Are you guilty of being reactive rather than proactive when it comes to running your building company?
The key to remaining calm and composed when faced with a situation that is out of your control is through a combination of information and looking ahead.
It’s easy for someone to tell you to, “Calm down and take a breath,” but that only treats the symptoms not the cause.
In order to lead your team through this crisis it’s important to uncover any blind spots in your building company immediately so that you are armed with the latest financial information.
Better Information Leads To Better Decisions
No matter how bad it may appear, having access to the latest information will reduce your own stress levels, and having a plan reduces stress and anxiety significantly.
When you have a plan, you are looking ahead.
In car racing, the most common mistake a new driver makes is looking at the track in front of them when they are braking for a corner rather than looking across at the apex of the corner.
Once they turn into the corner, they then focus on the apex of the corner when they should really be looking at the exit point.
Race coaches always talk in terms of looking further ahead rather than looking at where you are.
It’s the same in business.
We talk in terms of business owners ‘putting on the binoculars’ and looking ahead.
Just like a race car driver, it’s not about focusing on what’s happening around you right now, it’s your job to look to the future and make tiny adjustments to the steering in order to be on the right part of the track later on.
A business that is focused on what lies ahead in the distance is always well prepared.
And being prepared gives you greater control over a situation.
And control reduces both stress and anxiety.
The Future Belongs To Those Who Prepare For It
The future belongs to those builders who prepare for it today.
So, make sure you share your Plan B with your team. It’s very important that you communicate with your team and give them the reassurance they will be seeking.
Remember, they rely on you for their income so they will also be feeling anxiety due to not being in control of the situation and not having alternative options at this moment in time with regard to alternative employment.
And by the way, your Plan B needs to cover working from home so that you can keep your team productive as you work through this challenging time.
Also, suppliers and contractors will need to be updated. So make sure they are aware of your job schedule so that they know what to expect. Update them on payments, if there are to be delays, get on the front foot and offer a payment plan.
In some cases, for locally sourced materials you may be in a position to negotiate longer credit terms.
However, for items in short supply you may need to consider offering payment up front in order to obtain supply.
Supply chains will be tested to the max over the next 12 months so place orders early, update lead times where appropriate, seek alternatives where necessary and remember, one is the most dangerous number in business…
If you are relying on one subcontractor, one supplier or one product, you are vulnerable right now.
This should have already come out of your SWOT analysis but if it didn't, add to it as new threats emerge.
Also, this is a two-way communication channel. You need to be encouraging your suppliers and subcontractors to update you on a regular basis so that you are not left hanging.
If you are not doing it already, now is the time to utilise all the features that project management tools like BuilderTrend and CoConstruct offer in terms of call forwards, subcontractor confirmations and completion updates.
And don’t forget your clients. Remember, this is the biggest investment they have ever made in their life. Any delays will result in additional costs for them with regard to rent and holding costs.
Delays will also be costing you money so make sure you update them regularly, offer alternatives for items not currently available, issue extensions of time where appropriate, advise ahead of time when claims will be issued and raise invoices FAST!
Take Nothing For Granted
You may be thinking, I already work closely with my team so they know what’s going on.
Take nothing for granted, things will change very quickly and you could find yourself working remotely.
It will be important to remain structured and disciplined in the months ahead...
If you need help with that, all the tools are inside the APB Member’s portal including a step-by-step action plan covering how to prepare your building company for COVID-19 and avoid running out of cash during the downturn, which you can download for free here.