Once you have identified your ideal client, your next step is to create a list of all of the products and services you plan to offer. This is also the point where you decide on some of the products and services that you are NOT going to provide.
My good friend Mike has been in business for over 25 years and his company strictly does exterior work. Under this seemingly “limited” umbrella however, he does an extensive number of projects. His company does siding, roofing, windows and doors and decks of all sorts. He has managed to build a very successful business specializing in these areas and, in the winter, he augments the exterior construction with snow plowing and plenty of intentional vacation time during the slow season.
Take out a sheet of paper and write out all of the services that your company will provide. This may take you five minutes or an hour depending on how detailed you want to be. The construction industry has many niches and now, while you are building your company’s foundation, is the time when you want to decide whether you are going to be a specialist or a general contractor who works with homeowners on large projects by bringing in subcontractors who will do the specialty work.
What services do you want to have your company’s employees complete? What parts of projects do you plan to subcontract? Will you provide design services in house, outsource them or not offer any form of design build?
Your relationships in the industry will determine how much you are able to accomplish. Good subcontractors can be hard to find but once you have developed relationships with ones that you know you can trust, hang on to them.
Take some time here to dream up future product or service offerings as well. Do you want to write books, give lectures, and have your own tool line or something else entirely? Design your company’s foundation so that you can create a scalable model to accomplish short and long term goals.
A contractor I have known for most of my life told me that, because he was a tradesman, he knew he would not be able to continue working in his business forever. He made it his goal, because of that, to learn as much as he could about the business side of things so that he could teach other carpenters how to effectively run their businesses so that when he was no longer able to swing his hammer, his income wouldn’t suffer. Although I know that Bob still picks up his tool belt from time to time, most of his work nowadays is done in the office consulting with his community of tradesmen.
Defining the services that you plan to offer allows you the ability to become very good and known for what you do. If you plan to grow at a later time, you can expand the market to which you offer your core services or increase the number of services you offer.