We own and operate a small business in the construction market that was started in Q1 2019. Given the sales cycle of the construction market, income generation on work done doesn’t typically arrive for eight to 12 months and is at the mercy of a project schedule and payment for the services done. We planned the business vision, mission and strategy, and, for the most part, executed them successfully in the first 14 months of business. We generated a backlog, created a pipeline and promotional activities were working. These factors coupled with a healthy economy have allowed us to see the pathway to a profitable business that would allow us to achieve the vision and mission.
Thirteen days after we celebrated our rookie season and first year in business, COVID-19 shut down the U.S. All preparation, research, due diligence, strategy or other resource in business has the right playbook on how to manage through a pandemic. Of course, a business utilizes the leadership, experience, lessons learned and good will of the team to get by safe and healthy, but as it relates to the company bottom line there is no good way to fully forecast the consequence.
I leave it with you to form your own approach/opinion on the personal health factors and how it affects the safety and well-being of you and your circle. I, however, challenge you to not hide from the economic factors and the overall health of the economy. Some industries are thriving, some are bankrupt, some are just holding on and some are just idle waiting to see day to day.
It is critical anyone in business measure the bottom line and ensure the company is operating in a profitable manner. Those that are just holding on or sitting idle have the biggest threat in a pandemic, because the future cannot be forecasted exactly with so many factors out of control.
So, I offer some simple points to consider, none of which are new to business, but good to hear from time to time to keep perspective.
Measure the business
What are your business performance metrics and how are you tracking them? Operations, sales, overhead, AP’s, AR’s, etc. What is each business functions metric and how are you tracking and managing those functions/teams? How have you adapted to the current situation, implemented process change if needed, and kept clear communication with those that need it? How are KPI’s being altered to the virtual or WFH era?
Communication with your team
Make sure you establish good communication channels with your internal team, clients and prospects. The way in which you communicate may have to change in the physical sense; you are not in person, so how do you invest in that? Make sure your team has the necessary resources and technology to be effective in their roles. There are many resources out there to help coach on virtual communication, best practices and productivity. Side note here, I foresee training budgets being increased with a focus on how to work in virtual world.
Check in with those around you
How is the safety, health and well-being of all those in your circle? How as individuals, leaders or otherwise are you impacting the people around you? Remember not everyone is conditioned to be online all the time. How are they doing?
Focus on today
With metrics communicated and implemented, work the plan. When folks ask, “How’s business?” I tell them, “As good as can be given the current situation,” and follow up with “I’ve chosen to focus on the work for today and leave what’s next for the really smart people.” You can only control what you can control.
How we adapt, rally and support each other through this is crucial. COVID-19 is having a direct impact on the construction industry and built environment. For our business, we remain optimistic to win the short term work we have developed, and confident glass and glazing will have its place post pandemic, even if it’s in new environments and applications.