Google to reward good content

If you rely on your website content (either via a blog or the core web page content) to help you rank on Google, you need to take notice of this major change in Google’s algorithm. The helpful content update will target websites that have a relatively high amount of unsatisfying or unhelpful content, where the content has been written for search engines rather than humans. This could mean those sites will rank lower in the Google search results that are served up to consumers using the Google search engine (which is most people on the planet!)

Google’s new helpful content update specifically targets “content that seems to have been primarily created for ranking well in search engines rather than to help or inform people.” 

The purpose of this algorithm update is to help searchers find “high-quality content,” Google said. Google wants to reward better and more useful content that was written for humans and to help users.


10 Steps to Develop Strong Core Values

Having the right culture in your company is vital to its success.  The culture that exists in a company can make or break it, so it is important to make sure the right one is proactively developed. Establishing an agreed set of Core Values is the best place to start.  By not taking a proactive approach the culture will simply evolve in a random way, usually by drifting towards whoever is making the most “noise” in the company.  If that person is a positive, uplifting type then you are lucky and the culture will generally be positive.  If, on the other hand the noisy one is a moaning, slack-arse, negative type, then you have a problem.  Other people will be dragged down to this level and the whole company culture will become negative.  You will end up loosing your best employees and retaining your worst.


Time to dust off the marketing playbook

While most construction businesses are still pretty busy and the runway of work ahead should see you into 2023 without too many issues, the longer term picture is looking a bit more fuzzy. It’s time to start reviewing what you are doing in the marketing and sales space and look to make some improvements.

There is a habit of many business owners in the trades to just take what the market dishes up and not put some proactive systems in place to generate work.  “I get all my work from word-of-mouth” is what I hear a lot.  That’s great when WoM is working, but what if it isn’t? What’s the back-up plan?  Usually there is none.  This is particularly true when the market is stronger and the perceived need to generate leads is less. With building consents running at record levels over the past year, you can understand why marketing has not been high on the priority list of most people. Inflation, Covid, supply lines and labour shortages have naturally dominated the headlines. A downturn in building activity however will naturally make some of those issues die away. The need to generate more leads and improve your conversion rate will start to sneak up on you if you don’t take proactive steps.


How to Manage Variations

As the old saying goes, “The only certainties in life are death and taxes”. In the building industry that should read, “The only certainties in life are death and taxes AND VARIATIONS”.

There is seldom a project completed without some change to the original plan or scope and this can lead to work being done that is not well documented or billed to the client on a timely basis. Variations are therefor a major potential cause of profit leak from a business, and also disputes with a client. It is essential that you, your client and your build team clearly understand what variations are and you have a reliable system to capture and process them through the job management and billing areas of your business.


Are profits leaking out of your business bucket?

It’s profit reporting season. Do you have your latest financial accounts back from your accountant yet? Does the Net Profit seem lower than you expected? Maybe the profit is leaking out somewhere.

Your business can be viewed as a kind of bucket.  In the top you pour revenue, which comes from your marketing, sales and production efforts, then deduct the direct and indirect costs of producing that revenue.  Unfortunately everyone’s bucket leaks and so the amount left over (as net profit) is often a lot less than it could be and what is required to balance the effort and risk that you assume as the business owner.  It leaks out through holes such as: too many overheads, insufficient margin, working with the wrong clients, burning hours on fixed price contracts and a number of other ways.


Building Inflation Monster Rising

Building materials are up in price around 34% compared to a year ago and more increases are on the way. We are suffering a perfect storm of high demand, due to the boom in building, and tighter supply lines due to Covid, shipping bottlenecks and now the effects of a war in Europe.

While most, if not all of this is beyond your control, how you react and deal with it is something you can take action of. Two key actions should be at the top of your list….


5 Mistakes of General Contractors

As part of my business coaching for builders, I am in the fortunate position of seeing what successful builders do versus those who have some improvements to make. One thing I think we can all agree on, running a business in the construction space is not easy. The work is physically hard, it’s often quite complex, it often comes with emotionally charged clients and margins are often too slim. There is limited space to make errors, either technical or in running your business. 

I can’t help you become a better builder, from a technical perspective, but I can help you reduce errors in the running of your business. So what are the main errors I see by builders finding and running their own jobs, ie the general contractor? There are many, but here is my top 5 to work on first…


5 Elements of Effective Leadership

Becoming a leader isn’t easy because it takes a conscious commitment and consistent effort to develop one’s leadership skills. It is focusing on doing the right thing first, rather than focusing on doing things right. That’s what a good manager does. But on the positive side, anyone who is willing to make the effort can become a good leader. And because good leadership is critical to business success, your efforts to improve your leadership skills will be amply rewarded. By working on these five keys of leadership, you can become the leader your small business needs.


The Great Resignation

One of the main frustrations of business owners at this time is the difficulty in finding qualified staff to grow their teams. A strong construction market, coupled with a close to zero immigration flow, is resulting in the demand for workers increasing while at the same time the supply is shrinking.

Now, according to a recent report in the NZ Herald, employers are also facing a growing trend in team members actively looking at quitting their current jobs and finding something new. It is a phenomenon that has been noted overseas over the past 12-18 months and it looks like it is coming here. In the US it is being referred to as The Great Resignation. The widespread trend of a significant number of workers leaving their jobs during the pandemic. Many are leaving the cities and looking for jobs in smaller centres, or looking for less stressful roles. Some are using the opportunity to better themselves and go for a higher paying position. 

What should you do about it?


Operate Above The Line

Is your team (and you) operating above the line?

I was meeting a builder client of mine today and we got on to the topic of incentives versus fines for staff performance. Also how some team members seemed to constantly come up short and be quick with an excuse. My client said he regularly talks to other builders and they often compare stories of what excuses their staff come up with as to why they failed at a task, forgot to do something or generally screwed up. While they laugh about the excuses, there is a river of frustration running below. These team members are choosing to be “below the line”.
What does that mean and what can you do about it?