What do a painting company and home building business have in common?
They both strive to help people turn their homes into a beautiful oasis they can’t wait to return to after a long day at the office.
Since a common goal connects them, they could learn from one another. Unfortunately, most construction companies think that the best way to grow is to look at what others are doing in the industry and follow their tried-and-true practices. While there’s nothing wrong with this approach, you could benefit from thinking outside the box and studying the growth path of those outside your market.
So, that’s what we did.
1. You Can’t Win Awards If Your Business Is Barely Surviving
If you are a fan of the hit TV show “Shark Tank,” then you know that when an entrepreneur struggles to articulate basic metrics about their business, then the chance of scoring a deal with an investor decreases dramatically.
You can’t expect to achieve growth if you don’t know the math behind your small business. Sure, your accountants will take care of most of the financial aspects of your company, but you need to know the basic metrics, such as:
- Customer acquisition costs
- Manufacturing costs
If you don’t know your numbers, you’re likely to fail.
2. Find Your Niche
Here’s a secret most award-winning companies learn the hard way: you can’t please everyone. As Kurt Vonnegut said, if you open the window and make love with the world, your story (in our case, your business) will get pneumonia.
In other words, you need to find a niche and focus on providing the best home building services to a specific audience. Try to identify a problem that your audience is having and that no one is covering and become the go-to source for that niche.
Don’t be afraid to refuse projects if they fall outside your spectrum or are too challenging. By being selective, you can ensure that your customers are always happy; hence you’ll build a strong reputation. Also, you don’t want to get into a position where you realize there is no way you will make money on the job, and you are stuck with it until it is complete. The only thing worse than not closing a prospect is taking on a non-profitable job (ALL builders have been there).
3. Streamline the Sales Process
If your target audience isn’t clearly defined (location, age, gender, professional status, needs, etc.), then you’ll probably waste a lot of time creating quotes and personalizing them. Instead, you need to streamline the sales process so that when someone is interested in your services, everything is prepared in advance.
Collect data about your prospects and learn as much as you can about their home building needs. Reach out to them and nurture them to the point where they turn into a qualified lead. That way, when they finally convert, you already know what they need and expect from you.
4. Ensure Your Employees Won’t Make the Same Mistakes You’ve Made
Ask any award-winning company, and they’ll tell you that they’ve picked up a large chunk of their business skills through trial and error. Failure is a natural part of starting and growing a company, so don’t let yourself get intimidated by it. However, just because you’ve made some mistakes on your path to success, it doesn’t mean that your employees should do the same.
Create a system to ensure no one in your construction company will repeat the same mistakes twice. It can be something as simple as a brief guideline with bullet points that your team needs to follow. Add new points to the document whenever you make a mistake, and you feel that your employees could learn something valuable from it. One great way to start is doing a “pre” and post P&L on all jobs. When you find a large “margin” discrepancy, it is easy to look back on what caused it. Work those changes into your system, and repeat.
5. Build Your Resilience
One of the biggest fear people have is failure. When you’re running a business, this fear increases tenfold. If you fail, you’ll disappoint not only yourself, but also the people that depend on you, such as your family, your employees, your partners, and so on.
As terrifying as the prospect of failing might feel, you need to understand that you can’t grow without taking any risks. Some of your ideas will work and drive more clients and revenue while others will fail miserably.
It will hurt, but you need to pick yourself up, learn from your mistakes, and overcome the challenges.
6. Find a Coach
If you want your construction business to stand out, you need to innovate and offer prospects something they need but never had before. To get to the point where you can lead the industry through innovation, you need to learn as much as you can.
We’re not talking about reading and keeping up with industry changes (although, that’s also something you should do), but about finding a mentor and getting the business coaching you need to succeed. A coach will help you gain experience, develop resilience, and will open numerous network opportunities. Finding a coaching company with builder-specialized coaches is even better, and will speed up the learning curve.
Entrepreneurs should never stop learning. If you feel like you’ve mastered everything there was to know about your home building niche, take a peek at what other industries are doing and see what you can learn from them.