Many of the folks I consult with are doing very well now. Business has picked up, often remarkably so.
When business is good a company can find itself overwhelmed. How can you handle the work without going crazy? I have three suggestions.
1. Be Realistic
When the market is hot, a company might take on too much work. Doing the designs and the estimates becomes challenging because of all the business that the company wants to sign. Consequently, the production department likely is given job packages that are incomplete and/or inaccurate. The lead carpenters run more jobs than they are capable of handling well. And slippage in gross profit occurs, with production blaming sales, design and estimating.
Not a happy situation.
Work as a team on limits for both the sales department and the production department. Use real-life painful situations as motivators to determine maximum caps on number of jobs that can be handled by each department.
2. Focus on Results, Not Activity
How do you measure success in business? Some factors to consider are a positive attitude throughout the company, happy clients, and gross profit budgeted being produced or--better yet--exceeded.
When a company is too busy, at least one if not all of the above does not happen. The owner and employees are stressed. Clients feel abandoned or poorly served. Slippage in profit happens on almost every job.
On the other hand, the company is really busy.
Activity is a means to an end. Keep the end in mind, what success for all looks like. Don’t be seduced by activity.
3. Reset Expectations
The only way to get control after taking on too much work is to stop and get a grip. Slow down and as a team agree on what can be postponed.
The salesperson calls clients whose projects have unrealistic start times and sets ones that will make the company be regarded in the long run more positively by the client.
The designer and estimator set maximum capacity limits for the respective workloads. Better to have good work done right the first time than a bunch of recipes for disasters being created. The result might mean setting new presentation times with potential clients. If that delay makes a potential client decide to go with a different company that is all for the best in the long run.
The production department employees get realistic about what they can each manage successfully. The limit for each employee will likely be different. That is because every person is different.
It takes courage to do what I am suggesting. The fear of losing clients drives companies to try to accomplish what is just not possible. Keep a clear head even when being presented with more opportunities than you could imagine and you will make decisions that are for the best in the long run.
Running like a sprinter when the race is a marathon means you will lose. Slow down. Prepare. Respect your limits. Savor the results.