54 Do's and Don'ts for Running Your Business

DO set goals.
DON'T set arbitrary ones.

DO tell your crews how many hours they have for the job.
DON'T tell them how much money they have for the job.

DO create an annual budget.
DON'T just throw it together. Put some thought into it.

DO qualify your clients.
DON'T think you're only going to work for good ones.

DO grow your business.
DON'T go all in on a project in hopes of striking it rich.

DO empower your workers.
DON'T blindly assume they are doing their jobs well.

DO trust your instinct.
DON'T trust it too much.

DO monitor your field productivity.
DON'T track it to every little task.

DO expect your foremen to fill out paperwork.
DON'T require them to be good with computers.

DO monitor quality.
DON'T force crews to do it your way and only your way.

DO find a good estimator.
DON'T let him set prices.

DO hire good people with good work ethics.
DON'T hesitate to let a poor performer go.

DO be cautious.
DON'T be afraid to make mistakes.

DO expect slow pay.
DON'T let it go on forever.

DO be cooperative.
DON'T be a pushover.

DO work hard.
DON'T forget what really matters in life.

DO deploy systems in your business.
DON'T think they can run successfully regardless of the people you hire. People make the systems go.

DO enforce safety.
DON'T tolerate violations.

DO use a CPA.
DON'T let him decide what you need to know.

DO get to know your banker.
DON'T fail to do this.

DO spend time on new business development.
DON'T expect clients to hire you just because you do good work.

DO be the most efficient, low cost provider.
DON'T take that for granted. Someone else is always catching up.

DO study business.
DON'T think that everything you read is right.

DO network with other contractors.
DON'T believe half of what they say.

DO invest in equipment.
DON'T invest in equipment you don't need.

DO keep an eye on production rates.
DON'T do all the data entry yourself.

DO set aside money.
DON'T spend it all to avoid paying taxes.

DO find a trustworthy office manager.
DON'T let her/him run roughshod over the field workers.

DO invest in computers and software.
DON'T trust accounting, estimating, and contact management sales people. They all hide how hard it is to get their software up and running properly.

DO know the cost of running your equipment.
DON'T bury those costs in overhead.

DO know your cost per square foot, lineal foot, etc.
DON'T bury your margins in your estimating line items.

DO hire salesmen.
DON'T pay them much of a salary. Pay them on commission.

DO take care of your good customers.
DON'T treat everyone who buys from you as a good customer.

DO use your lawyer when needed.
DON'T let them run up hours needlessly.

DO coach your staff.
DON'T keep coaching them after they've proven incapable of improving.

DO build wealth.
DON'T be greedy.

DO maintain your client relationships.
DON'T forget about your relationships with your field workers.

DO protect yourself against scope creep.
DON'T hesitate to ask for a change order when it's justified.

DO be supportive.
DON'T rule by fear.

DO make work fun.
DON'T treat it like a party.

DO celebrate the wins.
DON'T celebrate it too much.

DO know your strengths.
DON'T assume you can do everything better than everyone else.

DO find a competitive advantage.
DON'T try to compete in all niches where you don't have one.

DO know who you are.
DON'T be someone you aren't.

DO know what size of company fits you.
DON'T let someone else tell you what that is.

DO market.
DON'T think it's all about branding. Effective branding is very expensive.

DO collect the data you need.
DON'T let your staff and field workers talk you out of it.

DO strive to get your field crews more hours.
DON'T give them hours that cost you a lot of money.

DO pursue more complicated work.
DON'T start off with a large project.

DO bring family into the company.
DON'T hold them to a different standard than everyone else.

DO look to hire experienced leaders who understand your trade and are excited about it.
DON'T hire someone who had his own business fail.

DO believe in yourself.
DON'T ever forget to.

DO grasp hope tightly in your hands.
DON'T let fear overcome you.

DO focus on the core things that will make your business successful.
DON'T fret over the little things that don't really matter.