By: Mark Fly on April 1st, 2021
BidCoach: Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone
OK, not to rehash the news, but, we know the construction industry went through a whirlwind in the last year. With remote working, new safety protocols, entire segment shutdowns, and more, many contractors had to quickly pivot, reevaluate, and keep moving forward.
It has never been a secret, though, that the industry is one of the most resilient on the globe. But what about the specialty contractor, who in 2019 had a full schedule and their main problem was finding labor and resources to get all their projects done, is now faced with a new problem.
Let's say, for the sake of discussion, this contractor specialized in tenant improvement projects and was very successful in that segment. Those projects are almost nonexistent in comparison to a year and a half ago. How will this company stay in business?
Let's start with a simple pros and cons approach. Some obvious cons could be the loss of work that was signed, an incredibly talented crew that took years to build that has no work, and the loss of cash flow. Sure, there are many more that could be listed and could be different for every contractor. But I think we all get the point.
Now lets look at the pros. Perhaps your crew is very talented and could certainly move into other segments successfully. In fact, as one is pushed outside their comfort zone, opportunities arise that were unforeseen previously. What if, for example, this company now becomes just as productive and successful working on multi-family projects? Sure, it will take some adjustments. But can you see yourself working in a segment you didn't want to, but had to?
Reevaluate your company. Who are you? Where did you start in the beginning? How did you stretch your limits in the beginning to get where you are? List all of your strengths and areas you might be wary of in other segments. Can you overcome those? Do you have faith in your teams/crews? My guess is yes. Not easy...but yes.
With that said, because I know it's easier said than done, you will need to be careful, and strategic. Moving into unfamiliar territory, you will need to be much more accurate and informed on those projects. Think of it as retooling your factory. You may need to shift some things around, work a little harder, and learn some new techniques and processes. Perhaps discussing the new opportunities with your teams/crews might be helpful, too. There may be experience there in other areas you were not aware of.
While writing this I find myself reminiscing on some humble beginnings and the choices made that were scary at the time. But the leap of faith made was always worth it in the end. I hope you, the reader, also might take a moment to remember some of those decisive moments.
That feeling in your gut, the anticipation of the unknown, and even the fear that motivated you to go for it. But most of all, that overwhelming feeling of, perhaps, gratitude, humility, or pride as you attained success that would not have been possible without taking the risk.
Share your stories with me! I would live to hear how you have overcome and adapted in 2021!
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About Mark Fly
Mark Fly is a Product Evangelist at ConstructConnect. He is also known as the Bid Coach to subscribers of his popular video series. Mark has 40 years of experience in construction, rising through the ranks from a labor position in high school to play a key role in the development of SmartBid software. He has also provided multi-faceted outsourced estimating services for many years, working directly with owners, GCs, subcontractors, suppliers, and more.