A smart business is better business


It has been a long time in the making but I am delighted to announce the launch of the Trades Business Academy.

There is a brochure to members included as part of this edition of Building Today that provides some further information. Please have a good read of it and think seriously about what the Academy can offer you.

So what is the Trades Business Academy all about and why have we launched it?

Well, construction is one of the most (if not the most) complex businesses to run. Business owners have to deal with a confusing and complex regulatory environment, multiple suppliers, contractors, enforcement agencies, owners and staff members.

They have to manage and account for many hundreds of thousands, and in many cases, millions of dollars from multiple sources, and project manage many jobs at once through difficult conditions that are subject to weather, unforeseen circumstances, increased prices and sometimes stressed home owners.

The relationship with your client isn’t a five minute transaction like buying a pair of jeans, but a long one that is subjected to all manner of stresses and strains throughout that period.

All too often we are ill-equipped to manage the transition from builder to business owner — from no longer being on the tools but running a complex business. Too often builders dive in and learn the hard way, when they should be taking the time to understand how to operate a building company successfully.

As 90% of all funds going through a building business is someone else’s money, all it takes is a slowdown in cashflow and things can get problematic very quickly if the business has insufficient capital.

There is also a lot of work and energy being expended on trying to stop the boom bust nature of the construction sector, but I personally think that is almost impossible to achieve as we are exposed to the cycles of the wider economy which, in turn, is influenced by the global economy.

We will cope much better as an industry if we are better prepared as business people, as these sorts of cycles are part and parcel of managing your business.

However, the construction sector is not academic in nature. There are a plethora of business courses available but very few attend them, and you cannot learn business in a weekend or through a short course.

So we have developed a customised small business programme that has been written specifically with the tradesperson in mind. The course covers all the elements of how to run a successful business, and is full of examples that a tradesperson can relate to.

It is practical and linked to our members’ web site so you can access contracts, guarantees and other information to help you.

It is designed so you can apply what you learn to your own business so you can understand how the theory works in practice — for example, you can develop a marketing or business plan for your business. We have mentors and support throughout the course to assist you.

We have partnered with Master Electricians, the Skills Organisation and the Open Polytechnic, and on completion of the programme you will obtain a Level 4 Certificate in Small Business.

There are three modules, each encompassing four courses, and as long as you do two courses a year you can continue to do the certificate. We have structured it in such a way that if you would only like to do some of the courses, you can.

The programme sits on the NZQA framework, and I would strongly recommend it to anyone who is serious about running a construction business well, as it will save you considerable stress in the long run, free up your time and make you more profitable.

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