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“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” —Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
We all know planning is important. But when focusing on project management, commercial construction companies often forget business management. We might set general business goals, but how many of those goals are accompanied by long-range (strategic) and short-range (tactical) written plans? How many of our strategic plans include SMART (Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, Time-related) components?
In its article, “Strategies to Increase Your Construction Business Revenue,” Bplans recommends setting profit targets to aim for. Be specific: “more than last year” isn’t a target. But don’t forget that your customers are your source of profits.
An excellent tool for making the time you need for proper planning is the “Eisenhower Matrix.” The basic idea is that we must reduce “urgent but not important” distractions (e.g., many emails and phone calls) in order to make time for proper planning, an “important but not urgent” activity. Failing to make this time means that we spend too much time “fighting fires,” i.e., dealing with urgent and important emergencies that might have been prevented by proper planning.
“Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.” —Allen Saunders
No, you shouldn’t plan to fail. But you should plan for failure. With the recent coronavirus outbreak, it is easy to see how the whole world can change frighteningly fast—and in unforeseeable ways.
Bplans recommends such proactive strategies as using good years to buffer lean years (“A handy rule is to expect three lean years for every seven good years”), decreasing equipment downtime with consistent maintenance, minimizing waste, and finding profitable niches to focus on. But remain nimble; while doing proper maintenance, minimizing waste, and saving are always wise strategies, profitable niches can disappear overnight.
Likewise, accidents happen—and construction accidents can cost lives and companies. Construction Business Owner reveals secrets to keep your perfect safety record:
"The magic formula that successful businesses have discovered is to treat customers like guests and employees like people." —Tom Peters
It’s easy to forget the source of your profits when setting profit-related goals. If your customers are not central to your business plans, all your business planning is planning to fail.
Professional business coach and best-selling author George Hedley says, “We must continually focus on the eight traits of great companies. I also try to hire right and believe in our people. Let go and delegate. I often use the command: ‘Manage it!’ when people ask me to solve their problems for them. And of course, please the customer!
“Does providing excellent customer service pay off?” Hedley asks, then continues, “It most surely does. Focusing on a single strategic objective and seeking customers who fit within your company mission guarantees success. [ . . . ] Are you willing to get focused on providing the best customer service possible? Try it! It might also work for your company!”
Additionally, Bplans suggests that you “have a 24/7 marketing, sales, and customer service rep—your company website” and that you join area trade associations and attend events.
You can’t do this alone! A great team is critical to implementing your business plans. Hedley also recommends that you “[h]ire up; explain the mission; provide clear goals for customer satisfaction, safety, quality, and the budget; systemize; ongoing training; and manage the process.”
The tools your team uses are critical to your success. Yesterday’s construction data tools—manual/paper systems and Excel spreadsheets—cannot keep up with today’s company-wide alignment demands. A cloud-based construction data system is a “one-stop” solution that is always up to date (both in terms of the latest program version and your latest data) and accessible anywhere via smart connected devices. Don’t underestimate the benefit of spending less time in Excel!
Imagine real-time, 24/7 access to your client relationships, cost estimates, digital takeoffs, estimate reporting, and much more.
ProEst Can Help
ProEst believes that company-wide alignment and visibility are essential for commercial construction companies to grow, especially at scale. They provide the software to enable construction company leaders to reach the necessary levels of alignment and visibility to avoid costly mistakes that directly eat into company profits.
Key benefits include:
Proper planning and modern, cloud-based tool solutions can help commercial construction companies not just survive but thrive in today’s chaotic business environment. We recommend ProEst's Construction Bidding Software.
Since 1976, ProEst has helped over 8,000 of the world’s most prominent construction companies streamline and improve their estimating processes. ProEst’s mission is to deliver outstanding value to each client they serve through their construction bid takeoff software. Their core values include integrity, dedication to excellence, and loyalty. ProEst practices their core values in their work, giving their clients an experience of trust and partnership that is unique in the business.
To learn more about how your commercial construction company can increase its profits through company-wide alignment that drastically improves business performance, reach out today and schedule a 1-on-1 walkthrough with one of our specialists!