Like many of you, I founded my construction company with only a pickup truck and a few dollars in the bank. With hard work, determination and drive, my business grew to $50 million annual volume. I hit my original goal of growing my company every year and became a "big" general contractor in my market. Along the way I struggled with the same problems all entrepreneurs face:
- Not enough good help
- Not enough time in the day
- Not enough profit
- Not enough patience to get my people to do it right
- Few organizational systems
- No freedom to do what I wanted to do.
In other words, my customers, employees and company were in control of my time. I had no life away from work. I was busy doing the wrong things. I was working too hard for the money. As my business grew I continued to work more and enjoy it less. Finally, at a crossroads, I realized bigger is not better.
My business wasn't working for me and I wasn't getting what I wanted from my company. Finally I woke up and discovered better is better! But, how do you build a better business? Through trial and error, research, educational seminars, coaching, consultants, and books, I discovered the step by step business success blueprint to build your business to work for you.
Step by step!
Most business owners start by trying to fix what is broken or urgently needed. For example, when you land more work than you can handle, your tendency is to hire anyone you can find to help you out. You don't have enough time to interview and screen candidates properly. So you hire the wrong people, put them to work without training, and expect perfect results.
To get good results, you need good systems before people can do good work. Great people are an asset, but when each of your employees do things their way, you end up with different and poor bottom-line results. This then makes you stress out about hiring people. It's not your people, it's the lack of systems and training that causes good people to do poor work.
When I started the process of building a better business, there was so much to fix. I didn't know where to start or have the time to do what I knew it would take. I finally decided to dedicate four hours per week and figured it would take 5 years to get my business on track and the way I wanted it to be. Surprisingly, as I started to install systems, everything fell into place and we were able to improve much faster than anticipated. As we made fewer mistakes and had fewer emergencies I found more time to work on more the important issues.
It is important to follow these steps from 1 to 10. When you jump ahead, your progress will stop. For example, I often hear construction business owners say: "I need a good estimator." Hiring a good estimator is a great idea after you have a great estimating system in place which includes job-cost tracking and a cost history library.
If you hire an estimator who brings in a lot of work, will you make any more money without trained field crews, field organizational systems, and project management controls in place? You can't grow and be profitable jumping ahead of yourself. Take it one step at a time.
Before you hire an estimator, get your finances and field management systems in order and be ready for profitable growth.
Business Success Blueprint
- On-Purpose…On-Target. Determine what you want, establish a clear vision, and set on-purpose and on-target goals aligned with your mission and values.
Identify what you what you want in the area of profit, wealth, finances, customers, employees, market area, cash-flow, and freedom. Install action plans and set goals to make your business and personal targets a reality.