Running a successful construction company is like leading a successful sports team.
A successful sports team must play good defense to win games. The team’s defense is responsible for stopping the forward progress of the other team. They repel the other team’s offense attacks. They are have to get the ball back into the hands of their offense so that they can score.
A construction company needs a great defense to be successful. A great defense helps a company stop problems that can impact the company if they are not stopped in their tracks. They stop problems before they start and put the ball back into the offense’s hands to score.
Leaders of successful construction companies build their management and leadership toolboxes. They fill their personal toolboxes with tools that can help them manage and lead better.
There are great tools available to help leaders and managers in the construction industry build a successful construction company. Learning how to use these tools will help leaders and managers grow their businesses. Mastering these tools will help them leverage their abilities into their positions.
There are 9 Zones that successful construction companies need to cover and defend. Defending these 9 Zones will help keep the ball in the hands of your company’s offense. The best way for a team to score is to stay on offense. If your company is continually playing defense you are not able to score points by focusing on executing your scopes of work.
Here are 9 Tools to help you Lead a Successful Construction Company
Zone 1: Business Management and Leadership
Zone 1 deals with your development as a leader or manager. To lead your company you need to continue to grow. Your company cannot grow around you.
In his best selling book the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John Maxwell explains the Law of the Lid. The Law of the Lid states that a person’s leadership ability determines a person’s level of effectiveness. If you want your company to grow you need to grow yourself first.
To grow as a leader and manager you need to look for resources that you can learn from. Listening to audiobooks is a great use of your windshield time. Check out Audible for audio books on leadership and management.
Zone 2: Insurance and Risk Management
Zone 2 deals with the risk associated with being in the construction industry. Risk is a part of doing business. Learning how to handle the risk is a critical part of leading your construction company.
There are four primary ways a successful construction company manages it’s risk. As an owner, you can choose to do one of the following with the risk in your company.
- Decline the risk – don’t take the work.
- Engineer the risk down – figure out a safer way to complete the work.
- Transfer the risk to someone else – find someone else to complete the work and accept the risk.
- Insure the remaining risk – whatever risk you cannot eliminate or reduce needs to be insured.
Align your company with an insurance carrier and broker who have experience in construction. Leverage their knowledge to help build solid coverage for this zone.
Zone 3: Marketing and Business Promotion
Zone 3 addresses promoting and marketing your business. Every business needs to create opportunities. Promotion is a key element of building your business.
Focus is a critical characteristic for a successful construction company leader. Identify the marketing channels that work for you and your company. Continue to test those channels and build your leads through the channels that work.
Join networking groups including your local Chamber of Commerce. Networking groups provide outstanding sources to generate leads for your company. Look into BNI – Business Networking International
Zone 4: Project Cost Estimating
Zone 4 is a critical zone. Every good project begins with a good estimate. Good estimating practices need a good estimating program that is consistent.
Cost estimating is a major component of a successful construction company. Construction companies will fail without a quality estimating process that can be scaled and repeated. Estimating systems are made up of two major components which are the estimating system as well as the estimators who operate the systems. Choose both carefully.
Using a consistent estimating system will allow you to produce consistent bids and estimates.
Microsoft Excel provides a consistent platform to build an estimating system on. You can also look for an estimating system that is specific to your industry.
Zone 5: Selling for Your Construction Company
Zone 5 is closing the deal. You have to be able to sell and close deals to have work for your company. Without a sale, there is no company.
A successful construction company must find opportunities and close deals. Learning how to identify opportunities and earn the sale is a major component in operating a successful business. Successful business owners and sales professionals must be able to work collaboratively with their prospects and customers to deliver quality projects. Exceeding customer expectations will create repeat and referral business sources that can help build a backlog for your business.
Recommended tool: The key to sales is listening. Listening is an important skill. Learn to listen. Dale Carnegie Training is an outstanding resource for sales training.
Zone 6: Managing Operations
Zone 6 is all about delivering on what you sell. Don’t get caught over promising and under delivering to your customers.
Contracting a project is similar to catching a fish. Now that you have caught it what are you going to do with it? A successful construction company has systems and processes in place to handle projects once they are contracted. Establishing systems and processes that are repeatable will help a construction company execute scopes of work consistently. A successful construction company has a plan for how the project will be executed before they contract the work.
Recommended tool: That smart device that you have in your hand is a great tool for managing projects. There are great apps to help you lead and manage construction and remodeling projects. Search the app store on Google or iTunes for “project management”.
Zone 7: Leading People
Zone 7 takes a look at a vital part of your business – your people. Construction is a team sport. Without a team, you cannot take the field or play the game.
Successful construction executives and leaders understand the distinction between management and leadership. They realize that in order to be successful that you manage systems and processes but you lead people. Learn to lead people through the systems and processes that your business is established on. Leading and building people will create a sustainable growth track for your business.
Recommended tool: Developing your employees and team members takes a plan. It does not happen by accident. Eric Jurin has a great system for building construction employees. He discusses in his course 5 Valuable Growth Stages that Actually Build Better Employees. Learn how to build better employees through an established process.
Zone 8: Financing Your Company
Zone 8 explores financing your company. Companies take cash – and without cash, your company dies.
Cash flow is to a company as water is to a boat. A boat requires water to work effectively. Without water the boat is useless. In similar fashion, a company requires cash to operate effectively. The source of the cash can be different for each company. But regardless of the source of cash, the company needs the cash in order to operate and meet the owner’s goals.
Recommended tool: Cash flow is king. It is the lifeblood of your construction company. Without it, the company dies. Learning how to manage the cash flow for your business is a critical factor for success. Mishandle cash and it can sink your ship fast. Learn how to better manage your business’s cash flow with this course from Philip Campbell. CLICK HERE.
Zone 9: Accounting
Zone 9 is about speaking a foreign language – the accounting language. Learning to speak the accounting language will help you communicate better with your advisors.
Operating a company without a good accountant will leave the business leader with little awareness of their surroundings. A successful construction company needs a solid accounting system to provide reporting. Without good reports, the business leader will not have the information needed to make good decisions. Leading a successful company requires good and timely information in order to make decisions for the future of the company.
Recommended tool: Select a good accounting system that works for your construction company. Construction requires a unique approach to accounting. Not all accounting systems will work for your company. Make sure that you can scale the accounting program as your company grows. Online accounting solutions such as Xero are great solutions. An online system allows your accountant access to your books from a remote location. This allows for more real-time review of your financial performance.
To explore more accounting options for your small business check out this post on Cloudwards. They have put together a great review of 8 of the best solutions available to help you build your small business accounting zone. CLICK HERE to review the post.
9 Zones to Cover When Starting and Building a Construction Company
Do you want to increase your company’s chances for success in the construction and home improvement industry? There are 9 zones that construction company owners and leaders need to cover in order to maximize their chances for success. Purchase the How to Start and Manage a Successful Construction Company course on Construct-Ed.