Goal Planning in Your Construction Business

Goal planning. It take thought and planning to be useful.

Goal Planning in Your Construction Business

Goals and how to prioritize them  

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” Stephen Covey

While there can be a multitude of goals concerning any construction company, I’ve identified 5 which are a good start for prioritizing your construction company goals. And, I’ve listed them in (a sample of) the order of priority.

Goal 1 – How will it end?

The overall big swooping question you must answer is, “How will it end?” What will become of your construction contracting company in the years ahead? How will you, the owner, exit? And, your choices are rather limited. There are 4 basic alternatives:

  • Legacy – pass down to your children or grandchildren
  • Sell – sell your business as a going concern
  • Job over – close the door — liquidate the business and sell the assets

The last option isn’t pretty and one for which no one plans.

  • File for bankruptcy

Furthermore, there are other circumstances you must consider.

How will you afford to retire whether you sell to others or pass the business to your children?

Are you equipping someone in the family or in your employee to step to the helm?

Have you contacted an attorney concerning how and when to step down?

What happens to your family, employees, and clients in the event of your untimely death?

Will you choose to work for another contractor if you decide to go out of business? Speaking of going out of business, this article has a A 10-Step Checklist for Closing a Business that is worth perusing – and might make you decide it will be easier to stay in business. 😵

Once you’ve answered the above questions and determined how you want your business to end, you can choose goals which lead to that destination.

Goal 2 – Wowing your clients

This is where your core company values, standards, and ethics come into play. What goals do you have for yourself, your company, your employees, and your subs which add to the client wow factor?

This is when it becomes essential to measure correctly. And, I’m not talking about measuring twice and cutting once. Essentially what it comes down to is knowing what to measure.

For example, if you set a goal that everyone in your company must take X number of classes each year, you’re likely missing the correct item to measure. The number of classes multiplied by the number of employees only equals how many classes were taken.

The number of ecstatic clients or highly satisfied general contractors should be where your computation ends. The first part of the equation is where you must choose the correct methods for reaching your goals. Some which come to mind are:

  • Clean jobsites
  • Paperwork ahead of schedule
  • No preventable accidents
  • Teamwork among employees, fellow contractors, and clients
  • Accountability for personal as well as company actions
  • Efficiency

It could very well be that taking or offering classes concerning any of the above goals plays into your plan for meeting those goals. Good. Then add them to the equation with a specific goal in mind. There are other strategies you may choose to use and we’ll delve into that in part 3 of this series.

Goal 3 – What’s in it for you?

Why do you really want to own a construction contracting business? Does it give you a sense of personal fulfilment?

  • You like the challenge of putting the pieces together.
  • It allows you to express your creativity.
  • Cash, yes you like the cash involved.
  • You know you have leadership skills and you enjoy putting them to use.
  • Giving other people jobs and opportunities is worth it to you.
  • You genuinely enjoy seeing buildings rise from the ground.
  • Understanding how people will use what you’ve had a hand in building is rewarding.

Whatever it is that makes you glad you’re a construction business owner, you have opportunity to set goals which make you better at doing just that.

How will you determine you’ve been successful? Is success a far-off goal to look forward to or is it something you’re achieving in the here-and-now?

And, here is where we get to bedrock. How will your ownership of a construction contracting business affect your family, your friends, and your community?

It is about the spend. How will you spend your money, influence, and time? Remember, we’re talking about setting priorities. Make sure you have your personal priorities straight. The next step is developing goals to align with those priorities.

Goal 4 – The wellbeing of your employees

A few goals to consider include:

  • Benefits and pay packages
  • Vehicle or vehicle allowance
  • Training and/or cross-training
  • Safety immersion and training

Yet, you already knew that. You’ve likely thought of each of the above. Where it becomes more difficult is when it is harder to get a firm grip on the ROI.

How do you measure the Return on Investment into your employees when what they want can’t be measured by dollars or time spent? We’ll get to that in a minute. But first, let’s reflect on how this looks from your side.

Let’s say your company goals reflect what you’re doing, where you want to go and why. This comes down to your mission and vision. Are your company goals known to your employees? Can they be accessed easily? (That means – are they written down?) Are you sure they understand them?

Now, we can talk about what your employees want beyond the paycheck and the benefits package.

Your employees want to know they’re making a contribution. In part, that means they want to know you value them for more than their set of skills.

They want to experience the connection that comes from doing good work with good people. Yep, they want to have fun. They want the camaraderie that comes from working with others. And, like you, they want to be able to point at a finished project and say, “I built that!” Employees want to experience the pleasure that comes with the feeling that their work matters.

Your goals for employee wellbeing will reflect your understanding of what your employees need.

Goal 5 – Getting the word out

The goals you set concerning marketing will, in some ways, reflect the goals you set in the previous sections. Do you want to stay in business? Will your present clients be inclined to refer business your way? Will your support for your family or employees be maintained or (perhaps) increased due to marketing efforts?

When determining your goals concerning marketing it is well to keep in mind that there will be a “spend” connected. As my not-at-all-famous friend, Karen once remarked, “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.”

Your marketing goals must include the spend-factor. Because your time, your money, or both will be spent. Your goals may include the use of paid advertising, various social media channels, hard copy materials, (business cards, flyers, pamphlets) cold calling, asking for referrals, you know – that sort of thing.

Yet, there is more to keep in mind. Your marketing efforts start with elated clients and happy employees.

Your goals are connected

It is noteworthy that your construction company goals have relationships with one another. It is like the lyrics in the old Frank Sinatra song.

Love and marriage, love and marriage

They go together like a horse and carriage

This I tell you, brother

You can’t have one without the other

Taking time to sort through the various goals you have for your commercial construction business won’t be easy. Yet, it will be worth it.

This article concerning the Golden Rules of Goal Setting does a good job explaining the basics.

 

This has been the second in a three-part series concerning planning for priorities.  You can see the first part here. The third part deals with the strategies connected with goals and priorities.

Do you have a goal of getting all your financial dealings under control? We’re good at that. You can get in touch here. Or give us a call Toll Free: 866-629-7735

You Know You Want Excellent Employees

Great employees for your construction contracting business.

Great employees for your construction contracting business.

Chances are, you as a construction contractor, look for people who show up on time, whose appearance cleans up well, who protect their work environment, and who manage themselves in a professional manner. You want people who can see your company vision, who understand where the bread and butter come from (your customers,) and who take pride in their work.

Do you know what excellent employees want?

Knowing what your people want will take you far in building that team of excellent employees.

In short, your team will be built because they are able to see . . .

What is in it for them in the short term.

What is in it for them in the long haul.

Yes, an excellent employee will want you to be successful in as much as that success is also pouring into their own success container. Most people want to be a part of something that is bigger than themselves. Being able to say, “I work for such-n-such construction company!” with enthusiasm and pride is a value-added part of the picture.

What is in it for them in the short term

A paycheck. From the newest laborer to your right-hand-man, everyone who is in your employ wants and needs to be paid.

Yet, that doesn’t necessarily translate into they want to get paid the highest amount available for their sector of the industry. There are lots of factors at play. For instance, your benefit package may trump contractor Joe Schmoe’s higher hourly wage. Or, it could be your fleet of well cared for and well stocked service trucks will give your service staff a feeling of wellbeing and company pride.

Beyond the paycheck, there are other minimum requirements your team will see as necessary to keep coming back day after day. As a matter of fact, even if you do have the highest pay package in your industry, if you have supervisors who are ill equipped for managing people you’re likely to lose good hands.

Good employees want to know they have a “good fit” with a growing company.

Everyone wants genuine pats-on-the-back in whatever form that takes place, from actual physical pats to other ways of being recognized for their contribution.

In the short term, employees want to know it is a fun place to work, with fellow employees as well as management in good relationships with one another.

What is in it for them in the long haul

The best employees will be looking at what being employed with your construction firm offers them in the long haul. While you may not yet be able to offer all the following items, this is a good list of benefits to be building toward as you grow your company. As soon as you’re financially able, consider adding more attractive benefits for your employees. Here are a few items for you to consider:

  • Merit based awards or bonuses
  • Life insurance
  • Insurance covering medical, dental, and vision needs
  • Vacation time
  • Paternity leave
  • Bereavement time
  • Personal days off
  • Vehicle or vehicle allowance
  • Ongoing on-the-job and off-site training
  • Family and corporate retreats
  • Community stewardship

What good employees look like

Usually the guys and gals in the field like working with their hands, and being able to work outdoors. The folks in the office enjoy being indoors and often enjoy solving the latest “puzzle” of the day. All of them likely want to know where their boundaries are, they like working to a schedule (even when they sometimes fuss about it.)

Some will enjoy working with computer applications. Others will be glad when they’re allowed to take initiative, to be included in problem solving, are allowed to manage information, or are allowed to manage others. Most prefer to work in organized spaces (even those who must be taught how that comes about.) The best employees will take the time to keep up to date on industry trends and developments.

And, your very best employees will come with the character trait that always take pride in work well done.

Need more excellent employees?

Are you in need of good employees? Consider using what you’ve learned here when writing your next ad. Oh, and one more thing – forget about using the term “competitive salary” in your ads. Here’s why – from someone who (delightfully) calls herself The Evil HR Lady.

 

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.