Business Builders Blog

Category: Increasing Production Efficiency

Constructing Your Vision: How to Set Achievable Goals

Happy New Year! As we embrace the fresh start that comes with a new year, it’s a perfect time for reflection and goal setting, especially in the dynamic world of construction. While many of us set personal resolutions, the real game-changer lies in constructing a vision and setting achievable goals in our businesses.

A common challenge for many businesses is beginning the year without a clear direction. Often, we get caught up in the operational whirlwind and lose sight of long-term objectives. This lack of focus can lead to stagnation and missed opportunities, impacting both business growth and personal satisfaction.  The key is doing some simple goal-setting as I’ve outlined in this post.

A Personalized Approach

Instead of the usual New Year’s resolutions, I advocate for a more profound, vision-focused approach. Ask yourself: “A year from now, what will I want to have achieved?” This question shifts your focus from the immediate ‘how’ to the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of your goals. It’s about envisioning your desired outcomes first. This is just like planning a project – you start with a blueprint or schematic of what the end looks like BEFORE you begin building out a budget!

One General Contractors Plan

Consider a success story from my client Debbie… Her vision began with setting specific goals for increasing revenue by 10% and maintaining a 10-12% bottom-line net profit. Then she envisioned developing two team members into senior roles, freeing her to focus on strategy and client engagement. She then outlined her vision for what it looked like to have them managing day-to-day operations. This clear vision allowed her to see her business operations and personal work from a different perspective, and she was able to make a clear plan with her team of how this would get accomplished. First, though, she had to define what the “blueprint” looked like.

Clarity in Goal-Setting

The solution lies in having a clear vision of what it will look like once accomplished. By vividly picturing your ideal year-end scenario, you set a clear direction for your business. This clarity guides your decisions and actions throughout the year, keeping you aligned with your ultimate objectives.

Action Steps

  • Define Clear Goals: What does success look like for you this year? Be specific.
  • Write Them Down: Goals in writing are commitments rather than just good ideas.
  • Regular Reviews: Schedule quarterly check-ins to track your progress and make necessary adjustments.

Your Year of Success

Now, it’s your turn to envision and actualize a successful year. I encourage you to watch the accompanying video for deeper insights into this process. Take this opportunity to reflect, write down your goals, and regularly review them. Remember, a clear vision is the first step towards a remarkable year in your construction business. Let’s make this year count, not just in numbers, but in the satisfaction and growth you achieve!

bonus plans that work

Do you often grapple with the dilemma of how much to bonus your employees, or if your current bonus system truly resonates with them? If you’re nodding along, you’re not alone. Many business owners in the construction industry express that bonuses have become an expected annual tradition, leading to a mix of resentment and feeling unappreciated when their generosity isn’t met with the enthusiasm they hoped for.

Bonus Expectations: A Common Conundrum

Imagine the scenario of Dean, a general contractor, whose employees expected bonuses every year just as a part of their pay, but never thanked him for it —perhaps a familiar echo in your own business.
It’s a tricky spot, balancing generosity with a desire for gratitude. Let’s face it, with the intense competition for skilled labor, bonuses can feel more like a bidding war than a reward. But before you write off the concept, let’s consider the purpose behind your bonus. Is it obligation driving you or the genuine wish to acknowledge hard work?

Two Critical Steps to Effective Bonuses

When pondering over bonuses, ask yourself, why are you giving them? Are they just a tick on your end-of-year checklist, or do they serve a higher purpose? Here’s a blueprint for making bonuses more than a mere obligation:

  1. Define Your Intent: Start with why. Understanding your intent for giving a bonus—whether it’s to express appreciation or to keep up with industry standards—will guide your strategy.
  2. Personalize Acknowledgment: A personal touch can make all the difference. Take Lisa, a project manager at Dean’s company for instance. A simple note detailing her proactive efforts and dedication to improving operations turned a standard bonus into a heartfelt gesture of appreciation.

Bonus Ideas: From Simple to Elaborate

Not all bonuses have to break the bank. Here are some tailored suggestions for your team:

  • Gift Cards and a Party: Celebrate the year’s success with something everyone can enjoy.
  • Profit Sharing: Consider a lump sum divided by a weighted average of employee salaries.
  • Position-Based Rewards: A flat amount for each role, reflecting their unique contributions.
  • The Gift of Time: A paid week off during the festive season can be a valuable gift.

The Power of a Personal Note

What made a difference for Dean was a shift to meaningful, individualized notes that paired with the bonuses. It’s about grounding each reward with specific, genuine recognition. Like the note to Lisa, where her commitment was not only acknowledged but also celebrated with tangible examples, showing her real, valued impact on the company.

Your Turn to Shine

If the idea of setting up an effective bonus program seems daunting, consider the advice above. And remember, irrespective of the bonus size or type, including a personal acknowledgment can be the most impactful gift you give your employees.

We Want to Hear from You!

If you’ve got innovative ideas on bonusing, or stories of what’s worked for you, share them in the comments. Let’s build a community where we learn from each other and elevate our teams together.

Bonus Better

Bonuses are a powerful tool when done right. They can boost morale, foster loyalty, and enhance productivity. By following the steps outlined, you can create a bonus program that truly appreciates and motivates your employees.

Watch and Learn: Bonus Blueprint That Works!

Click the video to dive deeper into crafting a bonus system that works for your business. Use it, share it, and let’s grow together. Don’t let another year end in unappreciated gestures. Bonus with intent and watch appreciation, and your business, thrive.

The Final Chapter: Great Leaders in Construction – Meet Alison Heather

In the concluding episode of our “Great Leaders in Construction” series, I had the privilege of delving into a heartwarming conversation with a dear friend, and highly successful contractor, Alison Heather. Her leadership journey is both inspiring and enlightening, filled with valuable lessons for aspiring leaders in the construction world.

Who is Alison Heather?
Alison’s commitment to the construction world began in 1985, transitioning from a solo house painter in San Francisco to co-leading a flourishing painting business, Heather & French Painting, with her business partner Jill French. With a focus on high-end residential projects, Alison and Jill’s leadership has steered their company to notable success. Their team of 30 dedicated professionals, along with being an in-demand employer, is a testament to their consistency and dedication as leaders.

The Power of Authentic Leadership
Alison’s greatest leadership lesson is simplicity itself: Be Yourself. This approach has allowed her to accept her weaknesses and play to her strengths. That’s the kind of real talk that turns good businesses into GREAT ones.

Key Takeaways

  • Accept your limitations and seek out the support of others who can fill the gaps.
  • Leverage your team’s unique skills and talents.
  • Always be true to who you are and be authentic – it will take you far!
  • Being consistent in keeping your word builds a reputation of being a great company to work with and for.

Being Accountable: The Backbone of Leadership
Accountability and responsibility are non-negotiables in Alison’s business ethos. Doing what you say you’re going to do isn’t just a saying; it’s a practice. She makes sure her word means something, not only to her clients but also to her team.

Quick Points

  • Your word is your reputation.
  • Consistency in action sets an example for the team.

Building A Stress-Free Culture
Our industry is stressful; let’s face it. Heather & French manages to mitigate this by being relentless in having clear communication and precise scheduling—hats off to Alison’s business partner Jill and their bilingual field superintendent Francisco for nailing this aspect.

Why Employees Stick Around
Heather & French has an impressively low turnover rate. They check in with their team, listen to them, and value their input. People genuinely want to work for them because they feel valued, seen, and heard.

To Sum it Up
Alison Heather is a living example of how being authentic, accountable, and considerate can transform you into an effective leader. She and Jill are pros at placing the right people in the right roles, playing to people’s strengths. Make sure to watch or listen to my interview with Alison – you may just discover how to become an in-demand employer of choice like Heather & French are!

Great Leaders in Construction – a chat with Steve Rempe

Today, I’m thrilled to present a rich dialogue with a dear friend and seasoned professional in the construction industry, Steve Rempe of Rempe Construction. Our paths have intertwined for more than 25 years, and his unwavering commitment to leadership excellence and quality craftsmanship never ceases to inspire. Dive into this episode of our “Great Leaders in Construction” series for a firsthand look at Steve’s insightful approach to leadership.

Meet Steve Rempe: A Builder of Quality and Integrity
Over his 45-year journey in construction, Steve continually honed his skills as a builder and leader. He was intentional about some cornerstone elements in how he ran his business: be consistent in our practices; be excellent in our craftsmanship; and treat everyone with dignity and respect. This became the foundation on which Steve was able to grow a thriving remodeling business, and ultimately, successfully succeed it to his son Zac.

Core Leadership Insights from Steve

  1. Stay True to Your Ethical Compass: The foundation of Steve’s leadership was an unwavering commitment to ethics and quality. As businesses grow, it’s crucial to retain the heart, ethos, and core principles that you started with. It’s about consistency and ensuring your team knows what’s expected.
  2. Empathy is Key: One pivotal aspect of leadership Steve highlighted is empathy. Understanding how people perceive things differently is crucial. Not everyone will view things from a leader’s perspective. Taking time to understand someone’s viewpoint, especially when things don’t go as planned, can offer valuable insights. Whether you’re dealing with team members, architects, or clients, recognizing and valuing their perspectives can make all the difference.
  3. Discipline Equals Freedom: One of Steve’s cornerstone beliefs is that discipline in leadership can actually be liberating. By establishing a consistent routine or approach, you eliminate countless daily decisions, allowing you to focus on what truly matters. This discipline can become contagious, inspiring your team to adopt a similar mindset.
  4. Run Towards Trouble: Problems and challenges are inevitable. But instead of evading them, Steve believes in confronting them head-on. Addressing issues directly and swiftly showcases accountability and can often lead to faster and more efficient resolutions.
  5. Job Satisfaction Matters: While many work for monetary benefits, there’s an undeniable satisfaction in being part of a team that’s achieving excellence. Ensuring that your team feels that sense of accomplishment and purpose can fuel their drive and passion.

The Joy of Achieving Together
Steve’s journey, transitioning his business to his son Zac and maintaining an unwavering commitment to quality, is truly commendable. His leadership lessons emphasize the importance of consistency, empathy, and discipline. But what stands out the most is the emphasis on job satisfaction and the joy of collective achievement. When your team knows they’re making a difference and are valued for it, it instills a sense of purpose that money can’t buy.

To all my readers, I urge you to watch our conversation. It’s not just a chat between two friends but a reservoir of insights that can guide you in your leadership journey. Dive deep, learn, and always remember to lead with authenticity and empathy. Your team will thank you for it!

Great Leaders in Construction – a chat with Jenny Rios

Being a great leader doesn’t mean having all the answers or never making mistakes. I loved my conversation with Jenny Rios, of Jenny Rios Home. We talked about the gift of making mistakes AND how to have an attitude about it that still lets life be fun and interesting in the process. This is another amazing interview in our Great Leaders in Construction series that you don’t want to miss!

Mistakes are a Gift…
In construction, success doesn’t come without its challenges. How we face those obstacles and overcome those challenges is what defines our journey. It was refreshing hearing how Jenny handles those ups and downs, and how she uses those moments as growth opportunities.

It’s Okay to Have Fun
So often we think that we must be serious about the business of running a business. As Jenny spoke about her “cornerstone habits” for success, she shared how when the teams she works with are having fun, they are often more productive and engaged. Bringing levity and joy into our work can make it better for everyone.

Tips and Ideas from a Seasoned Leader
These interviews aren’t just stories; they’re brimming with practical advice. Jenny’s tips and ideas could be the key to unlocking your potential and building a better business. Imagine how applying some of these insights in your day-to-day operations could make a difference! Check out what she says about how to attract the ideal client – it’s eye-opening.

You’re Not Alone
Being a business owner can feel lonely. We often don’t have someone else to bounce ideas off or ask questions to. Jenny was so open and honest in sharing her experience. Anyone watching this will appreciate the “insider perspective” we don’t always get from our peers, and help you feel a kinship to this fellow business owner.

Take the Time to Watch This
I genuinely enjoyed my discussion with Jenny, and I’m thrilled to share this interview with you. Her wisdom about growing a business you love is something that I believe can benefit all of us. We’re on a continuous path of learning, growing, and striving for success.

Watch the video. Use the insights, share them, and work smarter, not just harder.

Great Leaders in Construction – a chat with Everson Perez

I was inspired by my conversation with Everson Perez from Perez Construction as we talked about his approach to leading his team, and what’s shaped him as a business owner. As we dug into the foundational elements he relies on to guide his team and his business, he shared some great nuggets on how he’s built a solid foundation on which he’s been able to successfully grow. I can’t wait for you to watch this next video in our Great Leaders in Construction series!

A Series of Inspiration
The reason behind this series is simple yet powerful. Often, we find ourselves stuck in our routine, facing challenges, sometimes even feeling defeated. It’s at these moments, hearing other people’s stories, their struggles, their breakthroughs, and how they managed to overcome, can inspire us.

Learning from Leaders
Each leader I interviewed brought unique insights, tips, and ideas that helped them along their journey. The wisdom Everson shared in this interview was not just about building better businesses, but also about leading a better life.

What made this interview so impactful:

  • Personal Struggles: We all face them, but it’s overcoming them that makes us grow. Hearing how Everson broke through his barriers can let you know you’re not alone!
  • Valuable Tips: Ever wondered what that one secret tip from successful leaders is? Well, there’s more than one, and Everson shared a few great ones!
  • A Journey Worth Sharing: Success is not a solitary journey. Learning from others and sharing in their triumphs is what builds a community.

I genuinely enjoyed this interview with Everson. The fun part was not just hearing his story, but feeling connected with his experience.

Why you will want to watch this interview…

  • Real-life Insights: This is the experience of a real contractor who started out just like you, and who through, trial and error, built a great contracting business.
  • Actionable Advice: Every tip shared is something you can apply in your business today. It’s practical wisdom that has been proven to work
  • Inspiration to Move Forward: Sometimes, a little motivation from fellow industry leaders is all you need to take the next big step in your business.

So, without further ado, here’s the interview with Everson…