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Take Time to Plan


Imagine yourself stranded on an island trying to decide how to best get off before you run out of food and die. Without any input, advice, or ideas from others, it would be difficult to make the right decisions. Now, imagine a business owner sitting in their office alone trying to make all of the decisions on how to run their company. These scenarios are similar. Without input from others, making decisions based solely on what you know and your own experiences are no guarantee that you will choose the right path. Your chances of succeeding are less than 50 percent, or 20 percent, or perhaps even ZERO, which are not good odds when your company’s future is at stake.

Can You Do It All By Yourself?

Along with the fun and excitement of running a construction company comes much stress and strain. Overwhelmed with tough questions, no easy answers, and difficult decisions, frustrated business owners delay deciding what to do about their future, management team, customers, equipment, marketing, profits, financials, and growth. And when you postpone making decisions, you are continuing to tolerate mediocre employees, poor results, and inadequate systems, and you struggle to make enough money. Eventually, you realize you can’t do it all yourself and need to seek some help. Unfortunately, most owners never get off their treadmill long enough to look for advice or make time for improvement. This is like delaying a trip to the doctor even though you know that nagging chest pain must be treated before it’s too late and you have a heart attack.

Me, Myself, and I

The best advice you can get is from experienced unbiased professionals who know your business, can offer real steps to improve it, and are not afraid of telling you the truth. One construction company founder had 150 employees and was doing $50,000,000 in annual sales within seven years after starting their company. As a young 35-year-old, the founder thought they were doing great and knew everything there was to know about business. A friend suggested a company board of directors could help them take their company to the next level. So, they asked five very successful businessmen to be on their board. At the first meeting, they proudly presented their goals, financials, and plans for the future, and then asked for input. One by one, the board members proceeded to rip the founder apart and ask questions they couldn’t answer. Their laser-like questions included:

“Is that all the money you make for the risk you take?”

“Why are you only doing that type of work?”

“Why is your employee turn-over so high?”

“Why do you do so much of the work yourself?”

“Who’s on your management team and accountable for results?

“What’s your plan to improve profitability?”

“What new customers and markets have you tried in the last year?”

“Why are you afraid to delegate and let go of major decisions?”

“Do you have a written strategic business plan?”

These questions made the founder feel about two feet tall, especially since they thought they had done well building the company. But the management team only consisted of the founder themself. Plus, they had obviously missed the boat on most major strategies required to become successful and profitable.

Get Some Help

The construction company founder’s advisory board recommended hiring a professional business coach who specialized in helping construction business owners grow and profit. They also suggested writing a strategic business plan before any further decisions were made. After several days of shock from the reality of the board meeting, the founder took their advice and decided to invest in the company’s future and get some help. A business coach was hired to help with the founder’s leadership style and to analyze the management team. The coach also reviewed and helped improve the business’s operational systems, standards, and procedures to help get it organized and in control. The coach reviewed the company’s numbers and gave advice on what was required to make more money. The coach also did a great job at facilitating a two-day strategic business planning retreat. The owner/founder could not have made all of these necessary changes without the help, advice, and pushing of an outside consultant whose only agenda was to make the company better.

Where Do You Need Help?

Every small business owner has internal challenges, threats, and tough decisions to make. Some have longtime employees who have stopped being productive. Many can’t decide what moves they need to take to find better customers, or improve bottom-line results. Without sound advice, owners postpone tough decisions and usually stay stuck in a rut.

Take Time to Plan Your Plan

Take time for a strategic business planning retreat with company owners, key managers, and a professional facilitator or business coach. This will help you determine your company’s future. Your written plan will include a vision, key success factors, goals, objectives, targets, strategy, and action plans clearly defined and written. Your decisions will answer these key questions:

  1. What is the owner’s purpose for owning the company?
  2. What is our 5-year business mission and vision?
  3. What core values and business principles do we stand for?
  4. How do we want to do business?
  5. What type of customers and projects do we want?
  6. What is working, not working, and what do we need to fix?
  7. What people and organizational structure do we need?
  8. What systems do we need to implement?
  9. What additional opportunities are available to us?
  10. What results do we want to accomplish?

Invest in Your Future

Taking time to face reality, get advice, make decisions, and draft a strategic plan are proven steps to help your company achieve its goals. Are you up to the task? Are you willing to look in the mirror and face reality? Do you really want to make a positive difference in your future? Are you open to change and improved results? Are you ready to tackle your people, processes, systems, procedures, communication, customers, organizational chart, reporting, chain of command, delegation, accountability, methods, focus, direction, and your leadership style? If so, stop postponing and take time to plan your plan.

Business - Commercial Construction Industry

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This article contains general information only. Sunflower Bank is not, by means of this article, rendering accounting, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services. This article is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, before making any decisions related to these matters, you should consult a qualified professional advisor.