Think You Don’t Need Training?

Guess Again

By Wayne Newell

Training? Who needs it, right? I mean, most of us are successful enough the way we are. Why spend time and money we don’t have on training?

Maybe former market leaders such as Sears, Eaton’s, Kodak, Blackberry and others had those thoughts. The reality is that business changes, and the only way to change with the times is to increase your knowledge with additional training and education.

Nothing could hit closer to home than the contracting business. Less projects with more companies to do them makes the competition for jobs as tight as it has ever been. Contractors are continuously upgrading equipment, yet very often learn by the-seat-of-their-pants how to operate it. Organizations buy software, but rarely invest in much more than a few books to understand how it should be used correctly.

Then of course there’s your finances. Most contracting business leaders will tell you they reached the top by coming through the ranks. They were once tradesmen, then they managed tradesmen and day-by-day they began managing projects and some moved to the head of the company. Along the way they took on added responsibilities, some of which they knew well, but when it came to finances, many lacked those skills.

Money is what sets the successful businesses apart from the failures, and managing that money is of vital concern to you and everyone around you. Ask yourself, “How much financial training have I had?” If you’re like most contracting managers, it is minimal. This type of continued training is critical for maintaining the investment the company has already made in you and is essential to your success as a manager.

Proper financial training provides a manager with a more-worldly overview of the business. Financially-trained contractors view jobs in a totally different way. They not only look at production values, but also the financial aspects of every step of the project. As an owner, financial training will allow your business to be more profitable now and in the future. As an employee, not only will your business benefit, but you will have acquired additional skills and expertise to make you more valuable; that may translate into a better job and more money.

Continuing education is common for most professionals in other fields. Managers with bachelor’s degrees often go back for more education and their master’s degree. Technology professionals train yearly, if not monthly, on technological changes. Doctors strive to learn the latest techniques for treating patients and even trainers and teachers continually update their expertise.

While there may not be as many options for continued training opportunities in the contracting field, that doesn’t mean it isn’t as important as any other category. Now that you think of it, isn’t it time you advanced your skills in an area that may be the most important in your business?

While most qualified contractors tend to focus their company improvements on equipment, supplies or people, there is professional business training available that can really make a difference in the way a contractor manages their organization and projects.


Upcoming courses for CARM Members

To start earning more money, owners must first make learning construction accounting a priority. Like any trade, accounting takes time to learn, but many contractors don’t stop to learn accounting practices that can lead to increased profits. If you don’t know your numbers, you can’t run your business professionally or expect to make substantial profits. The two-day, Finance and Accounting for Non-Financial Managers course teaches you your numbers and how to use them.

Many contractors have labour productivity concerns, high overhead costs, below-budget profits and one continuous headache with cash-flow. The six-hour Profitable Contracting course discusses all these issues. The discussions are positive and frank with real life examples. The course provides operating, field personnel and administrative staff the systems and processes to manage their expenses and improve profitability by establishing a strong financial awareness in all personnel.

Business success is not an accident, it is planned – yet, very few construction companies regularly practice any type of strategic planning. The Strategic Planning course will transform your business. Imagine being able to make better-than-average profits, expand capacity, ensure success and build a better company. This course was designed to do just that. It isn’t a miracle cure or some obscure way of doing business. It’s a training program that teaches the fundamentals of strategic planning to construction professionals.

I am sure you would like to develop comprehensive three-year plans to increase revenues by over 20 per cent and profits by over 75 per cent in those three years. The one-day Strategic Planning course, using a model construction company, guides you to do just that.

These are not “sit and listen” events. They are interactive courses with hands-on exercises that walk you through each step of the financial process. You’ll take home comprehensive course manuals filled with the methodologies and strategies you need to improve your business; the Strategic Planning course gives you access to all the Microsoft Word and Excel templates used in the course. For those of you working towards your Gold Seal Certification, all three courses have been accredited for Gold Seal by the Canadian Construction Association.

Now think again…isn’t it time you advanced your skills in an area that may be the most important in your business?


Visit to see Wayne Newell’s upcoming training opportunities.


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