The first thing to do when determining if you should start your construction business is to understand why you want to start your business. You can build your business in such a way that it gives you exactly what you want. However, if you aren’t clear with those expectations before you start the default outcome will be the subconscious result of what you think businesses are supposed to be. If that’s the case you will most likely be setting yourself up for failure, because you will fall into the trap that most first time business owners find themselves in. They are constantly putting out fires, they have trouble leading and training their teams, they are constantly behind and in a hurry, and they can’t seem to make the big bucks they thought were promised when they started their company.
Your why for starting is much like your fingerprint. There are no two reasons that are alike and it is specific to you. Later in your business journey you will develop procedures and protocols for yourself, your team members, and your products/services. Your why will help you establish all of those for your business. Some business owners love to be in the field working, sweating, and touching every aspect of the end product. Others want to work 20 hours a week in the air conditioning and take six weeks vacation every year. Each of those will build their processes, teams and services differently even if they both own roofing businesses. You cannot begin to build your business unless you first know how you want it to serve you.
There are some reasons for starting a business that you’ll want to avoid. If you find yourself saying you want to start construction company for any of the following you will want to reevaluate your decision:
Statement: I am good at ________ (finishing concrete, electrical, framing, etc.) so I will be successful at starting my own (blank) business.
Reality: Having a successful business does not start with having a good understanding, skill or passion for whatever that business specializes in. Business acumen translates to any sector or industry whether you do roofing or sell cat fences. If you happen to start a construction business you must start with the necessary business knowledge before you can assume success. The good news is that business knowledge can be learned and applied relatively simply once you are aware of what to do; that’s why you’re here!
Statement: I want to be my own boss.
Reality: When you forfeit having one boss to go start your own business you will find that you are now subject to several bosses. As a business owner you don’t sell what you want. You sell what the one that pays you money wants and you do it in the way they want it. As a business owner you are in the service industry and you must be focused on bringing value to your clients first. In return for the value you bring them, they will naturally return the value you are looking for however you’ve established it in your business. Here’s a side-nugget; your earnings value are not just the money your clietns transfer to your account. It can be the relationships you build with them, the vacation you commit to every year, the 8 hour work days, the office you built, etc. Your clients will trade you your service for your paid six week’s vacation every year. That seems like a great trade to serve them how they want to be served. Determine the value you want to earn from your clients and you will find that it shows up.
There are also some misconceptions with owning your own business as well. Pay attention to these and be careful not to adopt them (unless you want to of course).
Statement: I will have to work 50+ hours a week.
Reality: You will need to look at your business like an asset, because it is one. Assets generate you money. Some businesses generate little while others generate a lot. If you owned an AirBNB near the beach in a warm climate you could generate tens of thousands of dollars a month and you wouldn’t have to do much of anything besides manage the bookings online, and hire the housekeeping and landscaping. We don’t have trouble imagining this income generating asset and our desire to one day aspire to having such a situation. Good news is that you can start to create an income generating asset today with much less money than it takes to buy a home to put on AirBNB and you don’t have to work 50+ hours a week. Just like an AirBNB, any business will take time to manage and ensure that your “money machine” is maintained, oiled, and fed with everything necessary to keep running. If you don’t maintain your vehicle, eventually it will quit producing; your business is the same. If you establish effective procedures, hire and train your team, and regularly check in with them you can create an asset that produces exactly whatever you want. Look at building your business like building a house to put on AirBNB. It will take you time to get the framework complete and house ready to rent. Once it’s built you will be able to step back, spend less time working on the asset, and watch the value accumulate in your life.
The common approach that most take to starting a construction business is that they dive head first into landing their first job/account, executing on that account and getting paid. This then turns into more accounts, more field execution and zero work on their business. In a year or two they find themselves swamped with field execution and their growth stagnates because they can’t implement and maintain the team necessary to scale. This is preventable, but it takes your commitment to spend substantial time upfront every week working ON your business. You can still split time in the field, but you can’t be one sided.
If this is your first business we would recommend you establish all of the roles necessary in your business and then fill one of the full time seats yourself. This will allow you the perspective to view and grow in your business leadership. If your goal is to eventually only work on that business 8 hours a week then fill the full time position you currently hold, take a step back, watch and observe to ensure the machine continues to operate smoothly. What you will develop with the CLINK curriculum will be a set of roles, standards and responsibilities for every seat necessary in your business. With that establishment you will be able to maintain a high level view of the business, supporting your team, and equipping them with the tools necessary to accomplish their roles. We like to think of this like a GM of a professional sports team. The general manager for the New York Yankees sits high above the field watching the entire operation of the organization. They aren’t just focused on the players on the field, but also the fans in the seats. The GM doesn’t play any of the positions, doesn’t sell hot dogs, doesn’t coach any of the players. Their role is solely around putting individuals in the right positions for the overall success of and vision of the organization. That’s you in your business.
As we look at closing down this post, this all boils down to you determining what you want out of your business. Your first checkpoint for this stage of your CLINK curriculum is to fill out the below form (clink the link below) to determine your “why” and what you want to get out of your business. We call this your Vision Story and it is the foundation of everything you do from this point on in building your business. Don’t try to fill this out in five minutes. Take some time to think deeply about your responses. When you’re ready, hit submit and one of our CLINK coaches will review it and reach out to you with their questions, comments, or suggestions. By taking this step to fill out your Vision Story you are already doing more than the majority of construction owners out there.