By Victoria Downing
The market is hot and, if you’re like most remodeling company owners, you’re ready to jump on every opportunity that comes your way. I realize that most company owners want (and need) to grow. After all, if you’re not growing, you’re likely losing market share to other, more aggressive companies.
But be careful! I’ve seen many companies go out of business during times of tremendous growth.
So, the key is to grow . . . but do it smart.
Here are five tips for taking advantage of the thriving business environment while protecting yourself, your team, and your company.
1. Control Costs
Set concrete budgets for all overhead categories. Then have the discipline to stick with it. When cash is flowing rapidly through the company, it’s often easy to binge spend on items that aren’t necessary.
2. Stay hyper-focused on customer experience
When your business is overwhelmed by the rate of business, remember that a positive customer experience is at the heart of every successful company. Do whatever it takes to make sure that you exceed expectations, communicate accurately and often as you deliver the value your customers expect. Whether this is hiring temp workers to take some of the load from key managers, new computers or technology to increase productivity, or additional training to help increase efficiency, this sort of investment will pay off big. This is not the time nor place to be stingy.
3. Continually build on your culture
With growth, culture becomes the glue that keeps your employees devoted to you, the company, and their peers. Often, you can’t rely on the homey, family feel that was part of the smaller business. Now, with more people involved, you must be proactive by consciously and regularly communicate the values and direction of the company. Keep your employees informed on all the efforts you are making to lighten their load. Reward behavior that supports the culture. For example, if someone goes out of their way to help a colleague, remember that and share the story at company meetings or even casual conversations with groups of employees.
4. Have the right team
This is one of the toughest, especially when finding any construction pro is very difficult. We know you’re not the only company that’s experiencing growth in your market, so the competition is tough. Some keys: hire the smartest, most capable people you can so that they don’t become a burden by needing constant training and input. Market the job opening(s) like crazy to your subs, suppliers, clients and friends to spread the net wide and attract a dozen or more good applicants. Then, use a hiring system – the right kinds of interview questions, personality assessments, skill assessments – and don’t skip steps, no matter how tempting. It’s much better to take more time at the beginning to find the right person, rather than having to go back to the drawing board later.
5. Subtract, while you add
When the whirlwind of daily activities becomes too much to bear, step back. Involve your staff in a planning session that will help you identify the two or three most important actions you can take to keep your company running smoothly. Create a plan to accomplish these important tasks and then move on to the next set of important goals.
Growing a company can be exciting. But growing it with a fantastic team of people who create loyal clients, all while earning a nice, solid profit. . . that’s heaven.
Victoria Downing is with Remodelers Advantage