Home > Resources : Best Practices Articles | News

Resources: Best Practices Articles

Columns written by Garrett Sullivan for Building Industry Magazine

December 2014 - Running a Business with No Plan is a Plan for No Business



November 2014 - Do Your Contractor Eyes Need a Check Up? Here’s a Cure for Contractor’s Tunnel Vision


October 2014 - Business Intelligence: A Breath of Fresh Air for Your Company


September 2014 - Is It Time For You To Start Kedging?
Kedging is a nautical term used to help large ships navigate in and out of tight harbors and inlets. Kedging a ship is analogous to the step you must take when you want to change your construction company's direction. Once you've recognized that you're stuck, how can you start kedging? This article will give five situations contractors often "get stuck" in, and how they can kedge towards better circumstances.



July 2014 - Strengthening Your Outer Core
Every company has both an inner core--employees that work with you on a day-to-day basis, and an outer core--business partners outside of your company. Your outer core is just as important as your inner core because they can help you in a time of crisis. Learn how to strengthen your outer core and build long-term, lasting relationships in this article.


June 2014 - The Secret to Higher Employee Engagement
Do you ever feel that your employees are only merely interested in the work they are doing, but are not as highly engaged in the company as you are? In this article, read three proven ways to help your employees become more engaged and add incentive in the workplace.
>> Case Study


May 2014 - All Pilot's Gotta Land
In the construction industry, it is all too common for owners to grow a profitable business but forget to plan for a continued income stream after retirement. One of the main perks of owning a business it he ability to leave it when you want, and under the most favorable conditions. If you own your own business, one day you will leave. Why not think now about a detailed flight plan for your eventual departure?


April 2014 - Life's a Presentation: Take off Your Mask
As a person in business, you will inevitably need to provide presentations, either formally or informally. In order to perfect your presentations, why not try taking off your mask? How do you take off your mask and win the high stakes job? Read more for three prove strategies.


March 2014 - It's the Managers Not the Money!
Economists expect a 15% growth in construction this year, which means the demand for talented and experienced workers will increase. Learn how to retain and motivate your employees through this article.


February 2014 - A Post Job Survey Equals More Work!
Customer satisfaction is a key factor when it comes to performing a job well. Post-job surveys can be key tools that help you to gage how satisfied or dissatisfied a customer is based on a job, and can help you improve performance for the next time around. In this article, learn how to improve customer satisfaction, build a great post-job survey, and get more work!


January 2014 - What's Your Value Proposition?
A value proposition is a compelling statement that summarizes why a consumer should buy your product or service. This statement should persuade a potential consumer that you understand and are unique from your competitors. Have you written a perfected value proposition yet? If not, start by reading this article.


December 2013 - Ten Strategies for 2014
As 2013 fades into black, is your company the well-oiled machine you always envisioned? If not, 2014 is the time to recalibrate with these 10 proactive steps.


November 2013 - Partnering: The Way to Build It Right from Ground Zero
Contracting is a highly risky business, riddled with liability. Jobs are significantly larger and more complicated today than before. We live in a litigious society. All this points me to the topic of this month's article--Why I recommend that contractors minimize claims through a process called "partnering."


October 2013 - Solving Construction Disputes: A Practical Approach
Construction has always been a risky business. Contract disputes permeate our industry today, and they can literally put an organization out of business. In this article, learn why, how and when to mediate, as mediation is a valuable tool that should not be overlooked.


September 2013 - Estimating – It’s Both Art and Science
When it comes to estimating, most estimators would agree: "If you're slow, you're low; if you're fast, you're last." In short, bid preparation is both an art and a science which should be taken slowly, never rushed.



August 2013 - Employee Wellness: Why Owners Should Care
Many Americans are killing themselves, one pizza slice at a time. Why not launch a wellness program that will not only make a positive impact in productivity, but also on the quality and length of your employees' lives? Your wellness program may even result in lower health insurance costs for your company. In this article, learn where to start building a wellness program for your company and what the essential components are.


July 2013 - Are the Boom Times Here Again?
The next construction boom is here, and you are at a loss with how to keep up. In this article, learn how you can create an employee environment that would be difficult for anyone on your team to leave. Furthermore, learn how different working generations have different goals in the workplace.

June 2013 - Get Lean or Get Left Behind
The world of construction is changing rapidly, and revolutionizing itself in new ways everyday. Are you ready for these monumental changes? Learn how to be more cost effective and reduce waste through Lean Construction, with other useful tips that won't let your money slip through the cracks.


May 2013 - You've Got the Job...Now What? Why preparation is king
Procrastination may feel great at the time, but often ends up hurting more than helping you. In this article, learn how preplanning is the single most important even in the success of planning a project. Also learn what specific steps should be taken to successfully preplan your job.


April 2013 - The 8 Cents Savings Plan
Many companies, without knowing it, are losing 8 percent of their profit at any given time. In this article, learn practical and manageable ways to start gathering up some of this falling profit through the "8 Cents Savings Plan."


March 2013 - Accountability Means Action
Accountability. What is it and what does it mean for you and your company? This word is often highly avoided in the workplace today, but if used appropriately, should be one that is strictly adhered to. In this article, learn how accountability can improve performace potential and provide richer personal and professional relationships.


February 2013 - Starting Off Right with New Hires
Bringing new employees into your workplace is a inevitable and monumental step in building your company. This article outlines critical components that should not only be in your employee workbook, but in your frame of reference when teaching those that have just stepped on board.


January 2013 - Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast… Every Day
What components make up a successful and energizing corporate culture? Learn how you can create an exciting place for your employees to work, while also maintaining high performance.


December 2012 - The Role of the CEO in the New Millennium
What do leadership, management, and coaching all have in common? Read more to find out how these three skills synergistically work together to successfully build a new, better, 21st century CEO, and what you can do to get there.


November 2012 - Does Every Project Achieve Your Planned Profit?
It is essential to make profit on every single job you do, because without profit there is no gain. How does one go about ensuring this planned profit? In this article, learn what lagging and leading indicators will help you to best be rewarded financially.


September 2012 - Your IT System: An Achilles Heel?
Are you prepared for an information technology (IT) catastrophe? Most companies today are not, and when something happens, valuable data and information is lost indefinitely. Prevent this from happening by preparing now. In this article, learn how to manage your IT system now, before something happens.


August 2012 - The Overlooked Path to Profit: Accounting Department + Field
Your accounting department and field personnel having largely different tasks on the day-to-day basis, but at the end of the day, both are working towards the same goals: to complete the job and to earn profit. Instead of the two working against each other, learn how to create a work environment of synergy and teamwork.


July 2012 - Don’t Give Away the Store: Vital Steps to Negotiation
Negotiation is a skill that when done properly, can pay off significantly. Here, learn practical and useful tips and strategies when it comes to negotiating a business deal, and how not to give away all of your life savings.


June 2012 - Lawsuits: Prepare for the Worst, Hope for the Best
Lawsuits seem to happen far too often these days, and can quickly dwindle a company's hope and joy. However, with correct preparation and management, you can reduce the number of them and also learn how to deal with them when they do come, effectively. Learn how "the best defense is a good offense," as they say in football.


May 2012 - From Good to World Class: Where Are You on the Contractor's Life Cycle?
Success does not happen overnight. In fact, there are several stages that businessowners and CEOs can experience, all of which create a "life cycle." Find out where you are on this cycle and how you can be a change agent that positively affects others.


April 2012 - Emerging Leaders: Why Taking Care of the "Next Gen" Takes Care of You
Will the next generation be ready to step into the shoes of their former leaders? It depends on the current leadership's ability to train emerging leaders and invite them to the decision-making table. Learn why leadership training is so critical and valuable to your company's success in this article.


March 2012 - Staying Competitive Without Working 80-Hour Weeks
Contractors often work around the clock without ever stopping to consider why. Have you ever considered that being wealthy isn't just about money? Learn how to create balance and manage your life in this article, without letting work take over your life.


February 2012 - Preparing for Disaster: What Happens When the TV Crews Show Up
Construction is a risky business and calamity does strike. The problem is, failing to prepare for a crisis is like failing to buy insurance--you might get away with it in the short term, but sooner or later you'll be glad it's there. In this article, learn how to prepare in advance for a construction calamity and come out of it with a positive reputation and with no doubts from the public about your company.


January 2012 - Avoiding the Potholes in Surety Bonds
When it comes to your business, your financials are of utmost importance. In this article, read what are the most important components when reviewing your annual financials, and how to keep everything organized.


November 2011 - Cash Flow: The Oxygen of Business
In business, cash is king. Failure to pay close attention to your cash flow will inevitably result in a failed business endeavor. In this article, learn how to give your company's cash the utmost respect and treatment it deserves.


September 2011 - Selling Your Company: Prepare Now, Prosper Later
As a businessowner or CEO, planning for who comes after you can be daunting and intimidating. However, with a Business Succession Plan, you can prepare yourself and those around you for the inevitable change in management. Learn how in this intriguing article.


June 2011 - Volume Kills, But Profit Thrills - Nine ways to stay in business for the long haul
It is not about what you make, it is about what you keep. Here are nine ways the most profitable contractors follow year after year to achieve the higher profit for their companies.


May 2011 - Board of Directors: Friend or Foe?
Although all Hawaii corporations are required to have a Board of Directors, not all Hawaii corporations view their Boards as an asset. In my view, the contractor's Board of Directors is the corporation's most often unrecognized, underappreciated assets. Why not expand your corporation's horizons by inviting new Board members who will stretch your oganization?



April 2011 - Keep What You Earn: How "Cost Triggers" Protect Profit
Many contractors find out what their final profit after the accountant closes their books for the previuous year. When contractors begin to plan their profit befor the year starts, they often will achieve it. Through the use of cost triggers and adaptive budgeting which is the creation of a best and worst case as well as a most likely case, there is a much greater likelihood of reaching the planned profit.


Core Values: The Foundation of the Best Contractors
Core values for a company are more than just a list of words or phrases that are glanced at once in a long while. Instead, they are the core foundation of how employees treat their work and their customers. Learn how core values, your mission statement, and your vision statement are critical components that can make or break the basis of your company.


Rapid Improvement Plans:




Featured Articles

>> Garrett's Top 10 Recommended Books

Best Practices:
Running a Business with No Plan is a Plan for No Business
>> Read Article
>> Contractor Yearly Budget
>> Cash Flow One Month Look Ahead       Spread Sheet
>> SAI Business Plan Master Template


Rapid Improvement Plans
>> A Counter-Intuitive Idea:
     Open Your Books

>> More about Ownership Thinking
>> A simple savings example 1
>> A simple savings example 2


>> More Articles and Resources

  

© 2017 Sullivan & Associates, Inc. All construction photos by Dom Cueva © 2017