to treat everyone as you want to be treated. That simple. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Do what you said you would do
  • Realize that helping your GC make a profit is the bottom line – for both of you
  • Be sure to answer or return their phone calls quickly
  • Keep all your appointments – on time
  • Be certain your employees understand what is expected of them – written standards must be in place
  • Maintain written standards for your subs – great contracts support great relationships
  • Communicate with your suppliers, vendors, employees, and subs, just as you expect your GC to communicate with you
  • Pay your suppliers, vendors, employees, and subs on time and as agreed
  • Be of good character

Dwight Moody said, “Character is what you are in the dark.”

Promoting your construction business when the job is complete

Stay in touch with the GCs you want to work with. Here are a few ways you can do it:

  • Send a thank-you note
  • Give referrals
  • Ask what you can do to improve
  • Give leads
  • Attend mutually beneficial conventions or events
  • Suggest suppliers or vendors

You promote your business by performing to the best of your ability and getting the word out to those who matter. You must be conscious concerning your efforts. And, don’t think others will do it for you.

They won’t.

You and your team are the voices which are heard and seen.

Promoting your commercial construction business is pretty easy if you keep the golden rule in mind during all your business interactions.

 

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. We invite you to get in touch here

Growing Your Construction Business in 2019

Growing your construction business take big dog perspective.

Growing Your Construction Business in 2019

Growing your construction business is much like planning to run with the big dogs. As a matter of fact, I wanted to title this piece, “How to Run with the Big Dogs.” I thought better of it. Yet, getting out and romping with the big dogs does have a great appeal, right?

Growing up

My cousin, (I’ll call him Andy) tells an “in my youth” story. Seems Andy had gotten his first full-time job soon after receiving his high school diploma. It was among the most menial of all menial jobs. He was in charge of making sure the cars on the sales lot of an automobile dealership were kept clean. Occasionally, he was also tasked with moving a car from the service bay to a holding area awaiting the customer’s return.

One morning he had been summoned by a salesman to move one of those cars. Andy didn’t get along with that salesman and felt the way he had been summoned was demeaning. Andy decided to show his distaste for the salesman by getting away from him as quickly as possible. What that meant was . . . well, what that meant was, he jumped in the car, stuck it in gear, then slammed his foot down on the accelerator. The next thing to happen was a bit of fishtailing and gravel throwing. What happened after that was a visit to the office of the car dealership’s owner and a one-week suspension from work.

Growing wasn’t part of Andy’s plan

Andy says he sat at home for a week fuming about how badly life in general and his boss in particular were treating him. His immature mindset was about to get the better of him – keep reading, you’ll see.

When the one-week suspension ended Andy went straight to the owner’s office, just as he had planned for a week. (Yeah, you can see trouble brewing here, can’t you?) Andy walked into the office to see both the owner and the dreaded salesman awaiting him. He walked straight to the front of the owner’s desk and quickly laid out all of his grievances (he admits it was quick, because they were few) then stepped back to the doorway. And, just as he had planned (remember he had a week to make this plan) he stuck his hand in his pocket, said, “You can’t treat me like this. I’m a grown-ass man,” then stepped back and threw the stink bomb into the office as he made a hasty retreat.

Lesson learned: Don’t call yourself a grown-ass man, especially when you don’t behave like one.

Growing the right mindset

When you’re ready to grow your commercial construction business it takes having a business mindset. This article from Entrepreneur lays out 5 important ways having a proper mindset will help you achieve.

By the way, if you truly are a grown-ass man, you’ll find no need to tell others you’ve reached that status. Ask Andy, he’ll tell you I speak truth.

Here are 3 things you should be doing:

  • Surrounding yourself with people who are good at what they do
  • Watching for opportunities to learn more about being in business
  • Practicing the mindset of true business ownership

Growing in unusual ways

Another cousin (who is 5 feet 2 inches tall, and I’ll call Sam) likes to tell the story which took place in his younger days. Seems he was at a bar one evening when another fellow seated nearby was loudly saying things Sam didn’t like. So, Sam gets up and walks to the loud fellow’s table, stands in front of him, and confronts him.

When the loud fellow noticed Sam, he stood up. As Sam tells it, he took a long time in the standing process because he was so tall. Sam, thinking fast, pulled out a nearby chair and stood on it so he could be face-to-face with the loud fellow.

Lesson learned: When you’re the little guy, sometimes you need to grab a chair . . . or the right tool.

Growing takes understanding your tools

Just like starting your own commercial construction business took some hutzpah, growing your business will take the same determination. And, knowing which tools you have at hand will be useful. Like these:

The asset tools of the present

  • Because you’re still small enough you can make quick adjustments
  • Your layers of customer service are leaner and better able to accommodate
  • You’re likely better able to innovate and problem-solve on the spot

The opportunity tools of growth

  • The ability to grow a small team to a larger team with your vision in mind
  • Your heightened sense for productivity enhancement for you and your team
  • You have an added incentive to plan for different scenarios

Growing a big dog perspective

What began as a marketing discussion – how do we get the word out? – quickly turned to an examination of what we really do for our clients. While there are many items on the service-menu we offer our clients, what it comes down to is we do everything in our power to “Make sure our clients are equipped to Run With The Big Dogs!”

Yes, we are the virtual “Corporate Accounting Department” for small to medium commercial construction contracting businesses across the US. And yes, we take that role seriously.

Yet.

Yet, you’ve got to admit, there is a certain fun aspect in realizing that the big dog romp can be joined when the little dog (in some cases the underdog) learns to think like a big dog. And, we’re there every step of the way, helping them gain the acumen of big dog thinking.

Now that you’re ready to know more, give us a call Toll Free: 866-629-7735. Or get in touch here.

Instagram and the Construction Contractor

Instagram is a great platform for construction contractors to use for marketing

Instagram? Why?

Before we get into the whats, hows, and wherefores of using Instagram to market your construction contracting business, let’s talk about the why. It isn’t likely in today’s economy that you’re too worried about finding new clients. I recently heard it described this way; “The way you get new clients today is to answer the phone.” Yep, the construction industry is swinging along nicely, thank you!

Why spend time and energy getting the word out when you’re so doggone busy?

It’s hard to market when you’re busy.

I know. I get it.

Yet, it becomes a great deal harder to market when you’re desperate and low on funds.

There is a very real chance that soon, and I mean very soon, things can change. And you don’t want to be “that guy.” You know, the guy who was so busy he didn’t take time to let his future potential clients know he even exists.

It’s busy now, but . . .

This article from Forbes has a scary headline, The Next Recession Might Be Worse Than The Great Depression, yet actually hedges a bit toward the end, mentioning there are differences of opinion.

What the author seems to understand is, crystal balls (even those backed by historical evidence and personal experience) sometimes crack or fog up.

What doesn’t have a question mark attached to it are the opening words of the article, “The Next Recession.” The economy is cyclical. It goes up. It comes down.

Another article from Money has much the same to say about the possibility that things won’t be looking so good in just a year or two. And this article uses the construction industry as an indicator of the slow down ahead.

Time to sit up and pay attention.

Back to Instagram

You have a multitude of platforms to use when it comes to marketing. And, our recommendation is you take advantage of as many of them as you can. Yet, today I’m focusing on one in particular, and I have a reason for doing so. Instagram is both simple and sophisticated at the same time.

Under the simple column you can include these words. It is:

  • Visual
  • Quick
  • Mobile
  • And it’s easy to use

Looking at the sophisticated side. It:

  • Provides value to your present and potential clients
  • Helps your clients stay engaged
  • Provides a means for your company to stay relevant
  • Allows you to interact with like-minded business owners

A funny thing happened on my way to Instagram

Because I get to wear the content creation and curation hat around here, part of my job includes doing lots of research. And, during the course of that research I kept hearing construction contractors mention that their business was boosted by their use of Instagram. What? Are you kidding me?

I thought Instagram:

Couldn’t possibly work for service-based businesses (like construction or bookkeeping)

Would likely have a hidden cost associated with obtaining professional photographs

Must make it difficult if not impossible to measure the marketing results

Had (at best) a slim chance of reaching our target market

Would take up too much of my time

What I found

I was wrong on all counts!

Now, let’s pause for a minute so I can throw in this little disclaimer. I don’t know very much about using Instagram. I’m learning. There are lots of things I’m probably doing wrong. There are tons of things I plan to get better at doing.

Yet, with all that said, we’ve already (in only a few weeks of using Instagram) had numerous contacts from folks in the construction subcontracting industry who are interested in getting in on what we have to offer. We presently have a waiting list of contractors who desire our services and contacted us here.

The opportunity you have

When you give a bit of your time to posting on Instagram, there are numerous things Instagram gives back to you. Just a few of them include:

  • Get your logo and brand seen
  • Allow your target market to see your service in action (pictures or videos of “Ned” painting, hammering, moving supplies into place, and so on)
  • Let your present and potential clients get to know your team (events, parties, promotions, awards)
  • Show folks the before and after of your jobs
  • Promote the differentiator which sets you apart from the competition

Further thoughts about the use of the Instagram platform

Think of using Instagram as a part of your long-term marketing strategy.

Start using it while it is still a viable free platform.

Take a class, read about it, or learn by doing – Just Get Started.

Do you use Instagram?

Are you a user of Instagram? If you are, let us know. We would like to see what you’re up to. Oh yeah, if you want to see what we have kicken’ over on the IG page check us out here.