If you are the owner of a construction business, this is your time to shine. Our world is expanding at an epic pace, and we need builders, architects and dreamers to help create the structures that will house our families and the companies that help our American economy thrive.
While you are proud of your construction business, it is important to always strive for constant improvement, so it can survive for years to come. Building a stable business takes constant work, planning and an undeterred dedication to the staff members that make it all possible. To that end, let’s look at some tools and tips for how to grow a long-lasting construction business.
Prepare for the Unexpected
To ensure the longevity of your construction business, you need to put a recovery plan in place that you can implement immediately if any unforeseen problems were to occur. For instance, our economy came to a screeching halt with the arrival of COVID-19, and many companies without a plan B lost their businesses. That is why it is essential to be proactive and create a business continuity plan during the early stages of your business development.
Essentially, this plan involves detailed contingency plans for every type of unforeseen incident you can imagine, from pandemics and natural disasters to cyber and terrorist attacks. How are you going to keep your business going if any of these issues were to occur?
Gather a team and figure out the immediate actions that you would take to keep your business afloat. Which specific team members will handle what specific tasks, and what systems will you have to implement now to be ready for an uncertain future? This is also a great time to start cross-training your employees so more than one person can handle essential duties if someone were to be hurt on the job.
Along with having a plan for how you will physically recover, you also need to implement a budget that accounts for all profits and expenses. That way, you can save the money necessary to keep your business going in the case of a utility outage or a storm that could wipe out your resources and leave you unable to work for an undetermined amount of time. A great tool for managing your incoming and outgoing funds is a cash flow calculator, which you can use to see where all of your profits are coming from, how much you will have leftover every quarter, and how you can use that money if your business were to hit dire straits.
An Employee Retention Strategy
The next step for construction business longevity is to create a positive work environment where you provide the tools that will help your employees feel appreciated and productive. Employee retention starts on day one with a well-orchestrated onboarding process, during which you explain the full extent of the new position, where employees can go for questions and guidance, and a career path that will see them grow within the company if they are interested in an eventual promotion.
After the onboarding process, it is important to stay in constant contact with the new employee to ensure they have everything they need and answer any questions they have. A person is more inclined to stick around if they know that the company has a vested interest in their development. This connection is important even if everyone is working remotely from their own homes. If this is the case at your business, create a digital watercooler of sorts where you can host meetings over Zoom or Google Hangouts and discuss important business matters over video, so everyone retains that valuable face-to-face connection.
Continuous training is key during the employee’s career because it will not only help the worker feel appreciated, but it will also improve your bottom line. Recent studies show that the costs associated with recruiting and training a new employee can skyrocket to upwards of $4000 per person. That cost may be too much for your growing construction company to afford, especially if you have a perfectly suitable employee that just needs a bit more training to fulfill your needs.
A Culture of Safety
The final tool that you must absolutely have in your stability and longevity arsenal is a culture of safety that extends to every member of your organization. While safety is important in any profession, the tools and scenarios often seen in construction can be particularly dangerous if your staff isn’t careful. You want your employees to feel safe and secure every day that they enter the job site, so management should hold regular meetings where safety guidelines are discussed and implemented. On top of that, management should have an open-door policy, so your staff knows that they are encouraged to come forward with any safety concerns they see around the office.
Extra caution is required on the job site. Ensure that all unused equipment is picked up and stored away in its proper place. Signage should be placed around work areas, and all dangerous chemicals should be labeled. With everyone constantly on their cell phones, incidents involving distracted workers are more common, so put a policy in place that says when and where personal devices may be used and when they should be shut off.
While the safety of your workforce is essential, you also need to ensure that your customers and clients are also protected. By doing so, you will prevent unwanted damage to your corporate reputation that can stem from lawsuits and negative reviews. Talk with the residents of the buildings you are working on and discuss working hours when they should avoid stepping into the worksite. Management should also inspect the site daily to verify that harmful items are not lying around. Some companies have found that using drones can provide a high-level view of the area, so even the smallest hazard doesn’t go undetected.
Every entrepreneur wants to see their business succeed, but it won’t happen on its own. Take the time to write contingency plans, work on employee retention, and create a culture of safety, and your company can last for decades to come.