2017 is coming to a close, and 2018 will be here before we know it. As the year winds down, it’s never a bad idea to stop and take stock of the past year.
This can involve an assessment of your business, an assessment of your marketing plan, and even an assessment of yourself.
It’s also a good idea to take stock of the larger lessons that we can learn from the broader trends of the past year. Knowing these trends allows us to anticipate the challenges of the coming year, and lets us plan for the future accordingly.
Here are five trends of the past year, and how they can affect your business in the year to come.
1. Labor Was Limited
As the available pool of skilled labor continues to decline and as the baby-boom generation prepares for retirement, contractors have faced greater challenges to find and retain an effective workforce. This has led to increased costs and has had the potential to drive up the cost of projects and cause more headaches when it comes to managing the available team.
To stay competitive contractors have found it necessary to cast a wider net for talent than ever before, and build new partnerships with other contractors and subcontractors.
2. Tech Was Everywhere
Technology has continued to change the industry and will do so for the foreseeable future. Whether this entails using drones to monitor projects, using smartphone apps on the job site, or employing cloud technologies in the back office, every aspect of a construction business has been affected by the implementation of new technologies. While many contractors can be resistant to change, or rely on “the way it’s always been done,” the inability to adapt can hurt their ability to stay competitive in the long run.
3. Marketing Made a Difference
Many contractors take pride in the fact that they don’t need to advertise. Their ability to sustain their business through word of mouth recommendations is a point of pride. However, for newer contractors, or contractors seeking to grow their business, having the ability to market their business effectively is more and more of a necessity as they seek to stay competitive. The good news is that contractors can create an effective marketing plan that encompasses tradition and digital marketing at a cost they can afford. The challenge is having the time and expertise to implement their plan and maintain it over time.
4. Infrastructure Was Important
While the fate of a national infrastructure plan has been left in legislative limbo, states, cities, and municipalities have been picking up the slack and investing in infrastructure like never before. This has provided enormous opportunities for contractors to grow their business. However, it has also required them to be flexible and collaborate with local authorities and larger general contractors. It also requires them to be able to effectively manage their cash flow, get bonded, and have a back office that can manage the complexities of a government project.
5. Succession Plans Created Success
As the current generation of baby-boom business owners prepare to retire, the ability of their business to grow has been increasingly dependent on good succession planning. Whether the business is sold or transferred to the next generation, an effective plan is necessary. Otherwise, contractors run the risk of seeing everything they built fall apart.
Looking for more ways to grow your business? Ox Bonding can help with services that can help you streamline your back office, improve your cash flow and align your business to take advantage of present and future opportunities.
Whether you’re looking back or looking forward you can put Ox Bonding’s experience to work for you. Download an enrollment application or call us today at (877) 55-THE-OX.