In recent years, conditions have been challenging for the Australian construction sector. A sustained decline in new orders, supplier deliveries and overall activity has made things very difficult for those working within the industry. Indeed, 2019 ended on a low note – with a key industry index hitting its lowest point since 2013. As a result, businesses have struggled to balance income with outgoings.
Australian construction businesses feeling the impact of the prolonged downturn in the sector could be tempted to fear the worst. It is particularly smaller and medium enterprises most at risk should it continue further into 2020. But the right preparation, even in times of difficulty, can be a catalyst for business growth once favourable conditions return. Here are seven ways that you could achieve this:
Strive for the best business practices
It is something you may have started doing already in order to weather the storm. But it is important to make sure your construction business is in robust health to provide foundations for growth. This is thinking about factors such as your profitability, financial management and core strengths. When you are the leader of a business, you need to be able to fully account for the time and money you spend.
Sign up to relevant industry organisations
Joining relevant associations and organisations – such as the Australian Construction Industry Forum and Australian Constructors Association – can be a huge benefit to your business. It’s not only about safety in numbers, however. Such organisations can open up your business to a raft of opportunities and initiatives such as health and safety, sustainability and professional development among others.
Invest in quality products and machinery
Be in no doubt that quality is king when it comes to the work you do as a construction business. The phrase ‘buy cheap, buy twice’ should be at the forefront of your decisions. Lower quality machinery and materials lead to a poor final product that will need to be put right. Always look to buy the best quality products from trusted suppliers such as RS Components and maintain the highest standards.
Be prepared to react and adapt
The most lucrative opportunities for growing your construction business could be unknown to you at this exact point in time. But as a struggling industry realigns and readjusts to meet market conditions and client demand, new trends and niches can emerge. Australia leads the way for green building, for example – representing a shift in what society now comes to expect from its construction projects.
Put an emphasis on customer service
The customer is always right – and will forever remain that way. An emphasis on customer service is paramount to the ongoing success and growth of a construction business. It is a door through which repeat business comes, as well as word-of-mouth recommendations. An unsatisfied customer is also more likely to make their voice heard – and a negative reputation becomes a high barrier to growth.
Hire and retain the right staff
Your staff is what makes much of your business what it is. Recruitment calls for careful consideration, however – ensuring a healthy balance of ambition and experience, as well as getting the right people for the role. For staff already working for you, looking after them now can help make sure they’ll look after your business in the months and years to come – particularly in areas such as mental health.
Choose the right projects
At times when an industry is experiencing a slowdown, it can encourage businesses to chase projects – whatever the scale, wherever the location. But this can be an error for a construction business. The desire to fill an order book can spread your resources thinly, undermining the service you can supply. Assess projects diligently and pick the right ones accordingly to provide your platform for growth.