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    Beyond COVID-19 - How To Build Value In Your Construction Business

    Posted by Sharie DeHart on Fri, Jun 12, 2020

    We've said it before, and we'll say it again – this has been a challenging few months for all of us, but there is no better time to think seriously about your business. 
     
    We all understand the economy has been tough for construction owners. I know you have made severe adjustments in your lifestyle and your businesses; however, remember this too shall pass because there is nothing new under the sun.
     
    The key to building value in your construction business is to plan the process in a systematic way, whether you're aiming to grow your business in any economy or groom it to get a better price from a buyer. In this article, we have compiled a few tips to create value in your industry.
     

    Beyond COVID-19 - How To Build Value In Your Construction Business

    1. Looking through the eyes of buyers

    Whether you just want to build a more substantial business or looking ahead to the day when you might want to sell it, it helps to think of your business through the eyes of a buyer. Aim to:

      • Identify any weaknesses they might see in your business and what you can do about them.
      • Think about the strengths that may attract buyers and how you can reinforce these strengths.

    2. Work on stability

    The longer your business has been operating, the easier it could be to sell, provided it has a solid track record. Aspire to:

      • Keep well-documented business performance and tax records.
      • Document business history and projects completed or customers gained.

    3. Develop reliable markets

    A strong history is reassuring, but buyers will be more interested in the future. Make sure you:

      • Show evidence that your main markets are growing or at least stable rather than declining.
      • Demonstrate you've taken steps to change your market position, if necessary. 

    4. Nurture a stable client base

    A well-managed client database is one of the most valuable assets as it can be used in many ways for marketing and gaining referrals. Try to:

      • Improve and update your client database.
      • Start measuring customer retention rates and customer referral rates.
      • Implement a client loyalty program and referral incentives. Buyers will want to know that key customers won't leave if you do.

    5. Secure your cash flows

    Stable future cash flows are critical to the value of a business. Buyers will want evidence of reliable revenue streams coming into the business. Aim to:

      • Start building more diversity and, therefore, resilience into your customer base if you're too reliant on a few major clients.
      • Look for ways to develop more revenue streams by adding extra services or products, and lock in stable revenues through customer loyalty programs and contracts.

    6. Refine marketing tactics that work

    Buyers will want to know what tactics have worked best for your business. Ensure you:

      • Document your marketing strategy and your promotional tactics for the next 12 months.
      • Demonstrate how you measure all marketing to identify the best and eliminate what isn't working.
      • Identify what you're doing to expand your markets and distribution channels.
      • List some still unexplored areas that could offer potentials, such as a better website or social media marketing.

    7. Maintain tight financial control

    Excellent financial management will show up in your credit history – something you can be sure a buyer will check out. Plan to:

      • Keep improving your money management skills through cash flow and profit forecasts and budget reports.
      • Show you understand and monitor the key performance drivers in your business.
      • Demonstrate that you have credit management under control and that your average debt collection time is at least as good as the industry average.

    8. Develop great business systems

    Excellent business systems add considerable value to any business because they allow you to spend more time working on your business rather than in it. They also make the transition to new ownership much more manageable. Make sure you:

      • Prepare your business as if you're planning to franchise it.
      • Start building an operating manual that documents all processes in simple, easy-to-understand steps.
      • Show how good systems enable faster training and help staff cover for absent employees.

    9. Grow your brand

    A buyer will see significant value in an established and respected brand that differentiates your business from competitors. Aim to:

      • Work on developing a brand that captures the essence and unique selling points of your business.
      • Take any necessary steps to enhance or reinvent your branding.

    10. Protect your intellectual property

    Intellectual property can add considerable value to your business, but only if it's well protected. Ensure you:

      • Protect your logo and brand as a trademark.
      • Consult a patent attorney or IP expert about protecting any designs, inventions, copyright material, or other IP that will add value.

    11. Build strategic alliances

    Strategic alliances can be significant sources of growth and added value. Be sure to:

      • Consider what additional skills and resources you lack to exploit opportunities you're missing.
      • List and approach businesses that could help you gain work that your business couldn't usually deliver.
      • Contact businesses that have more extensive distribution and sales channels.

    12. Lock-in key employees

    Dedicated and experienced staff can be a crucial asset in buyers' eyes, especially if they've helped you create a valuable business. Plan to:

      • Ensure you provide opportunities for career progression and use incentives to align pay with the value that your staff creates.
      • Make your business an attractive place to work. Right working conditions and competitive wages will help to retain skilled staff.
      • Look for people who can create value for your business and managers with transferable skills who can help you build growth.

    Final thoughts

    Consider consulting with a construction accountant for basic construction bookkeeping or accounting insights to understand the fundamentals of business financial management better. The knowledge you gain will feel empowering and can help clarify discussions with your accountant. 
     
    Your knowledge, combined with professional support, is the best way to create a sustainable and valuable construction business for years to come.

    About The Author:

    Sharie_DeHart_President_Fast_Easy_Accounting_Serving_Contractors_All_Across_The_USA_Including_Alaska_And_Hawaii-1Sharie 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

     

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