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    6 Replies Latest reply on May 11, 2011 10:29 AM by Barky Dog

    Any tips for a new construction company trying to get some direction

    bkmerrell3630 Newbie

      I am green to this situation to be quite honest im a locomotive engineer currently for union pacific railroad and I was asked to take over my uncle's construction company i have no idea how to run a business all i know is im good with people honest almost to a fault and would really love for this to work i just dont know what to do with what i have. We have our tax info all of our certifications to do business in the state of missouri and kansas  but financing is a issue to cover my overhead i have alot of people depending on my decisions i just want to make the right moves and thoughts or help will be greatly appreciated.

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        • Re: Any tips for a new construction company trying to get some direction
          LUCKIEST Guide

          Locomative Engineer. It sounds like a most interesting challenge.

          Anybody with a bookkeeping or accounting background in your family?? One of the people depending on your decisions??

          I almost always write about SCORE. SCORE is FREE both in person or online.

          The right SCORE Counselor can help. A good business plan also is helpful.

          I have both an accounting and Quickbooks background and I can help, let me know.

          Good luck

          • Re: Any tips for a new construction company trying to get some direction
            PiperE Wayfarer



            Starting a business without knowing about business is a risky prospect. Doing something well is not a good reason to go into busness, because doing what you do well and running a business are two ENTIRELY different skill sets.


            One of the best business books you can read on understanding how to properly manage a business is the E Myth by Michael Gerber. It is a fabulous book. I could go on and on, but I won't. Just read it.


            As a business owner you'll also have to understand the importance of marketing. I have seen so many business owners open their doors and wait for people to come. Well, if customers don't know you exist and do not trust you as a reputable business, then you're not going to last long. You have to, a.) get the word out, and b.) develop rapport with your market, they have to like you and feel that are going to get good service.


            Well, other than that, running a business is easy! Ha! There is a lot more to it, but this post would end up being pages instead of paragraphs.


            Much luck to you.

            • Any tips for a new construction company trying to get some direction
              phanio Pioneer

              First things first - don't panic. Will your uncle stay on to help out?  That is probably your greatest resources right now.  Also, if there are other employees - lean on them for a while - let them teach you what they do - ask them what they think needs to be changed or improved - them make the changes you think will benefit the organization the most.

              I would also suggest that you find a mentor in your local area.  Get out and network in your community - look for someone that either has construction experience and a wealth of business experience - ask them to be you mentor.  Or, you could even put together a small advisory team of local business owners, educators and leaders in your community.  If you can't pay them that is fine - just look for those that want to give back and be a part of your organization.


              Financing a construction company is a bit hard these days as the market is really weak.  But, you can look into accounts receivable factoring - this will provide you working capital while you wait to get paid from other customers, purchase order financing which will provide you the capital you need to complete jobs or look into SBA guaranteed loans - which could provide general operating capital - but know that these require a lot of paperwork and usually take a few months to close after approval.


              Lastly, you might be able to self-finance.  Given your railroad background, I am sure that you have a solid retirement plan.  If this is rollover-able (like an IRA or 401(k) - you could easily direct that plan to invest in your business.  This will provide capital without all the hassles of a business loan - like making payments and paying interest.  But, do know that there is risk here.


              Hope this help - best of luck.

              • Any tips for a new construction company trying to get some direction
                Barky Dog Tracker

                This is really great advice from everyone!


                I think there is one important question- what type of construction are we talking about?  Residential or commercial?


                As Phanio mentioned, it's really difficult for any residential construction company to make money right now.  There are just too many already-built homes on the market right now.  Most home builders are just happy to stay in business at this point.


                - Barky