Business coaching often doesn't work well for custom home builders. If you're thinking about trying it, or if you've tried it before, you should know that it may not help as much as you'd hoped...
The big issue? Picking the wrong coach is a costly blunder – it drains your wallet and can drag your business down.
Picture this: six months later, you’ve spent thousands of dollars, and your business is sinking further than where it started.
Beware of the impressive success stories and glowing testimonials on coaching websites. Often, they're just a facade – it’s hard to even be sure if they're genuine when there is no surname, business name, or location.
Another thing to be aware of is that business coaching isn't regulated like other professions. For example, lawyers, accountants, and even tradesmen have strict rules they have to follow in order to be licensed, but business coaches don't. That means you have to be extra careful and do a lot more research before you take advice from these companies.
In this article, I’ll cover the three most important things you should consider when you're doing your research.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) & Margins
The first reason why we see business coaching not work for a custom home building company is when they have not used KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators. KPIs are like a scorecard for your business. They show how well your company is doing compared to other home-building companies.
Generic coaches, who work with various businesses across multiple industries, often lack awareness of the nuances in construction. They may not fully understand the specific marketing strategies, the sales process, the time required to convert a lead into a contract, or the margins builders need to maintain in order to cover their fixed expenses.
Because they don't understand how a custom home building company works, they apply the same marketing strategy they’ve used for plumbers and dentists. However, because this is the largest purchase a consumer will likely make all year, the approach to marketing and sales has to be very different.
Failing to understand these differences has sent many building companies into bankruptcy after appearing, on the outside at least, to be doing very well.
This leads to the issue of margins. Financial management in construction is complex and often misunderstood. Generalist accountants typically struggle to prepare accurate financial statements for a building company, so the likelihood of a generic business coach understanding them well enough to offer sound advice is extremely slim!
By comparing the KPIs for your building company against other custom home building companies, you can identify your biggest weaknesses, which are likely bottlenecks in the business, and then get to work fixing those first.
Too many building companies end up following the wrong advice, which results in them working on the wrong things in the wrong order, which is a very expensive mistake to make.
Focusing your time and energy on fixing the biggest problems first is what leverages your time in the following months.
The second big reason business coaching doesn't work well for custom home builders is not taking action. Learning new things in coaching is great, but it won't help if you don't actually use what you learn. You need to spend time working on your business, not just in it.
Many builders are super busy and don't think they have extra time. But remember, we all have the same 168 hours each week. It's really about choosing how to use that time. If you feel like you can't find the time, you have to make it. This might mean working longer hours for a while.
Think about this: some builders work 60 or 70 hours a week, but they still set their alarm for 4 a.m. to get more done. They do this because working on their business – making changes and improvements – is the most important thing. They start their day by focusing on their business before anything else.
If you can't find the time or don't want to make more time, then business coaching might not be right for you. If you don't take action, it's just wasting your money and the coach's time.
The third reason business coaching doesn't work for residential home builders is about mindset. After you've done your research and met with a business coach, if you still doubt whether coaching will work for you, then it might not be the right time to start. We've noticed that younger builders often get the best and quickest results from coaching. Why? Because they don't have a set way of thinking yet.
Older builders in the construction industry might be set in their ways. They've worked long hours for many years, often for small profits, and it can be hard for them to believe that they can charge more for their work or change the way they do things. It's like a scene in 'The Matrix' where Morpheus tells Neo that freeing the mind after a certain age is difficult.
The same is true in coaching. Older builders might find it hard to let go of their old beliefs, and this can stop them from achieving great results quickly. On the other hand, younger builders, especially those between 25 to 35 years old, who come into coaching without these fixed ideas, often see amazing results really fast.
It's okay to be a bit sceptical, but be aware that sometimes, you might be the one holding yourself back from the success you're looking for.
Want to learn more about business coaching with proven industry specialists? Book a call with the APB team below.