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Apocalypse – proof your business. Four simple steps to help your construction business survive an uncertain market.

apocalypse proof
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Apocalypse – proof your business. Four simple steps to help your construction business survive an uncertain market.

Right now, in construction, the only thing certain – is uncertainty. If the dreaded ‘rona has taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected. But the chaos of the last 18 months has left many businesses and individuals in a state of debilitating turmoil. Some of the hardest-hit people have been business owners – having to make gut-wrenching decisions on how to reduce spending, terminate employees or, sadly for some, close their doors altogether. 

So what exactly can we learn from all this madness, stress and anxiety? Here are my four tips on ways to help your construction business survive uncertainty.  

1. Know your numbers

Business owners need to get real on where their company is sitting financially and where it is headed. You need up to date, real-time data visibility over your entire organisation. Especially during unchartered waters as we currently are, responding in hindsight will not set you up to succeed. Now more than ever, every dollar counts, so you need to have visibility of possible cash overruns as they are happening so you can fix them, not in three months when your external accountant gets your numbers back to you.  

With a keen eye on your P&L and job costing, you can see which areas of your business continue to generate your most profit. You can bolster these activities whilst also having the ability to reduce the business activities that are dragging you into the red. Increasing your profit-generating operations and optimising cash flow will not only help you today but will create a solid base for years to come. 

2. Business audits

In every business, some processes and workflows occur – every hour. every day, every month. 

But when was the last time you thought about why you do the things you do? Are you really running your business as profitably and productively as possible? 

Are you open to new ways of doing things, or have they always been done that way?

When completing a business process review, firstly, identify any redundant processes – do you have team members doing tasks that essentially no longer need to be done? Are orders being approved by someone that is no longer necessary in this process? Have automated approvals removed the need for this step?

Secondly, avoid double handling. Ensure that process is as straightforward and deliberate as possible. Reduce the steps and people involved to those that are an absolute necessity. If an invoice is within budget and matches the purchase order, do you need to send it to a third person to approve payment before sending it off?

Identify areas that could be improved.

So far in our business process review, we have removed unnecessary procedures and limited the touchpoints in your operations. Now, let’s look at ways you can improve the procedures you have and need.

Software can significantly increase your team’s efficiency and error rate. Are there ways you could be automating parts of your process, utilising your technology to its full potential, and reducing labour hours? 

An example of how a process could be reimagined would be to batch invoices, instead of sending them through one by one or utilising programs that automatically send out payslips and payment receipts, instead of a finance person doing these emails one at a time.

Moving with the tech

Another review we recommend doing at Thrive Technologies is an annual review of your software. This ensures you are using all the software features available to you, including automation. At a scheduled yearly review, Thrive will discuss your business challenges and how we can find solutions. Options for improvement could include customising your current system, running some training sessions to ensure your staff are entirely up to date with your solution’s features and the quickest ways of doing things in the system.

Review

After rolling out the new processes, ensure you watch how things are going for the next few weeks. This monitoring will allow you to fix any minor issues that may arise. Ensure you are talking to those involved with the new process and see how it is working for them – you want to ensure it really IS an improvement.

3. Understand Transition Management

Transition Management is those changes you make to replace existing processes with new processes. E.g. making your company leaner or streamlining operations. Transition management is a process that offers peace to those going through challenging life stages, personally or professionally. The basics of the process are below:

Stage 1: The Ending.

Whilst it seems strange, the beginning is the end. If your business needs to restructure, reduce or look for ways to increase your revenue – this is your end goal. But to achieve these results, you need to learn to “let it go…. “cue Elsa….. but seriously, right now, you need to forget how you have always done things in the past, forget any opinions you may have on why something may or may not work and have an open mind.  

This is most definitely the hardest stage as it pushes you to think in a way you are not used to.

Stage 2: Chaos

This second stage is where you will feel lost. You are not sure where to go or what move to make. You will most likely be doubting your decisions at this time as well, from small, seemingly insignificant ones to the large scale organisational changes you know need to happen. 

Stage 3: The beginning

Although the chaos is a challenging stage – there will come an “ah huh!” moment. The light will flick on, and suddenly the world will no longer be shrouded in darkness. At this point, you will start to see with clarity the changes that need to be made within your business. This is the point of focus and clarity and will generally lead to creating business strategies that will see you out of the woods.

4. Expect the Unexpected

There is something to be said for just expecting uncertainty. As much as uncertainty brings chaos, it also inspires change. Change in the way we define work, change in the way we perform our work, and change how we empower others to work. The unexpected gives us the push we need to make the changes we have been sitting on for years – but never had the strength to follow through. Surviving an uncertain market means being willing to change. Are you ready?

If you are looking to find ways to utilise your current resources more productively, thrive are here to help. We can facilitate business audits and show you ways to get more from your business through automation and better systems. Give our team of experts a call today on 1300 868 474.

Thrive Technologies. We listen. We understand. We find solutions.