A construction business can be a profitable and rewarding enterprise if it is well-run and carefully managed. This takes some doing, given the complexity of the industry and the importance of the work, but with a little careful planning and strategy you can grow your business and reap great rewards.
Here are 5 tips to help you move forward.
1). Start with Good Business Practices
A common problem for many people in this industry is finding agreement on what, exactly, are the best business practices.
In truth, this is an industry that tolerates a high degree of variation, so long as the system you use is in compliance with safety and building regulations.
Make sure your system optimizes jumping through the appropriate regulatory hoops, and make sure it optimizes safety – know how to get forklift certified, for example, and make sure that anyone using such heavy machinery is properly qualified to do so.
Whatever system you use should efficiently provide every employee with the information they need to perform their duties step by step. Leave nothing in this area to chance or guesswork; never assume that employees will “figure out” what you mean or what to do.
Make sure your system efficiently handles the important tasks vital for running your business and keeping everyone safe and in compliance with the law, and it will provide a good structure to keep everyone on the same page.
2). Hire Great People and Lead Them Well
We’ve talked before about hiring the right people to save your construction business money, and this turns out to be just as important for growing your business and making sure it is a success going forward.
If you hire good people, people who are dependable, have knowledge, and are skilled, you will benefit far and above someone who hires for the bottom dollar. Your people are your business, so choose well.
Additionally, once you have a good team, you will need to lead them well. Assume that they want to be led, not micromanaged – and while we talked about providing step-by-step instructions above, this is important for safety reasons and ensuring there is a framework of shared understanding.
Once your employees know what you expect of them and you have provided them with careful instructions to ensure their safety, trust them to follow those instructions and provide good results.
Your employees will probably be much more likely to think well of you if you trust their judgment rather than hovering over their shoulders, and you will no doubt have a better working relationship as a result.
3). Think About Customer Service
Customer service is important in construction as it is in any other business.
People who may want to hire you are your potential customers, and this means you need to be available to answer their calls during normal business hours.
To begin with, make sure your business cards and other advertising clearly state when you are available. If you can have business calls sent to your cell phone when you are out of the office, so much the better.
Another good idea is to create some automated email messages and social media messenger responses so that people who try to reach you during off-hours know that their message has been received and that you will contact them within 24 hours.
Make yourself available to customers and potential customers, and you’ll get a lot more business.
4). Assess Your Business
Be sure you have a good sense of how your company is doing. How are your financials? To what degree are you getting repeat sales? How about referrals?
You will also want to have a sense of how well your business is doing in terms of online reviews. Are people talking about you online? What are they saying?
Have a strong sense of your employees’ performance, as well. Do they do well at customer service? If not, consider hiring some – even one might be sufficient – to handle that function and/or train the other staff.
5). Look at Your Marketing Game
Marketing is about more than winning new customers. This is especially important to understand for general contractors looking for subcontractors, that it is also about obtaining new projects, projects that will potentially yield a lot more money, and maintaining the satisfaction of current customers.
You’ll need a good website, one that has been optimized to deliver a smooth, engaging experience on any device. You’ll also want an email newsletter, a blog, and an active social media presence.
Even in the Digital Age, though, marketing also involves old-school in-person events. Are you active in your local chamber of commerce? What networking do you do?
Make sure your marketing strategy is solid, and you will be well positioned to grow your business.
Construction is an industry with plenty of challenges, from hiring the right people to keeping everyone safe to keeping your customers happy. Fortunately, if you understand what needs to be done and have the will to do it, you will be in a good position to grow your business and watch it thrive.