Processes. You’ve heard me drive this word home a hundred times in these posts. “A series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.” You’ve heard me stress how important this is, how it’s the key to an efficient back office, and yes, how processes will help you achieve a higher income potential. But processes are just like a hammer or a wrench – they’re tools, used to build something your office desperately needs to be successful: consistency.
Consistency is the foundation that gives you the peace of mind knowing each job you take on will run smoothly from start to finish. Consistency is what allows you to predict your revenue accurately on a quarterly or annual basis. Consistency allows you to stay focused on what it is you do best while the tasks that drive you crazy are still being accomplished. There are two kinds of consistency that a process-driven office will afford you, and each one is critically important.
Consistency In Your Office
You would be hard-pressed to find a business owner who does not want their business to be consistent. The simple truth is that consistency is not accidental. It is deliberate, because it’s based on habit and driven by process. Consistency comes down to routines. So many of the systems in my office are driven by me doing the same thing at the same time, which means there are two key aspects to effective routines: time management and organization.
When you think of organization as a process, consider it the process of putting the right tools in the right place for the right time. For example:
- Knowing where the resources are to complete a task
- Having the tools available to effectively schedule a task from start to completion
- A system to schedule the task at the right time for the right job
Time Management is the art of completing all the tasks on your schedule, within the time you have committed to those tasks. Time management is a concept that a lot of really talented people have written a billion words about, but let me just give you this one, easy tip for your back office. Build your back office schedule around the time you want to devote towards tasks, and not vice-versa. If you’ve got two hours a day for the office, then the trick is to develop the processes – to organize your office – so that the work that needs to be done fits within that two-hour time slot. Don’t let the tasks define your time; make your time define the tasks.
Consistency On The Job
Being consistent in the back office is only half of the battle. The other half is fought on the job site. And that doesn’t just mean being the best roofer in the market. Being consistent on the job is all about how:
- You interact with the customer
- How production manages the job
- When and how you invoice, collect payments and close the job
Another reason consistency makes average companies exceptional is because it allows your customer – and especially your repeat customers – to know what they are getting the moment they pay you. For example, let’s say you’re buying something on Amazon that has a three-star rating and a mixed bag of customer comments, but then the same item from another seller pops up with all four-and-five-star reviews and much more favorable feedback.Which one would you buy? Same product, same shipping, same cost, but there is a clear winner.
In contrast, not having processes and systems in place will cause inconsistency, which has a nasty trickle-down effect. Using the Amazon example above, if that buyer doesn’t pick you, that’s lost revenue. You have money tied up in overhead, inventory, storage and more, and the only way you gain the potential from that product is by selling it. Construction is the same. You have vehicles, staff, maybe an office, supplier bills, labor bills and the list goes on. If you can’t sell jobs because the word online is that working with you is chaotic, you won’t be around very long. Consistency is key!
This is what leads to inconsistent
It’s important to remember that you need to achieve consistency in both your back office and on the job site. One isn’t more important than the other. Imagine you have a full schedule of 40 to 50 hours per week, which you split between the office and the field. You have great time management in that you schedule the right amount of time to get your admin work done, and you’re focused when you’re in the field…but your organization is awful. Maybe you don’t ever have the right tools when you’re in the field or it takes you an hour to get everything you need to clean up QuickBooks or go through your CRM, and you spend more time looking for things than you do completing tasks.
The result? If you’re not being consistent in the back office and on the job with a process-driven system, what you end up with is different results from the same tasks. And that’s a business-killer.