It's real easy as a construction or remodeling business owner to get burned out as you try to keep up with everything. This is particularly true now that the remodeling market is picking up. After downsizing to stay in business, and putting in lots of extra effort and hours to make a profit during the recession, many business owners are once again trying to grow their businesses. However many of them are still using the "do more with less" mentality they used during the recession. Maintaining this mentality as they seek to grow will definitely add to the burnout they are already experiencing.
For a good number of these business owners doing more with less may have made sense as sales shrunk and overhead expenses had to be cut back. To clarify things the idea was to do more of what you were already ready doing with less. Now that the economy seems to be improving if you want to do more business than you have been doing you'll need to do and add more inside your business to support that growth, not less.
Get serious about your management style
If you have lost focus or lack the discipline to put business systems in place and stick to them it's time to commit to and practice new attitudes and behaviors. Before you grow your business consider the adequacy of your financial system to predict and measure results. Do you have a formal marketing plan to guide you or are you winging your marketing? Do you have well thought out job descriptions you can use to recruit, qualify and hold new hires accountable to? Have you established benchmarks for the performance of your business systems? If you don't have or do these things what example are you setting and what type of employees will join and or stay with your business?
Don't spread yourself too thin
If you plan to grow your business it and your employees will need your attention and guidance. If your focus is being watered down by other outside activities like a second business, community activities, politics or even involvement at your church; the leadership and oversight needed at your business may be compromised. There's nothing wrong with being involved in outside activities, but make sure you put qualified middle management and business metrics in place first.
Be sure to think and act like a professional
A growing business that wants to attract and keep good employees needs to act professional. This means having a proactive and strategic marketing plan in writing. It means preparing a financial operating budget and staying within it. It means investing in training and mentoring your employees to be the future leaders your business will need. It means creating a profit sharing strategy and or compensation strategies based on performance. It also means operating legally and safely.
Develop organizational charts, career paths and improve your recruiting process
If you think it's expensive to train your employees only to have them leave and go elsewhere, think of how expensive it will be if you don't train your employees and they stay. If you plan to invest in training your employees make sure you can share your business plan with them. Your business plan should show how you plan to expand your organizational chart and the opportunities they have if they are willing to grow with the business. Your goal should be to offer opportunities that are mutually beneficial to the employee as well as the company.
If you want to step back make sure your business and the new leader are ready first
Before you as the leader can step away from your business the business needs to have a new leader already in place. Many business owners are forced back into leading and managing their businesses because the person they hired to do so did not have adequate leadership skills and or wasn't yet seen as the leader by the other employees. Don't make this mistake at your business. Before you step away make sure there is a successful transition of leadership from you to the new leader; in the eyes of the employees as well as your customers. Also, make sure you have a way to measure the performance of the business and the leader before you pull away. Again I suggest you have this in place and confirm it is working before you transition out of your office and your roles at the business.
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Shawn McCadden founded, operated, and sold a successful design/build company. A co-founder of the Residential Design/Build Institute, he speaks at industry events and consults with remodelers about owner issues, management, lead paint regulations and other industry issues. ShawnMcCadden.com firstname.lastname@example.org