Construction Business Basics

Now that it’s August and the start of school is right around the corner, retail stores are advertising “back to school basics.” Aside from the pens, pencils, and paper I grew up with, smart phones and tablets are now considered “basics”—how times have changed. All these promotions got me thinking about the basics of business, and particularly what makes a business successful. So, I’ve come up with my top 5 necessities for a successful construction business.

Cash Flow

This is a bit of a no-brainer – of course businesses need cash in order to operate. Depending on the size and goals of your company, you may take out loans or find venture capital in order to start projects or purchase equipment. No matter how you fund projects, managing cash flow is vital, but it’s no simple task. Making sure you have enough cash on hand to keep a project funded or pay a subcontractor can at times seem like spinning plates, but with the right construction management software, you can be sure your cash inflows and outflows stay balanced.

Construction Tools

When most people think of tools for construction, they probably think of the usual – hammers, screw drivers, trucks, excavators, and other tools for the job site. These are all necessary, however, most probably don’t think about information tools. Having the right construction accounting and project management tools means your staff can easily check job costs and projections, determine if a project is under or over budget, and take a proactive approach to project management.

Standard Processes

Once you have the necessary tools and construction software, you still need processes and procedures in place to run your business efficiently and get the most value out of those tools. Standardizing the flow of work ensures that everyone is on the same page – whether they are looking at project documents in the field or job costs in the office. Standardization ensures that everyone is pulling together from the same side of the rope and pulling projects in on time and on budget.

Know and Reward Your People

Even with the right construction management tools and processes in place, your job sites and office can’t run efficiently without the right people doing the work. Be sure you’re tracking the skills and certifications of your employees as part of your human resource activities, as well as key dates, such as certification expirations, milestones, and anniversaries. Knowing the qualifications of your employees will help your business run efficiently. Recognizing their accomplishments and providing a rewarding work environment has been known to lead to happier workers and satisfied customers.

Plan for the Future

Whether you’re a small construction company wanting to maintain its position in the market or a growing company looking to rapidly increase market share, you need to plan, because neither one of these things happen by themselves. Setting goals with a road map towards achieving these goals gives your company focus and your employees something to work towards. Planning for the future also makes sure you provide the right tools and processes for your employees and no one is caught off guard.

There are numerous combinations of elements that create a successful company, but these are my top 5. What assets do you consider necessary for a successful company?

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