When to Expand Your Contracting Business
Are you ready for the next challenge? If your stamped concrete business is functioning but you feel like you could be doing so much more, maybe it’s time to think about ways you can grow.
That can be just as intimidating as when you first got started, though. Maybe you feel like you’ve got a handle on the business as it is now, even if you know it could be bigger. And taking that next step might be intimidating. But it’s an opportunity you don’t want to lose. So what should you consider to take that next step?
Yes, we’re telling you that when the time is right, you should make your move. But we also want to make sure it really is the right time.
It’s important not to stretch yourself or your business structure beyond your means or attempt to do it too early in the process. You need to be sure that you have the wherewithal to expand. “Wherewithal” has several levels of meaning here.
Financial wherewithal is one element. Do you have enough capital to undergo expansion? You’re going to need it. You may need more vehicles or tools. You might also want to increase your advertising. And of course, more payroll – you’ll need more people out in the field but also more office support.
Your own personal wherewithal is also important. Are you personally ready for the added work – and stress? Are you prepared to take on what’s necessary to run a big business? Are you also ready to step back from some tasks and let others step up to fill new roles so that you don’t get spread too thin?
What about your staff? As your own workload shifts, so does theirs. You may not be able to spend the same amount of time out in the field yourself. Do you have competent people who can head up projects while you’re into more administrative issues? Since you’ll be taking on more projects, you may need to have two or three employees who can function as forepersons. Of course, if you prefer, you can hire them from outside, but often it’s helpful to promote from within.
Finally, you have to be concerned about market wherewithal. You might have a great team, enough money and be personally prepared. But will there be enough clients? You’ll want to know that there’s sustained interest from potential clients and not just a short “freak” period when you had a lot of requests for your service.
… But Not Too Slow
On the other hand, you have to make your move. If you’re ready and it’s what you want, then it’s important not to delay too long or the competition may beat you to it.
Starting your business may have felt intimidating, and those same apprehensions and fears can come to the surface again when you want to position your business as a bigger player in the field. A lot of the same factors are involved. You may not have to do everything over again, but you’ll definitely have to repeat a lot of it.
There’s no way to ever have 100% certitude that everything will work out as you hope. There’s no absolute certainty that it’s the right time. But you have to be willing to make an informed decision and take the plunge. In short – don’t act on a sudden impulse, but don’t be afraid to make an informed decision either.
Making the Assessment
Does it sound like you need to be like Goldilocks? You don’t want to move too soon, and you don’t want to do it too late. You want it just right. Let’s look at some ways to judge when is the right time to make your move.
First, look at the demand you currently have. If you’re not busy now, there are a lot of steps you can take to change that, but expanding the business isn’t one of them.
On the other hand, are you constantly busy? Do you have to turn down jobs because you just couldn’t get to them in a timely manner? If that happens regularly, you definitely should look at expanding your capabilities.
Even if you’re not turning people away but are still consistently busy – a constant flow of work without a lot of days to just sit around and wait – that probably means you could grow. With a bit more outreach, you’d be able to secure more clients. Most likely, you probably haven’t been stepping up your marketing because you had enough to do. A little extra push can make all the difference.
Also, look at your coverage area. What’s going on in the real estate market? Are new developments going up where you could partner with developers? Does there seem to be a good number of people making improvements to their home? These would definitely be positive signs.
As you know, you always have to be thinking a few steps ahead in business – in that sense, it’s like chess. So it’s important to take the steps to be ready to implement your larger business.
An important preliminary step is to always evaluate your employees and try to determine who could be fit to head a crew in your absence. Even before expansion, you’ll need them just so you can have some time off! But you’ll also want to have people ready to step up when you start taking on larger projects or multiple projects at the same time.
If possible, try to have at least a couple extra people already on staff before you really make a big push for new clients, too. That will allow more time for training and for forming them in your company culture. Don’t forget that you may have to expand the back office, not only the installers. If you had part-timers there, you might want to talk to them about full-time work if you think it’ll become necessary. Otherwise, you might have to consider replacing them to meet your growing needs.
In addition, unless you’re absolutely flooded with requests for new projects, it would be a great idea to step up your advertising. Whether that’s online, through print, radio or television, making yourself more visible will help bring in new clients. You want to make sure your name is in front of your potential clients to keep those calls and emails coming in!
Don’t Overdo It
A successful business is a fantastic goal. Being able to expand that business is great! It not only helps provide for you and your family but also for your employees and their families as well. And of course, when you’re installing stamped concrete, you’re providing a service and a product that help property owners add to the value of their home or business.
At the same time, it’s important to remember money isn’t everything. Growth is great, but you still need time to recharge and take care of yourself and your loved ones.
When you’re considering business growth, be sure to take your own well-being into account. Assess your current workload. Be sure to hire additional staff so that not everything falls on you. Give yourself the support you need to be successful. Otherwise, if all you’re doing is stressing yourself out, a bigger business isn’t doing you any good.
One Great Way to Expand
When you’re ready to expand, there are a lot of fantastic ways to do it. One great option is to become a franchise.
Patterned Concrete is a top stamped concrete installer and we’re looking for more franchises in both the United States and Canada. As a franchisee, you get “the value of being backed by a brand.” Our brand is recognized across North America and offers you a great support network.
With the support you get from us, you’ll be able to make huge strides in growing your business!
Goals are good, and if you can dream of growing your stamped concrete business – or any other business you’re running – that’s awesome. Be sure to assess where you’re at and look realistically at when the right time will be. By setting out a clear plan, you can make sure everything goes smoothly and that your bigger business will be a huge success!