You Are Not Alone in Evaluating Your Business

The three top-performing contractors profiled in this issue tackle the industry from different perspectives but they have several things in common. They each focus on doing quality work, for example, and they each make an effort to service the customer. But perhaps the most important thing they have in common is each of them took a look at their business and the market, thought through what the market was and what it offered, and decided how they wanted to go after business in that market.

Straight Lines Inc., for example, pursued what it terms "anchor customers" and then built the business from there; J.B. Bostick generates a healthy percentage of its sales from mobile home parks throughout California and Nevada; and Quality Shopping Center Maintenance developed a new logo and color scheme to have a more visible corporate image. These contractors analyzed their business on their own, and the results speak for themselves. It's something all contractors should consider.

But you don't have to do this kind of evaluation by yourself. For a fee, for example, you can turn to consultants, such as Pinnacle Development Group, who can probably shorten the process and provide some direction. For a smaller fee you can get a start through many of the sessions at either of the National Pavement Expos. And hopefully Pavement offers some insights in each issue.

But if you decide to work through this process on your own there are two resources that can get you moving. The first is the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), run by the U.S. Small Business Administration (www.sba.gov/sbdc). With 63 lead centers – at least one in every state – and 1100 service locations throughout the country, the SBDC provides assistance to anyone interested in starting, improving, or expanding a small business. Another valuable free resource is SCORE (www.score.org), "counselors to America's small business," which offers advice on a hundreds of topics and also operates as a "resource partner" for the SBA. So as you consider your business, it's important to remember that you are not alone. Someone has gone through what you are going through and is willing to help and guide you.

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