WHY AND HOW TO SET GOALS FOR CONSTRUCTION COMPANIES

Reasons for setting up a company

This is not a Christian Post and perhaps you reading it might not be but allow me to refer to the Good News Bible in Habakkuk 2: 2-3 which states:

“Write down clearly on clay tablets what I reveal to you, so that it can be read at a glance. Put it in writing, because it is not yet time for it to come true. But the time is coming quickly, and what I show you will come true. It may seem slow in coming, but wait for it; it will certainly take place, and it will not be delayed.”

The reason why there is emphasis on writing down goals by almost every successful person has just been highlighted in the above passage, “so that it can be read at a glance.” We all have goals or aspirations which because we have not written down as reminders, we tend to stray when life happens to us and forget about them, which is inevitable. Sometimes as a company you will be engulfed by so many financial or even human resource and regulatory encumbrances which might derail your focus. However, with clearly written down goals and visions for your company, it is easier to get back on track.

Starting a company is like conducting a research project; you have to do your data collection and analysis, piloting or testing and even a comprehensive literature review. At the end of it all, there should be a problem you are trying to solve. This in the business world is known as “Market Research”. This exercise is one of the most important you could do for your company because it will help you strategize and actually come up with goals and specific objectives. These specific objectives will clearly highlight how you intend to get to the end goal of your firm. It will also help you brainstorm on how you could make yourself stand out because as you do your research, you discover the shortcomings of those already in operation. Your company should look to filling the gaps in the market. Without conducting a market research, you might not have full information on what the gap in the market is.

I’ll give a very practical example; in 2017, when I reported for work in Chilubi District, I noticed I could not find fresh bread the following morning. Bread is the next best thing for me after pancakes especially for breakfast. So when I couldn’t find fresh bread, I started thinking of starting to bake bread for sale. Nevertheless, before I could start doing so, I gave myself a month to study the market of this bread I wanted to start making in the district. The reason behind this study for me was to ensure I wasn’t betting on investing in an expensive stove for nothing because I knew at the back of my mind that whatever I acquired was going to remain behind once I left the district. After a month or so, I noticed people rarely bought bread imported into the district or even buns baked by the local people. For some it would take even two days or three for their merchandise to sell completely which made me conclude that perhaps, this could be the reason why there is actually no bakery even just a small one. I also looked at my target market and compared the numbers; what’s the population? How much is this population willing to pay for my product? How long will it take to recover my investment?

I suppose this example explains clearly why you need to conduct a thorough market research. You know how much you are willing to part away with in case of anything going wrong. Business has its pros and cons, no wonder my Accountant friends draft up their Trading, Profits and Losses accounts. In as much as you would want to be optimistic, bear in mind that losses could happen too. So in case of such, ask yourself how much you are willing to lose so that you know to what extent you can risk investing in a cloudy business idea.

Conducting a comprehensive market research might mean you engaging a professional business person to help you with it. However, to lessen your costs of hiring one, you could chip in as the author of this business idea. Do your own observations and experiments; conduct informal interviews with community members and find out why they outsource certain goods and services. Ask the right questions. You might actually discover that there previously was a company similar to what you intend to put up in that area. If it happens to be so, find out what made it fail then think of ways you could improve on perhaps the management or technical aspect of running such a business. This is how we ended up with Android; we previously had Blackberry phones then. The Digital Camera overtook Kodak because it capitalized on Kodak’s failure to meet the market demands. Every project including the one you are likely to tender for as a contractor has had some sort of study conducted on it. Road projects are no exception; there is no way a project with barely any economic benefit will be prioritized. Study your target customers as well and know how much they are willing to pay for your service.

Once your market research study has been concluded, it’s now time to analyze your findings. Look at your findings critically and brainstorm on how you are going to address those issues. In this day and age of abundant information, staying completely blank about something is usually a choice unless otherwise. Go to google and search for solutions to those problems you have discovered. See what others have done before whether in your province or country at large and even abroad then try to think of how to replicate that. Go on YouTube and search for interviews of successful business people in your field, look for conference proceedings, go to Amazon Kindle and download some books related to your field for reading to keep yourself well informed. Talk to seasoned business men and women too. As a business person, you have to constantly read and evolve if you are to stay relevant. For example, in these COVID-19 times of country- wide lockdowns, we have been forced to adapt to a certain lifestyle as humans. The same way we are adapting is how your business should be able to adapt amidst a major economic shift.

The most important thing as earlier mentioned after all is said and done, is you writing down all your findings and possible solutions for future reference. From these, your company’s main aim will be to address that problem you have discovered. Then your specific objectives will concisely lay out the procedure and processes to be adopted for accomplishing the big goal. Break down your activities towards solving the problem. This way, it will be very easy for you to follow through because confusion has already been scrapped. The other reason for doing this is to make it easy even for new members of the company to follow through its goals and know what to work towards achieving.

THE LADY ENGINEER

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