EPISODE 104 – Are Builders Important

EPISODE 104 – Are Builders Important

By TGO Team | June 24, 2022

EPISODE 104 – Are Builders Important |

Hey, welcome to episode 104 of the Builders Business Success podcast.

The Builders Business Success podcast is a construction business podcast for the building industry. And I would love to be your construction business coach or your builders coach through this podcast.

And what we try to do in this podcast is cover the common and costly problems that almost all builders run across at some time or another. And how we kind of do that is we've got a group of builders called builders business black belt. We talk every day, we're covering the current issues.

So many of the issues that we're covering at the minute are like the time delays and the price rises because of supply chains and limited supply of product and material, costs are going up time, delays, all this sort of stuff, and it's making it very, very tough at the minute.

So we are discussing all of these things and coming up with strategies to mitigate the problem and its impact and solutions to overcome many of these issues. Many of which tend to be thought of by most builders as unsolvable, like you can't fix that. Well, you know, we've got a bit of a track record of being able to fix the unfixable.

And I'm not saying we fix everything but there are some things that are thought that are unfixable that we do come up with solutions to. And many of those things make the podcast.

So I'm not just rabbiting on about theory in this podcast. Everything we talk about has been implemented and tested in all sorts of different places, rural, regional, big cities, big building companies, small building companies, you name it. In today's episode, we're talking about this issue.

The builders really don't know who is the most important human factor to success in their business and who needs the most attention to ensure success in a building business. Katie's back with us for this episode.

So let's hear what Katie's got to say, what she's gonna be chatting about in her session.

Katie: Today I'm gonna talk about why I believe you must put your oxygen mask on first, which means in the business sense that you need to pay yourself first, before anything else happens in the business.

Mick: That is a wonderful metaphor. That whole metaphor of putting your own oxygen mask on first is such a great metaphor because you know, why do we do that?

You're not much used to anybody else if you've passed out and you know, we're gonna cover that whole concept of in many parts of a building business as we go through this episode of the podcast.

Steph's gonna give us her take on the whole oxygen mask thing from a marketing perspective. I wonder what Steph's gonna talk about.

Steph: Good day it's Steph. And today I'm gonna talk about putting your oxygen mask on first before you run out and tackle that job and get busy. Yeah, go to here first.

Mick: So wanna remind you about "The Successful Builders Toolkit," obviously. This covers everything that we talk about in Blackbelt from soup to nuts. I'm not really sure where that saying came from from soup to nuts.

I suppose it's like, that's what you eat first.

You know, when you start the meal eat some soup, but I've really never finished off with nuts so I'm not sure where that saying has come from. But as far as the saying goes, "The Successful Builder's Toolkit" does cover everything from start to finish in relation to what we talk about in Builder's Business Blackbelt.


So grab yourself a copy. There is a link in the description you can get or I can show you this QR code. And if you are got the ability to scan the QR code, if you're not watching on your phone, if you're watching on a computer, you can just hold your phone up to this QR code.

The New Book!

So you can pause the video and take a snapshot and that will take you to where you can get yourself a copy of "The Successful Builder's Toolkit." The investment is only, I think 29.95. Yes, it says so here on my notes, 29.95.

That includes it lobbying at your joint as well. So that includes the postage and all that sort of stuff. So, anyway, let's get started into this week's show episode 104.


Transcription of the show!

I'd actually like to start this session with listening to what Katie's got to say, because Katie I think is gonna talk about paying yourself first.

And it's like this month is money mindset month and it is such a huge thing that builders really do sacrifice themselves, they sacrifice their time, but they also sacrifice their money and it's unnecessary, it shouldn't happen, but it happens so much so we really want to address it.

And you know, at the end of the day the bottom line, the reason that you're in business is because you need to be paid and you wanna be paid more than if you are working for somebody else. Quite often, it's not the case. Quite often, the people that are in your team get paid more.

You work longer hours and get paid less than your team members. It shouldn't be the case. So I'm looking forward to hearing Katie's take on this whole oxygen mask scenario.

Katie: Your own oxygen mask on first. We hear it every single time we are on a plane. If we have somebody with us who's unable to put their oxygen mask on themselves that we need to make sure that we put our oxygen mask on first before we help them, because we are no good to them if we pass out from lack of oxygen and it's the same concept in business.

We need to make sure that we take, that we pay ourselves and take the wage each and every week, not as an afterthought, what's left, oh, I can pay myself this week but as the first thought that we need to make sure we pay ourselves to make sure that we can pay all our bills from a personal perspective.

But also what it does is if there's not enough money left or it's getting a bit tight at the end of the week, that is an absolute gift. Your business is showing you that it actually needs some financial help.

So if we are not paying ourselves first and we are leaving it to whatever's left, we are not listening to our business. Our business will tell us exactly what help it needs and in which areas and in what order. But we often ignore it by not taking a wage this week. We'll take it next week.

We'll skip a few weeks and then we'll just take a bigger lump sum down the track. That's ignoring your business talking to you and we wanna avoid that at all costs.

So please, if you are not taking yourself a regular wage each and every week, then I really, really encourage you to get that set up in your business right now. The second part to that is I want to encourage you to listen to what your business is telling you.

So if by taking a wage that means that you are short to pay some suppliers, that is your opportunity to follow up some invoices to get them paid sooner. Or it may be that you have the opportunity to get a job done quicker so that you can invoice quicker so you're not going to be short.

It may mean that you might wanna have a look at some of your expenses. Are there expenses that are coming out of your business that you don't really need anymore? So please, if you don't, if you do one thing, it is take a wage regularly for yourself each and every week. And the second parts of that is listen to your business.

Don't be afraid of what your business is trying to tell you. That is the opportunity to make it better so that we are not talking about your business and you struggling 5, 10, 15 years down the track. Because if we ignore it, we know it's only going to get worse and worse and we absolutely do not want that for you.

Mick: Great words of wisdom there from Katie. I was a bit mesmerized listening to that because the, like the message really is that there is, there's evidence in your business and in if you are struggling to, you know, be able to pay the normal bills, obviously the management and the measurement of the finances just aren't up to scratch.

And rather than just continually suffering, reach out and ask for some help, how do we fix this? What do I need to do? Now be prepared to not necessarily get an answer that is that that will take no effort by you and some sacrifice or some pain by you. Quite often the solutions are difficult.

If they weren't difficult everybody would be doing them by default. But running an effective business particularly from a financial perspective is very, very challenging. It's not rocket science, it's simple. It just isn't easy.

But if you get the right answers to your questions and reach out and get some help and as I've said before, Katie is in the builder's tool shed. All you need to do is jump into the chat, search for Katie Crismale-Marshall Chris, bang, start a chat with her and you can ask her the question.

Or what would be even better is to ask your question via a post. Jump in the tool shed and ask a question so everybody, I've got an itchy ear, just let me quickly scratch it, everybody can see your question.

And then you tag Katie in it so she sees it so she can chime in and answer. But there's probably a whole bunch of other people in the tool shed also that will have some very, very valuable answers. Like there's some very sharp pencils in this tool shed. You need to be asking more questions.

So paying yourself first is essential. But so is educating and skilling yourself as well. There's a question that I used to ask all the time when we didn't have the tool shed, when we were just using a Facebook group. And I'd ask the question to try and get some discussion going.

Who in the, with all of the human element of a business, which one contributes to the success of a business, the most success, or otherwise of a business the most? Is it the owner, is it the team or is it the customer? And without fail, the big majority of people would say, it's the customer you idiot.

Like if you don't have a customer, you don't have a business and I get that. But the customer doesn't have as much impact on success as the team does. The team have more impact on the success of a business than a customer does.

So, I mean, we've gotta, if you don't have a customer, you don't have a business. But the same can be said about the owner or the team. Like, if you don't have a team, you really don't have a business either. You've just bought yourself a job because you are doing everything.

If you don't have an owner, you don't have a business either. So I think we can lay that dumb response to rest for once and all, for once and for all, can't we? That if you don't have a customer, you don't have a business. I get it.

But what I'm saying is when you've got all three, when you've got the team, the customer and the owner, which one gives more or has more impact on the success or otherwise of your business?

Most people say customer, a few people say team, hardly anyone says the owner, but that's the correct answer.

It's the owner has the most impact on whether a business is successful or not. If you lose your best customer, it's not the end of the business. You know, it can be very inconvenient and very, very costly, but it, you know, unless your business is set up so you've only got two or three customers or one customer like I know some businesses, not necessarily building businesses, but some small businesses that they just have another business, one other business as their customer. And it's like, that's tightrope stuff.

So, you know, if your number one or your best customer disappears, it's not the end of the world.

If you lose your best team member or even a couple of team members, it's not the end of the business, but I can tell you one thing that if the business owner of a small business decides I'm not showing up ever again and goes, you know, disappears, just doesn't show up anymore, that's the end of the business.

If they decide they don't want to work in that business or have that business anymore that decision means the end of the business. The customer doesn't want to operate with that business anymore.

They don't, but it's not the end of the business. If someone doesn't wanna work as a team member anymore, and they leave, it's not the end of the business but when the owner decides, it's all over. And all of this to say that the owner needs the most attention.

The owner needs to make sure that they are being remunerated, that they under as little financial stress as possible. And as Katie said, if you can't pay yourself a reasonable wage on a regular basis there is something fundamentally wrong with the financial setup, measurement and management of your business and you need to do something about it.

Another great analogy that I was privy to many, many moons ago, when I first read "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey, I think I might have been listening to it at this stage.

I had an eight cassette series of Steven Covey in a live workshop speaking about the principles of "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People."

Eight cassettes, that's how old I was and I listened to it a lot. And one of the analogies he would always come out with when we were figuring out that the priority of where money should go of who should do the most training, who should have the most skills, he would say, when you're on an airplane, who would you have preferred to have had the majority of training?

The cabin crew or the pilot? And it makes sense for you to answer the pilot. Like you're, it doesn't matter how good the cabin crew is as you're plummeting to the earth. You want your pilot to be able to fix that problem and save everybody. And it's the same with, with the business.

Another saying is the fish rots from the head. And so if you're a business owner you simply cannot blame the team. You cannot blame the suppliers, you cannot blame the sub trades, you cannot blame the customer, you cannot blame the government or the economy.

It's you, it's all up to you and your thought processes, your beliefs, your skills, your priorities. When you change those, you change your business. Those circumstances are the circumstances. They're there for everybody.

But how you process them and how skillful you are with these challenges, that's the thing that makes the difference between you being successful or otherwise. One of the things that we go through in Blackbelt with our members is, is a process of creating what we call the map of a business.

But it's just basically a hierarchical chart of, you know, the main areas of responsibility we call it in a building business.

And you've got the owner, you've got a managing director role or area of responsibility, you've got a business development area of responsibility, you've got production and you've got administration.

And there are sub areas off all of those, but fundamentally they're the main five areas. And if you were to ask most people to draw that map, so, you know, where do you sit and where do other people sit? Generally, they will create a map with the business owner at the top and then everybody else is in some sort of format underneath.

So one of the first things that we do because it is really important from a mindset point of view, is to flip that chart upside down so now the owner is at the bottom and then there's the next level of management, or what have you on top of the customer.

And then there are the people, you know, on the coal face that are being supported by a manager or a few managers, what have you. The reason that we do that is you need to shift your mindset from being supported by people who work for you.

Like you really need to change that mindset to your purpose, your number one purpose is to support your team, to support the people in your group, in your team, in your posse, in your gang, whatever you wanna call it, but you are the linchpin and everything, you are responsible for everything.

Doesn't mean you have to do everything, it just means you're responsible. And because you are there holding this up rather than being on the top where most hierarchical maps are being supported by everything else, what that means is you need to hit the gym.

You need to start to build your skills. You need to be a great example. And this is the thing like you, I'm not talking about you having to do everything. I'm talking to talking about you having the skills to be able to support and lead your team and lead your team with a great example.

If you are constantly panicking and running through the business with a piece of paper in one hand and a falafel roll on the other hand because you just haven't had time for lunch and you are that person all the time, that's not a very good example for the rest of the team.

So you need to work on your skills, you need to put the attention on yourself so you can help more people become successful in your business. So your example is incredibly powerful. Makes sure it's a good one.

So I hope all of this makes sense. I hope it's got you thinking about prioritizing the financial structure of your business and making sure that you get paid. And yes, that will throw up some deficiencies in your business, but they need to be addressed. And the best way of addressing them is creating the pain, like forcing the issue.

And you also need to take priority. You are the most important person in this structure so you need to prioritize time and money and effort into looking at your skills and abilities and your mindset. You need to invest in yourself because you are so influential and you have so much leverage. You need to be quality.

So we need you to invest in yourself. And if you want any help with any of this as I've said before, you can jump over into the navigation is the word that I'm struggling for over in the left hand side. If you're watching it on a computer, it shows up like this. If you're watching it on a phone, it'll just bring this navigation part across into your phone.

There's three little lines up in the top left hand corner of your phone screen and that will bring this up and you can jump on that where the arrow is pointing, get personal help, fill out a form, and we'll be talking before you know it.

Or you can reach out to us through a post or through chat, however you wanna reach out and put your hand up and get some as assistance and support with this sort of stuff. So it's super, super important. Now I wanna hear from Steph.

Steph is also gonna be talking about you being the priority. She mentioned that in her intro and you putting the oxygen mask on first, using that metaphor. But I want to hear her take about this from a marketing perspective. What have you got to say, Steph?

Steph: Well, good aid Steph here from Tradies Go and I'm talking about oxygen. I'm trying to do like a "Star Wars" thing here.

So why should you put your oxygen mask on? Let's think about it, right? You can get a bunch of leads coming into your business and you can just get started. You can just jump straight in and start doing the thing and get really busy and like, woo hoo, I'm making money. This is good. I've got a great business.

Like, wait a minute. Are you actually doing the thing that you want to do or are you just accepting any job that comes into your world? I paused so that you could think about that and answer that, right?

So really important that before you go accepting work and quoting work and staying up late or wasting days in the office quoting work that you don't actually wanna do, put your oxygen mask on, have a think about it. What do you want to do?

What kind of work do you want to do? Do you wanna do granny flats? Do you wanna do knock down rebuilds? Do you wanna build awesome garages? Do you wanna do just decks? Do you wanna do new homes?

You only wanna do new homes because if you can actually define what it is that you actually want to do, and then put some content around that and then start actually marketing in that direction, then you will actually move forward in that direction.

But the longer that you procrastinate your marketing and don't do your marketing and don't set, I say your sails and we put your Spinnaker up and get forward, the longer it's gonna take for you to actually reign this business in and gain control and basically stop saying yes to everything.

So here's a couple of things that I want you to do. I want you to take a look at your website and let's do a quick check. Does it have the latest photos from the most desirable projects that you wanna work on again and again and again?

Does it have a single page of content that only talks about that one thing that you want to do? Okay, is there one page, is that one page up? Does that one page have content? Is it a little bit of content and some bullet points and a little bit of content and some bullet points and then a call to action.

Is there photos of that exact thing? Is there a link to then that's, you know, the call to action that's then gonna go to the contact us page and it's going to say, Hey, we would love to take on, you know, we only take on five decks every month. Are you one of the five decks that we're gonna build this month?

Fill in the details below, we'll take a look at your response and then we will work out if you are the right customer for us and then we'll get you on a call and move forward. If you're not the right customer for us because you're in the wrong area, you've got the wrong budget, like, what do you not want? Like define these things.

Then you will stop running around town fixing things because you love, I mean, we love, I mean, to fix things, right? We're practitioners, we get in there, we do the job.

We wanna feel loved and liked and welcomed so we get in there and we get it done. And then when customers treat us like crap, they're like, oh, why does this keep happening? Why do I keep getting, what do you say?

You know, no one respects me. I'm getting disrespected. It's because you didn't put your oxygen mask, I mean, you didn't step out, you didn't demand that this is the kind of work that I want. And it's marketing that does that. It's the marketing work. It's the content, it's the photos, it's the flow, it's the way you get on a sales call.

In fact, when marketing is done right, the sales call is literally a 10 minute interaction just to make sure that the customer is right for you and then you can onboard them. Like that's as difficult as sales needs to be.

Sales does not need to be icky. If you got your marketing set up then it's literally building an on ramp so that you can collect customers and start taking care of them. So look at your website. You know, I haven't mentioned social media here because your website is your foundation.

It is the one place where you collect, you send everybody from Facebook and from Instagram and from LinkedIn, from TikTok, you bring them all into this one place, your foundation, your website and that's where they fill out a form, that's where they self qualify, that is where they fill out the form, they book you in, they tell you all the dirty details of their job, and then you get there inquire, and you go, right.

Is this the one for me?

Is it exactly what I need to be doing in this space? It is.

Is it a part of my business plan? Does this job actually fit the kind of work for my team that are already equipped and ready to go?

I mean, like plumbers and electricians are perfect on this qualification piece because if I don't have a jetting system, well, guess what? I'm not gonna jet that pipe. But builders, I got a hammer.

I can get some joinery, I can get some flooring, I can get some bricks, I can get some foundations like I can get those pieces together so I can probably do that.

So I think it's harder to say no as a builder. But respect yourself and only align and do the one thing, sorry, there's notifications going on.

So I've just got distracted but totally get aligned and do that one thing so that you can move forward swiftly and know who your customer isn't and who your customer is. Mic drop.

Mick: Well done. Steph. We were just having a conversation today 'cause one of the things that that we've been doing is we've been going back to a bit of snail mail for marketing and getting people aware of the app and so forth so we're sending out letters.

And how we do that is we obviously we know that the type of builders that we are looking for as Steph mentioned, and so we're searching for them on the interwebs and we find out, you know, their name and that we go straight to their website.

And Brian, who's not here at the moment, normally over there was saying, he can't believe how many builders still don't even have a website. And then he went on to say a good 70% of the websites he sees that are builder's websites are absolute garbage.

And if he's saying that, all I can say to you is you need to have a conversation with Steph because I thought I was doing a good job with our website until Steph showed me that it was almost impossible to find. So what does it even matter what you've got on your website if it can't be found?

So you need to be paying attention to what Steph's saying with what goes on that website but you also need to make sure that you're doing all of the right things with your search engine optimization and your potentially, you know, investing some money in some AdWords because she is right.

Your website is the foundation. And it's the place where you can start to capture the information and build your own database of clients that you can communicate with and never ever, ever be looking for work. Can't do that on a social media platform.

The social media platform retains the information. You need your own database and the website should be the front door for that database. So great stuff, Steph.

I hope you found that helpful today. Now I have a question before we get out of here. What behavior would you need to change to put yourself first? I really, really want you to put this in the comments.

Like what's one thing, one behavior that you would need to change that would mean that you are putting yourself first? Because I'd love to help you with being able to do that. When you start to put yourself first it transforms the business, it really makes a massive difference.

But for whatever reason, we are wired to help everybody else out first. And that's why I love the oxygen mask metaphor that both Katie and and Steph used because it is so, so relevant. If you don't look after yourself you cannot look after the other people.

And the other people are the people that you're responsible for such as your team members and your subies but you really can't look after your customers either.

So you've gotta start to look after yourself as a priority in all sorts of spaces, and I'd love to help you to do that.

So please reach out to us in the chat. Put the comment in underneath this video what behavior would you need to change to put yourself first?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on that. So that is it for this episode, episode 104 of the Builders Business Success podcast. I hope you got some value out of it.

Love to hear your comments. Love to hear any suggestions about topics you would like to have covered or unpacked, any problems that you would like to have unpacked on the podcast because the bottom line is if you have the problem there's more than likely somebody else or a bunch of other builders that have it as well.

And we can help everybody out if you are, put us in front of any of those problems or topics.

Love to unpack them for you. That's it.

I'm Mick Hawes from Builders Business Blackbelt. We'll be talking to you again next week 10 a.m. in the tool shed on Tuesday for another episode of the Builders Business Success podcast. Bye for now.