Sydney’s Northern Beaches are a thriving market for builders of all sizes. They are faced with more challenges than most businesses when it comes proper management.
The most pressing challenges
To succeed, a builder really needs to wear a lot of “hats”. You’re a Cost Accountant, maintaining control of the profitability and progress of your Jobs. You’re an HR manager, ensuring maximum productivity over a group of employees, and/or sub-contractors. Lastly, you get the role of a Sales Manager, facing strong challenges from the local competition in terms of pricing, while making sure the next job is secured.
Adding to that, builders are also under more scrutiny than many other industries. Certificates of currency, superannuation requirements, and contractor payment reports, and more, all require highly structured systems and habits.
Know what you want
The introduction of cloud based apps or tools has really gone a long way towards enabling smaller building businesses to react like the “big end of town”. There are a multitude of tools that can really help you manage your jobs, staff, and compliance requirements.
There are a few points to be aware of. Firstly, there are lots of apps, and you really need to prioritize what you’re looking for. As an example, some builders really want nice looking, easy to read reports. Some want the app to be mobile and super easy to use, while others want their client facing documents to look a certain way. You need to determine what’s most important for you. Chances are you’ll get 9 out of 10 things on the wish list, which is better than what you might have now.
Use outside resources to cut down your effort
Recently, we had a situation where a client wanted an app to streamline their business processes. At the same time they didn’t want to double up on paperwork. We noticed that the “super duper swisho” app they had found on the web did not integrate with their accounting system, they couldn’t import or export data between the systems, and they couldn’t customize the output. These are small points, hidden in the internet marketing hype, but very important in the adoption of the tech.
Another unspoken reality of this new environment is that these apps really need a structured approach when adopting them to deliver the real benefit. This is where good technical resources can be invaluable, as long as they understand both your business, and the apps. As a builder you know what you want the app(s) to deliver, and you need a technically competent person to advise and show you that you’ll get the required outcome.
The right tools make any job easier
While wearing all the “hats” of management you can have a lot of tangled management information close to hand, and establish the framework for a successful business. It does not require a large team of expensive people resources, just the right tools for the job!
And it takes is good planning, a determined effort to get everyone “onboard”, and the right technical resources.
One last point is to remember it is an “iterative” process. You get your app(s) set up, it works, but not perfectly first time. Keep track of what could improve, and keep working on it together.