While the pandemic has brought tough times for all industries, some domains have suffered a tad more. Construction is one of them because you cannot imagine labor working from home or completing projects remotely. But the sector thrives on resilience because it had faced several challenges before and emerged a winner every time. Despite lockdowns and closures, projects are expected to be back after widespread inoculation because demand is the key driver for contractors.
You may have to work harder for a comeback if you run a construction startup, but it is absolutely doable if you take a strategic approach. Focusing on process realignment in the new normal is the key. At the same time, you need to go the extra mile with employee wellness and client satisfaction. Although it sounds complicated, we will make it straightforward. Here are some survival strategies that can help you keep your startup afloat during the pandemic.
Take care of your employees
People are your most valuable resource in this labor-intensive domain. It is your primary duty to look after them in a pandemic. A little goes a long way in retaining your startup team, and you must do everything you can through the crisis. Invest in the infrastructure that enables them to work remotely where possible. Minimize travel to essential meetings only. For the rest, adopt video conferencing and remote collaboration tools.
Maintaining hygiene and safety for the on-site labor should be your top priority. Take every measure you can, from providing personal protection equipment to setting up sanitation stations and ensuring social distancing on the project site. Rotational shifts and smart scheduling can do the trick. These efforts to enhance labor safety boost productivity and loyalty as employees see that you care.
Communication keeps you going
Good communication is the mainstay of success in the industry, and it becomes even more crucial during the pandemic. Ensure that your employees, sub-contractors, and clients are on the same page. Keep them informed of the changes to projects or schedules because they will happen more often than you expect.
Every piece of information needs to be passed on, whether about rearranging any meetings or pushing back any deadlines. Communicating things on time makes things more predictable for employees and clients. Predictability breeds trust and comfort, which matters even more for startups.
Secure your projects with insurance
Securing construction projects goes beyond taking adequate safety measures against accidents and risks on site. These measures are crucial, but you must also take a project specific insurance policy for every single job you undertake. Insurance secures your business. It becomes all the more important for startups, specifically during a challenging time like this.
Project-specific insurance is a wise choice because it gives the coverage you need, but you pay only for the project in consideration. It means that you don’t have to worry about bearing a year-long expense when projects are coming in a trickle. Cost-saving is a major factor for startups struggling to survive during the pandemic. At the same time, risk coverage matters, so this insurance option has you covered on both fronts.
Reassess internal operations
While lockdowns and halted projects are a concern right now, you will probably have to deal with inefficiencies and bottlenecks in internal operations. Shortage of labor can affect operations as you may have to delegate new tasks to available personnel, who may not even be apt for the job. The best way to keep your construction startup on track is by reassessing internal operations, processes, and task assignments.
It should not be a one-time task, but you will need to do it every time external circumstances change. Reviewing internal operations reveals inefficient processes that waste time, create bottlenecks, and lead to duplicate efforts. Picking these issues early can help you make strategic updates to bring efficiency and sustainability in performance and cut costs.
Stay a step ahead of legal issues
With all the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, legal issues become a reason to worry. You will be concerned about contracts and deadlines because flouting them can land you in trouble. The last thing that any construction startup wants to face is lawsuits from clients. They are expensive and time-consuming, and sour relationships with the clients. They can even damage the reputation of your business in the long run.
Steering clear of legal issues should be a priority right now. Revisit your current contracts and work on getting in new clauses with the client. You may even seek legal opinion to avoid disputes and be on the safe side. Ensure that you have valid reasons to convince clients about delays, and they will understand. Also, consider government rules and regulatory compliances to stay safe from legal hassles.
Pay attention to money
Another survival tactic that new businesses in this domain must embrace is good money management. Ensure near-term survivability because it matters the most when cash flow suffers like it is happening now. The best place to start is with a review of the current financial models. It will help you make informed decisions and develop strategic pivots to keep the business afloat during the crisis.
Even as you focus on handling cash flows, ensure that employees do not suffer through pay cuts. It will affect their morale and loyalty towards the company, and there are good chances they will leave. Look for financial aid and relief from the government, borrow judiciously, and seek support from the clients. Financial resilience is critical at this stage, so make sure you keep the startup strong with the right approach towards money.
The pandemic has brought uncertainties for the industry, and planning for the future sounds like a humungous task. While you cannot have a foolproof survival plan, following these strategies can keep your startup afloat. Most importantly, hold on because hope is around the corner, and business will be back to usual sooner rather than later. If you want your startup to survive and thrive, you only need to realign your processes to keep pace with the new normal.