These days, technology and social media both seem to be rapidly expanding. Because of this, there’s all sorts of information out there—some of it “good” and some it is “bad”. The question is… Which of it should you be listening to?
We hear nonsense all the time pertaining to starting and managing a construction business so—for that reason—we wanted to dedicate an entire lesson to the myths associated with being an entrepreneur in the construction industry.
Myth #1 – You Just Need a Big Idea
“You just need a million dollar idea.” I’m sure you’ve heard this before. We wish it were that simple, but we can assure you that—if it were that easy—we would be seeing a lot more millionaires walking around, wouldn’t we?
In fact, we would argue that plenty of people do get great ideas, but how often do they actually take action and do something about it? Rarely.
Having a solid idea is crucial to being a successful construction business owner, but that idea doesn’t mean much at all if you aren’t willing to back it up with years of hard work and perseverance.
Myth #2 – You Need a Lot of Money
We watch shows like Shark Tank and tend to assume that it’s all about money. Yes, money does play a significant role in running a construction business—especially when it comes to purchasing equipment and materials—but we’ve witnessed plenty of entrepreneurs who have accomplished big things while “bootstrapping” it—or doing it on their own with minimal financial resources.
If you combine the knowledge that we’re providing you in this course with hard work and experience—both old and new—you can accomplish great things with your construction business.
Myth #3 – You’ll Have Plenty of Free Time
It’s a common misconception that those who own or manage their own construction business have a lot of free time. They’re often depicted pulling a boat in their new truck—with their wife and dog by their side. Yes, those memories will come, but not before you put some sweat equity into your business—and this can take some time.
Especially in the beginning, your business is your baby, and your baby will need some significant nurturing. This “nurturing” may include dealing with difficult clients, lazy employees, labor strikes, frighteningly low bank account balances, and plenty of more surprises down the road.
Myth #4 – You Can Be Your Own Boss
Yes, you’ll be the “boss”, but you won’t really be the “boss”. Allow us to explain…
You may not be required to report to a board of directors, but you’ll still be “reporting” to other “powers-that-be,” including clients, employees, planning boards, OSHA, the IRS, etc. All of these inconveniences will require your constant attention, because—believe me—if you don’t handle it—or at least check up on it—it likely won’t get done.
In addition, be cautious about going into a new construction business with the idea that you call all of the shots. Keep an open mind and try to consider that—whether you like to admit it or not—there will times when others are right and you are wrong. Remain humble and listen to others around you. They are there to help you… most of the time, anyway.
Myth #5 – You Have to Take a Lot of Risks
Yes—by definition—an “entrepreneur” tends to take more financial risks than the average person, but don’t assume this means that you need to take many—or even reckless—risks.
Go at your own pace. Take risks when you absolutely have to or when you feel comfortable enough to make a level-headed, responsible decision.
The best construction business owners have found a healthy relationship with risk, and—over time—you will develop this relationship as well.
Myth #6 – Timing is Everything
When is the best time to start a construction business? … Now.
Statistically, the most successful construction business owners didn’t wait for the “perfect time” to start their business. Instead, they wasted no time—and for good reasons. One of these reasons is that a true construction entrepreneur understands that time equals money.
Another reason is procrastination—and we caution you to keep a careful eye on this one. How many times have you heard your buddy talk about starting their own mowing company—or sealcoating company—or hauling company—or whatever—and they never did it? … Better yet, how many times have you said that?
Myth #7 – You Need a Business Plan
A study conducted at Babson College revealed that there was little difference between the success of businesses launched with business plans and those launched without.
That being said, we are strong proponents of business plans, and suggest that anyone who plans to start a construction business creates one—especially if you need to raise money.
When it comes to business plans, we figure… Why not? What have you got to lose?
Myth #8 – You Won’t Have Much of a Social Life
Yes, it’s probable that you’ll be spending more hours than you thought working each week—and—yes—this might mean less time with kids, beers with buddies, and TV shows—but this doesn’t mean you have to be a hermit.
On the contrary, we can’t stress enough the importance of taking care of yourself and blowing off some steam. In fact, we recommend that you actually schedule social time, as if you would an important meeting with a client.
After all, what’s the point of making all that money if you have no one to share it with?
Myth #9 – You Have to do it all by Yourself
We know it’s hard for some of you, but learning to delegate is essential when it comes to running your own construction business. We can assure you that there are consequences from refusing to do so—consequences like burning out or even making careless decisions that lead to even more consequences. We can go on-and-on.
So—for that reason—try to outsource responsibilities that aren’t 100% necessary for you to do, such as bookkeeping, hiring employees, marketing, sales training, etc.
Myth #10 – Construction Businesses are “Simple” or “Easy”
We’ve all heard misconceptions and judgements made about the construction industry. Nonsense like, “Construction is a dead-end industry.” Or “It’s for high school dropouts and people who don’t go to college.”
Construction isn’t a “last ditch” career, nor is it something to “fall back on” in case your other entrepreneurial endeavors don’t work out.
Instead, construction is a multi-billion dollar industry. And most jobs in this industry are in high-demand and require in-depth training and experience.
Although formal college isn’t always necessary for a career in the construction industry, we do recommend you take as many courses, seminars, OSHA classes, etc. that you can get your hands on. Because when it comes to running a construction business, you can never know too much about a skill—whether it’s operating a crane, pouring concrete, using a skid steer, or whatever your services entail.
On a final note about myths you hear regarding starting a construction business… Take what you want, and leave the rest.