Build Your Business Blueprint
12 steps to implement your best action plan

Most construction business owners are overworked and underpaid for the endless efforts and risks they take for their business. They manage by the seat of their pants, try to run their company without systems or controls in place, put out fires all day, don't delegate, need to hire professionals to help their business grow and are too busy to do what they need to do to make more money. Best-in-class companies have a plan, system and structure in place that works and delivers top-line and bottom-line results.

Most business owners want to make more money, work less, get in control, have systems in place, create leaders in management and develop long-term, loyal customers who supply lots of profitable work. They know what they want, but don't do what is necessary to make it happen.

Become Best In Class

Best-in-class companies generally follow a basic business plan or blueprint that is proven to work. The rest continue to struggle without a written plan, an organizational structure or the right people and systems in place.

Companies that have dedicated the time and commitment to draft and implement detailed business plans have been able to improve their net profit by as much as five to 10 percent, while developing an accountable and responsible management team that will grow and improve their companies. Below are 12 steps to begin implementing your best action plan.

1. Realize you are stuck.

The owner's name is the most important box in your organizational chart. You make big decisions, tell everyone what to do and handle all the important matters. You are the business, and likely can't do anymore work yourself. When you finally admit that you are holding back your company from profitable growth, your company can then move to the next level.

2. Take more risk.

To grow your business and make best-in-class profits, you will have to take more risks that include letting go, delegating, hiring, focusing on new customers and projects, spending some money and investing in people, systems, technology and your company's future. Decide to grow. You can't get your business to work well unless you decide to make growth a top priority. You have to stop doing so much of the work yourself and focus on selling, finding and developing better projects and customer opportunities. To make this happen, you will have to build an accountable management team, hire people, delegate, create structure and develop systems.

3. Draft your business blueprint.

To put it all together, you will have to dedicate time to write out your strategic business action plan detailing your purpose, five-year vision, core values, targets, goals, organizational chart, structure, systems, financial plan, marketing plan and the steps you need to take to get your business working the way you want. Hire a business coach to help you commit to a two- or three-day management retreat to get your plan on paper.

4. Design your organizational structure.

To build an organized, accountable and responsible management team, you will have to draft your immediate, short- and long-term organizational charts. Your structure will incorporate all the functions needed to run your company, including the management team, responsibilities, tasks, positions and people to do the work required over the next few years. This will transform your job from hands-on controller to coach and leader by implementing people and leadership systems.

5. Hold regular team meetings.

In order to build a strong, well-managed company, regular strategic and tactical logistics, project and team meetings are mandatory. Your management team must meet monthly to review and update progress of the plan, including the status of each strategic initiative, target and goal, such as financials, systems, estimating, sales, people, scorecards and projects. Ongoing tactical meetings should also be scheduled and held for estimating, sales and marketing, project management and field crew leaders.

6. Install written systems.

Sound management and consistent operations begin with a clear set of written company guidelines and systems specifying how you want to do business. Construction operations, administration and production excellence starts with complete systems to ensure on-budget projects, excellent service, quality workmanship, on-time completion and a safe workplace.

7. Track scorecards.

Implement scorecard performance tracking systems for your key numbers, success factors, company and project results, finances, pricing, profit, job cost and estimating to monitor and track results while maintaining a timely reporting system. Create financial controls and action plans to price, track and achieve your overhead and profit goals. Additionally, install a fully-integrated accounting system.

8. Focus on profitable growth.

After your company is organized and working the way you want it to, you can move over to the business development side of your business. Devise a plan to grow your business through work with better customers and higher margin projects against lower quality and quantity of competition.

9. Draft a marketing and sales plan.

Implement your written plan to find great customers, projects and opportunities. Determine which projects and markets have the most opportunity for success, develop project and customer target lists and tracking systems and create a marketing and sales calendar. Create an ongoing marketing and sales program to build and maintain loyal, repeat customers.

10. Differentiate!

Set your company apart from the competition, exploit your expertise and market niche and go after specialty work with high barrier to entry against less competition. Move toward selling higher value and more services versus low price projects and bidding against too many competitors. Create strong, trusted relationships with a select group of loyal customers who will award you most of their work.

11. Build equity and create wealth.

Use your profitable business as a stepping stone into other strategic alliances, joint ventures, real estate developments and investments, such as other business ventures, real estate, exclusive distribution agreements, equipment rental companies or any additional products or services that compliment what your company already does regularly.

12. Enjoy the freedom of owning a business that works for you.

When your business works the way you want it to, you create time and financial peace which allows you to enjoy the benefits and freedom to pursue whatever you want with your time, energy and money. You can invest in own your business and hire better managers, develop more business opportunities, focus on sales, spend more time with your family and friends or give back to your church, industry or community.

Now is the time to get started building a business that grows, profits and works for you. Build your blueprint, put on your hard hat and get ready to make your vision become a reality. It is hard work, but you know what you want your business to do. Take a look at where you are today, decide where you want to be in five years, and then determine what steps you need to take to get there. Start now by taking the first step to get out of your comfort zone.

To submit a question for George Hedley, email Associate Editor Elizabeth Manning at