Small Business Leader

By Robert Robillard on Contractor Advice

importance or uniforms

The Small Construction Company Leader

The small business leader, to be successful, has to keep his or her eyes on a lot of things at one time.  This article is focused on providing you with some tips and solid techniques to help you juggle all of those balls you have in the air.

Pay Attention To Your Public Presence:

You never get a second chance to make a first impression.  There are several public perception things that you should be constantly focused on and monitoring, they are:

  1. Your website
  2. Recruiting talented workers
  3. Turnover
  4. Client relations
  5. Validation
  6. Adopt humility

Your Business Website:

It’s all about the experience!   Does your website clearly paint the picture what you do,  and is it easy to navigate, can people easily contact you?

Does your website lead quickly?  

People these days are inpatient and will often move on then wait for a slow loading website.    Streamline your website so it loads quickly,  and gives visitors clear access to you and your services. 

Recruiting Talented Workers:

You never want to be that guy who treats his or her employees poorly or pays the “minimum” rate.

Hiring talented employees can be daunting:  advertise, request resumes, take the time to interview people and most importantly call their references and past employers.  

The best advise I can give you here is the best predictor of a possible employees behavior is to look at their past performance on other jobs.

Once you have selected someone worth working with make them an offer that is fair and worth their while and of course pay them a competitive wage.  Build in incentives, stipends and other benefits that increase with performance or they become more tenured.

So many small business leaders do not offer paid holidays, personal pay, sick pay  or vacation pay.  

Even a gas card, tool stipend or education stipend can motivate potential job seekers.  One contractor I know offers his lead carpenter a percentage of the job profit for every day the project is completed ahead of schedule.

Once you get talented folks on board take the time to facilitate them in their work, recognize good work, maintain continuity, encourage continuing education and safety training.


Turnover of talented employees can be devastating to a company.   Replacing talented people is time consuming and costly.   

First and foremost treat all of your employees with respect.  Poor management is probably the single most reason whey employees leave. 

Pay attention to what your employees need on and of the job.  Sometimes employee issues, grievances or negative perceptions can be addressed and cleared with an honest and frank discussion.  Always allow your employee to air their grievances prior to any corrective or employment discussions – you may learn something or they may simply feel better getting something off their chest.

 Competitive wages is important but is not always on top off a potential employees  list.  Many times employees are looking to be valued, need a modified schedule,  want or need medical or retirement benefits or a regular payroll deduction vs a 1099. 

The regular payroll deduction has become a big thing with young carpenters wanting to  build  future credit. [i.e, for car, home purchases]      

Many a small business leader makes the mistake of paying employees as sub-contractors to avoid paying taxes.  According to the IRS three categories help determine if someone is an employee or a sub-contractor.

Client Relations:

Having the good will of your customer base is key.  Take the time to regularly communicate with your current and past clients.   Strive to obtain what I call “face time,” with all of them.  Face time has been proven to lead to referrals, extra projects  and continual additional work.

On this point I want point out that you need to communicate clearly to your clients and do what you promise to do.  Start this off with a details and professional construction proposal.


Are you really the top notch leader you think you are?    If you really want to know ask your employees what they think your best qualities are and how you have helped them.  

Look for common denominators in statements and positive statements that are based on leadership skills such as:  facilitative, coaching, development, supportive, innovative, vision,  positive, and supportive.  

If your employee is quick to answer your doing alright – if they’re struggling to answer then you need to take a closer look in the mirror.  

No one said being a small business leader would be easy – but it can be a greatest job in the world!

Be Humble:

Know your strengths and don’t brag and most importantly practice humility:

  • Admit You That Don’t Know:   One of the most admirable traits is being able to admit when you don’t know all the answers.  Most importantly don’t make stuff up!  People see through that.
  • Learn From Your Competitors:   Look at other successful small business leaders and study them.  No matter how good you are there is always something to learn, a faster more efficient, methodical or cost efficient technique, system or materials to use.  Learning from your competition and even opening meaningful, win-win dialogue with them can lead you into many new and innovative opportunities.
  • Help Others:  Reach out and look for opportunities to use your skills and resources to help people.   Whether you volunteer, provide services to someone in need or make a donation,  it all helps.
  • Search for Answers:  Someone once gave me the advice, “when you find yourself in a hole stop digging.”   To me that meant when faced with a problem stop, dump it on the work bench , roll up your sleeves and start searching for the solution.  Sometimes it’s the weird, wild and crazy idea that is the best solution.   Be a problem solver not a whiner!
  • Ask Questions:  Ask, ask and ask more questions.  There is always something to learn and someone to teach.   Read up on your business, take classes and explore new ideas, management and production techniques.    Ask for and solicit others for their opinions and viewpoints and encourage employees to share fresh ideas.

 A small business leader is one who seeks to learn and improve even when they feel things are real good!

Making a GREAT First Impression Video

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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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