The boom-bust cycle is a familiar one in Alberta.
It’s understandable if your team is in limbo right now, panicking a little bit and wondering when the next opportunity will come your way. We’ve written before about how to prosper in a downturn, but we know there’s less work out there right now, and that many of you are wondering how to pass the time in a way that will actually serve your bottom line.
There will be another boom. There always is, and when it hits, your competitors will scramble to fill their schedules and their bank accounts before the wave recedes again.
Don’t make the same mistake.
You’re smarter. You’re strategic. You’re playing the long game, which you know starts immediately.
Here are the four things your team should be focusing on right now so you’ll be best positioned to win more work and make more money when the next boom hits.
During the last boom, you hired 25 new people or more in a two-week period. You had to—work was crazy, and the need was immediate. Anyone who had the necessary accreditations and a pulse was qualified to represent your company to your ideal clients.
This time, we’re going to do things a little differently.
First, we’ll spend some dedicated time training your core team. Right now, schedule a day when you can all get together to discuss your core values, your company culture, and how you want to stand out to your clients. We’d love to help you plan and facilitate a Lunch and Learn-style session about anything from safety culture to crane rigging. We know you well enough to know what you need, so give us a call to discuss the details.
Why focus on training?
When the next boom hits, you’re going to need to hire a bunch of short-term staff again. Those individuals will be the front-line ambassadors of your brand, and they’ll be the ultimate reflection of You, Inc. Give them the best shot of representing your company well by having a core team that is trained, prepared, and ready to model the expectations you have of everyone who works with your clients. It’ll go a long way toward positioning you as the provider of choice next time that client needs the services you provide.
Last time, you barely had enough hours in the day to complete the paperwork required of you on each job. The OH&S paperwork alone has been enough to put lesser companies out of business, but you valiantly struggled through, made it happen, and vowed to find a way to make it easier on yourself next time.
Well, we’ve found a way.
Take advantage of a slower economy by introducing automated systems that will help things run more smoothly next time. Custom forms, corrective action, preventive action—Boreal can help you set up and get familiar with systems that address all of them (and many more, too).
One of our most valuable services is to find trends in your reports that you didn’t even know were there, and then to help you take appropriate action to keep them from affecting your schedule and budget going forward.
Did you know that 6 of your last 12 inspections had issues with the same thing? Let’s find it, fix it, and set up systems that will prevent it from happening again.
Last time, you might have scrambled to get everything you needed to qualify for a job. Some clients wanted to see your safety manual. Others demanded you have COR. Still others presented a series of fiery hoops you had to jump through just to get access to the application.
It was kind of a gong show, wasn’t it?
Next time around, you’re going to be ready for whatever they ask. You’re going to get all your standards in place now so that the process of getting on a jobsite doesn’t take longer than the job itself.
A few things you can standardize (and even automate somewhat) now that it’s slower: your onboarding process, your certifications, and your manuals.
Again, we probably have even more specific recommendations for you based on the work we’ve already done together. We’d love to chat about the details.
There’s a horrifying statistic out there that says you have to follow up 12 times with a client before getting paying work. Twelve! One dozen times! You basically need to marry someone before they’ll give you a job.
If you’ve found the process of networking and following up to be anxiety-producing and exhausting (like we sometimes do), here’s a reminder from our own experience: deals don’t happen at the desk. Your clients are probably as wary as you are of spending money right now, so concentrate instead on building and nurturing relationships.
A follow up doesn’t have to be an awkwardly worded email in which you specify that you are following up. Instead, try taking your clients for coffee without even talking about business. Consider hosting an informal gathering around a fun theme. (Last month, we went to a Back to the Future-themed Halloween party. We’ve been known to host a Pi Party on March 14.) Have you ever invited your clients to Sunday dinner?
People do business with people they know, like, and trust. Are you building those qualities into your relationships right now? If you do, we promise you’ll be top of mind when the time comes.
And here’s a tip to make your networking efforts even easier: Boreal has an extensive network of professionals in our contact list to help you fill the gaps in your business and make valuable connections. What do you need—a writer, a safety culture consultant, an architect? Call us. Chances are really good we can connect you with someone who can help.
Your turn: what are you focusing on right now so you’ll be ready for the next boom?
And how can we help?