Having run construction businesses for the last thirty-plus years, I have developed the following ten commandments as a guide. The list is offered here to suggest that you don't have to make all the mistakes I made; it is much smarter to just learn from my experience.
Good judgement comes from experience--experience comes from bad judgement.
The purpose of this list is to suggest a mindset about your efforts and get you thinking about how each of these "commandments" might apply to your construction enterprise.
Recognize that doing something like building a house and running an organization that builds houses are not the same skill set. Decide which actions are going to help your business succeed and do only those things. Is swinging a hammer on the jobsite all day long the best way to build a construction business? It may be necessary when you first start the business, but is it really a viable long-term strategy?
Operating your own company is a difficult and risky way to make a living. You should only select a market that has the potential to provide big rewards. Find a niche you can own in your market. If you can't find one, invent a new niche.
The most successful enterprises make their customers feel smarter, richer, and more respected by helping them solve problems they face. Identify the problems your potential markets face, and then very clearly and pointedly demonstrate how you solve those problems.
Your client is not looking for a 1/4" drill bit, what they really want is a 1/4" hole.
Track your "Nine Numbers" every period (monthly, quarterly, annually) as though the existence of your enterprise depends on it -- IT DOES. Understand the importance of and how to use
Know the difference between growth and profits, between revenue and income -- and which is more important to your survival. The Nine Numbers analysis will provide the information you need.
The Golden Rule can mean more gold. Common courtesy goes a long way in a relationship. Show these important service providers that you a running a business, not just a hobby. They will treat you like the serious businessman you are.
Build on and broadcast the positive things about you and your company. Get rid of or fix anything (people, process or property) holding you back.
"Never wrestle with a pig. You'll both get dirty and the pig enjoys it." Think about it. Comply with OSHA safety regulations, make your payroll deposits, document your subcontractor relationships for the Department of Labor. You have enough to worry about without worrying about wrestling the pig.
Learn the 4-D information management method.
Design an organization and set up management systems that keep on working even when you decide you don't want to any more. Replicate yourself by documenting and controlling the processes you use to serve your market.
Then you will have a business.