By Karen L. Edwards, RCS Editor.
Chances are you started your roofing business because of your love for the craft. As your business grows and becomes more successful, you might find yourself becoming more bogged down in the tactical efforts that go into running the business and less involved in the actual projects. Getting stuck in the tactical is a sure way to prevent you from focusing on your vision and where you want your company to be in five or ten years. It can be hard finding the balance needed to focus on leading your company and taking it to the next level. That’s where these tips and tools can help.
1 – Project management software. How are you managing your projects? If you are still tracking jobs in an Excel spreadsheet, this could be holding you back. There are plenty of new technological platforms that are built specifically for contractors that allow teams to work together seamlessly. Some offer a customer relationship manager function to help you keep track of and stay in front of your customers. Let technology help you streamline your business operations. Visit our Technology section at the Coffee Shop to learn about resources that can help your business operate smoothly and more efficiently. Attend your local roofing associations trade shows to visit with vendors and talk to other contractors about solutions that worked for their business.
2 – Prioritizing tasks. Do you have a to-do list that feels like it is a mile long? Take the time to segment that list into sections. One section are things that have to happen today, another section for things that can happen later and the third section for things that you can delegate to other people. As your team grows, it’s important to remember that not everything has to be done by you. You hired the people on your team for their knowledge, their skills and their experience. Delegate those tasks that really can be handled by the competent people you hired to be part of your team.
3 – Scheduling your tasks. Once you’ve got your priorities, it’s just as important to actually schedule time to get things done. It can be easy to be sucked into being reactive to situations, putting fires out and then before you know it, the day is over, and you have not accomplished anything. Get past this by blocking out time on your calendar to work on items that you have prioritized. Turn off your email, shut your door and put your phone on silent. Consider finding a quiet place where you can focus outside of the office if needed such as a coffee shop or the local library.
4 – Make time to brainstorm. How often do you take the time to sit with key members of your team and brainstorm ideas for the business? Many business owners neglect this important step in creating a vision for the future of their company. At a minimum, hold monthly brainstorming sessions with key leaders. Be sure to lay the ground rules. During a brainstorming session, no idea is criticized. Instead encourage all kinds of ideas – even unusual ones. Write them all on a whiteboard where your team can have an opportunity to combine and improve upon the ideas. By pulling yourself and your team out of the tactical, daily operation, you will begin to see the business in different ways and can develop the strategies needed to get you where you want to be.
5 – Stay connected to the field. How long has it been since you were on a jobsite? You are most likely back in the office, struggling to get out from under the tasks and to-dos of running your business. By implementing the first four tips, you’ll find that you have time to get out to jobsites. Schedule weekly visits to different sites. Get back to the reason you started the business in the first place – your love for the trade. Interacting with crews, project managers and other workers on site will build morale and show your team that you are interested in them and their work.