Controlling a fast growing business.

Team New Zealand has recently launched their AC75 rocket ship, Te Aihe. It looks like something designed by an Italian super car manufacturer and will probably have the power to match. They anticipate reaching speeds of around 50 knots when up and planing on it’s high-tech foils, which is mind blowing. The only problem is at that kind of speed, things happen real fast and there is limited room for error. If things go wrong, they will go wrong quickly and probably spectacularly.

The same principles apply in business. The faster your business is growing and trading, the less room for error there is as things can go sideways very quickly. This article will help you manage a fast growing business better.

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Improve Your Sales Success

Whether you have a high-touch, personalised sales method, or a more automated, templated one, the ability to take a new enquiry through to the point of sale is vital to the sustainability of your business. Without sales your business will die; it’s that basic. Sales are the lifeblood of any business and yours is no different. So how do you improve the percentage of enquiries that turn into paying customers?

There are many moving parts to this process but having a really good start to the sales journey for the prospective customer is vital. Start right and your chances of securing the sale, even at a premium price is higher. Of course the reverse is also true. Start out wrong and you will probably never make the sale. Luckily the first few contacts you have with a prospect is also the easiest and the cheapest place (in terms of your time) to make improvements to your sales conversion rate. It is also the most efficient place to qualify someone OUT of your sales process and thus waste the minimum amount of your time. Time is probably your most valuable resource in your business and so you need to protect it and spend it where it is has the greatest payback.

The first few contact points you have with a prospect are likely to be a phone call and then some sort of scoping meeting. It’s vital to make these early touches as professional and as powerful as possible. You need to start building rapport and trust as soon as possible (for those prospects you haven’t qualified out), and I have listed a few hints and tips to help you refine your processes here.

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Efficiency Through Better Technology

In the battle to improve field profitability there is an important debate to have. Do you focus primarily on Productivity or Efficiency? Although both terms seem similar there is an important difference and one that will shape your overall business response, depending on which one you focus on.

Productivity is all about packing in the maximum output in a given time. It has a quantity focus. Efficiency focuses on looking at a fixed amount of work (in a project for example) and aiming to do it with less wasted time. It has a higher weighting on quality. The ultimate situation of course is to achieve BOTH increased productivity and increased efficiency, but it’s a fine balance to get right.

Most of my clients aren’t in the mass production market segment and so focusing on improving efficiency first makes more sense. There are many ways to improve efficiency but one strategy that is easier to implement now than it ever has been is through better use of technology.

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Bigger Size Does Not Equal Bigger Profits

According to Nicholas Bloom’s Harvard Business Review article, “Corporations in the Age of Inequality,” a slim percentage of top-earning companies actually earn significantly more profit than their rivals in what’s been deemed the “winner-takes-most” economy. As leading companies earn more, there is less profit remaining for lagging companies, only widening the gap.

So, what does the construction industry in particular look like? In research between the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA) and Coltivar Group, a representative sample of 363 industrial and nonresidential U.S. construction companies ranging from $1 million to over $1 billion in revenue were studied. Profitability and return on investment were used as an objective lens to compare the companies.

While 50% of companies had a competitive advantage, defined as the ability to earn above-industry-average economic profits, the calculation revealed that companies in the top 20% earn nearly 83% of all economic profit, fulfilling the Pareto principle, or the 80/20 rule. The remaining 80% of companies are confined to the dog-eat-dog environment of the lower deciles, where they contend for leftover scraps of industry profit.

How did these successful contractors achieve the initial success to advance up the curve?

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Spotlight on Mental Health

A recent study conducted by BRANZ has shed light on mental health issues within the construction industry, offering some important insights to help tackle the issue 

At 6.9%, the proportion of suicides in the New Zealand construction industry stands as the highest across all other sector in the country.

Despite a mixed reaction from interviewees being surprised or not surprised at the rate of suicides, nearly all were unaware that the construction sector had the highest percentage of all industries.

What’s fuelling the numbers?

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What Is Your Signature System?

Your “purple cow” is also known as your signature system, your unique selling proposition, or USP.  It is a sentence or phrase that explains what makes you special. It gives your prospects a reason to do business with you rather than your competitors. A good USP that is properly used makes your marketing a lot more effective, because it gives you dominance over a market niche.
It can be one of the most transformational shifts in your business right now and can be done at little or no cost. So how can you do this?

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Secure What is Owed To You

Want to rank with the banks when standing in line to collect payment from a debtor who has gone into liquidation? The PPSR may help you.

The Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) is the register where security interests over personal property may be registered and can be searched.

The PPSR was created as a result of the Personal Property Securities Act 1999 coming into force on 1 May 2002 and it replaced a number of existing registers including the Chattels Register, Motor Vehicle Securities Register, and the Register of Company Charges. 

Why use the PPSR?
Registering your security interest on the PPSR may give you a better chance of recovering a debt if your debtor defaults, at least in the commercial space.

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Do You Know Your Numbers?

Imagine you are flying over the Pacific Ocean on an airliner and the captain comes on the PA system. “Ladies and gentlemen, I have some bad news and some good news. The bad news is that all our instruments are out. I have no idea where we are heading, how much fuel we have left or what height we are at. The good news is…we’re making great time!”

Scary? Hell yeah!

Trouble is many owners run their businesses like this. No real idea of where they are going, whether they are heading into danger, but never-the-less they remain eternally optimistic. As the business grows the almost casual attitude becomes more serious and you lie awake at night wondering how you are going to make payroll next week and whether clients are going to come through with those promised progress payments. You wouldn’t fly a plane like that, so why run your business like that?

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Are You a Good Leader?

Are you a leader just because you run a business? Not automatically. But you need to be. Without leadership, the ship that is your business has no captain and no rudder and eventually will founder.

A leader is one who DOES THE RIGHT THINGS. This compares with a manager who DOES THINGS RIGHT. Both are important in a business, but a good leader will take a business and make it grow. Anyone can be a leader, even if the only person they’re leading is themselves.

But you can’t become a leader just by saying you are. Leadership needs to be worked at. There are many virtues to leadership that you can focus on and improve. Here is my top 5 and I invite you to challenge this list and suggest what you think are the most important qualities and skills of a great leader.

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The Law of the Rubber Band

I have just started reading a book by John Maxwell called “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth”  One law jumped out at me and inspired this post. Maybe it was the catchy title, or maybe it was because it resonated with me personally. It was law #10 – The Law of the Rubber Band.  A rubber band is only useful when it is under tension. The same applies to your life, if you want to grow and improve. Simply put it is says that growth can only happen when there is tension between where you are now and where you could be.  

So ask yourself these questions:

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