See above pictures? This is the happines and this is something what you deserve. Beeing owner of well managed company, have time for yourself, and your beloved, be sucessfull - it's not a dream it can be your reality. It's possible. Everything depends how determined you are to grow your business, and finally breath. Well- prosperous company consists of many factors. Unfortunately, there is no one key to success. But if you are ready to take your business to new level, you should follow below tips.
1. Invest in your brand.
Invest whatever as much as you can to build solid brand, image and marketing, build a professional website. Nowadays branding and marking are mandatory for most of the trades. Customers will treat you more professionally if you will have great image and brand promise. Of course, you have to follow rules you have created during branding process. For example, if your watchword is “Committed to superior quality and results” you can’t provide customer with bad quality work or material, that would make you hypocrite. It may be hard to re-build your brand and trust. Talking about logo and marketing, the more times a potential customer will see your brand (it could be: car sticker, banner, online advertising etc.), the greater probability your company will be the first though when client will need service from your trade. If you look at the company’s image almost every day, your brain will store this image in its subconscious as something familiar, close to your surroundings and therefore: worth trusting. That’s why is so important to pay more attention to your branding. Try to use the same colors and schemes on your ads, cars etc. as its used on your logo.
2.Build a great team.
In construction, your people are your business. Hiring process is very important. Remember you have a choice with who you want to work. This is common problem in this business. I’ve heard hundreds complains from business owners regarding their employees. The question is: who should be blame? The answer is simple: person involved in the employment process. Prepare yourself for interview. Determine what kind of people are you looking for, what requirements should be fulfilled and what expectation you have for them. Once you hire the right person, remember that people need to be motivated. They will do great work only when you will be great leader in theirs eyes. (You can read more about being leader on my previous blog inscription “Are you leader or boss?”). To sump up I will say: A good team is the foundation of your company. They will represent your business and your promises to the clients every day.
3.Invest in your business.
Sounds like nothing new. It seems like it’s so obvious but trust me it’s not. Most people hearing “invest” sees money, but there is so much more to be invest than only money. It can be time, knowledge. The most common issue, I’ve noticed talking with construction businesses owner is that they are too scared to invest in their company. That is why they can’t move on with their business for years. Being thrifty may be a good thing, but not in this case. First, it’s always a risk, but if you will have good strategy your money will back multiplied. Invest in your people, send your people regularly for training, thanks to this your employees will always be up to date with the latest skills and knowledge from your trade. Being knowledgeable can be great advantage over your competitors. Also, don’t be greedy: invest in safety equipment for your stuff, tools, take care of commercial cars, it has to be efficient and safe always, no exceptions. That will tell a lot about you, your company, and standards you represent as a co-worker. Moreover, invest in marketing and new employees if you feel it’s needed. You can not overload your current employees with new responsibilities once your business will grow. Such behavior will result in more losses than profits.
4.Quality is key.
Treat your customers like you want to be treated. Cutting corners is never a good way to earn new clients and client’s trust. Once, you will lose it, it’s hard to retrieve. Shortcut is not an option. I understand, that you have deadlines and of course, you want to ear as much money on projects as is possible. But this is not the way to achieve it. A good work schedule planned before project starts will allow you to avoid a later hurry. Always provides your customers with such a good service as is possible.
6.Change is good.
Even when your business will be on desired position on the market, you have to be willing to adapt new solutions. In every business adjustment is require staying on the same level, or to grow your business. If you want to grow your business, but you are unwilling to change your old behavior and system you will never grow. Don’t set yourself on failure, look for new ideas, solutions, systems. Do not be scared to find consultant for your business. You are not obligated to know everything. This is not even possible. Most small contractors don’t want to open eyes and understand bigger picture, and this is the reason they are still small contractors. As a business owner you should be open-minded. Don’t follow stereotypes, unless you want to watch how your competitor move forward, leaving your business behind.
7.You can’t do everything.
Everyone believes, that they are doing everything better than anyone else. My advice for today is: stop doing this to yourself, you company, families and employees. You don’t have a time for yourself and for your family. That’s why you are frustrated every day, and usually your employees and family’s members are victims of your frustrations. Also, if you are frustrated and tired you are not as effective as you should be. You want to finish your task as soon as is possible to get at least few hours of nap. If you feel this way, this is 100 % sure you need more employees. Hire more people to take care of your paper work. Give yourself time for whatever you want to do, after all this is the reason why you started your own business. You wanted to be the Lord of your time, isn’t it? Something went wrong? It means you need help. And that’s ok. If you will hire more appropriate stuff you will have more time, you will be able to get more project and managing them at a high level. Your customers will be happy, so as your employees and family. Happy owner = happy employer = happy customer. Don’t be scared to invest in people. As I mention before, shortcut is not an option. Maybe you believe, that hiring new employees will cost you a lot, but trust me after all you will gain more than you think.
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Remember the times, when you were a worker? Of, course you do. Who doesn't remember working for someone else, especially, when you hated your job, because of the way you were treated by your supervisor. I hope most of you have opposite experience.
What is the difference between leader and boss? It seems, like both words are just synonyms, but nothing could be further from the truth. Just think about it, what is your first though when you hear a word “boss”, and “leader”. I am pretty sure, that word “leader” raises more positive associations in your mind, than word “boss”. Boss tells you what to do, and he doesn't take any aspects of employee’s personality, experience or possibility. Communication is simplified to: commend - expected result. In effect, people are doing what they supposed to do, only when boss is around. You can't build respect and trust on fear. Your employees are not as effective at work as they should be when they feel fear. How you can provide certain level of service, when you can not relay on your employees? It is impossible, to be with them all the time, especially in this industry, when you have to be in few places during one day. People, who doesn't respect you as a human, doesn't respect your business as well. Because they do not feel as a part of this organization, they separate your business from their work. So, the question is, what you can do to change your behavior? The answer is simple, became a leader. Lead your employees to your goals and make your goals their success. Don’t be scared that being good will cost you your authority. You have to understand, that you can’t control everything, and everyone all day long. Give your employees a chance, prepare your team for future project, this is your job, or your project manager job, but everything starts with you. If you feel deep inside, that your employee is not able to do what his position requires from him, I am asking you: why you made this mistake and you made decision to hire him in a first place? And this is the boss issue; boss always blame someone else, but in fact, most of the problems is caused by his/her disrespectful attitude to the knowledge. Admit it, you are human being, you weren’t born with knowledge, this is something you have to gain, during process. And that requires self- discipline from you. If the tree has poisoned, or week roots, it will not produce good fruits. Do as much you can, to become leader, and do it consciously. Leader leads people to the success, by being good example for the team. This kind of supervisor is always willing to help his/her crew stay in the good path and is always ready to explain every task step by step. How leader has all this forbearance to explain everything to everyone more than once? Because leader understand, that results will became common success or failure, and she/he can easily explain it to the team. That’s why leader earns respect. Just, think about it: you don’t want to disappoint person you respect. You will get what you will give. If you want respect, show respect. Do you know anybody who can say: “I love the way my boss is yelling on me during morning meetings?”, I am sure, you don’t, because no one likes to be humiliated, especially in from of other workers. Remember that, when you will think about screaming at someone, just be human for others. Always try to see the situation from your employees’ point of view. No one is going to work with intention to do something wrong. Usually, people are trying to do their best. If not, that’s your job to change it. Because this is your business, and you are the one who is responsible for everything at the end of the day. Don’t be afraid to price your employees for their achievements. Trust me, they will pay you back. This is human nature, when you see someone appreciate your effort, it’s more possible that you will help him again, or you will be more willing to work for him/her even harder. You will try to give as much from yourself, as you can, to show your leader, that you appreciate his support, and to prove you are reliable. As a supervisor, you don’t have to punish people for what goes wrong, because usually person who deserve to be punish is supervisor. That is your job to keep your team well informed, and knowledgeable. The same is with communications, you have to be clear with your expectation, because no one will know what you are thinking of, so always try to clarify scope of work and time frames. Team should always be informed about due dates, because they are people too, and who knows better their possibilities than your employees themselves? Thinking this way, you can avoid potential issues, before issues occur. Also, you can avoid chicken syndrome. I am sure you have experienced this syndrome many times. Due date is coming, and it is steel plenty work to do. At this point, is so obvious that your company will not be able to perform all scope of work in the time frame of the project. Everyone gets nervous, you, project managers and usually all blame is put on the employees, so all crew starts running in circles, talking about what else is to do, instead of planning all work, basically at this time your company looks more like chickencoop. People are running, but they don’t know where energies should be directed, and at the end nothing is done. You, as a leader are here to avoid this kind of pitfalls. You should take care about communication, so it is not only about what you are saying, but also what your employees wants to say to you. People are usually scared to talk with boss about potential problem, because they are scared to be judged by you, and to be punished. They don’t want to admit: “boss, I believe we are not able to perform all work in this period of time, can we consider bringing more people to this project?”. But they will be willing to talk like this with a leader.
M. Aurelius once said: “The quality of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts”. So think about your attitude and behavior first, stop for a second and try to understand yourself, what is driving you to the specific reaction? How you can change your bad habits? If you want to have good life, and successful business, you have to start build your character, change what needs to be change, because your final goal is to become better version of yourself, become a leader who is the authority for the team. Never stop learning, remember that self-development is the key to the happiness and success. If you will change the way you think about yourself as an owner, you will become more organize, and what is the most important, you will gain your employees respect. Therefore, you will never loose more time to fight with your team. Outside world gives you enough battles to fight in, you do not have to bring fights inside your organization. Think about yourself, your employees and the company as one body. And body needs inner harmony to function properly. You are the brain of your business, so use it wisely. Develop yourself every day, and you will notice after short period of time, that to use full potential of your business, you have to discover your own potential first. To be a leader, you have to lead yourself first.
Ask yourself, who are you at the end of the day: boss, or leader?
When you are running construction business you understand, that getting paid from contractors is a real challenge. Of course, you've tried hundreds of ways to get paid on time, unluckily, in vain.
To avoid this kind of situation, in the future, you must start to prevent it at the stage of creating contract, or even bids. The same problem, is also duplicated with any change orders. It’s hard, and sometimes impossible, to get approval for change order.
Creating a precise Proposal is fundamental in this situation, but as you know sometimes it's not enough. Contractor will always look for objections to the scope of work, and of course, payment, because everyone wants to save as much money as is possible. Eventually GC budget is limited too. If we already know that, we can be step ahead of the contractor. All we have to do is create solid foundation and arguments, which will defend our Proposal and Change Orders. You can prove, that requested amount is not taken from nowhere your first . From the other hand, most people remember better, when they see graphically presented information. That’s why we suggest sending a quote with mapped drawings. All work listed in proposal is reflected on drawings, point by point. World is changing, so what is the point to practice old school estimating? Nowadays, we have plenty software’s dedicated for estimating process. New technology can make your work easier.
One of our favorite tools is Bluebeam Revu’18. This software is powerful tool, so you can create great detailed take offs and mapped drawings. It also great, when it comes to the drawings notes. After work is done you can easily save your work as a pdf and send it to your cell phone. Sounds great, isn’t it? You can have needed data all the time with you, and what is the most important, you are always ready to talk about scope of work. Creating Mapped Drawings has more advantages than you think. It is possible, that you didn't realize, that mapped drawings can be useful in your daily work, because it's not used frequently yet. But it's just the matter of time. To meet market requirements, construction business needs new solutions.
Below we have some of advantages of using Mapped Drawings for daily work: