Dealing with the unpredictable is something every business owner needs to learn how to do. In construction, this means that an entrepreneur needs to constantly be looking out for the next big thing. Whether it is a new product, advertising gimmick, or a local company that is using a new sales tactic, you need to stay ahead of the game if you want to survive. Use these guidelines to stay one step ahead.
- You want to predict the next big thing before it is already the next big thing. Look for trends that are starting to take hold and make sure that you are capable of jumping on board 100% at a moments notice. For example, solar shingles have supposedly been poised to take off several times in recent times in recent history. Are they going to get popular this time around? What new players are in the game and how is this going to affect the market? Beyond the availability of new materials keep an eye on your competitions advertising and sales techniques if possible. Spend a few hours each month scouring the internet and looking over related advertising campaigns so that you can “emulate” that which you find useful yourself. Looks into other industries as well to see if there is anything that may be useful to you that no one else is using construction right now. If you have time, have a family member or friend call out your direct competition and take copious notes on their sales presentation. Subscribe to newsletters or magazine for your trade and also sales in general. There is a vast amount of cutting edge market and psychological information for you to utilize here, apply even a fraction of it to your business and you will far outshine everyone else.
- Clearly identify the chaotic aspects to the market and find a productive way to take advantage of them. Contractors chase nasty storms around the country so that they can pick up the insurance work that inevitably follows such calamities. Not that this is always the best practice, or bunch of individuals for that matter, but it is a great example of putting this principle into practice. A long time competitor may suddenly file for bankruptcy, leaving a giant market segment open to you. You may notice that your customers keep requesting a service because it either is not offered in your area or there is no one reliable that they can find to do the work for them. As you are already applying the previously discussed principle, it will be easy enough to identify the opportunity and to clearly identify what needs to be done.
- Put the proper supports into place so that you plan can be smoothly put into action. Back again to the storm chasers, they have identified their target neighborhood and now they must hang door hangers on every house and go door to door trying to sign people up. Having the flyers printed and the salesman trained and ready to go with contracts is critical. Whatever strategy you decide to implement here, make sure that you and your crew have everything that you are going to need in the field to make is a success. Go through trial runs in your head so that you can overcome every possible objection and obstacle, preparing for the worst and stocking up ahead of time with supplies. The more you stick to a specific process and plan of action the easier it is going to be for you to recruit more help here. Give your employees easy to follow instructions with a clear goal that they can both understand and evaluate progress with.
- Lastly, you have to steer the ship through the course. You are the captain of this vessel and you must guide the team all the way home through the thick of the storm. Some times they will need a quick course correction, and other times just an encouraging “that a boy”. Learn to distinguish between the two and to figure out exactly how to motivate each individual employee. Certain people are driven purely financially and others more emotionally. Study up on different personality types, using systems such as the enneagram, so that you can adjust your own approach to best suit the team. The best advice is to stay passionate in what you do because it is contagious. Everyone else will feel how deeply you care about the project and will feed off of this enthusiasm.