When I was at drama school, there was somebody who used to get into arguments when drunk.
Needless to say, we tried our best to stop him getting drunk. But if you know any actors, you’ll know it can be pretty hard to stop them from partying.
At the time I lived in Tooting, London. Which, back then, was a bit rough.
So Pat, that’s not his real name but was the first one that came to my mind, would occasionally get drunk with us, get into an argument in the bar with a stranger, get kicked out by the bouncers, and then end up in a street brawl.
Now, in case you haven’t seen a photo of me, I’m not exactly built for fighting, and I absolutely hate it.
Which meant it was around this time that I’d head off, usually judging it pretty well so I missed the whole damn thing.
Then I started my own business, and that meant I had to fight, not physically, but it felt like a permanent street brawl.
Trying to get people on board, finding partners, fixing issues and generally firefighting permanently.
As the business grew, this started to get less and less, and everything got easier.
….we started building two houses.
Now it looks like the street brawls I was in for business were part of a Sunday tea party.
We’re very lucky, we get on with our contractors, and they’re doing everything in their power to make sure we stay on budget and time.
If it wasn’t for them, we’d be in big trouble.
But it seems like everyone else in this business lives on a different planet.
I’ve honestly never experienced anything like it before.
There’ve been times when I’ve seen people take three weeks to respond to an email.
Three weeks! I mean, WTF?!
If I took three weeks to reply to an email I’d have no business left.
Email is the primary culprit, nobody ever picks up the phone.
I was told by someone that it was easier to send an email, to which I replied that they could pay any costs incurred by delay because they couldn’t be arsed to pick up the phone.
Honestly, I am at a loss to understand how they can work like this.
But what I do now understand, is why so many people lose their shirt on building projects.
Information is slow to arrive, often incomplete, and companies feel they have the right to spend your money without confirming with you.
All of this means one thing…
When you’re running a building project, you’re firefighting nearly 100% of the time, and you should assume that nobody has completed what they said they would.
The take-away from today, and how I run my business, is…
If you want people to use your services, if you want folk to recommend you, enjoy working with you, and give you business. Then respect them, make sure they understand how you work from the beginning, don’t surprise them, and help them to achieve what you’re asking them to do.
That way you’ll build a team that will stay with you a long time.
Never forget, you can only do so much, it’s your team that will build you your profits.