Bricks And Bytes Podcast

Shawn Van Dyke – Construction Business Coach – Q&A

shawn van dyke construction business coach

This Q&A is taken from the full podcast episode we recorded with Shawn.

Q: Can you tell us about your career journey and how you ended up as a construction business coach?

A: My career path has been a series of evolutions and learning experiences. I initially wanted to be an architect but discovered that engineering was a better fit for my problem-solving skills. After working as an engineer, I transitioned into real estate development and construction management. I started my first business in 2005, and when the 2008 financial crisis hit, I pivoted to residential remodeling. Later, I became the CEO of a trim and millwork company, where I honed my skills in systemizing construction businesses. These experiences led me to coaching, where I help contractors improve their operations and profitability.

Q: What is the Profit First method, and how can it benefit construction businesses?

A: The Profit First method, developed by Mike Michalowicz, is a financial management approach that encourages businesses to set aside a percentage of revenue as profit before expenses. This helps contractors prioritize profitability and better manage their cash flow. By setting aside money for profit, taxes, and owner’s compensation first, construction businesses can ensure they are not operating at a loss and have the resources to grow and invest in their future.

Q: Why do construction businesses often struggle with technology adoption?

A: Construction businesses often struggle with technology adoption because they lack standardized processes and workflows. Many contractors try to implement technology solutions without first establishing clear systems and understanding how the technology fits into their operations. This leads to underutilization of the software and a failure to see the full benefits. To effectively leverage technology, construction businesses need to define their systems, answering key questions like “Where am I at?”, “How does this work?”, and “What’s next?” for each process.

Q: How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the construction industry, particularly in terms of technology adoption?

A: The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of virtual interactions and digital transformation in the construction industry. Prior to 2020, many contractors were resistant to virtual meetings and remote work. However, the pandemic forced the industry to quickly adapt and embrace these technologies. This shift has led to increased efficiency and new ways of collaborating with clients and team members.

Q: You’ve written a book on Profit First for contractors. What advice would you give to someone looking to write a book in their area of expertise?

A: Writing a book requires commitment and discipline. When I wrote my book, I committed to writing 1,000 words per day for 30 days. The key is to focus on writing without editing or revising during this phase. After the initial draft, I spent another 30 days revising and 30 days editing with the help of a professional editor. My advice is to set a daily word count goal, write without self-editing, and hire professionals to help refine your work. Additionally, consider productizing your knowledge and experience through coaching programs, courses, and other resources to create additional revenue streams alongside your book.

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