From Russia with love Part 4: Sound business advice for renovatorsCanadian Contractor
"Running a business is like a chess game."
From Russia with Love is the story of Sept/Oct 2019 cover contractor Andrei Sosnovsky’s journey from a law degree in Belarus to contracting success in Canada. In Part 1, Sosnovsky comes to Canada via Timmins, ON in 1996 to discover a country very different from what was expected. Part 2 told us how Sosnovsky found himself doing residential work. In Part 3, Andrei gets off the tools. In this final blog, Sosnovsky provides some good advice for young contractors starting out on their own.
Okay, let’s keep going with teaching. Talk to contractors in the $1/2 million gross revenue range. What would you tell them?
First, never think that you know everything. Always learn from others. That would be my biggest advice. To actively seek out help. Be it a business coach, or sales coach or a NextLevel group or some sort of peer group or something where they can learn from someone that is ahead of you. That is the most important thing. If you are just trying to invent a wheel on your own, eventually you probably will if you are determined, but it is going to take you a long time and will cost you a lot of effort and it’s just not worth it. Learning from others is a lot easier. And you have to continue doing it. All the time.
And when you are delegating, first of all you need to realize what happens if, and what will you do if, and you build the scenario and then find ways and strategies to avoid problems and prevent bad things from happening.
Running a business is like a chess game. A good chess player thinks a couple of moves ahead. He thinks what is next and what is next. The further you can see, the better player you are. And the same thing goes with construction. If you are thinking a few moves ahead, everything goes very smoothly. But if you look at only what is happening today, you can’t be successful. I see it all over the place, many contractors even my framer who is building my house. I ask him what are you going to do tomorrow? He says, we’ll see, I’ll let you know tonight. He has no plan. He has no plan. Amazing! No plan whatsoever.
And it’s important also to say this: Probably the most important aspect of all for me. That is praying to God. All we can do is our best effort but the result is in God’s hands, not ours. Praying for guidance, patience and wisdom is crucial to me. I’m afraid to think about a single project that I would start without a prayer for help. There have been few occasions when God saved my health or reputation. Faith also helps put things in perspective. Knowing that this won’t last forever and that there is something else more important than business helps relieve the stress that our industry is so susceptible to. cc