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    Collaboration - Why It's Essential To Your Construction Company

    Posted by Sharie DeHart on Fri, Jan 24, 2020

    Many elements are vital to a growing construction business. A financially-astute leader is one. A confident and motivated sales team well-versed in your construction company's service line is another. But starting and growing a business requires more than employees with extensive functional skills and appropriate personal characteristics.
     
    Growing a construction business requires collaboration - the deployment of employees in a way that allows them to work together to problem-solve and act with a shared sense of urgency. 
     
    When this occurs, group members come to leverage the strengths of one another as they work to achieve shared objectives vital to the construction company's growth. Also, mutual learning takes place, which increases the probability that each employee's performance will evolve from good to better and then best. In turn, a company's performance improves as well.


     

    As collaboration occurs, teams leverage individual differences to produce exceptional outcomes. This knowledge sharing creates a learning enterprise in which construction employees more readily identify solutions to problems. As a consequence, the company may become more operationally and financially successful. 

    There are many reasons that collaboration has these positive effects.

    • Makes The Best Use Of Available Skills 

    A collaborative environment makes a range of disciplines accessible on an as-needed basis, which leads to the efficient use of employee talent in a way that isn't possible otherwise. Collaboration allows multiple individuals to participate in the completion of a task at hand, which makes it more likely that the right talent is available at the right time. With collaboration, tasks are completed more efficiently, leaving more time for staff to concentrate on activities that contribute to your construction company growth.

    • Facilitates Problem Solving 

    Collaboration allows a company to throw the most skilled resources at a problem, which may mean a solution is identified more quickly and more cost-effectively than might be possible otherwise. Leveraging the most appropriate resources means a team's overall functional breadth and depth increase, which can improve the quality of a project's processes and result.

    Besides, diverse and complementary talent may enhance individual work processes as each employee becomes a part of a greater whole, which can positively affect a construction company's culture. It's the change in culture that contributes to new thinking, which may lead to new ways to perform, which helps the company to grow.

    • Leverages Individual Differences 

    Asking employees with very different skills to collaborate to accomplish an objective leverages individual knowledge, strengths and capabilities and maximizes organizational potential. A team succeeds or fails according to the combined capabilities and commitment of the individuals involved.

    Deploying a variety of unique strengths and skills advances a team's understanding of a problem, which can lead to faster problem scoping and solution formulation, and more effective solutions.

    • Builds Company Knowledge 

    A group brings different perspectives to a problem at hand. As individuals share their views, each team member considers issues from multiple viewpoints, and the person begins to think like the group.

    Likewise, as each individual demonstrates a particular skill, other team members may learn these skills, which will be helpful when attempting to accomplish new goals. In effect, team interaction allows team knowledge to build up, like compound interest. In this way, a construction company leverages individual perspectives across the enterprise. 

    • Creates a Learning Enterprise

    Collaboration provides an opportunity to move beyond learning management systems and content to learning in context, which can be empowering to an entire team.

    When two people work together, they inevitably share knowledge, which contributes to a culture that supports ongoing learning. Consequently, collaboration creates a safety net that protects a company from a lack of appropriate expertise.

    As an individual collaborates with others, his knowledge expands as does the reach of his skills. When this occurs throughout the organization, its knowledge boundaries extend, leading to new opportunities and new ways of doing things. 

    One way to improve and encourage collaboration in your workplace is by developing your communication skills, whether you are a construction business owner, project manager, or staff. Here are a few ways to improve it:

    1. Always maintain control of your emotions in stressful situations

    Leaders are often called upon to make difficult decisions under circumstances that are not ideal. If you can keep a cool head and calmly make decisions in a crisis, the people around you will begin to recognize you as the go-to leader when new or challenging situations arise.

    2. Remain focused on the conversation at hand

    When you are in the middle of working on a project, it is easy to get tunnel vision that prevents you from focusing on what is happening around you. When someone engages you in conversation, always make an effort to stay focused on what they are saying. Occasionally repeat back your understanding of what the other person just told you. Not only will this behavior make them feel you value their input enough to listen, but it will also increase the level of respect they have for you as a leader/coworker.

    3. Pay attention to your body language

    It is important to remember that your body language can be just as essential as what you say. If you are in the middle of a conversation with someone and they see you furrowing your brows or not making eye contact, they could walk away with the impression that you are disinterested or angry with them. Try to maintain a neutral expression when conversing with your staff or coworkers.

    4. Do not interrupt

    When you are a leader, people will often approach you because you have the answers. However, it can be easy to speak without a full understanding of what is being asked and provide someone with incorrect information. Always allow the other person to finish their thought and ask their question in its entirety so you can give a thoughtful, helpful answer.

    5. Do not make snap judgments when speaking to someone

    Occasionally, leaders are sought out when someone has made a mistake or poor business decision. If someone you are leading comes to you and admits they have done something wrong, try your best to withhold judgment. Sometimes this will require you to listen to their side of the story and reschedule a meeting later in the day or week to discuss a more productive course of action. Other times, it may be as simple as asking them what their solution to the issue would be and addressing it from that angle.

    6. Be consistent with your feedback

    When you are leading people, ensure that you look for opportunities to offer positive and negative feedback consistently. Many issues in building sites can be prevented by merely mentioning positive behavior when you see it and constructively pointing out negative behaviors as they occur in hopes of it ending there.

    Final thoughts

    If you are looking for ways to lead and collaborate more effectively, communicating better is one of the easiest and most valuable skills you can learn. Effective communication will help you to gain the trust and respect of individuals around you, which is one of the most valuable assets you can acquire.

    Collaboration supports a company's efforts to act with a shared sense of urgency by deploying employees with particular skills in a variety of ways. Collaboration is also an effective means of problem-solving because it allows a construction business to leverage individual employee differences, evaluate employee efforts in the aggregate, and create a learning enterprise. When problems are solved more readily, resources become available to achieve other construction company objectives, including business growth.

    P.S.

    We are excited and honored that Randal is nominated as the 2020 Small Business Person Of The Year in our city. If you are on Alignable, I would appreciate it if you can connect with us and "like" our recommendation.

    Screenshot of Alignable nomination

    About The Author:

    Sharie DeHart, QPA is the co-founder of Business Consulting And Accounting in Lynnwood, Washington. She is the leading expert in managing outsourced construction bookkeeping and accounting services companies and cash management accounting for small construction companies across the USA. She encourages Contractors and Construction Company Owners to stay current on their tax obligations and offers insights on how to manage the remaining cash flow to operate and grow their construction company sales and profits so they can put more money in the bank. Call 1-800-361-1770 or sharie@fasteasyaccounting.com

     

    OUTSOURCED ACCOUNTING FOR 
    THE BUSY CONTRACTOR
    IN A MOBILE ENVIRONMENT

    Bookkeeping Trial Test Drive Contractor Bookkeeping Templates For QuickBooks And Xero
    Outsourced Accounting 1-800-361-1770


    Download the Contractors APP today
     from the 
    App Store or Android Store

    Access Code: FEAHEROS

    Click here to download the App on Android:

    Click here to download the App on iOS:

    Simply scan the QR code or search for ‘MyAccountants’ in the App Store and enter the Access code: FEAHEROS to utilize the powerful App features and capabilities, and benefit from having our Construction Accounting App at your fingertips, 24/7."

    PS: Even if you are not a Construction Contractor you will find a plenty of benefits in the app so we invite you to download it too! It's Free so why not?

     

    Read More

    Topics: Contractor, Contractor Tips, Contractor Operating Tips, Construction Systems And Processes

    How To Find And Keep Top Construction Employees

    Posted by Sharie DeHart on Fri, Jan 17, 2020

    We all know the usual process of finding new employees. Advertise a job,  read resumes, conduct a telephone interview, conduct a face-to-face interview, then choose someone. The steps to recruiting new talent have been the same for decades, leaving many construction business owners to think these are the only way to find new employees. 
     
    There are many top-notch employees that you might not find if you don't change your strategy, however, these days there are many new and exciting ways to connect with possible staff and attract qualified employees to your business. All you have to do is be willing to be creative in your thinking. 


     

    Get your current employees on it

    Besides you, who knows better what you need in an employee than your current employees? Not only do they know what you need, but they can also vouch for the people they recommend. Using an employee referral program can save you the costs associated with advertising a position, undergoing extensive interviews, and then training and retraining employees who don't work out. 
     
    How does it work? Your employees recommend people for a job with your company, and if their recommendation is successful, they get a reward. This can be a cash bonus, a gift, additional days off work, or the opportunity to work from home for a few days. 
     
    Make sure the program's details are precise: does the referred employee have to be hired for the benefit to kick in, or do they have to work at your company for a specific period? Does the gift get more extravagant if they recommend more successful recruits?
     
    Keep the rules simple and make sure all employees know about the program. 

    Turn to Social Media

    Social media isn't just a great way to build your customer base; it's also a fantastic way to build interest in working for your company. Employees of all ages—but especially younger generations—use some form of social media to look for work. That could be LinkedIn, but it can also mean Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or a variety of other sites.
    Even if someone who sees your post isn't interested, they may share it with their friends or followers, who will share it with theirs, vastly increasing your reach. Be sure you know who your target candidates are and what social media channels they use and tailor your ads or posts to them. 
     
    If you have the time to have a long-view of recruiting, start building your company's employment brand online early by releasing content that highlights your corporate culture. People may see those posts and come to you so you can develop your talent pool. At the very least, you'll already be on their radar when it comes time to hire. 

    Reach out to past candidates

    Just because someone wasn't the best candidate for a job in the past doesn't mean they aren't now. There could have been many factors that resulted in that person not being the best fit at that time. Perhaps they've taken courses or developed their experience since you interviewed them. 
     
    When you interview people that you like, but they don't quite make the cut, keep their resume on file and consider reaching out to them when a position opens up. You never know when the time will be right for them.
     
    In light of finding the right employee, make sure your company is also a good fit for job-lookers. One way of attracting and keeping top and able crew is creating personal development plans for your employees.

    Hopefully, you have long - and short-term plans for your company, and you may even have a strategy for your development, but have you considered having a personal development plan (or individual development plan) for employees?
    An employee's development plan is an action plan that focuses on helping staff improve their knowledge, capabilities, and skills in areas related to your business.
    Creating such plans shows your staff you're invested in their future, which increases employee satisfaction. It helps them understand their role and gives them a framework for expanding their talents. It enables you to develop your staff, allowing you to promote from within and enabling your employees to grow with your construction company.
    Here are some steps to take to write a personal development plan.
     
    1. Determine business and employee goals 
     
    The first step is to determine your company's goals and needs. Are you looking to expand locations soon? Add new products or services? Do you have senior employees who will be retiring soon? Once you know what your business needs, you can identify the skills, experience, and training that will support the people who will help you meet those requirements. 
     
    Then determine your employees' goals. Talk to them about the work they currently do and where they feel they could use training. Ask where they see themselves in your company in the future. Find out why they want to develop their skills. Their answers will help you determine how to put the plan into action.  
    When you assess employees, keep in mind that having the ambition or potential to move up in your business doesn't necessarily mean they're ready right now. They may require a few years of gradually expanding their role and skills, or they may be great at one job (say installation) but not at another (such as sales). 
     
    2. Explore training and development options
     
    Now you can look at training and development options for your employees. Consider what training will give them the skills they need to expand their talents while also weighing their learning styles. Not all employees learn well in a classroom setting - and not all have the time to devote to taking courses. 
     
    Explore other options, such as coaching and mentoring, special projects, networking groups, online training, and working with experts. Combining a few of these strategies will likely work well for your employees as they can learn new skills and see how those skills apply to their jobs. 
     
    3. Write a development plan
     
    Finally, you can write up the plan, including specific goals with deadlines and the steps to take to help your employees achieve their goals. Sit down with your employees to talk about the program over, so they know what the goals are and how acquiring new skills helps them and the construction company. 
     
    Ensure that each employee has the opportunity to apply their new skills on the job and get feedback about their progress. This will keep them engaged in the process and help them refine their abilities. Remember to review the plan periodically so you can measure their development and determine if the project should be revised.
     
    In conclusion
     
    There are many things you can do that can be successful in finding the right employee for your business. As a bonus, some of these strategies won't necessarily cost you a lot of time or money and may get you highly qualified and loyal employees. Employee development plans are a great way to invest in your employees and help them acquire new skills that will help them in their careers. It also enables you to promote from within your construction company, saving you time and money in the long run. 

    About The Author:

    Sharie DeHart, QPA is the co-founder of Business Consulting And Accounting in Lynnwood, Washington. She is the leading expert in managing outsourced construction bookkeeping and accounting services companies and cash management accounting for small construction companies across the USA. She encourages Contractors and Construction Company Owners to stay current on their tax obligations and offers insights on how to manage the remaining cash flow to operate and grow their construction company sales and profits so they can put more money in the bank. Call 1-800-361-1770 or sharie@fasteasyaccounting.com

     

    OUTSOURCED ACCOUNTING FOR 
    THE BUSY CONTRACTOR
    IN A MOBILE ENVIRONMENT

    Bookkeeping Trial Test Drive Contractor Bookkeeping Templates For QuickBooks And Xero
    Outsourced Accounting 1-800-361-1770


    Download the Contractors APP today
     from the 
    App Store or Android Store

    Access Code: FEAHEROS

    Click here to download the App on Android:

    Click here to download the App on iOS:

    Simply scan the QR code or search for ‘MyAccountants’ in the App Store and enter the Access code: FEAHEROS to utilize the powerful App features and capabilities, and benefit from having our Construction Accounting App at your fingertips, 24/7."

    PS: Even if you are not a Construction Contractor you will find a plenty of benefits in the app so we invite you to download it too! It's Free so why not?

     

    Read More

    Topics: Hiring Employees, Contractor, Contractor Tips, Contractor Operating Tips, Construction Systems And Processes

    Home Maintenance And Repair Service Company Automation And Technology

    Posted by Sharie DeHart on Fri, Jan 10, 2020

    The daily processes and transactions involved in operating a home maintenance and repair service business can mean long hours of repetitive tasks and occasional oversights due to human nature. These days, you can use technology to take care of almost any issue facing your business. 
     
    Automating these tasks can result in significant savings in resources and eliminate mistakes caused by human error. The key, however, is to know which tasks should be automated and which ones warrant staff intervention and guidance. Let's take a look at some of them.
    Read More

    Topics: Contractor, Contractor Tips, Contractor Operating Tips, Construction Systems And Processes

    The Number One Thing You Need To Know About Your Construction Business

    Posted by Sharie DeHart on Fri, Jan 03, 2020

    When you own a small construction business, it's vital you understand how money flows into and out of it. At a basic level, you need to know where your income comes from and what your expenses are. At a deeper level, knowing how money moves through your business can help you make strategic decisions about growth, invoicing, and debt management. 
     
    The consequences of not understanding money can be drastic—poor financial management is one of the main reasons businesses fail. That's why you need to understand cash flow. 
     
    What is cash flow?

    [Starting Cash + Cash In - Cash Out] = Cash Flow

    Before you can start to understand your cash flow, you need to know what cash flow is. Cash flow refers to the movement of money into and out of your business. It's fundamentally understanding how much money is coming into your business (your income, loans, and transfers of personal funds into the company) versus how much is leaving (your expenses, taxes, and loan payments). 

     
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    Topics: Construction Cash Flow, Cash Flow, QuickBooks Do-It-Yourself construction Bookkeeping, Contractor, Contractor Tips, Contractor Operating Tips, Construction Systems And Processes

    How To Achieve Business Success With A Construction Accounting Mentor

    Posted by Sharie DeHart on Fri, Dec 27, 2019

    As the year ends and another page is turning, it is important to learn and listen from trusted people who have come to assist you and guide you in your personal and professional endeavors. Your construction business's financial board, mainly your accountant, is one of them.
     
    Ideally, you and your accountant are more than just an "adviser" and a "client" to each other. With your combined skills, expertise, and a shared mission to support a thriving business, you're more like strategic partners. 
     
    The key to achieving success in any partnership is, of course, healthy communication. Before the year ends or at your next meeting, be sure to ask your construction accountant these four important questions:
     
    Read More

    Topics: Construction Business Consulting, Construction Accountant Who Listens, Business Consultants, Contractor Mentoring, Contractor, Contractor Tips

    Common Bookkeeping Pitfalls And The Value Of Outsourced Accounting

    Posted by Sharie DeHart on Fri, Dec 20, 2019

    Although most construction company owners recognize the importance of careful financial management, few want to spend their time dealing with numbers. Unfortunately, not keeping a close eye on your income and expenses can be very costly for a business.
     
    Here are five of the most common bookkeeping pitfalls, and some simple tips for getting back on track.

    1. Mixing business and personal

    All too often, contractors adapt a "buy now, sort later" approach to expenses, using the same credit card for personal and professional purchases. At the end of the month, they're left poring over statements, trying to sort things out. Mixing business and personal expenses cost extra hours of bookkeeping each month and muddles your overall financial picture.

    Avoid this pitfall by using a separate credit card and bank account for business, and being disciplined about separating expenditures.

     

    Read More

    Topics: Outsourced bookkeeping, outsourced construction accounting and bookkeeping, Accounting, Contractor, Contractor Tips, Contractor Operating Tips, Construction Systems And Processes

    Construction Business Blueprint For Updating Plans And Setting Goals

    Posted by Sharie DeHart on Fri, Dec 13, 2019

    As another year winds down, it's a good time to reflect on your recent construction business successes – and consider what you'd like to achieve in the coming twelve to fifteen months. One tiny change in your process can help you grow your Construction Company.
     
    Entrepreneurs are typically highly creative and optimistic; as a result, they often have difficulty narrowing down their ideas from among all the exciting possibilities, whether it's an opportunity to expand to a new market or choosing a better time management strategy. 

    Read More

    Topics: Contractor, Contractor Tips, Contractor Operating Tips, Construction Systems And Processes

    Quotes Vs. Estimates And Insights To Contract Negotiations

    Posted by Sharie DeHart on Fri, Dec 06, 2019

    The nature of some types of businesses makes it challenging to come up with a standard price list. For tradespeople and construction company owners like you, what's required in terms of time, skill, labor, and materials frequently vary from job to job.

    Offering an estimate or quote provides potential clients with a customized figure for what they can expect to pay based on what will be required to complete a specific project.

    Quotes

    A quote is a legally binding fixed price a company prepares for a client; as such, they should always be in writing. A quote should summarize the work to be performed and include a detailed breakdown of all the costs and the final total, including taxes. 

    Once a business offers a quote and a client signs off on it, the price cannot change even if the job ends up costing more than initially anticipated. For this reason, it's crucial to always quote as accurately as possible, allowing ample time to complete the job and carefully pricing out costs for materials and labor (e.g., subcontractors). 

    To protect your business from "scope creep," a quote should also stipulate that additional charges for extra work beyond what the original quote covers will apply.

    Read More

    Topics: Contractor, Contractor Tips, quotes, estimates

    Efficient Business Systems And The Value Of Documenting Your Processes

    Posted by Sharie DeHart on Fri, Nov 29, 2019

    Too many construction businesses fall over because the owner has not established efficient business systems. This typically happens because the construction company owner is so caught up in the day-to-day operations that the fundamentals of proper business management get forgotten. Often too, it must be said that the owner doesn't like bookkeeping or other administrative tasks, so these get put on the back burner.

    The symptoms are familiar, and their results disastrous:

    • Poor or non-existent record-keeping. 
    • Tax obligations are not met. 
    • Invoices go out late, and debts remain uncollected. 
    • There is one cashflow crisis after another. 
    • Goods and services are incorrectly costed and priced.

    Any of these factors can lead the business down the slippery path to failure, but all are avoidable. The whole point about putting in sound systems is that they free you to spend more time working ON your business, not in it.


    Read More

    Topics: Contractor, Contractor Tips, Contractor Operating Tips, Construction Systems And Processes

    Understanding Construction Accounting Terms And Why It Matters

    Posted by Sharie DeHart on Fri, Nov 22, 2019

    Hiring an accountant is widely considered best practice for small business owners. But delegating financial analysis and reporting doesn't mean thoroughly checking out of the process each month or quarter. On the contrary, it's recommended that business owners work closely with their accountants throughout the year to better understand their financial position and make smart plans for future growth.

    We have discussed time and again the importance of knowing the difference between Construction Accounting and Regular Accounting. For the sake of our new readers, blog subscribers, and podcast listeners, I'll be providing you with some basic accounting knowledge so you can have more informed, insightful discussions with your financial advisors before the year ends.

    Read More

    Topics: Contractor Challenges, Contractor, Contractor Tips, Contractor Operating Tips, Construction Productivity

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