The last 16 months have been something to behold for the Construction and Trades industries, particularly in residential construction. Fueled by the pandemic, and the general public rarely leaving their homes for over a year, all of a sudden the house that once worked for you is no longer working. Most of us have heard stories of how difficult it is as a buyer to buy a house (see hilarious video from The Holderness Family here), and finding a contractor in just about any trade leads to a long wait for the consumer.
But our many construction, remodeling and trades clients are working overtime, having trouble hiring enough quality tradespeople to do the overwhelming amount of jobs, and are having some of their best years ever. One of the challenges that our clients are facing is when to turn away business. When do you take the foot off the gas? And are you prepared for the inevitable downturn in the flood of business?
SCALING UP FOR GROWTH
In any business, especially ones that are on the fast track to massive growth, we see a cycle of extreme growth, followed by a plateau, then back to a spike in growth again. Overall, the growth should ideally be a path upward, but there will inevitably be little plateaus along the way. The reason for this? It’s the business’s ability to scale their business – establish systems as a much larger business, hire great people to complete the work, and get the leadership team firing on all cylinders – that make the growth possibility really happen. Allowing the systems and processes to stay as they were when the business is growing leads to burned out teams, sacrificing quality, and unhappy customers.
Let’s use the example of the retailer Spanx. Founder Sara Blakely saw a need for a quality undergarments without seams, and created the prototype herself, employing women in her friends and family group to test them. She teamed with a small-scale production company, and fulfilled all orders out of her small apartment in Atlanta. Her boyfriend at the time eventually quit his full-time job and pitched in. Now, she owns a global company with estimated revenue of $400 million. The systems, processes, and job descriptions from a company running out of her apartment to a multi-national organization couldn’t be more different. Even the title of CEO has a different meaning, no longer being the accounting department, human resources, sales, marketing, and more. Every step of the atmospheric growth of this company involved growing the systems too.
TURNING CUSTOMERS AWAY
A looming question in periods of extreme business growth is when to turn new business away. If your marketing machine is working, and in the case of construction & trades the industry as a whole is growing rapidly, it’s a tough spot in which to live. When our clients ask this in our coaching sessions, our answer is almost always that if you are a strong leader with a strong team in line, and the support you need as a business owner, then now is the time to make the hay. Having a financial cushion during times of less business, particularly in weather-dependent trades, allows you to have some peace without having to borrow from lines of credit, or lay off employees. Become your own line of credit.
Be sure when you take on a rapid amount of business that you don’t let the quality suffer. A poor customer service experience, a rushed job, a quality issue, and broken promises on timeline can do more to hurt your business than taking on one more job. If you can handle it, build that emergency fund and get ready for what will come your way, which we hope with the right strategies is massive growth.
TRAINING IS CRUCIAL
In the times that your business is busy beyond belief, don’t forget about your biggest asset, your employees. Your team can easily get burned out during this time, and the last thing that you need is a team that is not firing on all cylinders. The systems that you are putting in place as your business grows don’t exist in a vacuum. They have to be constantly communicated, including training, to each of the employees in your organization that they affect. The new systems, or updated systems, should automatically come with a vehicle for training. If they don’t, then implementing them becomes a huge challenge. All of that hard work working on the health of your business might go to waste.
Busy times in your business are great! It’s what we as business owners hope for. Planning and enabling that growth to really work for you is crucial. We recommend that you join us for our Growth Club event on September 17, and at the end of this fun, interactive day for Business Owners, you’ll walk away with actionable strategies to put the pedal to the metal on your business! Registration is through Eventbrite, and as always our coaching clients get free admission (a $400 value).
Are you ready to plan for your business? Are you ready to network with our high-achieving business owners? Register today for our Growth Club 90-Day Planning Session! Because you are a subscriber to our Inbox Inspiration, your registration is half price. Use code INBOX50 at checkout.