Building a business is a challenging endeavor, but taking it to the next level is even more demanding. My personal experience with this began ten years ago when my partner and I established an exterior siding business. Initially, it was just the two of us working on projects referred to us by builders in our close circle. We continued to grow our business via referrals, and before we knew it, we had four employees working on substantial residential projects throughout Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. However, the problem arose when we hit a growth plateau, and it became increasingly challenging to expand our operations. I realized that my focus was primarily on working "In" the business, rather than "On" the business. My hands-on approach was hindering long-term growth planning, and it was costing me both time and money in the short term. In this article, I'll share some valuable insights from my experience and explain why every business owner must prioritize working "On" the business over working "In" the business.
Additional Read: 5 Apps To Help Your Construction Business
The first and most crucial step in developing your company is a mental shift. If you are too heavily involved in the day-to-day work, you may find yourself thinking that you have to be on-site for the job to get done properly or that your employees aren't good enough to do the job themselves. However, if you want to grow your company, you need to allocate enough time to focus on the things required to achieve that goal.
Before you start focusing on growth, it's essential to have realistic expectations. Understand that you may have to give up time and money in the short term to achieve long-term growth. If you're not willing to temporarily earn less money while you work on building the company, you won't create the momentum needed to grow. Trust your employees and spend less time on job sites, so you can focus on the other things that are critical to company growth.
A clear vision of what you want your company to become is vital for its growth. It's the most crucial step in expanding your company because it allows you to set long-term and short-term goals that will lead to success. Whether your vision is to make a certain amount of money or have a certain amount of free time, it will keep you motivated and focused when you face obstacles along the way.
In order to advance your business, you must allocate time to focus on growth. This means reducing your involvement in day-to-day tasks and placing greater reliance on your team. To achieve expansion, you need a competent team that can manage tasks. The primary obstacle for many small business owners is their hesitancy to entrust responsibilities to their employees. Often, owners devote all of their time to the job site and micromanage, falling into a common pitfall that is not the fault of the employees. To enhance your business, it is necessary to empower your team. The first step is to provide adequate training for each team member. Additionally, it is crucial to offer competitive wages to retain talented staff. Finally, it is crucial to relinquish some control. This is where owners frequently err. Instead of trusting employees to shoulder more responsibilities, owners become entrenched in the same duties for years. Your company will never flourish until you find a capable team to replace you and allow you to concentrate on expansion.
Numerous online services can aid in creating processes and keeping your team organized. Technology has enabled the automation of employee schedules, work guides, quotes, and project management, which saves time. Instituting these processes requires time, but it will save you time in the long run. Guidelines are necessary to keep your employees on the right track, but having rules for yourself is equally important. Establishing a set of guidelines or rules to hold yourself accountable is crucial. These guidelines may include how you conduct your business, such as committing to a set profit margin when quoting and not lowering prices excessively to win jobs. It requires self-discipline, but this type of personal guideline can save you both time and money in the long run.
Once you've freed up time to work on the business, you need to prioritize where to dedicate your attention. A few of these items include branding, sales, advertising and tracking results.
The first impression that a potential client gets is from your company's branding. To make your company look professional, you need a brand that stands out and portrays quality. Think about what story you want your brand to tell and what values identify your business. The company identity can include a commitment to quality, a focus on customer service, dedication to budgets or schedules, or anything else you believe is your value proposition. Strong brand identity will increase client awareness, build trust and credibility, set you apart from the competition, and inspire employees to work for you. Most importantly, focus on:
• A well designed logo
• Business cards and flyers
• An impressive website
• An online presence (social media)
• Branded clothing, gear and vehicles
Growing your business in today's competitive construction market is challenging. On your journey to build your business, don't wait for leads to come to you. Get out and connect with as many builders and homeowners as possible to grow your network. A sales process is a set of steps that you routinely perform to convert a prospect into a customer. Those who like to operate without any formal sales process often fail to advance the sale to a close and miss opportunities. That is why professional sellers always follow a defined process.
The essential items of an effective sales process include the following:
1. Sourcing Leads: Keep a steady stream of incoming new job leads, regardless of your current operations. A continuous pipeline of job leads will allow you the option of picking better quality projects and denying others. You don’t want to be in a position where you have to take every job that comes your way because there are no other options. There are various ways to get new construction leads through online services and advertising.
2. Contacting Leads: Create a process for providing your leads with a pleasant and professional experience. Work on your sales pitch to present your service, handle objections and close the sales.
3. Quoting: Spend time finding the right price for your services. Carefully calculate the amount of profit needed to fund your company’s growth. Competing only for the lowest price is never the correct business decision because this strategy is a race to the bottom. Instead, compete on quality and customer service. Also, provide a well-designed company profile with all your quotes to impress the client.
4. Follow Up: 80% of sales require at least five touchpoints after the initial conversation. Once you get in touch with a builder who shows interest in your services, make sure to consistently follow up. Most subcontractors send builders a quote and wait for a response. The reality is the builder is too busy with other things and may have forgotten about you. It is also likely they are getting calls from your competition at the same time. Following up with a call allows you to remind the builder about your company and address any questions or concerns about the quote.
Combining a sales strategy with a strong advertising campaign is very important. Advertising brings in new leads or increases your company's awareness and credibility with current ones. You may be able to get in front of the right leads, but proper marketing is needed to build trust and your reputation. A builder or homeowner that's aware of your company will be significantly more likely to hire you. Credibility is vital in the construction industry. If they remember your company name from an advertisement, you will instantly increase the level of reliability in the client's mind. Some advertising avenues include:
Google My Business Listing
Paid Google Ads
Facebook/Instagram Paid Ads
Online Directory Listings
A Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is a performance measurement that shows how effectively your company is reaching its goals. It can include tracking financials (profits, costs, etc.), advertising (customer acquisition costs, results, etc.), or employees (turnover, productivity, etc.). There are many different metrics to track, so determine the ones that apply to your business goals. Regularly measure and compare all-important numbers to ensure you are on the right track. Ultimately, you will have a clear understanding of the type of jobs you accept, your advertising's success rate, or your team's productivity. If you don't carefully analyze your metrics, you may find it much harder to reach your company goals.
Hopefully, this article gives you a better understanding of the critical things to focus on when trying to take your business to the next level. Take the time to find the resources to educate yourself on the specifics of sales techniques, advertising and measuring your numbers. There are many other factors involved in the success of a business. However, the starting point is a mind shift and a clear vision, followed by a clear plan of action, driven by accountability and discipline to monitor your results.