Starting a Construction Business – Research, Planning & Beginning Steps
It’s a well known FACT that starting a business is no small task. Many shy away from opportunities to set off on this adventure because they are unsure of the requirements & possible responsibilities that are sure to come. In this post, I lay out the main steps to begin your new construction business. A step-by-step guide to help you begin this exciting step in your career!
Remember the 5 P’s (Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance)
1. Conduct research online
Small Business Administration is a valuable tool who has a large selection of resources towards starting your business. Additionally, there are valuable resources like Entrepreneur and Inc. that have tons of advice. The Internet has virtually unlimited resources waiting to be used.
2. Starting a business for dummies
Roll up your sleeves and hit the library. There are tons of books that cater to those wishing to start their own businesses. From the “Dummies” series to the business specialization texts, there is a wealth of information to be found at your local library. A familiar name, Entrepreneur, outlined 5 Books to Read Before Starting Your Business. This may be a good place to start!
3. Leverage the knowledge of other professionals
Where is the best place to learn how to get something done? From those who have successfully done it! If you are thinking about going out on your own, you must have a few friends in the industry who have already made it. Give them a call, and ask for advice. If you don’t, attend building and construction industry trade shows, join organizations and associations, in addition to, networking with peers, suppliers, even competitors. Talk to anyone who is willing to lend you his or her ear.
4. Complete credit check
If your credit is in good shape, perfect! If not, fix it! You MUST have good credit if you aspire to begin this new venture. HERE are tips from myFICO on how to repair & improve your credit score.
5. Check your gut
Maybe the most important bit of research you must conduct is within yourself. Remember, starting a business is A LOT of hard work. You often don’t get days off, so unless you maintain a strong work/life balance, you can find yourself feeling as though you’re working ‘round the clock. As an independent contractor, you will no longer just focus on the physical work. Your new burdens will include inventory, purchasing, money management, funding, resource management, human resources and more.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to sway you from starting your dream business. Instead, I’m making sure you are will informed. So before you jump into the commitment, make sure your gut says it’s the right decision.
Plan, Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More
1. Write a business plan
When you begin a construction project do you jump right to work, or do you have a carefully planned blueprint for your project. Starting your construction business must be handled in the same fashion. There are many websites you can visit which include step-by-step instruction on building your business plan. ACCION has conveniently laid everything out in Business Plans 101. In this article, you can find out what you must put together, along with why it is important.
In order to secure funding, a business plan will be absolutely necessary. Any type of financial lender will be persistent in seeing your ideas planned out before they will help out.
2. Know your strengths and known your weaknesses
As your own boss, you’re going to find yourself dipping your fingers in a little bit of everything. But, it is important to delegate. Take note of your more prominent skills & abilities, and delegate others to those who can do the job better. Forbes, in their article Top 10 Qualities That Make A Great Leader, listed several qualities you should aspire to emulate.
3. Surround yourself with greatness
Any good leader, or business owner, knows you are only as good as those around you. Anyone who has been on the ground floor of a construction project knows the value of good help. That means your new employees should consist of people with a proven track record of success, or a great lineup of freelancers and subcontractors – or possibly a combination of the two. You won’t be successful unless you assemble a grade A team.
4. Building you office space
Home Office: If you’re planning to work from home, make sure you have a proper setup, where you can be professional and won’t be disturbed. You’ll also need separate telephone line & office equipment.
Renting/Buying Office Space: If you plan on renting or buying office space, you will need to furnish it. Construction Talk, in their article Make a Good First Impression with Your Office, goes over the necessities for your new office.
5. Maintaining a personal & professional network
As a business owner, people will constantly look to you for answers. Unfortunately, you may not always have the answer, and that is why it is important to have a strong professional network. When you need those much sought after answers, you can look towards your network to find them. Additionally, you will need someone to help you cope with the stressors of starting a business. Your personal network (family & close friends) are those you can count on for emotional support.
Here are 5 steps to take while building your business:
1.Incorporate or set up a partnership, limited liability corporation, or sole proprietorship. Enlist the help of an attorney and/or accountant to figure out which is the best way to go for your business.
2. Take care of all necessary licensing and paperwork, register with the appropriate federal, state and local agencies. Consider purchasing industry-specific software that will help with budgets, scheduling and estimates, along with accounting software to keep the book straight.
3. Open up a business bank account and get a business credit card. Get a D-U-N-S number from Dun & Bradstreet, especially if you hope to do business with the federal government.
4. Buy a domain name and get a website up and running, or at the very least, set up a Facebook page for the business where you can feature photos of your work and other content to help promote yourself.
5. Network, both within the construction industry and outside. You never know where a lead can come from!