What does it take to be a “small giant” in business? Members of the Construction Contractors’ Alliance learned that it doesn’t mean always concentrating on the “growth treadmill,” but focusing on more satisfying business goals instead.

At the Sept. 15-17 CCA meeting in San Antonio, author and Inc. Magazine Editor-at-Large Bo Burlingham shared the magic ingredients of 14 remarkable privately held companies. The characteristics, fully adaptable to new construction businesses, included: charting your own course; having strong ties with your customers and suppliers; being deeply rooted in your community; putting employees first; and having an emotional attachment to your business.

To adapt to the changing marketplace, CCA members focused on analyzing trends and identifying opportunities, such as the afternoon of discussions regarding sustainable practices for new construction firms that generate profit.

The group toured a LEED-certified facility at the renovated Pearl Brewery mixed-use development in San Antonio and then exchanged ideas with various experts in sustainable products, such as energy-efficient mechanical systems, rainwater harvesting, solar hot water and dual-flush toilets. Presenters/sponsors were: Adam Bailey, Apricus Solar Water Heaters; Shawn Hatley, BRAE Rainwater Systems; Jami Keller, Daikin; and Eddie Wilcut, Caroma USA’s national water conservation manager. Wilcut, former conservation manager of the award-winning San Antonio water system, facilitated the session.

To gain a behind-the-scenes understanding of how contracts are selected and how subcontractors may be able to negotiate differently to get more jobs, CCA members learned the latest trends about construction management from Leland Rocchio, vice president of development for Lyda Swinerton. Also, George Hedley of Hardhat Presentations shared insight on working in a tough economy, including ways to increase contract award odds through bidding and negotiating tactics.

In roundtables, members reviewed different performance indicators that help manage and direct their companies. They also shared business solutions they have discovered and implemented since the winter 2010 CCA meeting.

Plans are under way for the next CCA meeting, which will be in March 2011. For more information, call 800/533-7694 or e-mail Charlotte Perham at perham@naphcc.org.

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