Specialty Remodeling: Invest in Your People

I am a big believer that if you inspire your associates, you will inspire tremendous results, and ultimately build a dynamic business for years to come. Yes, this is the art of internal branding and it is fantastically effective!

Perhaps many of us in the construction industry could do a much better job in investing more in the careers of our dedicated associates. Perhaps we could consider the reality that building a successful and rock solid business is certainly contingent upon the earnest effort we make over a lifetime of inspiring, marketing and coaching your associates.

Associates need inspiration
Most contractors have a tremendous weakness: we are very poor communicators. We are inconsistent and we sometimes do not articulate the company’s business and strategic plan well. We must take on the responsibility of effective, consistent and inspiring communication so that our associates have a clear picture of what is expected. And once we make this commitment we must have the fortitude to be inspiring — or certainly give it tremendous effort. Why? Because the market is changing and key associates are not considering the construction industry as their first career choice. Second, an inspired employee is a loyal employee. Finally, the quality of your workplace matters. I want our workplace to be a dynamic, productive and inspired atmosphere where people make a difference in their career and in their community.

Perhaps one the largest blind spots as owners is our lack of marketing to our associates. In our company we have historically received our leads from three areas: repeat customers, vendors and our associates!

I am convinced that the art of marketing and promoting all of the aspects of your company to your associates will again yield significant growth. If you build your associates knowledge and conviction, you will build your market share, your margins, your business.

Three Great Ways to Start!

  1. Perform a S.W.O.T. Analysis — Set a 30 min. appointment with your company officers to work on and work through a realistic strength’s, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis. Our company went through this exercise and it was amazing. As the old saying goes, no one knows your business better than you!
  2. Meet with your key employees everyday — I meet with our key employees for just fifteen minutes everyday at 7:45 am and it has already paid significant dividends. Senior employees are getting sharper in their positions and new employees are catching on much quicker to our system, etc. Begin using the S.W.O.T. Analysis information as starting point to build company culture, production goals, customer service techniques, and sales ability. UPS conducts a 3 minute meeting with their key staff members and they certainly have built a strong company and brand.
  3. Keep a journal — Yes, this is really a key action step. It really will help you navigate where you are going as a company. Document your meeting outline and the highlights of what is being shared. The reward is that over a short period of time you begin to see specific positive and negative trends occur. This is your opportunity to build a better system, a better way of doing business, a better and stronger company!

Yes, construction is based on the fundamental principles of building a strong foundation in order to achieve a worthy and productive structure. I encourage you to make a deliberate effort to outline a plan today in order to achieve the results that are certainly possible Many companies will continue to building their business by always looking out and never inside out. Interestingly, some of the very best construction companies have figured out the secret to building a successful business is a consistent effort to build their associates. Perhaps you will too in the near future by inspiring, marketing to and coaching your associates — your first audience and your most valuable target market!

R. James Waller, IV is vice president of Waller Construction, Goff-Waller Roofing and Waller Emergency Services in Lakeland, Fla. Last year the Waller group completed approximately 1,100 specialty remodeling jobs at $13 million in revenue. jimmywaller@wallergroup.com

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