Initiative to help construction business owners build for future

Craig Alexander Rattray

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GROWTH strategist Craig Alexander Rattray is launching an initiative to help construction business owners build for the future.

The Glasgow-based cash flow expert will deliver a series of ‘Know Your Numbers’ masterminds, tailored specifically for business owners in the sector.

The six-month programme begins in January and will be run in collaboration with the UK-wide Construction Network.

Using a ‘learn, apply, grow’ concept, its aim is to help prevent firefighting and give entrepreneurs more confidence in their business decisions and ultimately improve profits and cash flow.

There will be a two-hour teaching-focused session, including a ‘hot seat’ scenario where an owner has the opportunity to talk about their challenges and receive feedback from others plus a one-hour clinic session focused on application of the learnings.

“Most people set up in business because they are good operationally and understand, for example, how to build houses, repair roofs, etc. But they don’t know how to run a business,” said Mr Rattray, a former venture capitalist who has worked in private equity and corporate finance.

“They don’t understand accounts and finance, cash flow or how banks and investors work. I am trying to provide that knowledge and ammunition to help them run their business better and reduce stress.

“Inflation is eroding margins for construction businesses as they are struggling – or scared – to try to pass on increased costs. I want them to better understand pricing, margins and cash flow. If they can get those three things right it will make a huge difference to them.”

The programme follows the successful delivery of the inaugural Know Your Numbers initiative earlier this year, with a ‘Mastery’ programme currently ongoing. There has also been early dialogue with various chambers of commerce with a view to rolling out similar groups, while international expansion is also being considered following approaches from the Middle East, Africa and North America.

Mr Rattray, owner of CR Corporate Solutions, said: “A business owner is generally the expert in the area in which their company provides products or services. However, most have not been trained in finance. And whilst they are not expected to be the finance expert, it is vitally important they understand the financials and the cash flow dynamics of their business. 

“From my experience of working with companies within the construction sector, I identified there is a real gap in their knowledge and understanding.

“From pricing jobs properly, to managing projects and cash, many were encountering lots of problems and were highly stressed. Most owners rely on guesswork and their intuition to determine whether they have had a good day, a good week or a good month in their business. I want them to deal in facts and produce the right information to allow them to make better decisions from a position of knowledge.

“It’s never too early or too late for business owners to know their numbers, and that’s important. The latest group has one owner who set up six months ago and another 35 years ago.  When it really comes down to it, the difference between a successful business and an unsuccessful one is how well it has mastered its numbers.

“Numbers don’t judge, they don’t make sales, and they don’t hire new team members, but they do tell a story. They tell the story of where owners have been, where they are now, and where they may end up in the future.

“Numbers and finance will always be a pain and a cause of stress for business owners until they understand it and make it a priority.”

Construction Network Facilitator Grant Hamilton said: “This is a great initiative during what is a challenging time for the industry. We know from experience that many construction SMEs struggle in this area. We’re delighted to be involved and I’m sure it will be of tremendous benefit to our network members.”

Owners interested to know what areas of their business need improving, can use a free diagnostic tool at https://zlk2lusuorq.typeform.com/to/ujW3jexk.

More information on the Know Your Numbers groups is available at https://knowyournumbers.biz/.

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