Fifty-two percent of construction businesses plan on investing in automated technology, according to a recent Kabbage study surveying 800 small businesses. These construction owners are striving to ease operational processes, reduce paperwork, increase efficiency and improve productivity – all of which can be done through automation.
The numbers behind automation for small business.
As technology continues to develop, it’s becoming more accessible – and even essential – to automate small businesses. Some are catching on with the growing trends:
- 23 percent of the work day is spent on manually entering data into different systems.
- Small businesses automating their processes are almost twice as likely to grow their business.
- 26 percent of small businesses say they have more than one IT person to help train and implement automated processes.
- Growing small businesses are twice as likely to pick customer relationship management (CRM) as top automation priority.
- 62 percent of small businesses say training would help them adopt automated technology faster.
Five tips for automating your construction business.
1. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
The first step with automating your construction business is to start small. To begin, focus on time-wasting processes you can improve to ease your business into automation. Time management is a great start because it can provide a high ROI for your business. You get great results by maximizing your efficiency and, in turn, your bottom line.
From here, you can slowly but steadily reduce the number of processes involved with running your business. Once you start automating certain processes, others become obsolete.
2. Hire experts and purchase tools.
You aren’t expected to be the expert in automating your construction business, so at some point, consider hiring one to ease the pressure off of you and your employees. Outside experts can take a fresh look at your business and analyze each process to find ways of increasing efficiency.
You should purchase tools to help automate your business. From resource scheduling to inventory management to capital allocation to digital marketing and customer service, the right tools help simplify and ease the transition from manual to automated. For example, with social media scheduling tools, you schedule posts in advance. Perhaps you want to highlight a promotional offer on your Facebook page for a specific time of year. You can create the post and schedule it ahead of time, so you can focus on your current projects out in the field.
3. Build your culture around automation.
Your employees may feel threatened by automation. They may worry their jobs are in jeopardy. However, while automation may remove some jobs, it also provides new jobs and more opportunities for employees to grow in their fields. Let’s say you have a marketing manager. Instead of creating and posting on social media every morning and afternoon, they can now spend more time focusing on strategic marketing campaigns to acquire new clients and projects.
Automation develops higher efficiency and even higher-paying jobs for your business. Sit down with your employees to discuss why you’re moving from manual to automated processes, why it’s beneficial, and address any concerns they may have.
4. Work with data.
Embracing the role of data is important automation. While large companies can afford to hire departments to gather, sort and analyze data about customers and company performance, small businesses don’t always have this advantage.
However, there are tools to help you monitor and analyze the information from various sources. Tools like Google Analytics and IBM Watson Analytics can gather data from social media, customer support, finance, sales and more to collect hours of data in minutes to help you make better decisions about your construction company’s future.
5. Look toward the future.
While it’s important to ease into automation, you should also keep larger goals in mind. Think of what larger processes you’d like to automate. Larger automation goals for your construction business can include drone builds, Construction Robotics Semi-Automated Masons (which can layer 6,000 bricks per day), foam spewing arms, artificial intelligence and 3D modeling and printing. From there, consider how much it would cost to automate them (or parts of them), and if you need to consider outside financing to help. Apply for a line of credit up to $250,000 to fund your next move, whether it’s automation technology, equipment, payroll or anything else.
For example, meet Tony M., owner of Coastal Concrete Construction, a family-owned business spans four generations and 40 years. Coastal Concrete specializes in concrete contracting (from sidewalks to foundations) across the country, and utilizes his line of credit to cover payroll between project payments.