The 4 P’s of Managing Your Business Without Losing Your Mind
The 4 P’s of Managing Your Business Without Losing Your Mind
Why Multitasking is Still Alive and Kicking
By Vince Fudzie
A few days ago I read an article titled “How Multitasking Hurts Your Brain,” and since I do it all the time I wanted to make sure I understood the risks. We have probably all become accustomed to the often changing and conflicting views of research scientists, doctors and the like. Last year I even read an article stating that smiling too much was bad for your health. Come on, people, give us a break.
While I am a proponent of moderation, to say that as a business owner multitasking is bad for your health is simply going too far. The author most certainly has never had the responsibility of successfully running their own business. In fact, it goes against conventional wisdom that our brains are only capable of doing one task at a time. I will acknowledge that if you don’t have a system in place to manage your business and the multitasking involved, then it can feel like your losing your mind.
I have been able to keep my mind relatively in check by deploying a framework that I term the 4 P’s of Sanity. Not to be confused with the “4 P’s of Marketing,” the “4 P’s of Sanity” is a guide to help you more clearly view your management responsibility as a business owner. Your construction business at its core is comprised of your people, your processes, your pipeline of work and your pennies (finances).
If you can whittle your oversight to managing these 4 areas then you will be closer to maintaining your sanity and will probably have a pretty good business as well. A systematized company creates consistent quality, controls and results. The following is a broad overview of the mental picture I use to manage the overall business.
Recruiting, hiring and maintaining a quality workforce is paramount to the success of your business. This encompasses every aspect of maintaining a motivated and competent workforce. Questions such as, “what happens to accrued vacation?” “what is the policy on sexual harassment?” and, “what happens if an employee doesn’t return company-owned property?”
Along with not properly addressing procedures, another often neglected area is developing an ongoing recruitment and retention plan. Although you may not be ready to hire a full-time HR person, there’s still much you can do to maintain a consistent flow of qualified potential candidates, while maintaining your top performers. You don’t want to be caught understaffed and desperate to hire the first individual that comes off the street. Once the system is in place, you will have the luxury of simply monitoring the exceptions to the system.
Remember, everything good and/or bad that happens to your business can typically be traced back to people, so make them a priority.
Processes (standard operating procedures) are imperative for any successful business. These processes should include everything needed for employees to successfully understand their role and how it relates to the team. The typical idea behind standard operating procedures is to reduce the possibility of human errors and/or intentional illicit acts. They also allow savvy managers the ability to oversee operations through “exception” without getting too enmeshed in the details.
The focus here is on identifying and handling issues that deviate from the norm. Through this high-level management approach you will be able to trust, delegate and verify that your business is running as intended. As such, you will be able to hire competent individuals to whom you can delegate essential responsibilities without attempting to do everything yourself. Establish both periodic and random reviews of all your essential processes and quickly make any necessary changes.
Okay, say you have great people and processes, but there is no work in the pipeline (backlog). If your company is going to acquire consistent and profitable work then you are going to need a system in place to make it happen. All too often, especially during times of ample work or operational disruptions, business owners tend to neglect a formal business development system.
Don’t make this potentially catastrophic mistake. The system for maintaining your pipeline should be in alignment with the company’s strategy if it is to produce tangible and profitable results. It should allow your company to keep in touch with existing customers as well as encourage future prospects to give you a shot.
In addition, you must target customers that are in line with your services, while being able to provide them a compelling reason as to why your value proposition is better than your competitors. Make sure that top-notch customer service is predominant in your business development system. After all, delivering quality service is the absolute best way to keep your pipeline full.
To achieve a high-performing business status, you as the owner must effectively manage the pennies (finances) of the business. It doesn’t matter if finance and accounting are not your strengths. While you may need to hire someone to do the bookkeeping, you can ill afford to blindly let other people count your money.
I can give you no better advice than this: hire someone to help you develop an effective internal control system. Along with this, have them assist you in developing the necessary financial reports to run the business. As part of managing the pennies, you are going to need to stay on top of cash flow, financial statements and insurance all while keeping up with the requirements of your bonding and insurance company and banker.
Although it is unlikely that all four of the systems will run optimally all the time, if you keep three out of four running well, while working on the under performer, then you should be on your way to managing a high-performing venture.
Vince Fudzie MBA, CPA, CIRA, is the Managing Member of Triune. Founded in 1997 with headquarters in Dallas, Triune is a leading, integrated design-build General Contractor in the Southwest region of the country.
The Punch List is Triune’s proprietary blog for discussing issues and providing insights specific to the commercial construction industry. Copyright 2014 TMV, LLC (Triune). Any and all rights reserved.