Are You Still Struggling to Find Those Profitable Jobs? Then Read On…

Over the past few months, most of the the news reports have been suggesting that things are looking brighter for the economy and for construction. 

But whether things are on the up or not, it would seem that all Specialist Contractors are still facing the same problem;

“How do we find sources of profitable work and win enough orders?”

Some commentators say that there are more tenders around now. 

Or is it just that the same number of tenders are being distributed to more and more Sub-Contractors? We have anecdotal evidence of lists as long as 20 bidders!

Whatever your take on the current situation, one thing is certain. You need to set your stall out to ensure you receive enough of the right kind of enquiries, and win your fair share of orders.

There are several strategic options that you can employ to help you find new opportunities;

  • Sell more existing products/services to existing customers
  • Sell existing products/services to new customers
  • Sell new products/services to existing customers
  • Sell new products/services to new customers

By far the easiest route to take is the first, selling more products/services to existing customers, because this is much easier than finding new ones. 

But, whichever route is right for you, here are one or two things you can try;

  • Enhance the quality of your existing products and services or find a way to ‘windowdress’ something you are presently doing as something else? For example; ”We only install BS67456 compliant materials”. It might be that all installers have to work to this standard, but if no other Sub-Contractor is actually saying it, then you can makes it your own! It differentiates you from the rest!
  • Increase personalised contact with your customers? Years ago, it was essential to be face-to-face with customers on a regular basis. However, technology has changed this to the point that we rarely need to sit down with our customers any more. But whether we actually need to is not the issue, because going back to the personal approach will set you apart from your competitors.
  • Look at ways you can add value to what you are selling. Can you encourage involvement with a further contract if it helps you to buy better and offer a volume discount to the customer?
  • Increase your marketing activity – don’t wait for them to come to you, go to them. Look at ways that you can regularly keep in touch. Send successful case studies, newsletters, information about new services or, ways of doing things better.
  • Plan out a series of strategic marketing activities that can help to engage with your potential customers and devise ways to convert them to orders even if you are not the lowest price!

Last but not least, keep in mind that, whatever the prevailing climate in the economy, people still buy things! Contractors still need you to get the job done. The key question you need to ask yourself is, 

‘How can I ensure that they buy from me?’

One way is to make sure that you have up to date relevant information and advice about how to market your business better and smarter than your competitors. Even better still, get that up to date, relevant information and advice for free!

So, before you do anything else, please take five minutes to check out some of the links in this email which will take you to the huge range of free information we have put at your disposal. 

Ever heard the expression “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”

Please don’t look our gift horse in the mouth! Come and check us out now…

It could be the most worthwhile five minutes you spend on your business today.

And, if you are already one of our Silver, Gold or Platinum Buddies, please make sure to use the initial free advice and free Consultancy resources at your disposal. They are there to help you protect and grow your business, because together we can make a real difference!

 
I hope you enjoyed my post and that it gave you some food for thought, and I sincerely hope to speak with you soon.

In the meantime if you need any help with any of your business issues, please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and give us a call on 01773 712116.

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‘Breakthrough Construction 2014’: StreetwiseSubbie.com’s Second Annual Conference And A MUST For All Specialist Contractors!

Following the tremendous success of last year’s exclusive conference, we are announcing our second annual event!Join us on 10th June 2014 at the Nottingham Belfry Hotel (same venue as last year) for what promises to be an even bigger and better day than last year!

‘Breakthrough Construction 2014’

StreetwiseSubbie.com’s Second Annual Conference And A MUST For All Specialist Contractors! 

We may be coming out of the recession, we may be returning to growth and better times, but Specialist contractors are still at risk, still getting paid late and less than they are owed, still struggling to find profitable work.

So, it’s time to start making some real progress and Breakthrough Construction in 2014!

I am still seeing far too many Specialist Contractors going to the wall despite the economic recovery, simply because they don’t have the help, support or resources they need to survive and succeed the aftermath of the worst recession of modern times. If you are trying to go it alone, and don’t have access to the proven strategies for commercial and contractual security and new business generation, you are putting you and your business at serious risk.

Please don’t assume that just because we are seeing reports of growth and recovery, of Contractor’s profits soaring and new investments being made, that everything is good in UK construction, and that the hard times are over.

Some Main Contractors are still draining Subbies’ cash-flow to boost their own profits despite their growth, as they are working their way through jobs they have secured at negative margins!

Don’t get caught in the firing line. Come and enjoy the enlightening, informative and entertaining presentations, and a great day out!

Come and get the information that will enable you to make ‘breakthroughs’ in your business!

Please click here to make that breakthrough!

We will show you how to protect your business and improve your marketing, solve your problems and make sure that you are at the leading edge of the most recent thinking that affects all Specialist Contractors.

The Conference

What is it? A half day conference where you get everything you need to maximize your profits – and protect your business in 2014.

When is it? The Conference takes place at the Belfry Hotel M1 J26 Nottingham on 10th June 2014.

Who is it for? This is a must attend conference for you if you own or run a Specialist Contracting business and want to survive and prosper in the aftermath of the recession!

It’s for small and large businesses and it doesn’t matter what type of installation you specialise in.

What’s In Store?

You are set for a transformational day, because you’re about to discover ways to grow and protect your business and cut through the confusion to give you a clear and profitable strategy for growth and prosperity.

For a detailed and evolving agenda of the day; Click Here!

How to Book Your Place

Places are Strictly Limited – So Please Don’t Miss Out!

Priority Reservation is currently available just email info@streetwisesubbie.com and our team will contact you to take care of everything. It’s that simple!

With Priority Reservation you and your colleagues can book places on this exclusive event for just £95 plus VAT.

That’s a massive deduction on the ticket price, so don’t miss out, when the Priority Reservations are gone they’re gone!

The advice and support your will receive on the day is worth hundreds if not thousands of pounds, so don’t miss out, grab a bargain and ensure the success of your Specialist Contracting business in 2014 and beyond!

Come and have a great day out and meet some wonderful people at the same time!

The Conference isn’t all gloom and doom it’s about making the most of the opportunities that are ahead whilst ensuring your commercial security. It’s about a fast paced series of short presentations that will keep you interested and entertained – if you want a boring lecture then our Conference isn’t the place to come!

To grab your Priority Reservation; please email info@streetwisesubbie.com or call us on 01773 712116 now.

Last year close to 100 delegates took something away from the event, with many thanking us for an insightful and enjoyable day. See their feedback for yourself;

Essential Print Services: “I drove away buzzing my socks off.”

Taskmaster Doors: “Thanks for last week’s do, we enjoyed it greatly and have decided to sign up [as a Streetwise Buddy].”

Giles:  “I very much enjoyed it!”

S+B UK Ltd: “My colleague Craig attended the recent Conference and has said that he found it most worthwhile. As I result, I have sent an e mail to Tanya to see how we can best avail ourselves of the services you offer.”

Shakespeares Legal LLP: “Thanks for the opportunity. It had a great good “buzz”.

Demag Cranes and Components:  “I really enjoyed the Streetwise event. I usually say that if I get 5 good pointers from such an event that I can use in my business it was worthwhile. I got 11 pointers!”

Top Service:  “A big thank you for inviting us to be part of your day on Friday. The whole Streetwise Subbie team did a fantastic job of hosting a brilliant day! 

Natalie Wilson: “The atmosphere was amazing; I felt such a buzz and really part of something big!”

So what are you waiting for? Reserve your place now before it’s too late! Simply emailinfo@streetwisesubbie.com and our team will contact you to make the necessary arrangements.

I look forward to seeing you on Tuesday 10th June in Nottingham for what promises to be a very special event.

And, if you are travelling up to stay over the night before, dinner is on us at the informal pre-conference evening!

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.

Profits and Moral At An All Time Low? Announcing A Hot New Resource For Specialist Contractors!

One minute the industry statistics are painting a picture of growth and recovery, the next it’s all gloom and doom again!

What isn’t changing is that when I speak to Specialist Contractors up and down the UK I get the same sorry side of the story. The recession has hit you hard, and certain main contractors are still hitting you even harder!

Profits and moral among Specialist Contractors are at an all time low.

Now, StreetwiseSubbie want to help you to change all that and help your business prosper and grow no matter what the economy or the main contractors throw at you!

We have teams of experts in contractual issues, business growth, sales and marketing, digital technologies, and more who put their heads together to come up with sound and genuinely useful advice exclusively for Specialist Contractors.

And up and down the UK our team are delivering innovative services and solutions.

Here’s how to tap into this uplifting, business boosting information

It’s all in your quarterly magazine, SubContractingToday.

Each issue is packed full of exclusive and in depth features, news and updates to help and inspire the success of your Specialist Contracting business.

It’s yours for the exclusive price of just £35 per annum and if you subscribe today you canadvertise your business for free in our on-line daily digest for 7 days!

So what are you waiting for? Subscribe today and start your journey to creating a bigger, stronger business with your quarterly magazine, SubContractingToday.

Got a question? Ask away! Send us a Tweet, @Streetwisesubbi, or get in touch through our new Facebook page!

We’re also offering tailored sponsorship and advertising packages. Want to know more? Email info@streetwisesubbie.com!

Why Specialist Contractors Should Be Blogging in 2014

I have had many people mention already that they have made the New Year’s resolution to ‘get more involved with the digital world’. And in 2014, with the digital age well and truly upon us, there is no better time for Specialist Contractors to be doing just that if they want to grow their business and build their customer base. And personally, I think one of the best places to start in the digital world is with blogging.

You might be thinking ‘but my customers don’t read blogs’, which is fair enough assumption to make based on the stereotypical view of construction clientele, but in reality unless you ask them or offer them the chance to read your blog you can’t be sure if they would or not.

And blogs aren’t necessarily just for reading. 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.

So if your New Year’s resolution is to get more active digitally, or you are just intrigued by the idea of gaining more customers through blogging, here are the main reasons why you as a Specialist Contractor could benefit from blogging:

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 your advertising and marketing campaigns describe you as ‘experts in your field’ or something similar that tells your target market that you are perfect for the job. 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 and 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. This will help to engage the audience and hopefully get a conversation or debate going regarding this.

You can also encourage people to come to you with their questions, not only on changes within the industry but with their own construction based issues. You could run a regular Q+A piece where people can send you their issues and you can provide an answer to them, posting the most common/popular ones in a blog post for all to see and gain their own answers from.

Which business goals does Blogging contribute towards?

Blogging is one of the most valuable online marketing mediums to adopt as it contributes to all the main business goals while cutting down on costs such as PR expenditure. The main areas blogging will benefit your company most is:

  • Search engine rankings: The more content you put out there, the greater the likelihood of you appearing in search engine results, and higher up in those results.
  • Increased website traffic: Using blogs to link back to your website increases the traffic, and if you can turn those visitors into leads you increase your lead generation.
  • Increased sales: Increased lead generation means more opportunities to increase sales and revenue.

Got the blogging bug and are itching to get started but not sure where to begin? Email info@streetwisesubbie.com and one of our team can help you get set up and sharing your blog posts with the digital world in no time!

Specialist Contractors – Make becoming more Streetwise YOUR only New Year’s Resolution!

What’s your New Year’s resolution this year?

I can tell you that mine is to make sure that me and the team here at StreetwiseSubbie.com continue to make a positive impact on the business lives of Specialist Contractors in the UK construction industry.

Not only will we be campaigning for fairer treatment, we will also be making sure that as many UK Specialist Contractors as possible know how to protect themselves contractually, and market their services better.

Without wanting to sound like a kill joy, the “growth” and “improvement” in the UK construction as widely reported in the media in 2013, has made little or no difference to the old non-paying, under-valuing, bullying ways that some of the Main Contractors now regard as standard practice.

Specialist Contractors still suffered from the after effects of late payment and unfair treatment that led to more than 5,500 Specialist Contracting firms going bust in  the last couple of years, and many more having to make redundancies and cut backs just to keep their heads above water.

So, we urge you all to do everything in your power to protect yourself against the commercial dangers that regrettably will still threaten your company during 2014, and to do as much as you can to improve the bigger picture for UK construction by standing up for Specialist Contractors.

What do I mean by that?

Well, as you might expect, I talk to lots of Specialist Contractors, and more and more are taking a much more pragmatic view of their business. They are steering clear of jobs with little or no margin and Contractors who don’t pay! And whilst that means less turnover, most of them are finding that they can make almost as much profit.

And, if all Specialist Contractors took the same view, then prices would rise accordingly, and the worst Contractors would have no-one to work for them!

By standing up for Specialist Contractors, the bigger picture for UK construction would improve for all the good honest hard working firms, and the unscrupulous Contractors would fail.

But the most important benefit of pragmatism is less risk and fewer sleepless nights!

Reducing risk, improving profitability and ensuring you get paid, are all benefits that our nationwide team of experts will help you to enjoy. Our Buddies are benefitting from the professional support that helps you win your commercial and contractual battles, and grow and strengthen your business.

If you are interested in knowing more then you can find out exactly what our Gold Buddy membership provides right here.

But first, you should know that in order to make absolutely certain there is no financial risk to you whatsoever, we have engineered our service so that in just the first 3 months alone you receive more value than you will pay for your membership in a whole 3 years!

No wonder we call it our ‘No Brainer Value Package’!

And no it’s not “too good to be true”, because when you read what our Gold Buddies have to say about us you will see that you only need to make just one New Year’s Resolution this year, and that’s to become more streetwise by becoming a StreetwiseSubbie Gold Buddy, and giving your business the best possible outlook for 2014 and beyond!

Happy New Year from everyone here at StreetwiseSubbie.

It Pays To Keep In Touch – And Kill Not One, Not Two… But Three Birds With One Stone!

With a shameless bit of cribbing from the marketing guru Chris Cardell, who gave me the initial idea (he advocates we copy his ideas-after all that’s what we pay him for), and with a significant bit of development from me, here’s how to kill 3 birds with one stone!

First A Bit of Scene Setting (this is the bit I have borrowed)

Imagine this. You’ve been invited to two parties on the same day. One is a small party with a few people and the food promises to be no more than average; the other is being held in an expensive hotel with free fine champagne and the best food cooked by a top Cordon Bleu chef. Which invitation would you be more likely to accept?

It isn’t a trick question. The answer is the one with the fine food and drink of course.

But what if the small party was being held by a bunch of close friends whose company you really enjoyed, and the glitzy bash was being held by a bunch of people you didn’t know at all.

You might still go for the expensive bash, just to see what it was like. But in many cases you would choose to spend time with the people you know and whose company you enjoy, and many people would make the same decision.

Business Is Still Done By People! (mostly my own work from here on in)

It’s a simple fact that we like to spend time with people we know and like, and yet many business-owners think business is somehow different, and that it doesn’t follow the same rules. But according to research, nothing could really be further from the truth.

We like to spend time with our friends (especially those who keep in touch regularly) and as consumers we like to buy from businesses we know and – importantly – which keep in touch with us regularly.

So what does this mean for you as a business-owner?

Here’s The First Bird (and my marketing tip for you)

The message is a really simple one.

Once someone has bought from you and become a customer or client, you should keep in touch with them regularly, because if you do they’re much more likely to buy more. In many cases, you don’t even need to make a specific offer. Just be there, as and when they’re ready to buy again, the chances are they’ll think of you.

The good news is it’s so easy to keep in touch with customers and clients by using modern methods. It takes work, of course, but try it and I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how well it pays to keep in touch.

And if you’re not sure how to start, or don’t have the resources, we can take care of it all for you.

Here’s Bird Number 2

By simply posting this blog post for you to read, I am endeavouring to follow my own advice and keep in touch with you!

And there are lots of other ways that we can stay in touch too. So please check which of the following ways suit you best and let’s stay connected:

*         Let’s connect on LinkedIn (we can set it up for you if you aren’t on there yet, just email info@streetwisesubbie.com and one of our lovely ladies in the office will get in touch!)

*         Join our exclusive LinkedIn group of over 1,540 Specialist Contractors and contribute to the debate

*         Follow us on Twitter, @StreetwiseSubbi, and use the #buildfair4all hashtag to tweet your support (again, if you need help setting up on there, just email us)

*         Join our mailing list, where you can receive exclusive content and advice on contractual and commercial matters, and sales and marketing help too! Simply email info@streetwisesubbie.com and request to subscribe

Now if you are like I used to be and think that social media has no place in the macho world of construction and engineering, then maybe it’s time to think again, because just like mobile phones, emails, and shopping online has done previously, social media is becoming ever more significant, whether we like it or not.

So please give me a call and let’s see what else we can do together.

And Finally Bird Number 3

It’s that time of year when we send our best wishes to everyone we know and care about.

So, please have a very Merry Christmas, and let’s hope that 2014 is a Happy New Year.

It’s certainly going to be a big year for my wife and me as we are both going to be 60, and we will be celebrating having been married for 40 years too!