Archive for Construction Best Practices

How Construction Firms Use LinkedIn to Take Networking to the Next Level

See how construction firms use LinkedIn to take networking to the next level!Networking for construction firms has historically been a process of repeating what has worked well in the past. Many contractors rely on the tactics with proven return on investment (ROI):  Attending or exhibiting at conferences and networking events, company listings in industry catalogs, sponsoring golf tournaments, and more. These are all great networking opportunities, but ask yourself – are you missing out on another ROI friendly networking opportunity? This blog is going to introduce how construction firms use LinkedIn to take their networking to the next level.

Why LinkedIn Should be Your Social Network of Choice

If you must choose only one social network to actively participate in, LinkedIn is the clear-cut winner. With over 500 million users, LinkedIn is the defacto social media network for professionals. Out of these 500 million users, over 40% of LinkedIn members are manager level and above, with more than 25% listed as senior executives. If you are looking for one place to connect directly to decision makers, LinkedIn is your social network of choice!

Ready for one more statistic? There are over 300,000 construction firms listed on LinkedIn. So if you aren’t actively networking on LinkedIn, your competition certainly is!

Tips for Networking on LinkedIn

Build a profile to impress | Before you can begin developing a LinkedIn network, you need a well-developed profile for potential connections to know whom they are connecting to. We’ve all heard the saying that first impressions matter, and on LinkedIn your profile is your chance for a positive first impression! Tips for a well-developed profile include:

  • Professional profile photo – Keep your profile professional and convey authority with a high-quality professional photo
  • LinkedIn endorsements – Skill endorsements provide potential connections with the confidence that you are established within the industry
  • Focus on relevant keywords – You want your profile to be seen. Including relevant keywords to your profession will help your profile rank in search results.
  • Make sure your profile is public – You want to make sure your profile is public for networking purposes. To make your profile public follow these steps:

Connections are the name of the game | LinkedIn is powered through connections. The more people you are connected to, the more potential connections will become available to you. If you are just starting out on LinkedIn begin with connecting to your colleagues, people you have done business with and various thought leaders throughout the construction industry.

Create a company page | If you do not already have a LinkedIn page for your company you need to create one ASAP. Company pages are one of the main ways how construction firms use LinkedIn to network. A LinkedIn company page will allow your firm to showcase your entire company, not just a single employee. I like to think of company pages as an extension of your website. Additionally, LinkedIn company pages allow you to:

  • Share important company news
  • Showcase your specialties and services
  • Highlight customers you have done business with
  • Receive alerts when someone mentions your company
  • Measure important statistics regarding the effectiveness of your LinkedIn posts

Participate in LinkedIn groups | One of the best ways to use LinkedIn to generate new leads for your business is to actively participate in LinkedIn groups. Doing so allows you to demonstrate your expertise and thought leadership. However, it is important to remember that groups are not the place to peddle a service or offering. Keep your interactions focused around providing insight and relevant information.

Learn More About How Construction Firms Use LinkedIn

Want to learn more about how construction firms use LinkedIn? Join Bobby Darnell for this free webinar highlighting business development best practices within the construction industry.

Can’t attend? No problem. Sign-up and you will receive an on-demand copy of the presentation after the event.

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Managing Risk: 4 Essential Elements of a Construction Litigation Response Plan

Smart Guide: Construction Litigation Response PlanThe threat of litigation is a concern that hangs over all construction contractors like a black cloud. Multi-million dollar lawsuits are commonplace in the construction industry and can quickly bankrupt even the most prestigious construction firm. A recent Construction Executive Risk Management article places the percentage of large companies spending more than $1 million dollars on litigation at 71% in 2013, up from 53% the year before. Rather than ignoring the eventuality of litigation, some advance preparation can help prevent litigation costs from spiraling out of control. Similar to an Emergency Response Plan, contractors should consider creating a Construction Litigation Response Plan to prepare for those costs incurred during the inevitable project litigation.

Why You Need a Construction Litigation Response Plan

When a complaint is filed against a contractor, advanced planning can defray many costs that can arise from having to move quickly and without enough time to find cost-effective solutions to technical and legal problems. Much the same way insurance protects assets against unforeseen losses, a litigation mitigation budget can help protect against unforeseen costs that can throw a balance sheet into the red. Let’s look at what to include in a Construction Litigation Response Plan and mitigation budget to help reduce expenses.

Streamlining Human Resource Costs

As soon as litigation is anticipated, costs begin to accrue as employees try to plan a response and course of action, which can be quickly decided upon if the company has an established Litigation Response Plan. Contractors with protocols in place speed up response time and reduce HR costs.

Your Litigation Response Plan should document the appropriate legal counsel for certain types of litigation, such as contract disputes, change orders or defects. To ensure that your company does not negotiate rates while in a time-sensitive position, pricing should already be established with essential service providers and documented in your company’s Litigation Response Plan

Curtailing Uncertainty Costs

Just as a contractor structures bids using the most accurate information available, an e-discovery vendor or legal service provider will attempt to do the same. Your greatest leverage in negotiating service pricing will depend on your ability to identify your company’s potential exposure on both a liability and service expense level.

For instance, the more information your company has regarding how many people may be involved with (or subject to) discovery in a given matter, how much data must be culled, or how many places must be searched for relevant evidence, the faster you’re able to ascertain an estimate to put your company in the best position to negotiate service pricing. A Litigation Response Plan that provides the quickest route to determine these facts can help reduce the assessment of uncertainty costs.

Identification & Collection Cost Reduction

Your Construction Litigation Response Plan should also incorporate a method for determining the relevant people in control of evidence (custodians) based upon scope of the matter as determined by counsel. Each matter may be different, but all will share the common requirement to determine the responsible parties. The responsibility of parties will be related to the expected duties of the employee based upon position, as well as the employee’s actual duties as determined by the self-disclosure of their actions or contents of their files and correspondence.

Discovery costs can be vastly reduced by setting up centrally managed data repositories and establishing protocols for saving potentially relevant information. It is always considerably more expensive to gather disorganized data than to collect information from a central location, particularly if it only stores one copy of the evidence. Invest in software to enable the rapid retrieval of evidence to help dramatically reduce litigation expenses and response time, and show ready compliance in the eyes of a court.

Production Cost Management

To avoid receiving data in an unusable format, include data delivery standards in your company’s Litigation Response Plan. The party that takes the initiative in establishing the production format for electronic evidence (e.g., single-page images, a metadata load file, an image load file, and associated text files for searching) can often set the tone for an orderly and efficient exchange of evidence.

Such production costs as printing or making copies are based on volume and complexity of the task requested. The more orderly and attainable the planned specifications are, the lower the costs and smoother the process. A modest investment in planning and software can avoid a lot of added pain in an already unpleasant situation.

Technology’s Role in Litigation Management

Standard operating procedures and centralized documentation are key elements in creating a Litigation Response Plan and mitigating litigation costs. Fortunately, new technologies and software specifically designed for the discovery process in construction have emerged to make locating and culling through evidence faster and easier. Until recently, contractors were limited to online file sharing and FTP sites for centralized storage and distribution of their project documents. Those with access to these types of sites, including subcontractors and vendors, could view and edit documents, but couldn’t track project activities or communication. Information in the form of plans and specifications could be uploaded to the site, but versioned documents and audit trails simply did not exist.

Recent advancements in technology have enabled the development of construction-specific documentation software that gives all project participants access to centralized information. These applications provide GCs, subcontractors, vendors, and potentially even legal counsel the ability to access all necessary files and evidence from one location. Terabytes of plans and specifications are not only easily stored, but supporting documentation in the forms of e-mails, RFIs, submittals, and project logs also provide the ability to recreate an entire project or a specific phase at any given time – whether during construction or years after construction is completed.

Proactive Risk Management

Litigation is inevitable. While legal fees, discovery costs, and other direct costs cannot be avoided, the indirect ones can be mitigated with the right steps. Responding to litigation requests, finding relevant materials, and culling through documents can tie up employee resources. Savvy contractors that take a proactive approach to their legal plans mitigate their risks and financial liabilities.

With a sound Construction Litigation Response Plan and appropriate technology in place, significant cost savings can be achieved. Regardless of the outcome of the litigation, contractors that carefully plan can significantly reduce the impact of indirect litigation costs and help focus their efforts on building their businesses.

 

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