When you know a trade extremely well and have made a name for yourself, the next logical step is to take matters into your hands and launch your business.
That’s easier said than done.
Here’s the hard truth; there is no startup fairy who will sprinkle magical dust on your small business and ensure its success. Building and growing your construction company takes hard work, focus, persistence, and the power to continue when everything seems to be crumbling around you.
Every builder starts with enthusiasm, but most of them are bound to fail. However, don’t get the wrong idea. This is not because they are not good at what they’re doing or they’re not pouring enough blood, sweat, and tears into their companies. In order to succeed in this overly competitive business, you need to know more than the core trade.
Here are some of the steps savvy contractors take to turn their small business into a success.
Develop a Vision for the Company and Share It
Understanding the construction process is not enough in this line of business. You also need to know where you want your company to be in the future. In other words, you need to develop a vision for your small business and do your best to reach it. You also need to share this view with your employees and vendors in order to secure their buy-in.
Ask yourself where you want to be in the market within five or ten years. What will that market be like then? Can you adjust to it and survive? Can and will your people follow you?
Communicate Your Goals Frequently
Internal communication is one of the most important processes, and you can’t afford to neglect it. Gather your teams, and explain what their jobs entail and what expectations you have of them. Meet with them as frequently as possible, daily if you can, so that they see you’re not just a body in an office, but one of them.
This is not to say that external communication weighs less in this equation. It can help you set your identity and communicate it to your target audience. Use online advertising to let your prospects, subcontractors, vendors, and suppliers know what you want to achieve and the direction you plan using to reach your goals. The favorable image you project will help sustain your success.
Be the Leader Your Business Needs
Successful contractors choose the leadership style that their small business needs to evolve. Keep in mind that no secret recipe can guarantee favorable outcomes. What worked for other companies may not work for you, so try to be clear about how you want to lead, and stick to this decision. A wavering leader is worse than no leader at all.
Another crucial point you need to pay close attention to is how you choose your team leaders. Not only do they need to understand where the business is heading as well as you, but you also need to ensure that they are capable of motivating and inspiring the members of their various teams.
Create a Friendly Work Environment
Construction is not only about the specifics of brick and mortar; it’s about people as well. The more you understand who your employees are and what makes them tick, the more successful your small business will become. That is true for your clients and suppliers as well as your employees.
Spend time with them; laugh and share a cup of coffee with them; show them that they matter to you. Company culture is what keeps people going, even when the times are tough and work is scarce. Try to remember that when deciding how to organize your processes.
When talking to your employees about their tasks, it’s important to make them feel as if they can contribute, not only with their technical skills but also with ideas and solutions. Nurture creativity, and your teams will grow into well-oiled mechanisms that can work without constant supervision.
Provide Training and Education Opportunities for Your Employees
The educational process within your company should be ongoing and aimed at improving your workers’ skills and professional portfolios. The benefits of such an approach are twofold: you will build sharper and more educated professionals, as well as more loyal employees that appreciate the care you show them.
Understand Urgency vs. Emergency
Nobody likes to work in a continuous state of emergency. It’s difficult to manage, and people get burned out quickly. Instilling urgency, on the other hand, means that you manage to make your teams understand the concept of working well under pressure. The result will be more inspired and energized workers, instead of a bunch of demoralized employees who are looking for the first opportunity to leave.
It won’t be easy to apply these six steps to become a successful contractor, but the results are worth the trouble. Be the leader your employees need, and steer your company to a bright future.