Construction Business Management


The Entrepreneur Mindset

Entrepreneurs are people who envision, organize, and get a new enterprise off the ground. Startup contractors do this every day, typically keeping the strategic planning and problem solving to themselves. Having had the dream, taken the risks, and birthed their business pretty much by their own courage, wit, and determination, they don’t easily share the controls with others—no matter how capable their employees or advisors may be. For many new of these new contractors, builders, and other entrepreneurs it's much easier to direct others than to assign areas of authority and responsibility, require accountability, and allow capable people to operate with a certain level of autonomy.

Businesses may thrive for years in such an authoritarian mode, but with sacrifices. Soliciting and considering various points of view is almost always better than making decisions in the vacuum of The Boss's Office, in which the knowledge, experience, and capabilities of your employees and outside advisers are waived off without much thought. Worse, your business will struggle if you're put on the sidelines for health or other reasons before you establish a system by which you share the responsibilities and accountability with capable employees. Even though your employees may be excellent in carrying out their assigned duties, they will not be accustomed to making decisions that affect the company as a whole, may not know all of your critical relationships such as bankers, lawyers, insurance agents, accountants, and may not learn how to control the monster quickly enough. Even the best project manager cannot effectively step into the top job without exposure to the related decision-making duties and responsibilities over a period of time and your counsel.

That is not to say you should not be the final authority in all matters. It needs to be clear that once you’ve considered others' input—as you'd better—it is you who makes the final decision. If your decision at times seems to fly in the face of all the advice you’ve received, that doesn’t mean you could have or would have made the same decision without it.

In weighing possible courses of action, decide against other avenues as much as you decide for the one you choose.

The author of this article, Nick Ganaway, was a successful general contractor for 25 years. He is a consultant in Atlanta, Georgia for contractors and other small business owners. Nick has described how to set up and manage a construction business that is profitable, enjoyable, and enduring in his book, Construction Business Management: What Every Construction Contractor, Builder & Subcontractor Needs to Know.


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