A Rising Tide Lifts All Ships – Or Does It?

I have just received an email from a guy called Peter Thomson who many of you will know, is a great business guru and self publisher of hundreds of self improvement products. I think he is a multi-millionaire too, but he is a real down to earth guy.

Anyway, the point is, what he said resonated with me and what is currently happening to Specialist Contractors just like you.

Peter was referring to the expression…

“A rising tide lifts all ships”

As he says succinct, pithy, accurate, just as a good saying must be.

What Peter then said really made me think because he added…

“Unless it’s anchored to the bottom”

What Peter was saying was that the feeling in this country (and maybe in the construction industry) at the moment is one of optimism. The economy is moving or not dependent on your point of view. He suggested that the vast majority of people he speaks to confirm their positivity about the future.

Peter was concerned that people should be positive and not be “anchored to the bottom” by negative thinking.

My own concern is that Specialist Contractors should not be “anchored to the bottom” by doing what they have always done. In other words, apply out dated thinking, accept any old crap that the Contractors throw at them, bury their heads in the sand, cross their fingers and simply hope everything will be OK.

Because that won’t work in the current cut throat world of construction, and that world isn’t going to change any time soon – even if there is a bit more work about.

And if you stay “anchored to the bottom” in that way you will most certainly drown as the tide rises!

I don’t want to be a “party pooper”, but personally, I think this next year or so is going to be an incredibly dangerous time for Specialist Contractors (if anyone wants to know why I think that, please ask for the full gory details).

And that’s why I am going to keep banging on to Specialist Contractors about taking the appropriate actions to protect their interests.

I am repeatedly seeing first hand, the devastation caused by certain Contractors, so if Subbies don’t like what I have to say, that is unfortunate, cos I’m going to keep on saying it!

And here is my unashamed plug for our seminar in March which will help Specialist Subcontractors to survive and succeed in 2014. The clue’s in the title;

‘7 Key Secrets That Will Ensure Your Survival And Success In 2014’

Here’s a link to the details; March Seminar

But here’s another saying that applies;

“You can lead a horse to water. But you cant make it drink!”

For the smart Specialist Contractors it’s going to be a bumper year but for those that don’t wise up it could be a very dangerous year indeed!

If you are one of the smart Specialist Contractors you will know  that you need to continually discover the secrets that will protect your business and make it more successful.

So, here’s your opportunity to be one of those smarter Specialist Contractors and discover those secrets! Here’s a link to the details; March Seminar

Tuesday March 11th – Morning Seminar Cedar Court Hotel Leeds/Bradford

Tuesday March 18th – Morning Seminar at Holiday Inn Chester South

Tuesday March 25th – Morning Seminar at Holiday Inn Luton South

Normal ticket price is £125  + VAT, reduced to only £50 + VAT for the first 50 places!

The value of the information and support that you will receive on the day is priceless!

And if you are a Streetwise Gold or Platinum Buddy, your entry to the event is entirely free!

There are still some discounted places left but please be quick before they are all taken.

Simply email info@streetwisesubbie.com or call the lovely ladies in the Streetwise office on +44 (0)1773 712116 and they will be happy to take your priority Reservation.

We look forward to seeing you on the day (unless of course you are anchored to the bottom).

Best regards

Barry

P. S. If you think that your business doesn’t need to know these secrets take a look at yet another headline about a Subbie going bust, this time from last Friday’s Construction Enquirer;

“Birmingham civils  contractor  collapses

One of Birmingham’s top five civils and groundworks contractors, T Mullane, has crashed into administration

A source told the Enquirer: “It’s very sad around 43 lads have been laid off with a few kept on to keep things ticking. “The yard is full of plant and we are waiting to see what the administrators are planning.”

Mullane, which traded for more than 25 years from its Kings Norton office covering the Midlands, worked mainly on jobs for Willmott Dixon and Shepherd Construction.”

Don’t let this be you!

There are significant steps that every Specialist Contractor can take to protect your business in 2014.

Don’t be one of the casualties! Reserve your place now by email at info@streetwisesubbie.com or call 01773 712116.

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Another UK Specialist Contractor Goes Under. Don’t YOUR Firm Be The Next!

Here’s today’s headline (13 February 2014) from Construction Enquirer;

“West Sussex-based steelwork contractor Graham Wood Structural has collapsed.”

The firm… had run up losses in recent years, but managed to keep afloat with the help of parent company loans… but the current deal does not save Graham Wood Structural, which employed 25 management and office staff with around 50 operatives, according to the last accounts and owed £2.6m.”

Don’t let this be you!

Specialist Contractors This Is Selling Out Fast!

‘7 Key Secrets That Will Ensure Your Survival And Success In 2014’

After the success of our sell out conferences Specialist Contractors told us that you want better awareness, and increased protection.

So, here is your first opportunity to protect the future of your business…

‘7 Key Secrets That Will Ensure Your Survival And Success In 2014’, is a half day seminar with limited spaces for 3 dates across UK wide locations and is already beginning to sell out!

There are significant steps that every Specialist Contractor can take to protect your business in 2014.

Don’t be one of the casualties!

Come and join your fellow Specialist Contractors at;

“7 Key Secrets That Will Ensure Your Survival and Success In 2014”

The economy is fragile and THOUSANDS of Specialist Contractors have lost their businesses over the past 2 years alone.

The brutal truth is the government doesn’t care about you, most Contractors don’t care about you, and if you’re in a Trade Association it is highly likely that it isn’t doing enough to protect you!

So, we decided it was time to get even more proactive to help you succeed in 2014 and beyond.

Our first seminar is geared towards arming Specialist Contractors with the knowledge you need to give your business the best possible chance not only of survival, but of growth and success in any economy, no matter what the industry throws at you!

The 7 Key Secrets revealed on the day will be all about protection, prevention and progress, so if you want your business to survive and succeed in 2014 then be sure to book your ticket now for the event near you:

Tuesday March 11th – Morning Seminar Cedar Court Hotel Leeds/Bradford

Tuesday March 18th – Morning Seminar at Holiday Inn Chester South

Tuesday March 25th – Morning Seminar at Holiday Inn Luton South

Normal ticket price is £125 + VAT, reduced to only £50 + VAT for the first 50 places!

The value of the information and support that you will receive on the day is priceless!

And if you are a Streetwise Gold or Platinum Buddy, your entry to the event is entirely free!

Don’t hesitate, book yours and your colleagues places NOW before the discounted places are taken.

Simply email info@streetwisesubbie.com or call the lovely ladies in the Streetwise office on +44 (0)1773 712116 and they would be happy to help.

I look forward to seeing you on the day.

Its Wise Up Wednesday! Enhance Your Firm’s Credibility

We are already into the second month of the year and we need to stay  focused on doing the right things in our business, because the future isn’t certain, and no-one truly knows what is around the corner.

That’s why we have put together our Streetwise Wise Up Wednesday Guides to give you a quick burst of stuff that will help you in your business life.

Sometimes quirky, sometimes hard hitting, but always guaranteed to make you think and take no more than 2 minutes to read.

Enhance Your Firm’s Credibility!

Blogging may seem like the last thing most Specialist Contractors would consider doing to enhance their firm’s credibility, and back in the day, assuming that customers don’t read blogs might have been a fair assumption.

But, whilst that might once have been a fair assumption to make based on the stereotypical view of construction clientèle, it’s out-dated thinking and unless you ask them you can’t be sure whether they would or not.

Because, like it or not, blogs aren’t just for idle gossip.

Getting your name out there with creatively crafted useful information is one of the best ways to be picked up by a search engine, especially seen as Google has changed the way it searches (check out the Streetwise Blog for our article on Google’s new search and how to make it work for you).

So here are the main reasons why you can enhance your credibility by having your own blog:

It demonstrates your technical knowledge

In the construction industry, showing your worth in terms of skills and expertise is a priority, and I bet most of you say about your company in brochures, letters and on the web, describes you as ‘experts in your field’ or something similar!

But, before that prospective customer hires you, how do they know you have the technical knowledge or skills for the job? Anyone can SAY they know it all, but the proof is in the pudding.

So use your blog to show off your knowledge and skills by writing technical content to support your claims.

Post a series of blog posts on why you should design or install in a certain way and back this up with specific drawings and datasheets.

Gain feedback from designers and engineers on innovative new ways of designing for construction and post about it on your blog.

The possibilities are endless!

Prove You Are Market Leaders

The majority of companies claim to be market leaders in their industry, and there becomes a point where just saying it loses all meaning and emphasis. So make your company stand out as a true market leader by proving WHY you have earned the title.

Post blog posts about people you have helped and how.

Use in-depth case studies about how you solved specific issues for customers, ask clients for testimonials or reviews of your products and services which can be posted on the blog to show why they chose you over others in the industry.

Provide specific information to back up their claims of your products being the best on the market.

Don’t be afraid to interact with your audience and engage them through collaboration. Ask for their feedback on new services and products, as them to share their thoughts and ideas for new ones. This all helps show why your company stands head and shoulders above the rest.

Provide information and answers

There are people who take a keen interest and actively seek out all information on upcoming regulations and legislations that will have an impact on their industry, but there are also those who need to be informed.

You can please both of these types of people by writing an informative piece discussing the key points of a upcoming change and throwing in your company’s opinion on the change and how it will affect the industry.

Encourage people to comment and share their thoughts and opinions on the matter to engage the audience and get a conversation or debate going.

You can also encourage people to come to you with their questions, or run a regular Q+A piece where people can send you their issues and you can provide answers via your blog post for all to see.

Follow these easy tips, and in no time at all your credibility will have soared.

As always, I hope you enjoyed my Wise Up Wednesday blog post and that it gave you some food for thought, and if you need any help, please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and give us a call.

It’s Wise Up Wednesday! The Three Essentials To Entitlement

We are already into the second month of the year and we need to stay  focused on doing the right things in our business, because the future isn’t certain, and no-one truly knows what is around the corner.

That’s why we have put together our Streetwise Wise Up Wednesday Guides to give you a quick burst of stuff that will help you in your business life.

Sometimes quirky, sometimes hard hitting, but always guaranteed to make you think and take no more than 2 minutes to read.

The Three Essentials To Entitlement!

Max Abrahamson – A very wise man and eminent Construction Arbitrator once said that Specialist Contractors only need three things to secure your entitlements;

RECORDS, RECORDS and RECORDS

Whether it’s recovering the cost effects of variations or delays you may need to be able to prove to a third party that your version of events is correct and your assessment is fair and reasonable.

And, please trust me on this, you will need those records!

Keeping good written and photographic records is a fundamental issue, the importance of which cannot be overstated.

Regardless of the size and value of the work, good records are essential in order to protect yourself. The scale and complexity of the work may dictate how much time and effort you need to put in, but even the most basic records can offer you protection.

Almost all construction disputes deal with events that occurred weeks, months or even years in the past. Your works may even be covered up, so cannot easily to be inspected at a later date.

Any records that you make at the time will be far more valuable as evidence than your memory of what happened, particularly if you can show that they have been issued to the other party at the time the events took place.

Check what the contract says about records and make sure you comply. It is not uncommon for a failure to submit records to be used as an excuse to reduce or withhold payment or blame you for delays that are not of your making.

In addition to the records that you are required to keep contractually, it is a good idea to maintain good records for your own purposes. Good records will assist you in preparing claims for delays or additional work and also in rejecting any claims made against you for delays or damage.

Take careful note of the date and time, the name of individual, and the matters discussed for every telephone conversation you have regarding your works.

Site meetings, formal or informal are a great way for the Contractor to stitch you up. Keep your own record of what is discussed and dispute any minutes with which you disagree and ensure that the minute is changed or your objection noted. In fact make sure you definitely get minutes!

Here are my top tips about records:

  • Verbal instructions – don’t act on verbal instructions and always confirm them back in writing to the Contractor.
  • Access dates – make sure you can actually get at the various parts of the job when you are supposed to and tell the Contractor when and why if you can’t.
  • Delays – notify the Contractor about everything that holds you up or interrupts the regular process of your works.
  • Sequence – you will have priced and programmed the works to proceed in a logical sequence. If you are expected to go backwards and forwards to and from different areas you will be less efficient and your costs will definitely increase.
  • When you have completed the various sections of the works make sure you notify the Contractor and get them signed off if possible.
  • Make sure you get someone to sign to acknowledge the date and time that you handed the works over.
  • Photographs/video can be invaluable. You can record exactly what was done, and when.
  • Use a camera that records the date and time, but it is still a good idea to use the old fashioned idea of taking a picture of the headline from the Sun or Mirror for each day you are taking photographs.
  • Make sure you keep records of what all the other trades are doing, when they start and finish various areas if these are impacting on your works.

I hope you enjoyed my Wise Up Wednesday blog post and that it gave you some food for thought, and as usual, if you need any help, please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and give us a call.