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February 2022

Change is constant – so are people

26 Jan 2022, Business Tips, Learn, Prove Your Know How

We’re living in a constant state of flux, but the people at the heart of it remain the same. Business coach Graeme Owen says this can be used to inform solid business practice

While the last two years have heralded many changes — some drastic — in many ways nothing has changed.

“What?!” I hear you ask. “Where have you been the past two years? Everything’s changed! Interest rates. Inflation. Material supplies. Workers. Costs. Nothing is the same!” 

Consider for a moment the following:

People still live in homes that do not meet the needs of their family

Their home may be too small for their growing family and may be putting pressure on relationships – perhaps they need to extend the house?

Maybe the home is cluttered, badly designed and needs an internal rearrangement to make it work better. There may be many un-usable spaces or unnecessary internal walls, or the house is cold, drafty, and needs insulating or new joinery. It may be tired, worn and in need of a complete makeover. 

Covid-19 means people are spending more time in their houses, and becoming more and more aware of its limitations. Their dissatisfaction may be growing.

Remember, people still want to change their house – and they need you to do it for them.

People still want to know how to go about doing a renovation

For most people, a renovation is something they have never done before – and they will have plenty of questions. Common queries include:

  • Where do I start? 
  • How do I choose a builder/designer? 
  • Should I renovate or would it be better to move? 
  • How about staying and building a new house on my site? 
  • Should I capitalise on the land value and build multiple units? 

Who better to help them with these initial questions than you!  Sure, you may not be the expert in every area, but you are the one professional who knows who to contact for answers to almost any question they may have. 

People still want to build or purchase a new home

Whatever the commercial environment, people are still looking to build or purchase a new home. They may be retiring and downsizing, or ready to create their dream family home. They may be just starting out and looking for their first home. There is always movement in the new house market and tastes will change, but the need for new houses will remain.

People still want to get good value for their investment

People always want the price paid to match the value received. When a prospective customer says that price is not an issue, what they are really saying is that they’re prepared to pay good money but they expect top quality results. They are NOT saying that they will pay top money for mediocre workmanship!

In a changing environment, you still need to demonstrate that your prices are commensurate with the value they are expecting — whatever level of value that is. That hasn’t changed.  

People still want someone who will help and advise them

Probably more so now than previously — given all the changes in the building environment. With that in mind, you need to become their professional building advisor, rather than just another builder wanting to get paid.

This all circles back to the idea that people are much the same today as they were two years ago. There’s plenty of work to be done and business to be earned! 


That said, here are five things you can do in the coming year to ensure your business stays in good health during 2022.

1.Keep your head
Stay positive. You’ve faced change before. You can do it again. Sure, the changes may be larger than last time, but you can do it.

If this is the first time you have faced big changes in the economy, talk to those who have survived several cycles of change to find out what helped them.

2.Keep informed
Talk to your suppliers and subbies. Listen to what they are expecting. Then, rather than complaining about rising prices and uncertain schedules, plan for how you will stay in business with rising prices and uncertain schedules. It’s the same environment for everyone. 

3.Keep short accounts
Watch for all price increases and ensure you pass these on. Be careful with fixed price contracts and make sure that they allow for price increases. Prepare your clients for the likely finished price rather than today’s price and, if possible, purchase critical materials in advance. 

4.Continue looking for new team members
In times like these, builders move around, so keep advertising for staff, even if you don’t need them right now. Your current staff may join the exodus, and you could end up needing new people in a hurry!

5. Stay focusing on your preferred target market
If there is still a market for your specialty, then stick with it—but make sure that you learn how changes are influencing your target clients and the questions they’re likely to be asking. Then continue to post answers to these questions. Stay relevant. 


Change might be the only constant (Heraclitius 500BC), but people are still the same!   


Graeme Owen is a builders’ business coach at thesuccessfulbuilder.com. Since 2006, he has helped builders throughout New Zealand get off the tools, make decent money, and get more time in their lives. Grab a copy of his free book: The 15 Minute Sales Call Guaranteed To Increase Your Conversion Rate: thesuccessfulbuilder.com/book-15-min-sales-call or join Trademates and connect with builders who are scaling too: www.facebook.com/groups/TradeMates

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