If you’re still in business after the year and a half we have all been through, then you’re doing something right. However, it is reasonably likely that we’re not “out of the woods” yet, and there may be more difficulties to come.
Aside from the pandemic, there are supply chain issues and shortages that are impacting on our work. Project delays due to long lead times for the materials our clients need are becoming a normal part of our world in the construction sector.
But I like to aim to look for the positives. That’s why I want to talk about three things we can all do to strengthen our businesses and hopefully keep seeing successes, despite the challenges.
I’ll start with something that isn’t always easy to control but makes a massive difference if you pay attention to it.
1. Who you hang around with matters
There are plenty of doom-mongers out there who are happy to talk down the market and contribute to a feeling that everything is awful. Some of them might move in the same circles as you, or even be in your business or your family – in which case they may be difficult to avoid. But even if you are stuck with one or two negative people in your life, you can still take steps to gravitate towards more cheerful souls.
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Meaning if you spend time with upbeat people, you’re likely to feel more optimistic, and if you hang around with negative people, you’ll feel less enthusiastic about life.
One of the things I hire for in my business is attitude. I can train an engineering graduate to be an engineer, but it’s much harder to teach someone to have a positive outlook if they don’t already have one.
I recommend undertaking a quick review of the five people you spend the most time with and seeing whether you need to make some changes to protect yourself and your business from people who might be draining your energy.
2. Making time to work “on” your business, not just “in” it is crucial
It is very easy to get caught up in working for clients and reacting to the endless stream of emails, phone calls and other distractions so that you don’t keep aside enough time for the vital work that keeps your business in a good place.
We all need to be doing the work that brings in more clients – things like networking, entering awards, asking for reviews and testimonials, following up with potential customers who’ve gone quiet, posting on social media, staying in touch with past clients and so on.
Carving out time for this work is essential. By keeping on top of sales and marketing activities especially, you can help prevent the peaks and troughs that inevitably occur when we get swamped, stop promoting our businesses, and then find we have a limited amount of work in the pipeline.
Schedule this promotional work daily if you can, and if it’s something you don’t have time for, consider hiring an assistant to stay on top of it. My PA is great at following up with potential customers who haven’t been in touch after we quoted. Her dedication means we regularly bring in clients that we perhaps would have lost if we hadn’t followed up.
3. Create simple, short-term goals
There’s a time and a place for big, audacious goals, but if the last year or so has left you feeling a little lacklustre, then why not look to something a little more achievable?
What can work well is setting simple goals that you can hit in the next month or next quarter. Write your goals down, stick them somewhere you can see them – or have them ping up as a reminder each morning on your computer or phone. And break them down into the steps required, so it’s easy to take regular “micro-actions” and build momentum.
Simple goals that feel doable can have a significant impact on your business. For example, we set a goal to increase the number of Google Reviews online for Super Structures Associates. More than a year later, we have 29 five-star reviews, and new clients regularly tell us it was the reviews that encouraged them to get in touch.
What simple, achievable goals can you set to have a positive impact on your business?
I hope this has been a good reminder to prioritise what’s important. It’s so easy to get stuck reacting to all the things that grab your attention throughout the day. But if you can surround yourself with the right people, make time to work on your business, and set simple, achievable goals, then you can set yourself up for success as we move into autumn and winter.
In the meantime, if you need assistance with the structural elements of an upcoming project, please do get in touch.