By Andrew Houston
November 1, 2016 – It’s that time of year when we ask ourselves questions like: “Where did the year go? I still have so much left to accomplish!” or “Where did I go wrong? I didn’t get the results I wanted from my business!”
These questions tend to make you feel either very good or very bad—but usually very bad. Let’s see if you can relate to the following (check off the boxes that resonate with you):
• I’m not getting the freedom I wanted from owning my own business.
• I feel imprisoned in my job; drowning in an extremely long To-Do list.
• I’m working on tasks that are way below my pay grade.
• I’m too involved in simple routine tasks that my employees should be handling.
• I’m not making the profits I deserve considering the work I put in.
• My cash flow is like a rollercoaster—totally unpredictable and, sometimes, scary.
• I want to take my business to the next level but don’t know where to start.
The list of challenges a contractor can face in his business can be endless, making you feel overwhelmed and discouraged. You’re probably an amazing tradesperson but, when it comes to playing a businessperson, it’s a whole different show.
So how do you master your business in 2017 and make it the best year ever?
Know the 3 core pillars that make up a successful contracting business:
1. Time & Team
2. Profits & Cash Flow
3. Marketing & Sales
Know the order of these pillars and the reasoning behind it. Time & Team comes first because, if it’s out of control, you simply won’t have time to focus on improving your profits, cash flow, or marketing and sales.
Profits & Cash Flow comes second because you need to know whether you’re doing profitable work before you go out, land more work and market yourself out of business. When you’re unable to forecast your cash flow, and you get more work than your bank account can handle, you can go bankrupt very easily.
Once you have a handle on your profits, you can identify both the types of work and the clients that are more profitable, which helps you amp up Marketing & Sales.
Create a plan relative to the 3 core pillars that will help you see quick results. Start by joining me and Electrical Business Magazine for a Planning for Profits & Freedom in 2017 webinar on January 12, 2017, 2 pm EST. During this workshop, you will:
• Learn how to plug leaks in each of the 3 core pillars.
• Learn strategies for systemizing aspects of those pillars within your business.
• Learn how to be more profitable.
Meantime, let’s have a look at some top core pillar strategies for you to try out before January’s webinar workshop. These strategies will deliver the best results in the least amount of time and with the least amount of effort.
Time & Team top strategy
Draw three columns on a blank piece of paper labelled: Tasks, Value and DSEK. Under Tasks, write down everything you do (yes, it will be a long list). Next, estimate a value beside each Task in terms of money, time, etc. In the last column, determine what should be done with every task. Are you going to:
Circle the lowest-value tasks and get started!
Profits & Cash Flow top strategy
Compile time sheets and costs (material and other). Add them up and compare to your quote to determine whether you’re profitable on the work you’re doing. Leverage this data to determine team efficiency, and whether the type of work you’re doing—and for whom you’re doing the work—is a good fit. Knowing this is a game-changer for your Profits & Cash Flow!
Marketing & Sales tops strategy
Start using a client feedback form on every job; ask clients to fill it out while your crews are cleaning up. Have them rate the quality of work, cleanliness, promptness, etc., of your company. Include a testimonial and referral section. Now you have something you can show your next prospect to prove you’re the best contractor for them and the job. I call it “Trust Transference”. Stop saying you provide good quality and service and start proving it. (Added bonus: this is also a great document for employee reviews.)
In closing, when you register for our workshop webinar, you’ll get a copy of our done-for-you feedback form plus the Contractor’s Toolbox of Strategies tool, which gives you over 70 strategies for improving each of the 3 core pillars.
Andrew Houston is the owner and founder of Profit for Contractors. He has been consulting to trades business owners for nearly a decade, helping them improve their business skills so they can achieve their personal and business goals. A graduate of George Brown College, Andrew achieved Industrial Controls Licensed Electrician as well as Electronics Engineering Technologist. Visit www.profitforcontractors.com.