What allows you to have a business that works and produces profits? The answer is systems with clearly defined processes and procedures. The systems needed to run a fine tuned contractor business are marketing, sales, production and administration. In our training, we use the Four Legged Chair analogy to represent these four systems. Each leg must be strong to prevent the chair from falling over or collapsing.
Leg #1; Marketing attracts, educates and informs the target prospect about your company, services and products. The right marketing system should attract and produce lead opportunities that match your core competencies and desired projects. A marketing plan is essential.
Leg #2; Sales converts the right lead opportunities into projects that the company can produce at the right margin. The sales system is clearly defined to insure that whatever the customer has purchased from the salesperson, meets the clients expectations exactly. The company has a trained sales process and staff that determines the needs and wants of the client and matches the services the company provides to the clients needs and wants. All parties are properly trained on how the order processes from sales to production. An easy to use and understood paper work system of forms and checklists is utilized.
Leg #3; Production professionally delivers exactly what was ordered by the customer and documented by the salesperson. The production team is qualified and trained to deliver excellent workmanship, customer service and maintain the budget of the project.
Leg #4; Administration supports the operation by maintaining the books, running the office, paying the bills, measuring and tracking the jobs, payroll, and overseeing and running the business.
Many contractors who start their own business, do so without the use of defined systems. They work hard and long hours and become the guy who is wearing too many hats with little or no time to work on the business because they are too busy working in the business. They think that if they bring on more work, hire more people and work like a maniac that the problems will be solved.
All too often, contractors believe that no one can do the important stuff as well as themselves. They don't have time or interest in developing systems to make business more predictable. They develop a strong ego and stubbornness that cripples their company. This can go on for years.
The solution to running a profitable and manageable contracting business is to decide to develop, learn, train and implement systems for you and your team.
The current economy and educated consumer are putting all contractors to a test we have never experienced before. To think that we can navigate the choppy waters without clearly defined systems is risky. Not to long ago we all had plenty of work. Most would agree, today is a whole new ball game.
Some things to think about;
Are your current systems or seat of the pants managing producing the results you need in your business?
Do you let your bravado prevent you from doing what you know is necessary to learn how to properly run your company?
Have you created an island for yourself (because you don't trust others) that prevents you from delegating and empowering others who gladly want to help you run your company?
What legs of the chair do you have in your current business?
mark the coach