The strong economy has lifted almost every contractor’s boat to a higher level at a faster pace. With more work comes more stress, decisions, commitments, more mistakes and more things to get done. It also stretches your resources, time management, and ability to stop and plan your future. And the important question: has the additional workload increased your bottom line and allowed you to reap the benefits?
Before the economic growth began, your company was designed to handle and deliver the results you were currently getting. Your goals were to get more organized, install systems, upgrade your job cost tracking systems, or take more time to pursue better customers. But as your business grew, you likely got bogged down, postponed your improvement plans and encountered challenges.
Your Business Goal is Not to be Busy
Your goal is to build a business that works and delivers what the owners want! This includes a high return on investment of time, energy, people and money. When you’re working too hard and accepting too many responsibilities, don’t know your numbers until it’s too late, don’t have an accountable management team, and not making enough money, you get frustrated. Why? You can’t afford to hire or train the right people, or don’t have time to focus on higher margin customers or project types. In other words, being too busy forces you to keep doing what you’ve always done while hoping for better results.
Commit to Build a Better Business!
Building a better construction business takes a commitment to continuous improvement. Realize you’re never finished getting better or upgrading. When you get too busy, you don’t have time to improve your operations, productivity, people, customers or margins. And when great opportunities come along, you can’t fit them into your program and miss out on better projects and customers.
Remember Your Vision!
When your business began, you had a vision and goal of high margins, great customers, productive energized employees, organized systems, excellent service and plenty of time to enjoy your time off. As you got busier, these dreams all got postponed in the pursuit of more. At this level, the owner acts as supervisor in charge of every decision, contract, customer conversation, price, purchase, delivery, and what work gets done when. He is the business. Without him, there is no business and no company. And worst of all, there is no time to upgrade or improve any part of the company.
As the small business owner does excellent work, he or she gets more referrals, customers and jobs. With more referrals, your company continues to grow. As the hands-on supervisor and manager, the owner makes every decision, signs checks, and still oversees each transaction, customer, contact, purchase, proposal, invoice, subcontractor and employee.
Higher Margins are Your Goal!
A business that continues to grow without higher margins, can’t meet the goals, needs and wants of a driven entrepreneur. So, what should a business owner do who’s stuck? Remember your dream of growing a highly profitable business? You know you need to install systems, structure, scorecards, and a management team. But you don’t have any time with all the work you have to complete!
To take control and build a better business, you must stop being too busy and focus your energy on owning a high margin company. You must draft a written business blueprint, replace yourself with operational systems, get your company organized so it will operate without your constant supervision, install structure and a management team, and implement scorecards to track your progress.
Steps to Build a Better Business!
When you get stuck, you hate going to work because you have more demands and pressures than you can handle. So, what should you do to get unstuck and grow your business with higher margins?
- Re-focus on what you want! Stop and remember your original dream of owning a growing and profitable company that achieves your vision and goals, and gives you freedom and time to enjoy your life.
- Realize you are a BIZ-Builder! You will never reach your goals if you don’t grow. To grow, you’ve got to let go, delegate and do what you do best. Growth starts with customers who want what you sell. You must make time to go out and build relationships with loyal customers plus find new ones.
- Replace yourself with BIZ-Systems! To delegate, you need written systems and procedures in place that don’t rely on you directing every move on every transaction. Put your standards on paper and train your people to follow them.
- Hire the best! Now that you know where you are going and have systems in place, you can start to build a strong management team prepared to take your company to the next level. Good people without written systems can’t do a great job without your constant input.
- Enjoy the ride! With your company organized and growing, you can now focus on creating more opportunities for your business to prosper and grow.
George Hedley, CSP, CPBC, helps contractors grow and profit as a professional business coach, popular speaker and peer group leader. He is the author of “Get Your Construction Business to Always Make a Profit!” and “Hardhat BIZSCHOOL Online University,” available on his website. Visit www.hardhatbizschool.com for more information.