It’s very easy to write January off when the weather lets you down, customers too - and the odd subbie. It’s dark, wet and there’s no money around… But all is not lost, far from it – the quieter period presents a great opportunity to review your business and decide how to take it forward. So we’ve listed here 10 goals to construction success in 2017 to set you on your way.
|Review your business direction - Starting with the biggie! What projects do you want and like to take on. Consider the 80/20 rule – could you concentrate on the 20 percent of the work that generates 80 percent of your revenue? And say no to the less profitable work? Do you want to diversify? What about Design & Build ? Walking is a good activity for clearing your mind and thinking afresh. Yes even builders can take an afternoon walk! Then break down your big ideas into daily, weekly or monthly actionable goals that you can measure.|
|Improve your bottom line - This usually involves 1) Raising your rates 2) Doing more work 3) Reducing your expenses. Look at the figures for last year and see how you could trim some overheads. Did your profit margins drop unnecessarily? Do you keep reducing your profit margin because of oversights? Find the leaks in your bucket.|
|Stop being busy and be more productive - Busy isn’t necessarily productive. ‘What’s the point of spending your days climbing a mountain, only to realise at the end of this new year, you’ve climbed the wrong one?’ (Quote courtesy of Robin Sharma, leadership expert). Do you enter the same data into multiple documents? Put systems in place that will streamline various processes.|
|Learn to delegate - Have a good long look at your role. Do you really have to do it all? Perhaps it’s time to stop being pulled in different directions and concentrate on the bigger issues. Make a list identifying the things that someone else could do. Estimating? Speaking to suppliers? Booking subbies?|
|Review your approach to health and safety - How confident are you that you have a handle on health and safety? Are your employees and the public properly protected? Do you know what the HSE expect from you – have you properly sussed out CDM 2015? How about putting some time in the diary to gen up on it, do an online health and safety course and get others onto it as well.|
|Review your customer service - Remember the customers pay the bills. If you want good reviews, if you want them to recommend you then make sure they stay happy. A single A4 sheet with your expectations of your employees and subbies will make sure everyone knows the policy. What about giving customers the opportunity to feedback at the end of a job – you could come up with a short questionnaire? At least make sure to ask them to give you a review.|
|Research cloud computing - If you’re not already using Dropbox, Google Drive, One Drive or another cloud storage application, then consider the benefits they could bring you. Saving and accessing files such as estimates in the cloud are really easy, and using cloud over physical file storage can save money as well. And of course you can be anywhere and still access your files remotely. But possibly most important of all is backing up - a must if you don’t want to lose something important following a systems failure or malfunction.|
|Promote your business better - It needn’t be anything grand. What about updating your website (you have got one haven’t you?)? How out of date are the projects on there? What about a Facebook page? Perhaps it’s time for new livery for the vehicles, new polo shirts, some better signs? Sponsor a team or event. Whatever, put together a list, add some time frames and make them happen. And why not book in a bit of marketing training on this – some short courses are available to do from home or office.|
|Become a tiny little bit of a geek - You don’t have to know your Bytes from your RAM but technology really will help you work more effectively, which means faster computers and clever software. Make a point of keeping up with new and changing technology that would impact you directly. Don’t just think about power drills and the latest plasterboard. What IT could you invest in to make your business run more smoothly?|
|Commit to new learning - Your business has to stay safe and compliant. Put some remote online health and safety training on the calendar. And why not think about learning a new skill. Find out about software for designing your own extensions and loft conversions for instance.|
We hope our 10 goals to construction success in 2017 proves helpful. If you would like any more advice on streamlining your processes, tightening up on admin and improving your profit margins, give one of the team here at HBXL a call on 0117 916 7898. Our suite of software is aimed exclusively at the builder and developer and was founded by a builder who knows only too well about the pressures of running a successful business. Have a great 2017!