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How Can I Make the Best Use of my Time at Home?

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If you run a construction business but have decided for safety reasons to stay at home during the lock down then how can you make the best use of your time?

Whilst you might be tempted to use the time to watch endless boxsets on Netflix  or catch up on lost sleep, if you really want your business to be successful then you should use your time wisely.

You may ask “How can I use my time wisely to improve my construction business, I cannot build from home?” You can use this time to evaluate how your business is currently doing, prepare for the difficult times ahead, look at where you can improve your business and plan for the future.

In this article, we are going to briefly look at:

  1. How can you evaluate your business?
  2. Preparing for challenging times
  3. Planning your future
  1. How can you evaluate your business?

 

As difficult as it is, let’s start by putting Covid-19 pandemic to one side and to examine how your business up until now has been operating, what has been good and not so good?

In my last article, I mentioned how important it is to have an up to date profit and loss report. This detailed report will give you a full understanding of the money that is coming in and going out and it enables you to look at what is profitable for your business and what is not. You can find out more about how to create a profit and loss report from chapter 8 of my book which you can purchase here ‘Building Your Future: A Step by Step Guide to Building a £1 Million+ Construction Business’ 

Ask yourself the following;

What in your business has been successful? Where are your leads coming from? How have you been converting them to win sales? Who in your team is performing and who is not? If they are not performing, is there something you can do to support them to get them to where they need to be or is it time to let them go?

Perhaps you know something isn’t working in your business but you are not sure what it is. That is why it is vital to break it down completely into a profit and loss report for you to evaluate.

Separate your business into the following departments (even if just one person is covering several of these roles)

Marketing

Do you have enough leads coming in to sell to?

How are you advertising your business?

Which avenues of advertising are producing the best results?

What is your cost per lead?

What is your brand and do your customers understand your brand?

What is your USP? Read my article ‘How to Find Your USP’

Sales

How many sales do you convert from your leads?

What is the quality of your leads?

Are you unselling?

Are you making enough sales?

Are you winning enough sales from leads?

What is your sales process?

Is your sales team performing?

Have you provided your sales team with the correct tools?

Operations

How much are you spending on materials?

Could you be getting a better price/payment terms on materials?

Do you have a lot of material waste?

How productive is your team?

Is your operations team carrying out the task as per your sales pitch?

How can you improve of spend?

What can you automate?

Accounts

Are you profitable?

What is more profitable than not?

What is not profitable?

Where should you invest your money?

Grab a pen and paper or your iPad and take some time to answer each question. Do this whilst looking at your profit and loss report and don’t whizz through this, really think about it. It will start to give you a clear idea of where your business is at, what you are doing well, but more importantly it should highlight some key areas of where you need to improve. It may also highlight areas you think you should be doing, but that are not making much of an impact on your business and are just wasting valuable time and money.

 

  1. Preparing for challenging times

The majority of small businesses in construction will feel some kind of impact in the upcoming months with the Covid-19 pandemic. If you can prepare right now as much as possible you may be able to cushion the blow. In my last article, I discussed cutting back on expenses. If you haven’t read it already then you can find it here ‘How to Cut Expenses for My Construction Business’ 

Whilst you are at home, if you do the social media for your business or if you don’t do a lot of social media and would like to ramp it up then you can use schedulers like Hootsuite. Whilst at home why not plan the posts for the rest of the year, schedule them in and think of the time you will save. If you are not sure what to post have a look at my article ‘Should I Use Social Media for my Construction Company?’ 

Is there an element of your business you are paying out for that you know you could do yourself if you just knew how to do it? Well, now is the time to learn. You can get some cheap but high quality courses on UDEMY. I am not suggesting that you take this on in the long term as I do believe when things are back and busy you should delegate out as much as possible, and not become bogged down with work, but if you have a lot of spare time on your hands and can get work done that will benefit you for the future, then go for it.

I have a book out at the moment, it is a step-by-step guide to evaluate and really improve your business in all the areas I asked you to assess earlier and if you apply the 7 step DEVELOP strategy you are sure to see some great results. You can purchase it from Amazon here and work through it ‘Building Your Future: A Step by Step Guide to Building a £1 Million+ Construction Business’ 

It’s all well and good evaluating the business prior to Covid-19 but will people still be spending in the same areas after? This might be a time where you need to reinvent yourself and focus (at least to get you through the difficult times) on the clients that will be spending money on construction. I will speak more about this in the upcoming weeks

 

  1. Planning your future

Interestingly, although this is point 3 in this article I have written today, in my book and on my course this is point 1: Planning your future with a detailed road map.

Where do you want to end up? What is the final goal or where you would like to see your business? Then you can work backwards and start planning the journey.

What obstacles might get in the way of that?

This includes the coronavirus pandemic, it is just an obstacle to our destination, a bump along the way. If you plan your future with the end goal in mind and planning for this obstacle that will be on the route, then you will be successful and will overcome it, whilst sadly you may see many of your competitors fall when they reach this obstacle if not prepared.

There is so much you can do during this time at home to help your construction business thrive. Don’t waste this fantastic opportunity to pause, evaluate and then reinvent yourself.

Building Your Future: A step by step guide to building a £1million+ construction business is the perfect book to help you do this. It goes into real detail and if you start implementing the strategies you will see for yourself immediate results. You can purchase it here  ‘Building Your Future: A Step by Step Guide to Building a £1 Million+ Construction Business’ 

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Harvey decorates new Astrazeneca lab

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Henley-in-Arden-based Harvey UK worked in the development laboratories, restaurant and staff facilities at the new centre on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, on behalf of contractors Overbury.

The new centre shares the Cambridge campus with Cambridge University’s School of Clinical Medicine, Addenbrooke’s Centre for Clinical Investigation, Cancer UK’s research facility, and the Heart and Lung Research Institute as well as several other medical research centres.

Harvey UK managing director Tony Harvey said: “We have considerable experience in the medical and clinical sectors, and it’s a privilege to be involved in preparing a facility which will carry out such important work.”

Harvey UK has also carried out work at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham and the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge.

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‘Fur and foie gras bans must follow animal sentience legislation’

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Some events can really renew your optimism as an animal rights advocate. Hearing the commitment to bring forward new legislation to “ensure the United Kingdom has, and promotes, the highest standards of animal welfare”, in the Queen’s speech during the state opening of parliament this week, was one of them.

The significance of the government’s recognition that, as our understanding of other animals has evolved, our laws must evolve, too, can’t be overstated. The simple and glaringly obvious acknowledgment that animals are like us – with families, intelligence, emotions, and their own cultures and languages – means we must provide them with greater legal protection from human exploitation, abuse, and neglect. And delivering on its commitment to recognise animal sentience in law and put it “at the heart of policy making”, as the government has pledged to do, is a vital step in our society’s moral evolution.

In addition to the introduction of the much-anticipated animal welfare (sentience) bill, animal protection groups are expecting to see several other important bills brought forward during this new parliamentary session as part of the government’s “ambitious and wide-ranging plan for driving forward reforms in the … Action Plan for Animal Welfare”, including, we hope, a ban on fur imports.

Fur farming has been illegal in the UK for almost 20 years, but bizarrely we have continued to import around £55 million worth of fur, including from countries where animals still spend their miserable lives frantically circling in cramped, filthy cages, being driven mad by the confinement. For the fur trim adorning Canada Goose’s parkas, sold in its Regent’s Street shop and by a small handful of other unscrupulous retailers, including Harvey Nichols, coyotes are caught in steel traps that would be illegal here and can suffer for days while enduring blood loss, shock, dehydration, frostbite, and gangrene.

The bears still being gunned down to make the Queen’s Guard’s caps are often mothers whose cubs are left to starve or die from predation without her to protect them – utterly indefensible when their namesake, the Queen herself, refuses to purchase fur. Surviving bear cubs are known to wail when hunters shoot their mothers in front of them and will moan and cry for weeks afterward in apparent grief. And of course, bears are not alone in mourning the loss of loved ones, just as we do.

Professor of anthropology Barbara J. King shares many other devastating accounts in her book How Animals Grieve. Only the animals born with it need fur, especially when we have so many humane, eco-friendly options that no one has to die for. A bill banning fur imports is absolutely necessary if the government is to fulfil its promise that “our high animal welfare standards are not compromised in our trade negotiations”, and with 95% of Brits opposed to wearing real fur, it would also be an extremely popular piece of legislation.

Our new status as an independent nation outside the EU also provides the UK with the opportunity to close its borders to foie gras and earn our status as “a global leader for international advocacy on animal welfare”, something the government is said to be considering as part of its animals abroad bill.

There is no doubt that, of all the many cruel practices involving animals on today’s factory farms, foie gras (“fatty liver”) production is one of the cruellest. In order to get the liver to expand to up to 10 times its natural size, ducks and geese are force-fed using a procedure known as gavage, in which a long pipe is forced down their throat and a large quantity of food is pumped into their stomach three to four times a day for several weeks until their liver becomes so large that it presses on their lungs, making it difficult to breathe.

The inhumane product is illegal to produce in 17 countries, including the UK, with 79% of the British public in favour of an import ban as well, which makes perfect sense given that a product too cruel to produce here should logically also be too cruel to sell.

Eighty per cent of the British public want post-Brexit government trade deals to have clear requirements that imported animal products meet or exceed British animal welfare production standards. It boils down to this: there is simply no justification for fur, foie gras, hunting trophies, or any other products of gross animal abuse to be allowed into Britain nor for shipping British animals on hellish journeys to be fattened and slaughtered abroad.

In 1822, the UK became the first country in the world to introduce animal protection legislation, and as the bicentennial of that landmark law approaches, the Queen’s speech served to honour that legacy and define the type of country that we want to be in the future. While you can be sure that PETA and other animal protection groups will hold the government to its commitments to animals, new statutes on the books to help break down the false barrier between humans and other animals are not really necessary: we can already refuse to support industries that treat them as mere objects instead of the sensitive, complex, intelligent individuals they are – just by leaving their body parts off our plates and out of our wardrobes.

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Taziker lands HS2 jetty deal

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Taziker will be supplying, fabricating and installing the steel deck component of a temporary jetty structure which has been designed to provide access for the building of foundations for the new viaduct where it crosses a series of lakes.

The temporary jetty will consist of four separate structures with an approximate total length of 990m. The works will also include safety barriers, pedestrian walkways and guardrails.

Thirteen additional working platforms will also be built to enable the construction of the cofferdams within the lakes, which in turn facilitate the construction of the permanent piers for the viaduct.

Working on behalf of VolkerStevin for the Align Joint Venture, Taziker was awarded the contract following a competitive Invitation to Tender process.

Align JV comprises Bouygues Travaux Publics, Sir Robert McAlpine and VolkerFitzpatrick and is the main works civils contractor responsible for the delivery of the C1 section on HS2.

The C1 package of works consists of a 21.6km stretch of high-speed rail infrastructure including the 3.37km Colne Valley Viaduct; the 16.04km twin-bored Chilterns tunnel; and five ventilation shafts handling both intervention and tunnel ventilation facilities.

Jarrod Hulme, Managing Director of Engineering Solutions, Taziker said: “The construction of the viaduct in Colne Valley is a spectacular and essential part of the HS2 project.

“By supplying, fabricating and installing a major component of the temporary jetty, Taziker have the opportunity to show the quality and innovation we can deliver on major projects for major clients within our engineering division.”

Jason Worrall, Managing Director of Engineering Services, Taziker said, “Taziker has been working in the rail industry for many years now, and so we can appreciate the value that HS2 will bring to the country.

“By improving rail capacity, HS2 will enable better services to operate on local and regional networks, as well as improving freight services. I’m personally incredibly proud that our engineering abilities have been recognised for the Colne Valley Viaduct project.”

Engineers from HS2 Ltd’s main works contractor Align JV began work on the foundations earlier this year and Taziker is expected to begin work on site in June 2021.

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