4. Get Ready to Adapt
With the pandemic, we’ve learned that business owners need to be ready to face the unprecedented: Now, with a huge demand for new housing, construction companies are grappling with material shortages and price increases. “Nobody could have guessed the boom would have gone up this much,” Payne says. “There’s very little supply on finished houses or just materials to build houses, and so it causes a lot of [cost] increases.”
While COVID-19 upended the world as we knew it and forced us to learn new habits, such as masking and social distancing, it also presents opportunities for growth. According to the Harvard Business Review, among large firms operating during the past four economic downturns, 14% were able to increase both their sales growth and their EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) margin. The ability to quickly detect signals of change and react to them is what separates businesses that thrive from those that fail. It’s important to be comfortable experimenting with different business models, processes and strategies, and not be afraid to try something that might not work out.
To construction professionals unwilling to adopt new technology, Stacey Ranieri says: “If you’re not willing to open your mind, you’re probably in the wrong business. You’ve got to be willing to listen to clients, understand their needs, their wants — and communication is a key part of that. Just having the technology to keep you open to them is huge.”
Stacey and her daughter were forced to quickly adapt when the pandemic hit, switching to online solutions for many of the in-person tasks they could no longer do. “Although we were already doing quite a bit of business online, the lack of ability to go into stores and visit suppliers caused us to adapt even more,” Stacey says, “just for convenience and availability.”
One way to embrace new technology is to adopt easily accessible solutions such as Houzz Pro construction management software; its features are designed to give construction businesses a big edge without a big learning curve. “It saves so much time, and time is money in this industry,” Shaw says. “The more time you spend putting an estimate together, getting a lead imported into the system, the more money you’re losing.”