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Opinion


COMMENT TERRY O’MAHONY What’s the plan?


Terry O’Mahony on how construction businesses can secure their future in a changing market


completion – I have seen quite a number of things that have surprised and, at times, even shocked me. But one thing that never ceases to surprise and fascinate me is the constant rate of change the industry has to deal with in order to satisfy clients, make a reasonable profit and even survive. So you always have to be asking: is


I


your business ready for the next round of changes? This question is even more


“Has your business got a plan, the necessary resources and an infrastructure to not only meet a new landscape but be one of the winners in a new game?”


poignant with an election looming. Has your business got a plan, the necessary resources and a business infrastructure in place not only to meet a new landscape but also to be one of the winners in a new game? Let’s face it if you don’t get this right


you raise the prospect of working really hard for little or no return; life becoming increasingly and excessively burdensome and complex; worst still, actually facing the prospect of going out of business.


n over 30 years of working in the construction industry – at every level in the process from concept to


The two most important questions facing most construction businesses are: 1. How do you retain existing clients? 2. How do you get some more to grow or replenish the ones you will lose?


Well, you need an aggressive, comprehensive and robust plan. Have you got one? Is it written down and has everyone got access to it? And, is it the right one?


Putting a plan in place is an obvious first


step. But how do you start the process, what steps are involved and what does a good plan look like’?


THE PLAN The ‘plan’ sits at the heart of a business’s future decision-making framework. It’s the place you go when you are considering anything new. Your plan needs four key ingredients. 1. A breakthrough strategy. Every business needs to know where it’s going. They need to have a purpose and a three- year vision of where the company wants to be, coupled with a 12-month plan detailing a vital few objectives. 2. A marketing and sales plan that focuses on both retaining existing clients and increasing the number of new ones. If you develop a proven marketing plan and sales process you will be able to deliver the necessary throughput of business enquiries, be best placed to convert them and to build strong ongoing repeat


business relationships. Do that and just watch the numbers transform and grow. 3. An operational plan that enables you to meet the expectations that all your promotional efforts and investments generate. Without a good operational plan, that encompasses organisational structure, skills gaps and training needs, you run the risk of your service or product not meeting expectations. I’ve seen countless examples of this with businesses being totally unaware of the damage they are doing to themselves. In reality they are spending money to get people to walk in one door, only to see them walk out the other; and for them to tell all their business contacts what of poor setup you run! 4. A financial plan. Business is all about numbers. The better your planning process, performance monitoring regime and reporting systems, the more likely you are to make gains, lower the level of your commercial risk and be in a better position to respond quickly to changing circumstances. So, change is all around us, if anything it’s speeding up and the risks are getting bigger. Therefore, the more time you can apply to working on the future of your business as opposed to working in it, the better your chances for survival and growth.


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Terry O’Mahony is the founder and CEO of Construction Leaders Club, an East Midlands-based networking and growth training organisation. www.constructionleadersclub.com


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