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Growing a successful business

Business success is all about risk, reward and knowing where you are going.

With every contract there is risk, potential rewards and the opportunity to grow and develop. While successful businesses often grow, it is not a prerequisite for success.

Growth comes with its own set of risks, and sometimes success is all about keeping things manageable.

Achieving ‘success’ means different things to different people and companies. Some find their niche in specialist work, others diversify and grow their businesses to include a wider range of services.

Some measure success in terms of how they look after their people, others want to work for their local community, and others aspire to work on large-scale projects in the international infrastructure market.

Successful businesses find a way. Sometimes this means consolidating core business, and sometimes this means looking outside the square.

Take CCNZ Wellington’s member Multi Civil.

They have a very strong focus on their people and take a flexible approach to getting the job done. Working on a diverse range of projects has given their team a wide range of skills, and I’m proud to see them grow to take on a job like Wellington City Council’s Town Hall seismic strengthening project – the largest in its 25-year history.

Not everyone follows the same path, but there’s often a similar starting point. Civil construction businesses start with a person who develops their skills and a reputation for getting the job done. This person then works with other contractors in a certain sector of civil construction, be it forestry, underground infrastructure, earthmoving or road maintenance.

The success of small and medium sized businesses is critical to the industry and our clients. At CCNZ’s National Conference in August we will be exploring SME success further with an interactive panel and workshop discussion on how to a grow strong business.

Sub-contracting can be a great inroad to gaining experience. Working together is a vital ingredient for success in our industry. This is true whether you are a large multi-national or a small local contractor.

CCNZ promotes a healthy construction industry. Having work available for all types and sizes of business is key to that.

Healthy competition and innovation rely on there being a clear pipeline of work and opportunities for new and emerging companies to compete for and win work that enables them to develop.

I look at our most successful companies (large and small) and I know they have all developed because they were all given the opportunity to compete for work and backed themselves and their people to deliver quality and value.

It’s one thing to be comfortable, yet most of our members are “doers”. People who rise to challenges and make good things happen. The ability to take managed and calculated risks and diversify as well as consolidate is part of what makes these businesses successful.

Small and medium sized companies, many of them family businesses, make up the majority of CCNZ members.

How these businesses find success comes down to taking ownership. Ownership of internal training programmes, relationships with clients, seeking out outside mentors/advisors and having very loyal and hard-working staff. A big part of their success is of course their embedded family culture.

I’m proud to represent an industry with this sort of culture and our president Tim Ford and I are looking forward to meeting the people behind our civil construction businesses from across our regions as we travel around the various Branch AGMs.

The success of small and medium sized businesses is critical to the industry and our clients. At CCNZ’s National Conference in August we will be exploring SME success further with an interactive panel and workshop discussion on how to grow strong business.

CCNZ executive councillors Bailey Gair, James Craw and David Howard have all worked hard to build success in their businesses and will lead a discussion with other businesses’ owners about how to manage change and find success.

We will also present focus sessions on everything from waste minimisation to new technologies. I look forward to seeing you there.

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