rcs has been operating for over 20 years now and along the way, I’ve learned several things that have allowed me to move forward in the construction industry and have helped this company grow to what it is today, and I’d like to share them with you:
1. Give back to your community
I truly believe business owners have a moral obligation to give back to those less fortunate around them. If the community doesn’t support you and your business, the likelihood of success is extremely low because if those close to you don’t believe in you, why should anyone else? I believe that good things happen to those who do good things, so give until it hurts!
2. Perception is real
How you perceive a situation can make or break it. Even if a project has seemingly everything stacked against it but you can see even a small possibility that it could succeed and truly believe in it, its potential of success grows hugely. If your firm has late model shiny trucks people will assume your firm is professional. With perception you can set the stage – but you still have to get’er done!
3. Moral Values must ALWAYS be considered
A wise man (Warren Buffet) once said something that stuck with me in business from the early days…. “it takes 20 years to build a reputation and only 5 minutes to ruin it!” If you consider this when making tough decisions, you will do things differently and be more apt to make good decisions and be a better leader.
4. Make a genuine effort to Network
‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’. This couldn’t be more true in Atlantic Canada, where everyone knows someone influential, no matter the industry. Your connections are your most powerful tool and it is up to you to use them to their full potential. Make an effort to go to networking events, business seminars, conferences and actively talk to people and get to know their names and business. Make an effort to meet the guy or gal sitting next to you on the plane….you never know where the conversation might lead!
5. Develop your mission, vision and philosophy
Develop them, believe in them and make sure your team understands and believes in them as well. If they don’t feel that you do, they won’t either, so make sure your mission, vision and philosophy are things that apply to your business but are also things you can strive for everyday – both in and out of the office. Lead by example and live by it. Others will follow.
6. Establish core values and live or die by them
Your core values are how you think, behave and guide your decisions through life. Same goes for your company. They are the foundation on which business decisions are made and successful relationships are formed. They should be visible in every aspect of your company and your employees. Never stop talking about them! Hire and fire based on simple core values and that will allow you to find the right people for the right positions. My staff is the reason rcs is where it is today.
7. Find a great Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS)
All businesses need a visionary and an integrator (thinker and a doer). They are essential to an organization and although they have very different ways of thinking and problem-solving, their different perspectives can lead to exciting results. Visionaries are passionate, driven and creative, the ‘dreamers’ and creative problem-solvers. They need someone detail-oriented, who knows how to keep a team working smoothly and who is excellent at resolving conflict to balance them. Integrators are able to manage daily issues as they rise, have the ability to integrate sales, operations and finance into a group that works cohesively and are the glue of the team.
8. Vertical integration
Vertical integration is when a company owns or controls its suppliers and distributors to control its value or supply chain. This allows a company to manage over their process, reduce costs where needed and improve efficiencies. While not without its disadvantages, vertically integrating gives an entrepreneurial company more control over its work. If you want to own multiple businesses, vertically integrating allows you to grow and yet stay in sync and close to your businesses.
9. Cashflow is King
In one of our first meetings with our accountant, I remember his wise words of advice after our meeting; “cashflow is king”. Always make sure more is coming in than going out and be deadly with timely invoicing and collections. Negative cashflow is draining on you and your team. We concentrated here early and have been able to manage this incredibly well, rarely having to utilize our line of credits.
10. Never lose focus
Your company is real and alive because of a dream you had. You put in the countless hours to make it happen and continue to do so every day. There will be stretches of weeks or months where everything is going better than you could’ve ever imagined and unfortunately, times when things go wrong and nothing seems to make it any better. The important thing is to never lose focus of your goals. Sometimes when things aren’t going well you have to step back and remind yourself of the significant milestones and goals achieved that are already well behind you. This can remind you of all your great past successes and inspire you to not lose hope going forward.
Focus focus focus!