One important but often overlooked task is understanding your business better. Specifically, the goal is to identify your personal and professional targets. The key is a type of “retreat” where you take time away from the business to set some core objectives. Having a clearly defined goal is a key to success in business as a builder – whether you’re just starting out or you have years of experience.
Once you have these goals clearly set, you can become more efficient, avoid bad clients, and become more focussed on the end result.
Here are some goals to consider to generate growth in your building business.
- Increasing profit.
- Growing the customer base so you can take on more projects – and higher quality projects.
- Generating higher margins by focussing on a smaller client base with deeper pockets.
- Expanding your geographical reach – going from local to regional.
- Providing new services to complement and augment your current portfolio.
As you grow, or plan to grow, it’s important to ask yourself these questions.
- What will your business look like in the future?
- Where can your business grow (category and geography)?
- Can you provide additional services to current clients?
- What’s your capacity to provide a service?
However, if you plan to grow, make sure you have the capacity and expertise to deliver what you promise. You may have to bring on additional staff. Conversely, you may discover your business is too large and you can actually earn more profit by decreasing the size of your business.
One mistake many builders make is to under-charge, simply to get regular work. This means slim margins and dealing with clients who only care about getting the lowest price. It can be more profitable to establish long-term relationships based on mutual respect. The top clients understand the long-term value of quality work and service…and will pay accordingly.
When it comes to marketing, the first step is to understand where your business comes from. Then you can put money into that source: it could be Yellow Pages, Internet, local newspaper advertising, or referrals. Can you discover where your competitors are gaining their business? When you advertise, make sure you have a method to track the results.
Successful marketers understand the power of differentiating yourself in the market. For example, earning Blueprint CPD points. How are you better, and different from, your competitors? Determine how you are unique – or make yourself unique without getting “cute”.
Have you taken a course in sales or negotiation? No? Then it may be something to consider, attending a course online or in person. Much of your success depends on being able to sell and negotiate. One sale can lead to a valuable client for life. That client can also provide referrals – especially if you ask for them!
Heard of upselling? Let’s say you have a great client whose buildings look great; their landscaping needs help. You can offer the requisite service – even if you’re not a landscaping expert.
Finally, remember to get client feedback so you know how to improve. Then make sure you communicate frequently with current clients and the companies and people you want as clients.