Around 80% of construction businesses go bust in the first 5 years. Quite a scary statistic isn’t it? But it’s one that doesn’t surprise me based on the common problems my clients tell me about – many of which involve feeling completely overwhelmed by the sheer workload of being at the helm of a busy construction business.
The good news is that getting your construction business running at an increased level of productivity isn’t complicated. It’s simply a matter of implementing a number of processes, systems and tools, which will enable you to run your business more efficiently.
The first place to start is with your own time management – your diary.
Effective diary management is vital to achieving a productive week as a busy construction business owner. I always recommend my clients start by spending two weeks keeping a detailed time diary, which will allow them to really understand where they are focussing their time. Once they have this information, they can quickly and easily implement my diary management techniques and save time by delegating tasks, or training staff (see more on this below).
When it comes to planning your diary, work your way through the following tasks in order:
1) Plan in the very important tasks that you cannot move
2) Schedule things you can do every day but can do at any time
3) Then plan time to work ON your business
Delegating tasks and responsibilities to your team can be a difficult transition to make if you have been used to running everything yourself. But trusting in the abilities of your team will free up your time to work on aspects of running your business that only you can do (such as strategy, important decision making and troubleshooting).
To be able to delegate effectively, you need to identify the skills and weaknesses of your key team members, to ensure that the tasks you delegate will be to the right people with the skillset to carry out the task correctly. Here’s a checklist to run through before you get started delegating:
- Match the right person to the job
- Explain why you’re delegating to them
- Provide the right instructions
- Provide the necessary resources and training if required
- Check the work and provide feedback
If you have no one to delegate tasks to, it might be time to look at training your staff. What tasks are there in your business that you could create a manual to follow, or where a simple training day would be enough to prepare a member of your team to run that task?
It might take some initial time from you to run a training programme, or to create manuals for your team to work from, but once these things are complete, it will pay dividends on the free time you will create for yourself.
Systems and Processes
There are many systems and processes I use which help with different aspects of running a construction business. One of my favourites which I teach in my free training webinars, is the Construction Contractors Profit System which is a simple cash-management system that will make a huge difference to your business.
In a nutshell, the concept is to use multiple bank accounts to house money for different aspects of your business… one for tax, VAT, Invoices, Profit, etc. Not only does this allow you to have quick snapshot of where your business is, but it ensures you can’t overspend or get confused with your finances.
The age old saying “a business that fails to plan, plans to fail”, is never truer than for a business in the construction industry, where cash flow and planning is king. I’ve already mentioned that you should planning time in your diary to work ON your business, but you should also look further into the future than just the next couple of weeks.
I help my clients create a 90-day plan which enables them to set financial and practical goals to achieve sustainable business growth. 90 days is a good length plan to work towards, as it’s short enough to stay focused and see tangible results in a reasonably small timeframe. To learn more about the planning tools, systems and process I’ve mentioned above, sign up to my free webinar where I teach them (and more) in detail.