Moving Forward: Better Than Ever

Published on April 29, 2020 by Alicia Eckert


The country is beginning to emerge from quarantine, and construction is one of the industries that is going back online before others. As construction business owners the future may look uncertain, but there are certainly things you can be focusing on to not only provide safety for your business, but make sure you continue to thrive.

  1. Disruption Planning The AIA has put together a helpful guide for putting together a business continuity plan, or “What do we do in the event of ‘x’ disaster?” While this guide is geared specifically toward architecture firms, construction firms face many of the same issues. Most businesses have emergency preparedness plans, but this guide helps you think about non-standard emergencies as well and covers everything from market downturn to technology outages. How will your business adapt if your company email server goes down? Will it cripple your day-to-day operations? What’s plan B? Thinking about these things in advance will not only help you be prepared for the unexpected but may also help you identify areas of your business that can be improved upon.
  2. Improve Your Operational Procedures When uncertain times call for downsizing or cost cutting, many business owners look at their biggest overhead costs first—payroll, office space, marketing and other big monthly spends are often the first things cut. However, examining your procedures and day to day operations for inefficiencies (and implementing improvements) can go a long way towards reducing long term “pain” areas that are costing you money. What are things that don’t work for your business? It could be something as simple as writing a company wide email policy (say good-bye to unnecessary emails!) to hiring an accountant because your time could be better served working on something else for your business. And if you’re not sure where to start, asking your employees may be a good place. By asking for their honest opinion, you will make them feel more valued and they may see things in ways you don’t expect.
    The Internet has a ton of great resources, but here are three articles to get you started:
    3 Surprisingly Inefficient Daily Business Practices
    5 Innovative Ways to Run a More Efficient Small Business
    10 Tips to Improve Business Efficiency
  3. Work on Company Culture When it comes to business efficiency—employee productivity can be also be a big factor. Happy and safe employees, who feel valued by their employer are far more productive than those who feel the opposite. While you can’t make everyone happy all the time, it can be simple to improve workplace culture and we could probably all use a moral boost in these uncertain times. One of the best things you can do is show your employees you value them. How does your company show appreciation for your employees? What are some small changes you could make? Maybe bring snacks to the jobsite for break time. Are there big changes? Maybe your company handbook needs modernizing, to get rid of outdated practices that no longer serve your values.
    Here are a couple more articles to give you food for thought:
    How to Improve Your Company Culture
    10 Dead Simple Ways to Improve Your Company Culture
  4. Plan for the Future What does planning for the future look like when you have no idea what’s going to happen next? This article by Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP provides a helpful list of its own for helping contractors deal with the state of things. Their advice? Instead of “reactionary decisions based on a perceived need to do something…take calculated steps to curb the impact of [the pandemic].” Examine current contracts to know your rights and responsibilities. Look for ways to reduce short-term project costs such as equipment rentals or travel expenses. And, plan for future work. While some new projects may be on hold indefinitely, others may still go forward as planned. Open lines of communication with your stake holders to get a better idea of where you stand. Taking these steps now to evaluate where your business is and where it is going will help you identify and avoid pitfalls in the future.